One of the best ways to create a successful marketing funnel is to expand your influence through hosting a virtual event. Our guest today was creating lucrative virtual summits long before the pandemic made them the norm.
Liam Austin is the co-founder of Entrepreneurs HQ and a virtual event strategist, having launched over 15 virtual summits, dozens of quick workshops, and many more online events. He is the creator of the Million Dollar Virtual Summit Program, where he partners with select clients to generate seven figures. Liam also offers a 6-week implementation program called Virtual Events That Sell, which makes it easy for you to create your own high-impact virtual events.
In today’s episode, Liam shares his secrets to hosting a successful virtual summit. He talks about the various benefits you can get from creating virtual events, how to make your events evergreen, and the importance of adding variety to your events. We also discuss how to reach predictable income freedom and get consistent clients. This episode made me want to create my own virtual summit–and I’m sure you’ll feel the exact same way!
In this Episode
- [00:19] – Stephan introduces his next guest, Liam Austin, the co-founder of Entrepreneurs HQ and a virtual event strategist, having launched over 15 virtual summits, dozens of short workshops, and many more online events.
- [01:23]- Liam explains how virtual events are so appealing and lucrative and then shares his experience of coming across virtual summits as a lucrative platform.
- [06:43]- Stephan asks about the process of acquiring many ticket sales and getting the speakers involved.
- [11:33]- Liam expounded on enrolling people into courses and programs after an event to get even more results
- [14:43]- Liam narrated the events and the system in having his LinkedIn Success Summit with initial ticket sales of 50k.
- [16:40]- Actions to take when information becomes obsolete.
- [19:03]- Liam shares the beginnings of running events into having hundreds of people becoming their clients or purchasing their programs.
- [24:53]- Stephan asks Liam about having clients making seven figures.
- [25:52]- The difference between workshops, summits, masterminds and conferences.
- [29:10]- Stephan and Liam discuss using challenges in getting people results.
- [33:48]- Stephan requests to share to the listeners a standout example with workshops.
- [36:07]- Stephan and Liam talk through the methodologies in implementing Mission-Based, Spirituality and personal development Events.
- [42:41]- Visit quickworkshopwin.com for a proven virtual workshop system that helps get clients and check virtualsummitclass.com for classes and programs on how to run virtual summits.
Liam, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Stephan, thanks very much for inviting me on.
We know each other from Joint Venture Mastermind, JVMM, a mastermind we’re both in. I’ve been on one of your virtual summits as a speaker, it was several years ago. What is it about virtual events that make them so appealing, so lucrative, and so evergreen?
I think it’s just that. That it’s packaged in such a way that it feels like it’s an event. Excusing the pun, when you’re packaging it in such a way that it’s exciting, that it becomes an event, people are more inclined to opt-in. When we’re typically marketing something, for instance, I started off doing these weekly pop-up events if you like where I had one expert speak and talk on a specific topic.
Through that, I was getting a 20%, 30% opt-in rate for people signing up to attend that event. Then when we packaged up, just put it as a virtual summit where there were multiple speakers across multiple days, specific dates, all these bonuses attributed to it as well. Just that package boosted the opt-in rate between 60%–75% now we would typically get across the dozen of summits that we’ve run and hosted personally. I think it’s just the way we present it, market it, and position it in the marketplace.
That’s how we’re going to be able to live anywhere and make money wherever we are at any point in time, anywhere in the world.
How did you end up coming across virtual summits as being a really lucrative platform? Was it by accident or did you engineer this?
I’ve been running events in person since 2007 and I’ve been running the International Trade Awards in the UK. I was managing that event, it was a monthly event happening in every county across the UK culminating in a National Final (if you like) awards night, that was held at Big Ben, which is actually the House of Lords in London. Big Ben for our international audience.
