Episode Overview

So, at some point on your personal brand business journey you’re going to want to go large.   You want to take those foundations and build something incredible on them and for that - you need an audience and community. 

One of the best ways to approach that is by both hosting and participating in virtual Summits. 

This week my guest is an undisputed prince of the virtual summit and owner of Virtual Summit Mastery, author of the book - ‘The Virtual Summit Mastery Method’ - Jan Koch.

Jan's website : https://virtualsummitmastery.com/

Automatic Audio Transcription

Please note : This is an automatically generated transcription.  There are typos and the system may pick words or whole phrases up incorrectly.  

Welcome to Amplify the Personal Brand Entrepreneur Show today. On the show, Bob is speaking with January. If you really bootstrap a Virtual Summit on a shoestring budget, what you should do is you attend other events. Take very close note about how they structure the website. What is on the registration page? How do they craft their sales office? How do they position the speakers and sessions? Do they have a schedule page where you can look at the entire schedule of the event and then pick the sessions you want to see for.

How long do they keep sessions online? When do they take them offline? Is there a live chat? Is there a live video note down everything that you enjoy and everything that you don't enjoy because you don't want to replicate that.

Hi there and welcome to Amplify The Personal Brand Entrepreneurship. My name is Bob Gentle. And every week I'm joined by incredible people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, take a second right now to subscribe to whichever player you use. And if you're listening on Apple podcast, make sure to cheque the new follow option in the top right of the page. That way Apple will cue me up every time I post new content. And that way we both win. Before I jump into introducing this week's guest.

Just a quick reminder. After nearly 200 of these interviews, I've learned a thing or two about what makes business work online. And it turns out that success leaves clues and I want to give you the map. So head on over to Amplifyme Agency Roadmap and grab your copy of my brand new Personal Brand Business Roadmap. Everything you need to start, scale or just fix your expert business. It's yours for free as a gift from me. So at some point in your Personal Brand business journey, you're going to want to go large.

You're going to want to take those foundations you have built and do something incredible with them. For this, you're going to need an audience and a community. One of the best ways to approach this is by both hosting and participating in Virtual Summit. And this week my guest is the undisputed Prince of the Virtual Summit, owner of Virtual Summits Mastery and author of the book Virtual Summit Mastery. Yancock Yan, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having me, Bob, and what an intro that was like. No pressure on my shoulder does right now when I said Princeton.

Not King, because nobody needs pressure, you need to relax into it. I think I've been trying to speak to you for quite a long time because Virtual Summits for me, they've become really important and I'm easing my way into it. I'm not doing lots and lots of them. I think I've done a couple. I have a couple more scheduled, but there's really nothing that I've done that's boosted my email list quite the way that virtual summit appearances have and hosting a virtual summit is becoming very appealing.

And I know this is true for a lot of people. So I think it's a very hot topic and you know a lot about it. And I knew a couple of people that knew you. That was why I reached out through I think it was Pete Everett because I have a lot of questions about virtual summits. And one of the things that you get to do when you're on a podcast is be super nosy and ask all the questions that you'd normally have to pay for the answers too.

Grimy.

So what I thought was we might combine if I met you in the pub and I said, So what is it you do young? And then we had a very weird conversation about why I should start a virtual summit and how I might do it as somebody who was ignorant to how that works. And then alongside that, I've got lots of questions about your business, how you position yourself and how you build your own business, either through your own summits and all the other things that you do because you have a strong personal brand business yourself.

But then you're also instrumental in helping other people on their journey as well. So let's pretend I said, Soyan, tell me about virtual summits. I've heard you do this thing. What is that?

That is such a perfect stage that you've just had. Bob, virtual summits, in a nutshell, are a way to build your audience while getting paid to doing that and building good well in your community at the same time. And I know this might sound too good to be true for somebody who's not familiar with the concept. And the downside might be that it is a lot of work to put together a virtual summit. But that is also why they work so well. And essentially, what you do is when you are the summit host, you think about who it is that you're already working with or that you want to work with and what pain points those people have.

You research, who is a thought leader who is an industry expert who can talk to those pain points and maybe help your audience ease their pain, attain their goals, come a little bit closer to their desires. You bring those people together individual conference by interviewing them or organising presentations with them. And then you release all those interviews, just as you would with a physical conference on a specific start date, to a specific end date. Let's say, for a week to a five day summit from Monday to Friday.

