Episode 2: Niche Targeting: Attracting Your Ideal Client through Precision Marketing TacticsSeptember 12, 2023
Lessons from a Former Virtual Assistant Turned Summit Expert
This is the very first episode of Acquire and it’s been a long time in the making.
From my days as a VA (virtual assistant), working diligently on online summits and webinars, to discovering I had a knack for highl conversion funnels… and eventually becoming the expert in this niche with more list builds produced than any other online event producer, this has been a ride.
Join me in for this episode where we go on a journey of my personal experience with online events and how it led me to develop a system for creating highly lucrative and successful summits. I’ll share my insights, challenge and the evolution of online summits and events over the years and why you should be paying attention.
On This Week’s Episode:
1. Jennie’s transition from a brick and mortar environment to online businesses and her curiosity about successful online events.
2. The observation of online events as either effective or lacking in impact, with a specific focus on a group of followers following a coach blindly.
3. The struggle of followers not fully understanding the tasks they were completing and the disingenuous nature of blindly following.
4. The prevalence of summits as a popular event format in 2012 and the issues Jennie encountered with their length and attendee drop-off rates.
5. Jennie’s determination to improve the summit format and create a better experience for both hosts and attendees.
6. The development of the Super Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP), a system designed to optimize all aspects of summits.
7. The expansion of Jennie’s role from a virtual assistant to a coach and mentor in the summit space, leading to improved results.
8. The need for summits to be engineered around the product offer and continually evolve to adapt to changing participant behaviors.
9. The importance of alignment and clear messaging throughout the summit to ensure its success.10. The evolution of technology for online events, leading to more efficient and elaborate summit experiences.
Don’t miss this insightful episode as Jennie Wright shares her expertise in creating successful online summits and provides valuable tips for hosting your own. Tune in and discover the secrets to taking your online events to the next level.
(Please note this transcript is not edited and was produced by AI. It may contain mistakes, and might not be entirely accurate.)
Jennie Wright [00:00:00]:
Hi. This is the Acquire podcast from the Audphonic podcast network. And I’m Jenny Wright. You’re listening to the very first episode of Acquire. And I thought it would be a good idea to talk about my relationship and my history with events so you can understand why I’m here and what I’m doing. I came from a brick and mortar environment into this whole new space of online businesses, and I really wanted to scope out what people were doing successfully. I was observing what they were doing in terms of their online events, their emails, their social posts. I was seeing what they were launching and I was trying to see where I could fit into this space.
Jennie Wright [00:00:37]:
I didn’t know if my skills could carry over and I could do well. But what I started to see is these online events, they were happening everywhere and they were either awesome and working, or they appeared to be very half baked and not working at all. There was one group in particular that I found incredibly interesting. It was a large group of mostly women who were following this online coaching program. And it seemed to me that they had all drank the Kool Aid. They were more enthused about being a follower of somebody who appeared to be really successful online than actually doing things, in my opinion. Right. And the struggle that I saw is that these people were more into telling the coach they had finished a certain task, not even knowing what the task really was or what it was going to do for their business.
Jennie Wright [00:01:19]:
Sort of blindly following instead of caring about what that task would actually do and how it would propel their businesses forward. The sales pitch from this particular person was so good that people were really just following every word they said and hoping for a great result. This felt really disingenuous to me. And back then in 2012, summits were all the rage and you could literally put anything on a landing page and pretty much get anybody to be your speaker and you could come out with a five K email list. However, as soon as you tried to email that list, you would see your unsubscribe rate would be completely unreal. There was so much money being left on the table with this entire way of doing it. I was determined to figure out a better way. And here’s what started my own trial by fire.
Jennie Wright [00:02:01]:
I said to myself, okay, if I’m going to do this, I’m really going to do this. I wanted to see if I could be the host of my own online event like a summit, and that I really wanted to science the crap out of it. I wanted to figure out all the ways I could improve it and make it a better thing for everybody. At the time, summits were 21 speakers, and that was released over 21 days. And that seemed like a really long time. And the data that I was seeing from these events was that after four or even five days, the number of people listening was really dropping. That told me these were way too long. Nobody was doing anything for 21 days straight.
Jennie Wright [00:02:34]:
Nobody wants to participate in anything like that. And they began to unsubscribe. I was also seeing there was way too much ambiguity about what the tasks would be in a summit like this. Nobody was really working on finding the right speakers. They were literally just trying to find speakers. And there were so many ways that this could all go wrong. So here I am doing my very first summit all by myself, trying to figure it out and noticing all of the things that were stopping me dead in my tracks. All the different areas of tech and soft skills about learning how to interview a speaker or even send an email.