Everyone got introduced and invited by a lord. They got a special invitation, a letter from the lord to come to the event. We got Rural Bank of Scotland, HSBC as sponsors across multiple years that we did that. Then when it came to 2014/2015, I met my partner Sarah. She was Swedish, I was Australian, and I didn’t want to be geographically tied anymore. I wanted to be able to travel between Sweden and Australia to visit her family as well as mine back home.
Right now I’m in Sweden visiting her family. I just thought, well, we need to make money online. That’s how we’re going to be able to live anywhere and make money wherever we are at any point in time, anywhere in the world.
I went back to the events that I was running in the past and decided, this online format of running conferences online, let’s see if we can make that work. Sarah and I had really 2 ½ months to earn what we hoped to be $20,000 so that she didn’t have to go find a 9 AM to 5 PM job because her visa was running out. She was on a student visa in Australia. It was about to expire so she was going to be kicked out of the country. We need to find her either a working visa or start this business and start earning an income.
So $20,000 was our goal. We ran our very first event, it was for the LinkedIn Success Summit. You can still find it. We’ve now evergreened that event so you can get access to that now on demand. But that essentially ended up making $50,000 just in the ticket sales from that event.You can gain so much more by partnering with people and supporting each other rather than seeing people as competitors. Click To Tweet
We stumbled upon it by accident in terms of we were aiming for $20,000, it surpassed those expectations and earned $50,000 US in revenue. In Australia, that was like $70,000 plus at the time. It’s like a double or even more than double or one of my first paychecks in life at that period. So that was a huge moment and I just knew from then that we were on to something and we needed to continue this, improve it, and grow.
Amazing. Are you still doing in-person events at all, or you’ve completely given that up?
We’re doing everything online now. Sometimes I’ll meet up casually or informally with our clients, but we’re not doing anything in person. Everything runs online, and that’s partly because our clients are international. We’ve got Australians, Europeans, most of our clients are in the US, and so how do we successfully pull together everyone, especially in the time they’re in right now with COVID going on, how do people travel.
Just in-person events, we haven’t done anything in-person. I think the flexibility that online provides—when we started this being in Australia and being able to interview or get access to expertise around the world without attending an event in Los Angeles, New York, or wherever it may be. We could do it from the comfort of our home in Australia, in Sydney, or wherever we are in the world. I think that’s the power of virtual events that I’ve fallen in love with.
Very cool. How do you get so many ticket sales? Is it a requirement that the speakers have to promote the event or buy a certain number of tickets? Are you actually paying the speakers? How does this work that you get $50,000 plus in just ticket revenue from a virtual event?
There are various ways to do this. My philosophy is that we look at the event as a collaboration event. You’re the host, you’re the organizer of the event, and we want to bring in other people to improve the event, to grow the event, and to make it the best possible event that we can.
We want to bring in other people to improve, grow, and make it the best possible event that we can.
How do we look for collaboration partners? I typically look at four different collaboration partners—speakers, sponsors, media, and affiliates. I touched on sponsors before like Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC. We’ve even had Vimeo sponsor one of our virtual events. They paid us a five-figure sum for that and we over-delivered because I’ve been working in the online advertising industry for a number of years as well.
The very first online business that I was involved in was in the year 2000, so I’ve been around for a while. I knew we could over-deliver for our sponsors to ensure that they wanted to come back, and they came back, and they sponsored our next four events—our next 12 months’ worth of activities paying us another five-figure sum. That was really, really cool.
Sponsors want to be associated with your message, your mission, what you’re doing with the event. They want to be able to reach your audience and they want to be associated with the mission and message. In other words, they’re going to be sharing the event with their audience and shouting out that, hey, we’re supporting this event. Here’s a bunch of free tickets for our community to attend. Sponsors are great, they’re paying you and they’re also spreading the message, adding a lot of authority and credibility to your event as well.