And just as a physical conference on that Friday evening, probably around midnight. You take everything down. The conference is over. But at that point, you've built an email list like crazy. You've made money because people will buy the replays of those sessions if they are good, and if they are relevant and you have made connections with tonnes of industry leaders. And by doing that, you've elevated your own brand, because now all the people who saw the summit associate yourself with all those other industry experts and thought it doesn't put you on the same stage as they are because you got to interview so many.

So the one question that I have when I hear that, and I kind of feel like I know the answer to this, but I think it's an important question to ask. Let's say I am a dentist. This may be a bad example. Let's say I'm a coach. I'm a business coach. Straightforward. I'm a business coach. And I want to run a virtual summit around my audience's. Pain points, build my authority, my visibility, my expertise and my email list. In that space, a lot of people would worry about bringing in people that their potential customers or potential audience might look at and go, you know what?

I know you're kind of good, but I kind of know you, but that guy over there looks amazing competition. How do you address the question of competition? And I know it's very narrow minded and small minded, but for a lot of people, it's probably going to be the first objection. Yeah.

It'S a popular one together with I have no idea. Why would anybody pay attention to me when I invite them as a speaker? The way to address competition is quite straightforward, actually, because when you think about what it is that you do for your customers, you can also think about related services or products that they would be interested in that don't directly compete with what you have to offer. So, for example, in that business coach example, let's say you help aspiring CEOs build a better branding for themselves, communicate better so that they can eventually make their way up on the career ladder and become CEO at a certain point.

So you will talk about communication. You will talk about leadership, you will talk about branding, you will talk about clothing styles, you will talk about communication skills and so on. But what are the things that are related to this, like time management, for example, like picking the right clothing style, like very specific clothing advice for male or female want to be entrepreneurs or want to be CEOs? You try to think outside the box. And if you struggle to have ideas for that and struggle to find people who could speak to related services or related issues, then you have to elevate your mindset a little bit.

As you said, the start of competition is a very limited mindset. It's not growth oriented. And the way you would even set yourself apart from those well known experts in the field is you are the one hosting the virtual summit. You are the one putting in the work. The other experts probably have never hosted a summit in this space. They've never gone to the extent that you are to deliver free value to your audience. And if somebody still wants to work with expert A instead of working with yourself, chances are you would never close them as a customer because they're just not attracted to you as a person or as a coach.

And that is something that I think we have to accept at some point.

I think that's a great answer. And something that I certainly found was if you're somebody who is used to doing world to doing business rather, in the analogue world where your catchment area or your market is very, very small, competition becomes very, very important because there's a very limited number of people that you're going to be exposed to that might become your customer. But when you go online and you start to scale up, particularly through your visibility, what becomes more important is the clients that resonate with you.

But if you know, okay, I can bring in 100 clients. Wouldn't it be great if they were 100 clients that were perfect rather than what you normally have, which is clients that are all compromises? They're not ideal fits. So for me, it's awesome if somebody doesn't resonate with me and resonates with somebody else more strongly because I want the clients now who are going to come to me because they love me that's much more important. So if somebody goes somewhere else for me, that's awesome.

Imagine what that does to your standing with that other expert. Imagine you bringing on, let's say, Gary Vee on to a summit, and then he gets a contract with another Fortune 500 company because that CEO or CMO or whatever saw that presentation and they didn't want to work with you. They wanted to work with Gary. Imagine what Gary then thinks of you. You always have an open door with them, and that is one of the biggest advantages I see in hosting veterans Summit. You build relationships with people.

The biggest point for me personally is the money is nice, of course, and you can earn some pretty good cash from virtual summits. But the long term game, I think, is way more important. And when you become friends with 24 leaders on this space because you interviewed them on the summit, and then you keep in touch afterwards, and you've helped them build their email list because you promoted them during your summit. Guess what they feel inclined to work with you again. And then maybe you can do JV launches or you do cohosted Webinars and do webinar swaps and all that good stuff.

