This is a transcript of episode 39 of the OMGrowth Podcast
Lanie Lamarre 0:00
Oh, hey boss, I’m Lanie Lamarre and I’m super stoked that you are here because I have a guest today.
Her name is Kate Doster and she is the host of Inbox Besties which… if it’s not a podcast you’re subscribed to at this point, it’s good idea to sign up from wherever you’re listening to this. Go ahead and search it out because it’s a good one and she does a lot of behind-the-scenes type episode, she shares like numbers real stuff.
So this was supposed to be a conversation about summits versus bundles because I am a big supporter of summits while she is a huge supporter of bundles. I thought we would do like a celebrity deathmatch thing, but I think she kind of got me converted into thinking “do I want to host my own bundle?”
At least, that’s what I thought would happen and if you keep listening, you’ll find out how she pulled that magic trick. But then again, most of what she does just feels magic anyway. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Kate Doster, my online biz pal, and we like to banter a whole lot and the most popular subjects between us, I believe, would be obviously Rupaul’s Drag Race, we talk a lot about that. We discuss a lot of Trixie and Katya. And we also discuss the good, the bad, the ugly and the unique points of view of our experiences with bundles and summits.
You are very pro-bundle, you run a very pro bundle ship.
And you are not so keen on the summits.
Not at all.
But you do run like you run an amazing bundle. There’s a lot of people running bundles out there. Some of them are good, some of them are great and some of them are not so good. But you definitely do.
Like – to the listeners – if you’re ever going to pitch yourself to Kate about participating in one of our bundles… for one, you will see a high ROI on that.
However, you better come prepared with some valuable stuff, right?
Kate Doster 2:10
Mm hmm. We don’t take things that are garbage. It’s not fair for you as a contributor. Is anyone gonna want your one-page PDF when they can get an entire Facebook ads course somebody legit sells for $97?
No, no one’s gonna want it. Yeah, why set you up to fail?
Lanie Lamarre 2:27
I think the reason your bundles are so successful is because you’re so discerning. And it’s not just for YOU that your bundles are so successful.
Because I participated in one, what, nine months ago, eight, nine months ago? And we were just looking over at the numbers where I still have an 80% retention rate from all the people who signed up for the free thing, and they’re still opening my emails and clicking on my emails – that’s unusually high!
So you’re bringing really quality people.
OK, so tell the good people, you know, how do YOU run a bundle? How do you attract all these great people?
Kate Doster 3:00
Sure. So the whole concept of a free bundle – because you don’t hear about it all too often – is basically you get together anywhere from – honestly, you can do five people to – I would say I would cap it at 15-18, like absolute max.
And you get together and for either two weeks or a week, you get together stuff that we always say is, like, “tripwire level or better” type of offer. I usually pull stuff out of some of my paid products. It’s not the whole paid product.
But that’s really great because they’re gonna see, oh, these templates that’s from the email marketing fairy. So let’s go ahead and do this email marketing theory.
So everybody goes ahead and will email their list, if they’re a contributor. So for this week, everyone is just getting in front of all of this massive amount of traffic.
And it’s just so nice and so easy to run. The audience loves them, and contributors love them. And it’s just the best.
Lanie Lamarre 3:49
And I can almost hear the chimes when you talk about bundles. But then we go to womp-womp-womp-womp sound effects when you start talking about how you feel about your experience running a summit.
Kate Doster 4:03
It’s just mine. I mean, again, this is why we wanted to sit down and discuss it because it turns out that not everyone is the same as me – I get that.
So for the summit, it was myself and my virtual assistant. And particularly in this last one – we talked about it on my podcast on episode 191 – the issue was that people were getting us things late. I had a miscommunication with my VA who was in charge of, like, transcripts and captions. And she kept on always missing her deadline and just coming up with excuses. And it turns out she had just been like, “I can’t handle sitting through these 20 – they’re supposed to be 30 minutes, but some of them went longer – and like, “I can’t sit through and do these to actually make them for you.”
So in this particular summit – because we had done one and 2020 and then 2021 – because I wanted to test the theory. So it was just when we broke down how many hours it was to find the people, pitch the people, record… I did all of the editing, I made all the pages myself, she was in charge of the closed captions and the transcripts, making the cheat sheets, all of this.