Then you’ve got your speakers. Your speakers are speaking on a stage, hopefully in front of a large audience. If this was in person, it’s difficult to get a few thousand people unless you’re hiring a stadium or a massive convention hall. You can go out there and say, invite well-known speakers to be involved in your event, knowing that they’ve got a big reach, they’re going to be speaking in front of a large audience, and we can even pre-record this.
You don’t have to travel on a certain date to a certain location on the other side of the world to be part of this event as a speaker. We can pre-record this event anytime in the next two weeks and I’ll just release the recording of that video on the date of the actual summit or event that you’re creating.
You don’t have to travel on a specific date to a particular location on the other side of the world to be part of this event as a speaker.
In turn, the speakers, knowing that it’s a collaboration event, want to get as many people to watch your session as possible. We encourage them to share the event with their audience. Hopefully, if that credibility is there with your event, they’ll be excited to share the event with their audience. However, it’s not required in my book and the way I teach it with my clients, but it’s something that we encourage and that we want.
I love collaboration. I think partnerships, joint ventures are just the rising tide lifts all boat philosophy. You can just gain so much more by partnering up with people or supporting each other versus seeing people as competitors if you like. That’s the type of people we want to get involved in this collaboration project.
Then you’re talking about the media. You’re doing a deal with them similar to sponsors, except they’re not paying. They may be exchanging advertising instead of a monetary amount. You’re reaching their audience, getting support, authority, and credibility by those brands being involved in your event.
Then you’ve got affiliates who are just happy to spread the word and they may be Facebook group owners, LinkedIn group owners, followers on Instagram, Tiktok, or wherever that may be. Those are the collaboration partners, being involved in the event.
If you just look at collaboration partners, you don’t even need your own email list. You can start from scratch, you don’t need any paid advertising at all when you’re starting out. However, those things are great and it’s going to help you be successful, but you don’t need that. You can just use recommendations from your collaboration partners.
Recommendations, as most small business owners know, when you get a referral, they’re more likely to convert into a client or a customer than any other source of leads. This traffic, these referrals that are being recommended to you or your event are warm leads. The big thing about what we teach when we’re running these events, when we’re turning them evergreen is we want to design them in such a way, design the journey and blueprint that journey so that we’re getting customers and clients out of those events. People are actually buying our courses and programs.
If you look at collaboration partners, you don’t even need your email list. You can start from scratch, and you don’t need any paid advertising at all when you’re creating.
Right, so you are getting $50,000 or whatever on the front end, but then you’re selling a back-end course, group coaching program, or something that presumably makes you even more.
That’s right. I think even with 90-minute workshops that we run, we teach them rather than inviting an expert to be involved in that event. You can be the expert. You’re teaching and sharing your message within that 90-minute workshop. It’s maybe a paid workshop so you’re qualifying people there, and maybe it’s okay to have six, a dozen, or a couple of dozen attendees for that event.
Yes, you make a little bit of money selling the tickets to these events that I’ve been talking about. However, the profit, the higher margins are really made with selling or enrolling people into your courses and programs after the event.
Just making sure when we’re designing that event journey that our attendees are able to experience, by the end of it, they should be like, okay, Stephan, I know you. I like and trust you. After this event, you’ve achieved this result for me during this event so I know that you can get me results. I’d like to get more results, and I know you can get the results because you’ve proven that already. Let’s talk about working together further to get even more results. What might that look like? That’s where you’re enrolling people into your courses and programs.
You, as the host of the summit, are offering an invitation to the attendees to attend or to be part of your group coaching program, but not the different speakers’ coaching programs or courses, is that correct?
Depending on how you want to position this, but ideally, when your speakers are coming in, presenting at the event is purely sharing information. We don’t want to make it a pitch fest. However, we have had some clients use our system to create events like that. Depending on what your end goal is, that’s fine. Maybe it is to make money from selling other people’s courses and programs and that’s absolutely fine.
However, most of our clients, they’ve got high-end offers, high-ticket offers. Maybe it’s a 12-month coaching program or a 6-month coaching program that they ultimately want to be selling, and that’s why they’re running either their workshops or their summits.