Jennie Wright [00:03:08]:
All of these things were completely foreign to me at the time and I couldn’t figure out the best way to do it. And I saw that other people were getting hung up on this too. Working on this was such an eye opening activity and I took everything that I learned and decided to form my own system that I thought people could really use to create really good summits. At the time though, I was just a virtual assistant and I wasn’t calling all the shots for my clients. So the results were coming out a little bit iffy. At the time, I was really only working in the technical side, building out the funnel, while there were so many other parts of a summit that people were doing and I just had no control. So I knew that I had to teach people how to do better in all aspects. And so I started building in all these different services into what I did.
Jennie Wright [00:03:51]:
I wasn’t just building the funnel anymore. I was showing them how to get good speakers, how to interview them, how to promote the event, and showing them the ways that they could take it from a 50 50 chance of succeeding to a much higher number, something most people weren’t seeing at the time. A lot of people were either seeing it their summits did really, really well, or there were huge catastrophic results. So in comes this system that I’m building. We’re going to call it the SSOP. The Super Standard Operating Procedure. And I know I’m onto something because every time I started doing this procedure with new clients, we were having better and better results. And each time that I was working with a new client, I would keep adding something new into my brand new SSOP.
Jennie Wright [00:04:30]:
Taking on a bigger role meant I was able to charge more with my clients, do more work, and even sometimes employ a new VA. But I had to get myself out of the VA position because I didn’t have the authority or the trust sometimes, or even the confidence to be able to say, this is what we need to do. Once I had my system really established, I could no longer call myself a virtual assistant. We were now in the coaching and mentoring space, the OBM space even. And this is where things really started to move. I had protocols, I had these great SOPs. I had workbec calendars, accountability measures, mentoring pieces, coaching pieces, and a ton of templates for pretty much every aspect of the Summit, making it easier for people to do and easier to get right. I really saw that these Summits needed to be engineered around the product offer at the end.
Jennie Wright [00:05:17]:
And that was the only way forward, the only true path to success. So you think you have your system and it’s all done and ready to go, and you don’t have to change anything because you just plug and play and you’re going to get great results every single time. But that’s not what happened. Summits evolve and they change. And the way people participate in emails and what they open or Facebook groups they join, everything changes over time. And Summits have to be really elastic and go with it. So what I found is my system, although really great, still needed to evolve. And this is where we optimized.
Jennie Wright [00:05:54]:
We broke down every single element that makes a Summit optimal and successful. I analyzed the data. I kept analyzing more and more as we went along, and I continued to observe. I had to make sure that the offer that the client was going to put forward at the end of the Summit made sense. We had to make sure that the Summit was completely dialed in. And as we’ve gone along since 2012, when these things pretty much started, is we’ve had to be more and more niched in. We had to create alignment through all aspects of this event so that there was never an opportunity where somebody felt like it just didn’t work, or they couldn’t recognize what the Summit was and what the product or what the offer was, or even what the client was about. Now, I want you to remember when we started off these Summits, we didn’t have the tech that we have now.
Jennie Wright [00:06:44]:
We were cobbling things together with a lot of hope and some Scotch tape, hoping that they wouldn’t break, and they often did break. We had a lot of technical issues back then. Now we have these great tech stacks. We have amazing pieces of software that help us do these Summits in a more efficient, elaborate way. We can do so much more, and as a result, we can have incredible results and also incredible revenue. Now, when my team and I run Summits and other online events, there’s a bigger suite of products that we can now put into these Summits and have a better result. Online events and list builds go through so many cycles, and at one point everybody was doing webinars, that was the darling and then it was challenges and now it’s back to Summits. And sure there’s other types of list builds like Giveaways and all sorts of things like that and we’re going to cover all of those and more in the Acquire podcast.
Jennie Wright [00:07:38]:
So let’s switch gears a little bit. Let’s talk about the incredible things that online events can do for your business as well as the traps that people fall into so that you can keep an eye on this. If you’re going to host your own event. First I want to talk about the great way that these things can build your business incredibly quickly and very dialed in. First we’re going to talk about the fact that it’s going to add quality leads to your email list. We always have something called Attrition happening. People leaving our email lists, whether we want them to or not. They join our email list, we send them something and the next thing we know we’ve got some unsubscribes.