And this is the long term ripple effects that can come from a virtual summit. One good example I have is people in the WordPress industry might know that I'm working with Cloudways as their brand ambassador hosting company, and I've gotten to known them because they sponsored one of my virtual summits. And now for over two years, they've paid me every single month to become a cloud based ambassador. And this is just a brilliant example. I love working with them. I used that company myself just a good fit of when two companies meet that resonate well together.

And this is what happens when you put together well thought out bitchwood event.

I think that's a very good point that all opportunities come through other people. And one of the questions I regularly ask broadcast guests is in any business, opportunity comes through one of really four routes. It comes through word of mouth, it comes through paid ads, it comes through content, and it comes through outbound sales activity. These are the really the four ways opportunity can come to us. And I have asked the kind of businesses that you look at and I look at, and I think they must be driving their business through Facebook ads.

But actually, even though lots of business does come through those routes, they'll all tell me the majority of real opportunity game changer opportunity always comes through relationships. And that's why things like summits really matter. If we look at somebody who's maybe looking at their first summit, they are time poor. Every time that's not spent working on clients or projects is time. They're potentially not making money. So if they're looking at a summit, the question of short to medium term ROI kind of needs to come into the equation.

They maybe don't have time for the long term play they can't prioritise long term plays. Right now, you mentioned the cash that you can generate through something like a summit. Where are the revenue streams in a summit beyond simply list building and what you can achieve with an email list?

There are essentially six ways that you can monetize the virtual summit that we teach in VSM the fastest way to monetize the virtual event. Or there are two ways that I would say you can make money before the event even starts. The issue is that you will need to have some prerequisites in place, so to make both of them work, you need to understand your target audience very, very good so that you know exactly what pain points you need to focus on who it is that you want to attend individual summit, because when you run, let's say an entrepreneurs summit.

Well, what type of entrepreneurs do you want to have? It's way too broad. And if you want to run the fitness summit fitness for what? If you want to run the Women's Strength summit, on the other hand, or if you want to run this building school event, or if you want to run the personal branding entrepreneur summit.

Idea.

Those are very well defined target audiences in themselves. And then you can dive deeper into them and really get to the level of understanding that you know what keeps those people awake at night? And what is it that they secretly wish was true about themselves? What transformations are they striving for? You need to have those things in place to monetize the virtual Summit. That understanding is key because without this understanding, you won't know who would be a good speaker at your virtual event. And without having good speakers, you cannot deliver value and the entire event falls flat on its face.

When you have this, though, the first thing I would do is build your Dream 100 list. Make a list of 100 speakers that you would love to interview, build relationships with them. This is indirect. This is money generating activity because as soon as you have, let's say five speakers confirmed, you can start approaching sponsors. You start researching companies in your space that would support the target audience. Similar to what you do. That work with the same people that you want to have at your virtual event.

For the Personal Branding Summit, for example, you could talk to companies like Hootsuite or Buffer or Kenva Tools and services that help you grow your personal brand online. You could even talk to companies like Deer Designer, which is a flat rate graphic design service. Approach those companies and sell them on sponsorships. This is the biggest way to make a quick and air quotes back on the virtual Summit. And then you put the registration page up. As soon as you have five people, you start generating organic traffic to the website.

I wouldn't run paid traffic campaigns yet, but get the word out. Have people starting to talk about the virtual event and sell them on the replays of the event already at a discounted price.

So beforehand we've got sponsors and selling on the replace.

Yeah, those are the two quickest ways to monetize the virtual summit.

Yeah. So I can definitely see, actually, if you put in the work beforehand and you think about it and yeah, you're right. The positioning really has to be there, but there's definitely an opportunity. One thing that I often wonder is platform the whole question of the summit. But the summit requires infrastructure. It needs a place for things to happen. And I've seen lots of people do lots of different things in terms of the summit platform. Some people use things like, hey, Summit, some people seem to cobble together WordPress things.

What's your advice for the first time summit here in terms of platform in order to keep things as simple as possible.

Avoid any steep learning curve is what I would say. So if you know how to use WordPress, what I would suggest if you don't have the budget to invest in a programme like Virtual Summit Mastery that comes with the templates and everything build for you. Essentially, if you really bootstrap a virtual summit on a shoestring budget, what you should do is you attend other events, take very close note about how they structure the website. What is on the registration page? How do they craft their sales offers?

