BEHIND-THE-SCENES: Hosting the first OMGrowth LIVE EVENT
This is a transcript of episode 43
I’m Lanie Lamarre, I “can’t stop, won’t stop” when it comes to Post-It Notes – they’re everywhere in every shade of every color and I even have a box for the ones I’m done with that I call my Post-It Note graveyard – but today, we’re going to go back to the future – to last fall – when I hosted my first OMGrowth Live event. This is my (kinda late) behind-the-scenes episode to review what went well, what didn’t go quite as well, and what my takeaways are for my next event. (And spoiler alert: there will be a next event!)
I’ve hosted a couple of virtual events – or what some may refer to as a summit but I didn’t want to call it that, and I’ll get into why in a moment – but I had never done one where it was 100% on me. I had an assistant helping me – who I’m eternally grateful to and for – but the decision-making and follow-through was all up to me.
But I did have SOME experience with co-hosting and I had Summit In A Box – which, if you’re hosting a live event, it’s a total blessing to have such a drag-and-drop type of approach to getting everything you need in place and I’ll link to some of the free resources available to get started, in case events and summits are on YOUR radar.
I still wanted to try some “out of the box” thoughts and ideas I had for this one, though. For instance, my All-Access Pass wasn’t what you usually see offered, and neither were the presentations that my speakers were offering.
Let’s start with the All-Access Pass.
OMGROWTH ALL-ACCESS PASS
Now, typically, virtual events and summits are set-up like this:
- People sign up to attend your event for free;
- Those people are then offered an All-Access Pass for purchase.
The All-Access Pass usually consists of long-term access to all the speaker presentations, as well as a bundle of products that are usually paid products from your speakers.
So when you’re signing up speakers to speak at your event, you also ask them if they would be willing to “donate” one of their paid products to sweeten the All-Access Pass.
Why would someone give their paid products away for free, you may ask?
The idea is the everyone – or at least most speakers – will be contributing and this makes it easier for speakers to promote the event to their audiences and make a commission on the sales made from those promotions.
It can also act as a great “intro product” to your bigger signature product because you essentially are building warm leads – people who are picking up what you’re throwing down – when they sign up for your offer.
Sounds good, right?
So yeah, I didn’t do that. I didn’t ask speakers to donate one of their offers and instead, I asked that they submit a workflow to accompany their presentation and my All-Access Pass was the usual long-term access to all the speakers and presentations as well as the accompanying workflows that would make it simple to follow along and implement what they had learned at the presentation.
THE SPEAKERS AND PRESENTATIONS
The presentations were also not typical of what you see at events and summits: I insisted on workshop-style presentations where attendees would actually be able to implement something after they had watched the speaker. There’s a time and place for delivering information – like this podcast, for instance – but I’m not a big fan of slideshows that have all this information you’re not able to take action on.
My priority with this event was to deliver mega-actionable workshops.
Which is why I insisted on the workflows: I wanted attendees to be able to listen in to what their chosen expert had to say and then have that workflow in hand to hit the ground running and actually implement something they could see some results from.
And this is also why I chose the speakers I did: I had a list of topics – actionable, implementable topics – that I wanted to cover, and then I sought out speakers who could cover them. I know cultural diversity is a major focus when choosing your speakers but for me…
Strategic diversity was a huge priority.
There’s an endless conga line of marketing strategies you can learn and implement, and I didn’t feel like I would be delivering the value I wanted to be putting out there by having 6 people talking about Instagram just because they had a bigger reach.
And that’s the other big “out of the box” thing I did: I never looked at or considered what the individual’s reach was and I focused solely on subject matter and expertise, My approach in selecting speakers was “could this person deliver a unique and actionable workshop?”
I had twenty speakers total – again, this was my first solo venture and I wanted to make sure I could handle the workload with my assistant – so I felt very good and I’m very proud of my speaker line-up.
We had a Google Search Console case study – which P.S. if you’re going to speak at a summit, I thought the case study approach was brilliant because you can actually connect with the information – we covered some newer marketing strategies like private podcasts and chatbots, we had some refreshing takes on evergreen sequences and email funnels and tripwires that aren’t gross and salesy, we covered how to self-audit your website for high conversion copy, we went over how to develop a contingency plan for a failing launch or sales plan… and each presentation came with a workflow that warmed my nerdy little systems-loving heart,
Now, I’m not exactly sure if it’s just MY heart that’s nerdy and systems-loving or if maybe my messaging wasn’t effective, but the workflows didn’t go over quite as well as I thought they would.