Jennie Wright [00:08:12]:
That’s normal, that’s part of running a business. But we always want to be replenishing those leads at a consistent way. And if you are not adding leads in a consistent way, or if you’re not adding leads that are outpacing the amount of unsubscribes you’re getting, that’s where the struggle happens. These online events really do grow your network. When you do them, you meet a ton of new people, people that are in your niche or adjacent to your niche that have your ideal client on their list. And that means that just by the very fact of building an online event with these people, you’re going to be networking, building relationships, creating community. And those people might feel really inclined to refer clients to you because again, you are adjacent to what they offer or you actually offer something similar, but with a slightly different spin. Being the host of your own online event also increases your chance of getting more sales.
Jennie Wright [00:09:07]:
By hosting one. You can have a VIP, you can offer your actual offer in the Summit itself or in whatever online event you’re creating and you can get those sales now than waiting until later. Hosting your own event actually helps you with your SEO just by the sheer amount of content that you’re creating and putting out online as a content creation tool. Online events are pretty much the king of all content creation because you’re creating so many different formats. Long form, short form, video, audio, social media posts, blog posts, all the different kinds of content you can think of can be created in these online events and also repurposed later. And if you’ve been in a business rut, an online event can pull you right out of it and back into your creativity, back into the space where you’re connecting with more leads and hopefully making more sales. What I love about these is the exposure to new audiences. If you’re always playing in the same circles, you’re never going to meet new people.
Jennie Wright [00:10:03]:
And by collaborating with different people every time in an online event, you’re increasing your chances exponentially of meeting more and more people. This is also a really cost effective way to build your email list. If you’re playing in the paid ad space right now, then you’ll know that the cost per lead has drastically increased across all platforms. And when you’re doing an online event and you’re focusing on organic reach, then you’re going to see that these prices can decrease dramatically because you’re actually going for a warmer audience. So instead of it being a cold audience that you might be playing to, you’re actually going for a warm audience from your speakers, from the people that you’re collaborating with and networking with who are referring your event to everybody that they know. And I love that online events build an audience for the future. This is what creates a timeless business and something that I think people should be focusing on. So let’s switch gears a little bit.
Jennie Wright [00:11:00]:
Let’s talk about the incredible things that online summits can do for your business, as well as the traps that people find themselves falling into so that you can keep an eye on this even if you’re not going to host an event right now, but sometime in the near future. The first thing I want to talk about is lead gen. I talk about this so much and there’s a reason for it. To me, there’s nothing more important than lead generation for the long term success of your business. Nothing. Hands down, that’s it. So you need to make a plan that can make lead generation happen consistently. Because unsubscribes, unfollows people leaving your network is an incredibly normal process and it will keep happening no matter what you do.
Jennie Wright [00:11:40]:
And you need to outpace the amount of people who are leaving by adding new quality leads to your business all the time. If you’re really sporadic about your lead generation, this is where you’re going to start to see really big problems in your business and you’re going to start to see the cracks. I always tell people that they need a multipronged lead gen strategy, not just one that works by itself. It’s essential to have the lead magnet on your website, the Facebook lives, or the YouTube show that you might be doing. And twice a year, a big list build event like a Summit and some sales webinars in between to actually sell your programs, products and services more consistently. That’s a really well rounded lead gen strategy and it works. It has stood the test of time. You’re going to get your big lead gen like the Summit, your medium lead gen, your webinars, the smaller lead gen like your Facebook lives and your YouTube show, and then the super, super small lead gen which is going to be your lead magnet.
Jennie Wright [00:12:36]:
The combination of all of those is going to create an amazing lead generation machine. This is the way that I know you’re going to cover all of your bases and for sure outpace those unsubscribes that are naturally going to happen that we talked about before. Next, I want to talk about networking. I find that it is essential to the survival, to the growth, and to the success of your business. It’s a very much of who you know and what you know kind of world. And there’s a big emphasis on making great connections inside your niche or niche adjacent people who have your ideal client on their list. And that’s how Summits really do succeed. Your speakers have your ideal client in their network, in their world, and you’re getting access to them in return for the exposure that you’re creating within your Summit.