How do they position the speakers and the sessions? Do they have a schedule page where you can look at the entire schedule of the event and then pick the sessions you want to see. For how long do they keep sessions online? When do they take them offline? If even is there a live chat? Is there a live video note down everything that you enjoy and everything that you don't enjoy because you don't want to replicate that, of course, take screenshots of those pages so that you know what they look like, not to rip them off.

Don't get me wrong, but you can use their structure as kind of like a framework if you want. And then pick whatever platform you can use. The easiest.

So.

In our programme we have templates for WordPress page builders like Elementor and DV and Gutenberg and so on. But we also support click, funnels and cartridge for those people who don't like WordPress and then the only thing with click funnels and car trucks. Pretty straightforward because you don't need to worry about hosting the same with Hop In and Haysum it. I prefer to use something like WordPress or ClickFunnels or cartridge compared to Hopin and Hay Summit, because those platforms usually have their own concept of what a virtual event should look like, how it should be structured, which is good for first time Summit hosts, but it also becomes limiting very quickly in what you can do and what you cannot do on a virtual event.

That's the benefit of putting the platform together yourself. But with WordPress, what you need to bear in mind is if you have say, everything goes super smooth and perfectly well, and you have 2000 attendees on the first day at the hour the first session goes live. Your server needs to be able to handle that amount of traffic so the cheapest Bluehost or HostGator package won't cut it. You need something like, of course, I have to plug cloud ways now, but you can also look at Kinstar and WP engine, and so you need to have a host that can bear the amount of traffic.

That's what I want to say. As long as the platform works smoothly, the platform tech in the background doesn't really matter how much.

So as an industry observer, you must see an awful lot of Summits come and go, and I'm curious to know what are the most common problems that you see that could have been anticipated and caused real damage to potential success. Basically, what's going to cause a car crash?

That's a good question. That traffic problem is one problem I experienced myself and one of the summits I ran, I think 2020. I ran the WP Feedback Summit in the WordPress space together with the WP Feedback team, which I was working for back then. And I think on the first day we had something like around 15,000 concurrent visitors on the server, which broke the entire platform even though we scaled up beforehand because we knew it was going to be one of the bigger events. The server was down for most of the first day, and we even had hosting companies like Dolly and Run Cloud jump to our site and help us get back up and running.

So definitely pay attention to how many visitors you expect and see how many people sign up to the event and who is helping to promote and how much traffic can they potentially drive. Then the other thing is, I hear this all the time with other platforms that are pre built platforms, they tend to push the replay sales too much. As I've said earlier, what I love about virtual summit is bringing people together and building relationships. That's not just for the summit host between the speakers. It is also a platform where attendees can meet because think about it.

You have people who have a similar situation. There are in they have similar dreams and pain points and stuff. So why not bring those people together in a live chat or group calls or standing Zoom call where people can just jump in and network with each other? This is a really good way to add value to the virtual event, and what I see those platforms do is oftentimes they won't let you do this, and instead they have a block where they try to sell the replays, which is making a virtual event become very salesy really fast.

And I guess this is maybe a dangerous question. But what's the weirdest idea you've ever seen anyone bring in to a virtual conference?

Let's rephrase weirdest with most forward thinking, and I would say it is VR virtual events in the WordPress space where wordcams had somebody built entire virtual reality worlds, and then attendees could join those worlds and have their avatars and move around and have virtual networking hours on virtual tables and stuff like that. And I think they weren't used too much. Maybe it was too forward thinking. Maybe the communication wasn't proper. Maybe the marketing was on point for this, but that definitely was something that stood out to me.

So another question after this question, I really want to ask about virtual summits mastery and really dig into what that is. But I think a lot of people bite off more than they could potentially chew with a virtual summit if they're doing it for the first time. And obviously there's a lot of support with things like virtual summit mastery. But if people haven't made that investment, what's the one thing that they almost always look for help for first? Because this is often what can you anticipate if you know you're going to need help with a certain element, what's it going to be?

I'm looking at delegation here. What's the one thing people should anticipate? They might need to delegate.

It's a brilliant question, and I hate to say it, but it depends. And I'll give you a few examples of what it depends on. So some things commonly delegated with virtual events. The most common ones is graphic design, website development, connecting third party services to the website like email marketing, like affiliate marketing, taking payments and stuff like that. Paid traffic campaigns for the promotions. Video editing is overlooked often, but what you do is you record video interviews, so you want them to look good and you want them to sound good, even more importantly.