We’re using the event to build an email list and build authority and credibility with that list. They’re seeing you speaking with these other experts during the event, not just 1, but 30 of them, and you are that 1 consistent being the host, being the interviewer during that event. Ultimately, they get to know, like, and trust you more, hopefully.
If they’re the right type of people that you’re trying to attract, they’re spending more time with you so they’re jumping on, you’re kind of like top of the list in terms of priorities and options for how they want to move forward. Then it’s about just getting on the phone with them and having a conversation or doing a webinar and positioning your offer in such a way that they can take that next step in the journey with you.
With the example you gave earlier of the LinkedIn Success Summit, the initial ticket sales $50,000, what did you make on the back end with the courses, coaching, and so forth, consulting perhaps that you were selling over the last couple of years, however long you’ve been selling?
We’re using the event to build an email list and build authority and credibility with that list.
Just two answers to that. The $50,000, just to be clear, we made within the two weeks really of the event going live. Since then, I’ve mentioned that it’s evergreen. Since then, just in terms of ticket sales, we’ve made way more than that since we’ve turned it evergreen over the years. This is when we launched in 2015, so six, seven years ago now since it went live.
At the time it went live, we did not have a high ticket offer. There was nothing else that we could sell them. I know a lot of our speakers at that event ended up getting a lot of clients because we didn’t have an offer and some paid us some commission for that, others didn’t, and that was okay because we didn’t really arrange that anyway. It was nice of those speakers who did.
In terms of the high-ticket sales of the back end, there were none. But we had 15,000 opt-ins just from that one event. I still see clients enrolling into our high-ticket programs who first joined our email list by attending that very first event. Maybe they’ve attended other events and eventually they’ve ended up buying other programs.
I think that’s the way it is. It’s really about building trust and that relationship over time so that when your client is ready to jump in and take that leap or take that next step in their business, you’re there. The trust is being built and they’re ready to spend their money with you.
What happens when the information that’s being taught in the summit becomes obsolete? Because LinkedIn has changed a lot in the last seven years. Especially in the SEO space, there are new algorithms all the time, updates, and shakeouts happening and so the information may not be very relevant anymore.
If you are looking to turn an event evergreen, ideally you want the content to be evergreen as well so everlasting. As an example, maybe sales types of content may be relevant for years into the future in terms of like, okay, how do I sell to someone face-to-face or over the phone? That hasn’t really changed in a number of years. Copywriting, I still see some people referencing copywriters from decades ago.
Ideally, you want the content to be evergreen as well, so it’s everlasting.
Depending on your topic, if you do want to turn it evergreen, then ideally you want to make the content evergreen as much as possible because as you said, there are topics that will change such as social media, SEO, where you’re going to have to update the content regularly. In other words, maybe do an annual event and many of our clients do that as well.
They do their event live. They release it the very first time as the live event if you like, even though maybe a lot of the content is pre-recorded, and then it’s accessible on demand up until the next annual launch where the new latest content is being released.
I’ll give you an example. Carl, who runs our Migraine World Summit. Migraine information, the data, and knowledge around that topic change rapidly. Almost every week there’s new information or new treatments that are coming out. Every year, the content is brand new. However, we are still seeing people purchasing not just that year’s content, but previous year’s content as well because there may be specific speakers that they want to hear from. They’re thinking, okay, well, that specific topic, there has not been any updates in 12 months, so it still is the latest information. They’re able to purchase those past seasons of the event.
Depending on what your market is and what your end goal is for what you’re trying to do with your business, you can set it up and design it in such a way that it delivers that for you.
How many clients do you have currently that are running these summits, workshops, and so forth?