Jennie Wright [00:13:19]:
By the very nature of networking, you’re going to build long lasting relationships, community, and also opportunities. One of my biggest sources of leads is through referral marketing, warm leads coming from people I’ve networked with, who know other people, who I want to be in touch with, that I can make an offer to. I make sure to network extensively with every expert on my Summits. And also just in general, outside of Summits, the sheer number of people you’ll end up knowing as a result of hosting an event like a Summit means you’ll now be able to do what we call super connecting. You’ll solve other people’s problems by saying, yeah, I know somebody who does that. Let me introduce you to them, let me get you in touch with that person. People love it when you solve their problems. They’ll actually keep coming back for you to solve their problems and most likely have you solve one of their problems through a program, product or service that you have and to take it even deeper online events like Summits get you out of your current sphere of influence, the people that you’re always around all the time.
Jennie Wright [00:14:13]:
And it pushes you beyond into new audiences just by the fact that you’re going to have speakers who are not your biz bestie on your event with you and you’re going to expand your reach outwards. And the benefits of this are huge. I also want to talk about sales for a minute, so let’s get into it. Do you want to see a big bump in your revenue and then consistent sales in all of your offers? Online events make this possible more than if you just post it on social media alone. By the very fact that you can create something that people flock to that gets their interest and shows them what you can do for them, you’ve really shortened that sales cycle dramatically. And because your leads from your Summit are coming in for the most part from leads of other speakers, they’re already typically warm versus 100% cold traffic that you’re trying to connect with in other ways and on other platforms. Having a great VIP or All Access pass as part of your event means you can see some income injection happening really quickly during your event, and even more so if you add sponsorships and other income streams into your online event. These, I think, are essential pieces of making sure that you’re always going to increase that revenue.
Jennie Wright [00:15:18]:
I also want to talk about the sheer amount of content that you create an event like this and what it does for your SEO, for your search. Your exposure as an expert in your space will grow exponentially. And if you want to build authority quickly and getting seen as an expert who knows exactly what they’re talking about, this is how you do it. Google loves Summits because of the amount of content that it creates long form, short form, video, everything you can think of. And if you want to go a step deeper than that, if you repurpose your Summit into content for blogs or YouTube shows now, you’re really going to see the effects in your search. Another reason why I love online events is if you found yourself in a bit of a business rut and maybe you’re struggling to get out in front of the right audience or even build one, and perhaps you’re trying to launch something new, like a new income stream. An online event like a summit or even a webinar series is absolutely going to help you get through that. I’ve launched entire businesses for clients through a Summit, recently helped my client Sean launch one of his new income streams just this year with an online Summit, and it went amazing.
Jennie Wright [00:16:19]:
I have a case study that I’m building about it, but just to give you a couple of things, we did $50,000 in sponsorships, we did another $10,000 in VIP, all Access passes, and then thousands and thousands of dollars after that into his new program product. It was amazing. And I don’t want to forget about the cost of creating one of these online events. We do need to talk about this. It’s really important. It’s absolutely a super cost effective way to build your email list. The price of running ads is really insane right now, and the algo keeps changing. But I will tell you that most of the traffic is cold when you’re doing other forms of lead gen through paid traffic and not the warm traffic that we’re going to generate from our speakers, which is dramatically going to reduce your cost per lead.
Jennie Wright [00:17:02]:
And if you focus on the pure organic reach of a Summit, or if you create a hybrid with some paid ads, you’re going to see a better result with your Cpl than if you just ran paid traffic alone. Another element of Summits that I think people really do struggle with all the time is the amount of time it’s going to take to actually build it and launch it. Because, truthfully, if done right, summits take a few months to really plan out so they can be successful. Rushed summits are the worst. You forget half the stuff you should have done, and because you’re pretty desperate for speakers, you pick anybody who will say yes to you, and then those people are the wrong people, and your summit really does struggle. There’s a lot of elements that make up a summit, from speakers to the funnel to graphics and copy and so on. This is one of the reasons I’m always so busy with summits for my clients, because the team and I take all that planning off your plate, making it easier for you just to focus on the networking and growth side. A big pain for people when they want to do an online event tends to be their post event offer.
Jennie Wright [00:17:57]:
I cannot freaking tell you how often this is a big issue, and it becomes a really big sticking point. I’ve had to scuttle dozens of events and go back to the drawing board with clients. From the sheer number of badly thought out offers, do you need a proven offer before you run a summit? Not necessarily. But you do need to have a well rounded idea that’s been thought out and makes sense to what your summit could potentially be about. The Kool Aid group that I told you about earlier in the show, they were explicitly told to do a summit about something they wanted to learn more about themselves, and they had no offer planned post summit. They were then told, when the summit was over to do a private coaching program on the topics. They had zero experience on. The premise being that the summit taught them everything they needed to know to be able to coach on that topic.