And then what often helps a lot is having a general virtual assistant that can just coordinate with the speakers and help you get all the appointments booked for the recordings and stuff like that. Because communication in the preparation for a virtual event is key and you can never send too many emails when you're a Summit host.

I've heard that I've heard that before, and as somebody that's participated in a couple of summits, there's a lot going on, and it really does need a lot of communication. I think the general VA thing you're 100% right there. And I guess that's again why something like Virtual Summit Mastery can be quite useful because you have a network, I imagine, and that network can be lent on hard. Yeah.

And the biggest point with Virtual Summit Mastery is the biggest pain point that we solve is knowing what steps to take in which order. Because as you said, the virtual Summit has a lot of stuff going on. You have to organise the speakers. You have to build the website. You have to map out promotional campaigns. You have to write the copy for the website, for emails, for ads and so on. You have to negotiate with sponsors and bring them on board. You have to do the video editing.

You have to think about what you do with the summit when it ended, because Summit is really a one time event and all that stuff, you can handle it by yourself, but you can already tell it is a lot, so I wouldn't give myself two months to run my first virtual Summit. I'd give myself six months to run the Visual Summit for the first time, and then it is totally doable.

But.

If you want to avoid a lot of that overwhelm, investing in a course like Richardson and Mastery, or just downloading the freebie that we have on the website, the cheat sheet gives you a lot of clarity of what you have to do as a virtual Summit host to be successful.

I downloaded your cheat sheet about 2 hours ago. It's really good. I think everyone who's listening thinking I could do a virtual Summit. That cheat sheet is really good orientation.

Yeah. And then I have a book at that topic as well. The Virtual Summer Mastery Method Book, which let's do this book for five people listening to this podcast episode. I'd send them the free book. You choose them.

Wow. I will find a way to do that. I guess what I would like is for people to tag you and I in their Instagram story with a screenshot of this episode being played. That would be amazing. If that happens, I'll be so happy you can go find what is your Instagram at Imjancourt and everybody should know mine. It's gentle. So tag us both the first five. Hopefully we get five. Podcast listeners are so quiet, they hate putting their hand up. So trust me, if you actually put your hand up and tag us on Instagram or on Twitter, we'll do both.

You have a very good chance. Obviously, people running the very first summit if their business is very early, something like Virtual Summit Mastery may not be for them, but who is the right person to come and join Virtual Summit Mastery and really go deep and get the real help? Who's the right person for you?

It's an action taker. And I would say that the price barely is an issue, to be honest with Richardson and Mastery, because right now it's 997 and we have payment plans for up to six times 197.

That is actually very reasonable.

The point is, let me rephrase this when we talk about who's Virtual Master before. If you're not ready to invest $1,000 into a programme that over the course of the next three months can teach you how to run a Virtual Summit, and then you make like ten grand on the first virtual event, which is a really good baseline to start off, and then it grows bigger as you repeat the event. It's probably not for you. And the point that I'm trying to make here is it's not done with $1,000 for a virtual event, as long as you sell something online and as long as you benefit from having a stronger brand, we can help you achieve those goals and grow the business.

The point is, you need to account for expenses like pay traffic budget. You need to account for expenses like graphic designers and copywriters and so on. If you don't want to use the template that we have in Virtual Summit Mastery, so hosting a summit probably overall, including the course costs around two and a half thousand to $3,000, excluding ad budget, and that can set you up for massive success.

I look at who I know that runs Virtual Summits and I've seen the impact that it's had on their businesses, and I have to say it's got to be the best money you can spend if you're in the online space.

Yeah, I have to agree, because I've been in the online space since 2013, and I have not seen a marketing strategy that generates results this quickly as Virtual Summit because you leverage the experience and the authority from all those other thought leaders. And in the programme, we teach you every single step with 73 video lessons. And it's just growing by the week because I'm adding new content every single week almost. And the point is, if you're ready to invest, work and time and money into a virtual summit.

I can almost guarantee that over the next two to three years, you'll run five figure events that go up to, let's say, 20,000 attendees, and then you can do the math on what the conversion rate is that you currently have on your own service for 20,000 new people.