Yes, we did sell an all access pass, which had some bonuses from the speaker. We also sold one that had, like, two bonuses for me. And again, the replay is the unlimited access all of this. And it’s like, we worked so hard, and so many hours. And I don’t want to brag but most people would have been really excited to have made $25,000.
But for us, when we broke it down for the ROI, it was like we were making pennies that entire time, because we’re focused on this thing. And, again, by our standards, it kind of tanked because of all of those other things that we could have been doing for three months, right.
So between again, wrangling people, people missing the deadline, trying to get stuff done, we had tech issues the entire time, literally from just people inputting their information, to the day that we promoted. The summit, like, was gonna start happening, none of the links and none of the Active Campaign links worked for two days.
Lanie Lamarre 6:16
That is so frustrating.
Kate Doster 6:17
It was just like, people wanted to sign up so then like, we had sent us emails, like, “oh, you’ve got to cut and paste it.” And then, you know, even though email links weren’t working, at least luckily for us, people could still sign up at our landing pages.
But what I found – and I don’t know, if this was your experience for your summit – a lot of the speakers just didn’t promote, right? At all! And we’re like, you know, because you know, most people know the drill when it comes to summits: that you’re going to be selling something at the other end. We didn’t really try to press it that much. If we noticed that somebody, you know, hadn’t signed up for an affiliate link, or their affiliate link hadn’t gotten any clicks, we just send them a message like ” doyou need anything from us.” You know, “what’s going on?” and we would just get ignored.
Meanwhile, with the free bundle, if you’re not doing what you’ve got to do – because I made it crystal clear – you’re just out, right? I don’t care. Like somebody could be like, oh, like, “I really wanted this Pinterest templates” and it’s like, “you know what, not enough people could sign up because there was a tech issue. So I had to pull it.” It’s like, that’s it!
But with a summit, we just couldn’t get people there.
Lanie Lamarre 7:20
So what was the difference for you between the first summit you did? Did you enjoy the first one that you did?
Kate Doster 7:25
The first one, that was a lot of work, it was a lot of work, but I did have a lot of fun. We also did have an extra team person helping. So I think that that helped, but we got much better results than we did from selling it.
So I think for this particular summit, we did a lot of experimenting. And I think that’s kind of soured my experience.
So we had, again, the version of just the replays versus the replays and the bonuses. I think that the replays and the bonuses were just simply priced too high at that, like, early bird tripwire level, so then it couldn’t stand to go up anymore. If that makes any sense for the threshold.
I’m like, “I don’t think you could but could I do two price increases?”, because we had already tried to sell it on the Thank You page for $97. It’s like, where’s this gonna go?
Also, this year that we noticed, as opposed to last year, is less speakers gave something to the All Access Pass. But we did offer the same benefits. And last year, it was still like, you know, you get the higher affiliate income and all this sort of stuff, but people just aren’t into it. I’m like, “Oh, the summer time, you know, no one else has anything else going on. Oh, why wouldn’t they want to promote it? And you know, earn a couple extra $100 and, you know, grow their list?” Apparently, nobody wanted to do anything.
Lanie Lamarre 8:44
I do feel that part of this is a personality thing. Like, I love details and you… do not.
Kate Doster 8:55
Lanie Lamarre 9:00
Kate Doster 9:14
Whereas a summit, you literally have to make 20 pages as well as all of those other pages that you’re talking about. So it might not seem like a lot, but when you multiply that work by 20 – yes, like, even though we had pushed all of these deadlines, we had them so far. So there were so far away from when the summit started, because people were habitually missing stuff. It’s like we would have gone from, I think we were supposed to have 20 speakers, we probably would have been lucky if we had ended up with 14 or 12. Right? Because people just weren’t hitting deadlines, right?
Lanie Lamarre 9:44
Yeah. When you’re relying on people to deliver – and a great number of people – that is super frustrating as well. I also had that experience. It’s something you have to expect. Like, just speakers are going to hand in things tardy sometimes. I actually have a summit presentation for a few months from now, that was due on Monday. But like two weeks ago, I was a kid in class asking, “Can I get an extension till Wednesday?” Because I know I won’t have the time until then. But that’s because I’m me. And most people aren’t me who like the details and always have their finger on the pulse of those sorts of things. So it’s just a human nature thing as well. You kind of have to expect that when you’re dealing with a lot of people.