Over the years, and to be upfront about this, up until 2017 we were only running these events for ourselves. But by then, after two years of doing these events, people started just messaging us saying, well, you build an email list of 100,000 people running just a few events. How have you done it? Can you teach us? I put that off for a little while because I didn’t want to be the expert. I was this collaborator. My idea really is to bring in all these experts. You’re the experts and I can send you a ton of traffic.Sales are really about building trust and that relationship over time. That way, when your client is ready to jump in and take that leap or that next step in their business, you're there. Click To Tweet
I was thinking, because of my background in media, working in media organizations, I just wanted to be that host of that media versus being the expert. As any good entrepreneur should do, you should listen to your audience when they’re telling you something. Ideally, if you hear it enough times and there’s enough demand, then maybe you should be creating that thing.
We pre-sold our very first online course, Virtual Summit Academy, teaching people how to run these virtual summits for themselves. That’s now evolved into Virtual Events That Sell because we’re selling both the larger summits, which are multi-day, multi-speaker events. All the way down to the other end of the spectrum, Your 90-minute Workshop, which is something really super simple that you’re really knowledgeable about that you’re going to teach your audience, and really everything in between.
Virtual Events That Sell is our online course, which teaches you how to run these programs, build these collaboration partnerships, these JV partnerships with your speaker sponsors, media, and affiliates to fill up your courses and programs. As I said, since 2017, we’ve had hundreds of people either become a client or purchase one of these programs from us.
A client is somebody that’s getting coaching from you or consulting from you?
That’s right. In 2017, we launched our very first edition of our online course. It’s been updated three or four times since then, as we’ve added training on. Well, how do I get sponsors? How do I get the media involved? How do I get the speakers? That was already in the first edition, but how do we do this in this new environment? Because there are so many virtual events happening now, how do we stand out from the crowd? There have been several editions of that.
Virtual Events That Sell is our online course, which teaches you how to run these programs and build these collaboration partnerships.
It was early 2020 when we released our first opportunity to work with us. Again, during our online course, we had a lot of people that wanted to hire us to create their summit for them, or help support and guide them on the journey of creating these events, turning them evergreen so they’re consistently generating clients for them and predictable income. That’s what we found as well. We’ve been running the coaching program as clients since early 2020.
What we found running this event for six years now is that with the event business, you run an event, it generates a ton of leads, a ton of money, and then it completely disappears the next month until you run the next event. We were going from event, event, launch to launch, and getting tired from running launches and events are real. We were getting exhausted from doing this all the time.
It was in I think 2017 where we’d said okay, let’s see if we can sell one of these events that we ran last year or even the year before. We promoted it and it sold. Awesome. All right, let’s package up another one of these events. Maybe it was the email marketing event and let’s try to sell that. And again, that sold and we realized that, all right, this content is still in demand from people that are still looking for results when it comes to these topics, so let’s turn these events into on-demand evergreen events.
In other words, they’re accessible at any time, on-demand for people. What that produces is a consistent flow of leads coming to the event. Those leads and prospects are warmed up, as they get to know, like, and trust you during the event, during that journey in such a way that by the end of it, they want to work with you further. The event may be only a 90-minute period. So by the end of 90 minutes, they’re okay, Stephan, how can we work together for the next 90 days or 9 months so we can get even more results together? That’s the type of conversation that we want to have at the end of our events.
If it works really well when we launched it the very first time—we’ve built the email systems, the funnel, the web pages, the copy. All the content is created, the delivery mechanism, and the memberships are done. Why shouldn’t we be selling this and making it available on-demand for people? We set them all up evergreen, so essentially, your event turns into a mini-course. You’re then just packaging up that mini-course and selling it on-demand. There is that consistent flow of clients bringing in a predictable income for yourself every single month.
There is that consistent flow of clients bringing in a predictable income for yourself every single month.
Asking me that question around our clients and our coaching program, it’s called predictable income freedom. We’ve realized that not only do we want predictable income, time freedom, money freedom, and financial freedom, but that predictable income freedom is something that many entrepreneurs want. So that’s what we’re designing—run these virtual events, teach live packager up as a recording, sell that as a mini-course, and consistently drive traffic into that funnel. At the other end, predictable income and consistent clients.