And this is obviously before you've actually sold any of the things that you're already selling. Yeah.

And that is before you sell sponsorship. The biggest event I had in sponsorship income personally was $48,000 just to sponsorship. And that is not including ticket sales and upsells to my services.

Well, I'm excited. I hope there are people listening who are thinking, yeah, virtual Summit. It's time I actually got my feet wet and hopefully they'll find their way to you. I asked you this before the call, but obviously being in the virtual summit space, you help other people with their virtual summits. But I know you have your own. So for anybody that's listening thinking, I want to go and watch a well run virtual summit, which are the ones that you're involved in that people could maybe register for.

Now, the next one that is coming up is Listbuildingschool. That is Listbuilding school. It is focused on email marketing, as the name suggests, building a list of email subscribers and then using that to grow your business. And it is in waitlist mode right now. It is launching in January. I'm currently recording the episodes and have some really epic speakers coming up, best selling authors, people who managed million dollar Facebook ad budgets to their email list. So I'm personally very excited. As I said earlier, podcast has got a chance to ask questions that you always wanted to have answered yourself.

And I'm in that joyful process right now of answering of getting the answers from all those amazing experts.

Well, you've been an awesome guest. I have really enjoyed myself. I'm excited. And if I'm excited, hopefully that carries through to the audience. But what's one thing you do now that you wish it started five years ago.

That has to be more intense prospecting. What I'm doing right now is I am messaging 100 people on LinkedIn every single day. And by doing that, I realised that you can only send 800 in mail on LinkedIn per month. So after eight days I had maxed out and now I'm switching to other channels and I'm trying to get slots for the done for you, which will summit service that I'm putting together. So like an agency style service for running virtual events for clients. And I'm just meeting the most amazing people in that outreach process.

I'm meeting people who are on the floors. Coaches Council. I'm meeting people who sell to Microsoft and Cisco and work with the biggest It distributors in the US. And if I were to start all over or go back five years ago, spending an hour every day on LinkedIn messaging, people and doing cold emails and stuff like that. Just expanding the network would be the best advice Besides buying Bitcoin.

Of course, we have two complete additional episodes in there, but yeah, I think honestly, you've just opened a rabbit hole for me to jump into. I have to ask about the cold outreach because it's a hobby horse of mine. So many people wait for people to come to them, and it doesn't work very well. You remember I asked opportunity comes in one of four routes, the best people. They have a plan for each of those. And I was not expecting that. So I'm thrilled to hear it.

Well done. And I have to ask, what sort of rejection rate do you get? And I'm hoping it's really high.

I must be doing something wrong. Then it's probably ten out of 100. They tell me no, thank you. Most people don't respond on LinkedIn, but from those who do, I would say maybe 25% to 30% say no, and everybody else follows up on the reason for that, I think, is that my first initial message is very broad. It's just something like, hey, first name. I just came across your profile and because of her background, I really would love to get in touch. And this opens the conversation.

I'm not trying to pitch on the first call on the first few messages. I'm just trying to get to know people. And obviously I've done the qualification and the filtering in Lincoln Sales Navigator before that. But I just want to really understand what they are struggling with an individual. Someone can help them. So it's a lot of conversations going on these days and probably out of 100 messages. I get on maybe six to ten discovery calls.

So I think there's a whole interview around the productization into an agency of the Virtual Summit. But let's not go there for sure it is.

But I'm happy to come back.

Yeah, and you've been an awesome guest. Thanks so much for your time. Hopefully people will connect with you if you'd like them to do that, remind us where they can do it.

The best place to learn more is virtualsummitmastery.

Com. There.

You can get the free cheat sheet as well. And if you want to Ping me on Twitter at Immunocomp.

Thank you very much for your time. Hopefully see you again soon.

Thanks for having me, Bob. I had a blast.

Before I go. Just a quick reminder to subscribe and join our Facebook group. You'll find a link in the show notes or visit Amplifyme FM Insiders. Also connect with me wherever you hang out. You'll find me on all the social platforms at Popgentle. If you enjoyed the show, then I would love a five star review on Apple podcast. It would make my day. And if you shared the show with a friend, you would literally make my golden list. My name is Bob Gentle. Thanks to you for listening and I'll see you next week bye.



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