And when you see these summits of – my mind is blown when people are running summits of, you know, 50 plus people. Like, how are you managing everyone? I have to assume that you have all your systems very firmly in place, and that you’ve done this before with a smaller group, which is how I would always recommend that you start doing a summit – just treat it as an experiment, as you keep using the word experiment on the first time you do it. Certainly the first time you do it is an experiment to see, you know, how are people reacting? What do they react to, but then to manage those 50 people and all the deliverables? Oh, my Lord.
Kate Doster 11:05
And the thing that is the biggest issue with the summit – and I think this is why my assistant and I – again, we’ve Clockwork-ed it and she’s amazing. She’s amazing at free bundles, she could honestly run the free bundle without me at this point. But with the summit, if somebody didn’t do their interview, or didn’t hand in their presentation, then now all of a sudden, the transcripts are pushed back, my editing is pushed back, I can’t make their page, and that’s push back. Now, if we don’t actually know if they’re going to really do this or not, we can’t finalize the page. We can’t finalize the schedule, we can’t do all these things.
Whereas for the free bundle, I don’t want to say less is more but it’s not an issue. Like we’ll remind you, but it’s like, okay, you’re not on the page.
Lanie Lamarre 11:44
So how many bundles have you ran at this point?
Kate Doster 11:46
I want to say four. I didn’t think I’d need to know that. Possibly five. So we did… I want to say that 2019 was the first year. We used to just do it in February. And that was called the Back to Business Bundle. Because everyone in January is like, “Yeah, let’s do the thing”. And then, you know, everyone loses steam by the beginning of February.
So the Back to Business Bundle was sort of to help people restart and kind of forgive themselves, because I’m very woowoo. And just be like, “yes, okay, so January didn’t go as planned and I might have slacked off a little bit in February, because I was sad about January not hitting my initial goal. But now I’ve got all these free things that I can do.” And I’ll tell people, like “this is how you can organize it and all this” and then kind of go. And then people loved it so much. And contributors loved it so much – because they were getting a lot of people to their email list, essentially for free – that we started doing it in the fall as well.
So now it’s officially bi-annually: we have one, I think, late winter/early spring and then, fall.
Lanie Lamarre 12:47
And did you have growing pains? Like now it’s smooth, because you’ve done it a few times now and your pages are probably in place. You’re probably just updating them. I’m making a lot of assumptions here. But what was it like the first time you did this? How was the experience the first time I had done it?
Kate Doster 13:01
Yeah, it was 2019 – it was actually the fall because I didn’t even have Abi, yet – I don’t think so. Yes. 2018 In 2018, I had done all myself .
Lanie Lamarre 13:13
For the listeners, Abi is Kate’s rockstar assistant. Hi, Abi!
Kate Doster 13:17
Yeah, she is her official title is fire-tamer. I’m trying to get her to sign her emails that because I’m a ball of fire and she’s gotta tame it. So she’s the fire tamer.
But the very first one that I ran, it was all me. And I want to say that I probably had about 12 participants, it was people that I was already friends with. And I, myself, had been in somebody else’s free bundle, but she had called it a giveaway. And I was friends with the lady who ran it – like “in real life” friends, which is very rare for where I live to meet another online entrepreneur. – so she kind of gave me the behind the scenes.
But it’s like, you know, you’ve got to make the “home” page, the “coming soon”, “you missed it”, the “gift” page, “thank you” page and then “terms of services”. And like, that was really easy. So I built that all myself with Divi. And then I used Canva for the graphics and Airtable – I use Airtable to get all the submissions stuff from the people. So there wasn’t that many growing pains.
I think the biggest issue we ran into was one of the years, I think it was that – for some reason on Windows, the pop up that I had or whatever we were using for an opt in form at the time (because it wasn’t Lead Pages), it wasn’t firing for everybody on Windows PCs. So I would get those tickets like “oh, I can’t sign up”, but like it’s pretty minimal.
And we make sure when the bundle officially opens it goes to the waitlist first for at least about an hour, hour and a half. So they’re excited because they get stuff early. But there, they can be to be like okay, are 500 people going break this? I mean, we test hack to make sure that everyone’s landing page loads, everyone’s gifts gets delivered., make sure no one’s trying to do anything shady to people.
Like we do that a lot we do like the week before, the day before, the morning of – all that. So we really try to dial that in so we have no tech issues.
Lanie Lamarre 15:09
So this is not like a like a putting your hands up. You still have people to manage. You still have things to follow up on with a button.
Kate Doster 15:15
Exactly. And I think yeah, especially after that first day.