Do you have any clients that are making seven figures off of this model?
Yes, we do.
That’s awesome. Are you making seven figures off of this model?
Yes, we are. However, it’s been quite a journey. When I talk about us making that kind of money. We’ve done 17 summits now. We’ve got multiple different workshops that are out there in the world, really. It’s like a big dragnet of drawing in leads and audience based on wherever they’re at or whatever solution or result they’re trying to achieve. I think if someone’s realistic about okay, I’m starting from scratch, I want to build a seven-figure business, we really need to look at, well, where are you at currently? What existing assets do you have in terms of email list and audience? Because potentially that predictable income freedom, that predictable income machine that we want to build for our clients can take maybe several years to build, so you can actually completely remove yourself from the business.
Interesting. Can you differentiate for our listener workshops versus summits versus masterminds versus conferences? These are all different, right?
So many different ways to package things. It’s really just a name. It’s just a package. It’s a way someone’s packaged something. Inside our members’ area, I’ve designed and gathered a list of all the different session types that could potentially be held at an event. What event? Well, it could be any event. You could be doing this at a workshop, conference, summit, mastermind, or whatever. A few of those different session types are interview-style like this, presentation, keynote, panel discussion, or Q&A. There are over a hundred of these that I’ve just listed out.
The way these events can be designed is almost limitless.
The way these events can be designed is almost limitless. That means that if you’re going to attend one conference and you think the next conference or summit is going to be the same, well, it shouldn’t be. There are so many varieties of ways to package this up in terms of different combinations of session types and styles that each one should be a different experience and give different results if people are doing it in the right way. If you’re thinking, oh, there’s already an event in my niche, just do it differently is what I’d say. There are so many ways to get results for people like via workshop, via mastermind, or via conference.
To break it down and to really answer your questions so it’s clear for people. A workshop, as I define it, is a 90-minute workshop. We call it a Quick Workshop Win when the client is getting a quick win in just 90 minutes. They’re actually creating a result for themselves within that 90-minute period. By the end of that 90 minutes, they want to get more results, and they want to continue working with you. How do we work together for the next 90 days or 9 months?
That’s a conversation we want to have at the end of one of our workshops. That can be promoted for just seven days. It’s something everyone here listening today could be running next week. It’s teaching something that you’re already really experienced and knowledgeable about, and you shouldn’t have to worry about spending too much time creating the content. The time is spent marketing it and filling the room. So that’s the workshop.
The other end of the scale is the summit. The summit is where you’re inviting guest speakers to collaborate with you and speak at the event. In other words, they’re providing the content for the event, you’re hosting them, and interviewing them in the most basic form. I’ve seen summits where it could be a half-day summit, a one-day summit, or a three-day summit. I’ve run a 10-day summit in the past. I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve done this to test lots of different things to see what works best as we end up recommending and teaching this system to our clients. Three to five days for a summit works really, really well. A summit is just multiple speakers all coming into the one room speaking on one specific topic, but multiple mini topics, if you like, within the one overall umbrella topic.
Where does something like a challenge fit in? I remember Pedro Adao. He ran many challenges like the 31 Days of Wisdom Challenge that ran over an entire month. He had all these speakers that he’d line up for that virtual event.
You mentioned earlier in this conversation about incorporating awards into an event to make it more prestigious and give it a further incentive for people who might participate in that way of submitting an entry and maybe becoming a finalist or even a winner. Where did those two models fit into what you’re talking about, the challenges and the awards?
Yeah, collaboration events. They work. There are definitely different ways to run them. Challenge is another. Giveaways are again another. The giveaway is super, super simple. You just gather a list of people, ask them to all contribute a gift or an existing product or course, and everyone promotes and everyone shares that list. It’s really super low work, but it’s a collaboration event that we’re running. There is obviously a host that does a little bit more work than the rest and is rewarded as such. That’s really almost the simplest form. That’s definitely a form of virtual event that we like to teach and that definitely our clients are doing.