Jennie Wright [00:18:42]:
It was absolutely ludicrous. I saw people fail left, right, and center with this strategy, and it was actually kind of tragic. I saw a lot of people feel really disingenuous about what they were doing, and some of them even decided just to quit trying to be an entrepreneur right out because it was that hard. When we look at this, we really want to make sure that you have the right offer and take the time to think about what that could be so that it really feels in alignment with the summit that you’re creating something that can also be a really big struggle is not being niched in enough. I just spoke to a woman this week who was on one of my webinars, and she said that she did her summit in early 2023, and it was a complete flop because she wasn’t niched in enough. She went too broad. She was trying to attract everybody. Here’s the thing.
Jennie Wright [00:19:23]:
You want to be tightly, tightly niched into your market. You want to connect to the sub niche and then even think about going a level deeper. Why? Because that’s where the gold is in your market. That’s where the people who are willing to pay to get their problems helped or fixed live. That’s where you’re going to find them. You don’t serve everybody. Your product or program only serves a small area of a niche or a community. And you do yourself no good in thinking that you need to market to everybody.
Jennie Wright [00:19:48]:
It’s a waste of your time and, honestly, your effort. And then no conversation is enough without me talking about the results you can get. So if you don’t get a lot of sign ups for your online event, like a summit, this can feel really upsetting because you’re not going to think, oh, my gosh, I did all this work and I got nothing from it. You’re really going to be upset, and I want you to realize that although it might be true that you didn’t get a lot of registrations, the reasons why it happened might be deeper than what you think, and honestly, not at all what you’re thinking could happen. And it really has to do with things like your funnel, your speakers, the way that they promoted, perhaps the way things were put together, the actual quality you delivered, and any technical issues you may have run into. And if you had something like an all access pass or a VIP as part of your online event and that didn’t sell, there’s a whole bunch of factors that I’d suggest that you look at to see why. Mostly, I want to say that it means that you didn’t have enough traffic to the right offer. And if you had no sign ups for an event like this, that can happen.
Jennie Wright [00:20:46]:
And I totally understand how frustrating that is, but you start to have to look at something like, what is the reason that people actually would register? Did you give them a clear reason? Did you give them a clear direction? If not, they’re not going to register. And the last thing that I have to mention about this is sometimes you do these events and you don’t sell anything afterwards. You’ve put a lot of time and energy to build it, and the offer does not sell, even though that offer is solid. So even if you have a proven offer and you’re like, Jenny, I listened to you, I have that offer, I figured it out, but it’s not happening. I’m going to tell you then that for whatever your summit was about or most likely was trying to help people with, you probably answered all the questions people had for whatever issue they were trying to resolve, or they felt like you did, and they don’t feel like they need to buy anything or get a solution from you anymore. You actually gave them too much information. That tends to be a really big problem. So when we’re looking at online events, the pros absolutely outweigh the Pitfalls.
Jennie Wright [00:21:44]:
The Pitfalls honestly can be mitigated with planning and some thought into how you actually want this thing to happen. We can simply stop these issues in their tracks before they become a bigger issue and before your event even takes place. And there you have it. This is the journey of my beginnings in the world of online events, developing a comprehensive system that was designed to help you succeed every step of the way with your online events. And as you think about embarking on your own journey of list building, hosting online events, growing your email list, remember that every challenge is an opportunity to learn, to improve and ultimately achieve your goals. And whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur looking to enhance your strategies or someone who’s just starting out on this really exciting path, I want you to know that I’m here to guide you. And if you’re ready to take your business to new heights through list building and Lead Generation, I’d love to invite you to take the next steps. Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you’ll never miss an episode.
Jennie Wright [00:22:36]:
Next, I want to encourage you to reach out for support. Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about the next step that you need to be taking for your list building and lead generation. And I just want you to know that if you’re ready to create an impactful online event that resonates with your audience and helps you drive results, I’m here to help reach out to me through my website or social media. Let’s have a conversation about how I can support you on this journey. I really want to thank you for joining me on this first episode of the Acquire Podcast. Together, we’re really going to explore the endless possibilities of list building and online events. Stay tuned for more insightful episodes on the Acquire Podcast, and remember to hit that subscribe.