So we asked again… this is one of these “now that we know” things because we used to just let everybody in at the same time, it was like nine in the morning, Eastern Standard. But now it’s like, 11 in the morning so that way, I have plenty of time to like, take the kids to school, we can troubleshoot again, we’ll troubleshoot just my waitlist.
And we ask our contributors to wait until the second day. I know some of them for a fact, go ahead and share it on the first day. But I’m like, oh my god, like, spread it out anyway. It’s not just like, Oh, we’ve got so many people, but that, like kind of dried up a little bit in the middle.
It’s just like a normal launch.
It’s like a normal launch.
Yeah, that’s what happens. The first two or three days – especially the first two, three days – you’ll get a lot of people, and then the last couple of days. Which is why the next time we’re running it, I think instead of doing… we’ve done 10 days, we’ve done eight days – because there was a Monday Holiday here in the States – but I think for the next one, we’re just going to try Monday to Friday. I really like that urgency.
And so that way, our contributors don’t feel like I’m taking two weeks out of their business to help. Because we are so rigid about promoting stuff. So I think they can just give us a week. But no far enough in advance. Like you said, the people stick. And the people tend to buy, which you would not think that people going to something for free, – or would be interested in, you know. Offers on the thank you pages or buying signature courses after that and they do. They’re just so grateful that people give them something amazing. And they got amazing results. They want to hang around. That’s great.
Lanie Lamarre 16:46
Now, is this covered in your in your collaboration offer?
Kate Doster 16:51
Yeah, Collaboration Cash-In. I think it’s “how to profit and have fun with free list building bundles”.
We used to call them giveaways the very first time we called it a giveaway and people got confused. They thought it was, like, a sweepstakes. But for the word “free bundle”, it works.
Giveaway. Like, you’re gonna show up at their house with a check.
And again, you only realize this by… like most of my audience… I actually let affiliates have my signature course. Because I usually tend to launch my signature course, a couple weeks – about four weeks – after we do the free bundle.
I’ll let them promote it so that way, you know, they can get a little tracking in place, they can introduce their audience to me. But there was just one person’s particular audience. We’re just like, “how did you find out about us?” And everyone was the same lady. And so I’m like, “is she not explaining this right?” and as soon as we changed it to “free bundle”, everybody got the concept.
Lanie Lamarre 17:44
You have great follow up systems in place. That’s amazing.
Kate Doster 17:48
Yeah. And like I said, everyone likes that we really try to – because it’s not a concept that you see about especially in consumer spaces and because I have a lot of students that do consumer stuff – once you explain to people like “hey, like, well, why would I give you my paid thing for free?” It’s like, “do you want to add 100 people or so to your email list?” Like I was telling you – especially the first time – I don’t promise the moon and the stars. Just let them be excited.
So it’s like if you yourself have a tiny audience, you know what it’ll cost if you’re gonna pay Facebook to get 300 leads.
Yes! That’s what I say.
You’re lucky if you get an ROI on that. I mean, I know Facebook ads right now are banana pants because of tracking, and you’re gonna have to pay way more than nothing.
Right? Yeah, absolutely.
So we have we have some contributors that literally they will do their Beta, they will do their free beta from using the bundle because they just have so many people go through and download.
Lanie Lamarre 18:40
Which is a great way of getting testimonials for a new product. Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome.
Kate Doster 18:44
Exactly. Exactly. And then people love it. So I am team “free bundle”. And the thing is that we make money because I know people are wondering like “Oh, it’s free. Like, how do you make money like all this you’re complaining about making 20,000 for Summit?” Honestly, it’s probably like less than an hour of work for like maybe four weeks. And right, like it’s really sort of bogged down at the end, but I sell on my Thank You page in my Welcome Series if you sign up for my particular gift – not the bundle but my particular gift – I’m telling you about my auto-webinar and we do that launch afterwards.
We get a lot of affiliate income too because at the bottom we have tools and resources we’ll send out an email you know mid-open, being like “you know, don’t forget there’s these offers too if you’re looking for some tools, here are some deals” so that’s how you make money with the free bundle and it’s just I can’t imagine having 50 speakers on a summit.
And you’re not the only one making money on a free bundle. Like, the people who are participating – you can set up, you know, an automated flash sale or tripwire or whatever you want to call it, at the back end of your offer. I added one at the very sort of last minute and still made some sales off it.