Let’s get into the numbers, shall we?
The registration page for OMGrowth Live – this is the page where people can sign up to the free event – converted at 38.4%. This means out of 1000 people who visit the free sign-up page, 384 people signed up.
This isn’t bad but it does leave a lot of room for improvement and before I host another event, I have it on my list of things to do to get my pages audited to see where those potential improvements can be made.
As for the All-Access Pass, we converted 7.2% of the attendees into buying an All-Access Pass and only about 1/3 of those came from affiliate sales made by the speakers.
When I say things like “look at your conversion rates for opportunities to optimize”, this is a great example because these numbers tell me everything
A conversion rate of 7.2% for attendees to purchase the Pass isn’t bad at all, but I do believe that if I had integrated the more “traditional” strategy of getting speakers to contribute offers to the All-Access Pass would have increased that rate.
But the affiliate sales – meaning the sales that came from speakers promoting to their audiences – was surprisingly low and I have a few theories as to why:
1) I didn’t take audience size into consideration when selecting my speakers and as a result, some of the speakers didn’t have the reach necessary to make significant sales.
For the record, I don’t regret this choice and I will do it again. If someone has something to say that I haven’t heard before or whose message I believe needs a megaphone, I am 100% on board with featuring them. I do think I could do a better job of balancing reach with content, though, and by doing so, I would be in a position to provide those voices with an even more impactful megaphone so balancing reach with content is definitely a lessons learned for me;
2) My event was held in the first week of October, which means promotions happened in September… and people have their own stuff to promote in September. Whether that’s onboarding new clients (because everyone seems to need more help then) or launching their own thing, speakers were putting themselves first – and I don’t necessarily blame them – but in my speaker agreement, I would include a “think about it” clause that would ask speakers to confirm that they don’t have anything else going on during the promotional period or they’re have the space to adequately promote the event, and I also wouldn’t put the promo period in mother-loving September again.
Another thing I won’t do again: include a chat box.
This is the 3rd time I’ve used one and it was NOT a charm. Every time I’ve included a chat box, engagement in said-chat box was incredibly low and this time was no different. It felt all-kinds-of-draining and I don’t think it delivered any value to the experience so here’s what I’m thinking for next time:
1) Include a help desk type pop-up that people CAN use if they need to reach someone while the event is going on; but
2) Maybe host a “once-a-day” live panel with some of the speakers and bonus gifts for attendees as an engagement motivator.
I’m not set on this, but it’s where my head is at for next time.
We had a few tech issues but nothing memorable – just irritating “in the moment” type of things – but again, we were incredibly organized and had done a good job of not only planning ahead but keeping things simple.
For instance, instead of having an individual page for each speaker, we had a page for each day on which all the speakers presentations were made available. I would definitely do that again.
I’m glad I treated this mostly as an experiment to figure out how I wanted to do things – instead of relying on “this is the way it’s done”, I was able to prove a few things to myself that I’ll take with me moving forward – and look, this is why I insisted on calling it a “live event”.
People have an idea of what you get in a summit, right? And I was doing things a little differently. We didn’t have presentations; we had workshops and that’s a format I’m going to continue insisting on. The All-Access Pass was different and I will definitely veer on the “traditional” side of this moving forward – I think it’s just easier for speakers to market a bunch of courses and downloads than it is to incentivize purchasing a workflow bundle. And I can definitely do a better job of balancing audience reach with content and making sure that my speakers aren’t just able to deliver a great workshop but that they’re also available to promote and that I’M delivering next-level incentives for them TO promote.
So I don’t have it all figured out yet but I did figure a lot of things out, and I’m looking towards Spring 2022 to host the next OMGrowth Live.
If there are marketing strategies or tutorials you want to see, there’s some contact info for you in the show notes that I encourage you to use and reach out. Likewise if you attended OMGrowth Live and you had some things you liked and maybe liked-not-so-much – I love feedback, it’s my favorite improvement tool and that’s what these behind the scenes episodes are all about: showing you what I’m doing to improve and what I’m basing those data-driven decisions on so you can more easily identify your own opportunities for improvement.
Please rate, review and subscribe to the OMGrowth podcast because next week – well, speaking of opportunities for improvement – we’re speaking to a guest who will edu-care us as to where the opportunities are for improvement when it comes to launching.