Kate Doster 19:52
Yeah, after I’ve seen – so some hosted free bundles will be like “no” because like you said, you do see them I know I myself get to be in them a lot because that’s what I’m known for. And there are some hosts that are like “you can’t sell on your thank you page”. One person wanted you to pay them $125, I think it was, to be in theirs.
Which again, if you’re thinking this is versus ads, it’s not that bad. But then you couldn’t sell on your thank you page. And she wouldn’t allow you – and I don’t know how she would attract this – but she did not want to selling to the audience for the next four weeks because she was doing her launch.
And so I think that yeah, so I think that what makes our bundle different as well. Like, it’s not the Kate show. Is my gift\ on the first gift on the page? Yeah. But the Thank You page – because this is what a lot of other hosts will do: you sign up the first page is just like the host gift, the host webinar, all this sort of stuff. And there’ll be this little bottom line that says, “Do you want the other gifts? Click here!”
Like, no, it’s not “hey, do you want extra free stuff? Share out about this. And then I’m going to go to the gift page.” Yeah, I’m number one. And then I’ll usually have two gifts on the last one on the page as well for my two different gifts.
But I’m like it’s an everybody thing. That’s why it’s Collaboration Cash-in. Everybody does their part, everybody gets to prosper.
Lanie Lamarre 21:04
Right? I’m going to include a link to Collaboration Cash-in, as well as to your socials. If they’re looking for you, though, in the room, where do they find you?
Kate Doster 21:14
So you can go on Instagram, it is Kate underscore doster. And I have a podcast that we’ve talked about called Inbox Besties. So after you’re done leaving OMGrowth an amazing five star review wherever you’re listening, then you may go over into the search bar and search for Inbox Besties and we talk about email marketing, mindset sales, psychology, we have besties chats where I break down things that we’re doing. And it’s a whole bunch of fun.
Lanie Lamarre 21:41
I’m going to include a couple of notes in the show notes as well with the episode numbers that we are dealing with, where you’re talking about segments and bundles and where I’m talking about my experience with your bundle the whole thing, so we’ll have some some references there. Thank you so much, Kate!
Get all the juicy details and data about her summit (episode 191) and last bundle (198) on Inbox Besties.
I also share my results from collaborating in her bundle on episode 24 of OMGrowth.
Kate Doster 21:56
I was so glad to be here. I feel like I’ve chatted way more than you got to talk about how much you love Summit.
Lanie Lamarre 22:01 I’m more than happy to listen to your experiences all the time. And you do talk a lot about them on Inbox Besties. So by all means, everyone subscribe to that as well.
Okay, so there was a lot to this episode. But I want to draw your attention to a few really key points that Kate shared.
- The first of which is WHAT WORKS WELL FOR ONE PERSON MAY NOT WORK WELL FOR SOMEONE ELSE. And that doesn’t necessarily mean the strategy is bad. It just means that it’s not for you.
So summits may not work super well for Kate and they may work very well for somebody else, which also leads on to when she was comparing her results, not only for her bundles, but for her summit to the previous experience that she had.
- So THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPARING YOUR OWN STRATEGIES TO YOUR OWN RESULTS, as opposed to what somebody else is telling you is a good conversion rate or a good revenue number.
- Revenue numbers are another thing that I want to draw your attention to which Kate brought our attention to when she was talking about how the ROI wasn’t worth it for the revenue she brought in. Even though she brought in $25,000 on her Summit, it actually wasn’t worth it when you think of how much investment she had to put into it time, money, resources, energy – I always like to count energy as a resource and an investment -and so knowing your numbers and KNOWING YOUR ROI is really what determines whether a strategy was worth it for you or not.
- And finally, THE IMPORTANCE OF SYSTEMS THAT YOU CAN REUSE AND OUTSOURCE. Her bundle right now – she even mentioned it that her Rockstar VA Abi, she’s able to just rock it all on her own at this point because all the pieces are in place. That’s the system and look, I’ve said this before: I love collaborating with Kate because she makes things really, really easy.
So if you’re looking to do more collaborations, check out the links in the show notes. And when we were doing this I realized oh my gosh, I never did my behind the scenes for my summit so make sure you are subscribed to the podcast because I will drop that episode in the very near future where I will just summarize what my results were for the first OMGrowth live event. So get subscribed, share with your biz besties all that fun stuff and we will talk to you next time – baiiieeee!!!!