Then the challenge again is great because you’re getting results for people. Just like the Quick Workshop Win, we’re getting a quick win. Similar to the challenge, we’re giving them a quick win almost every single day. It’s very similar in terms of philosophy. The strategy behind these events is that we were getting people results. We’re building trust and authority with this list as we are building our email list. We’re leveraging our strategic partners to support us in growing our credibility and authority and growing our list to ultimately enroll them into our higher-priced programs and courses.
What would be a price point that would be recommended for something like a multi-day summit versus a 90-minute workshop?
The challenge is great because you’re getting results for people.
It’s very interesting, actually, when you compare it like that because the multi-day summit is maybe 20, 30 hours of content versus 90 minutes. So is it 20 to 30 times the price? The answer is no. Typically, we give a free ticket to the summit. It’s a great list builder. That’s what we’re really looking at when we’re thinking about these multi-day summits. Then people are able to purchase the recordings of the event if they weren’t able to attend all the sessions as they were released because they’re released only for a limited time.
Typically, those all-access pass recordings or the package that we’re selling at the back of the summit is priced anywhere between $47 up to $197. Just like an event, there’s the super early bird price, there’s the early bird price, and there’s the normal price. There are various stages to encourage people to take action and move forward. The urgency, the scarcity, you want to throw them in there. Even giving like, okay, this price point, there are only 50 tickets or a dozen tickets available at this price point before they’re sold out. Then the next price point tickets are being released. That’s what we’re looking at in terms of the summit.
In terms of the workshop, typically, I always like to generate and build our email list. There is a free ticket element to that, whether that’s a checklist or a blueprint around the topic of the workshop. It’s essentially a lead magnet, or we’re giving away the first 30 minutes of the 90-minute session for free for the free ticket holders. Then access to the full 90 minutes can be priced anywhere from $9 up to $150.
However, this isn’t the model of building our email lists where it’s just getting these low ticket offers to identify people who are willing to pay to get a result on the result that we’re teaching at our event. To ultimately make the profit generate the serious income right with our programs and courses off the back end. If we’re not doing that and we’re saying okay, well, the event, I want the event to be the moneymaker, then I’ve seen workshops in the hundreds of dollars, even up to $1000. Sometimes they stretch out for maybe half-day workshops versus just the 90 minutes.
Is there a standout example you want to share of either of these two? I know you gave the Migraine example. Any others that come to mind of the 90-minute workshops or the multi-day summits that are standout examples?
With the workshop, if anyone’s interested in this, we’ve done a workshop on workshops. It’s called Quick Workshop Win. It actually teaches you how to run one of these workshops for yourself in just 90 minutes. So it’s a 90-minute workshop on how to do these 90-minute workshops for yourself. Yes, it’s very meta, but I think that’s a great example because we’ve taught it once. We taught it live then we’ve packaged it up evergreen so people can access it at any time on demand.Sponsors are great, they're paying you, and they're also spreading the message, adding a lot of authority and credibility to your event as well. Click To Tweet
That program/product/course was first released as an event that makes sales for us every single day and generates a lot of clients for us who want to run workshops. Then go on to making and creating these bigger events for themselves. It is just 90 minutes, a simple way to get started.
There’s a URL for that, I think. Quickworkshopwin.com is that it?
Exactly. Based on that funnel if you want to see it in action, go to that URL quickworkshopwin.com. You’ll see that there’s a free checklist, a free download that you can get access to, which is our way of generating leads, building our email list, and building our audience. Then if you decide, okay, great. This checklist gives me everything I need to do to be able to go and run this workshop, but I want to get more in-depth, then you can purchase the actual workshop on workshops, our Quick Workshop Win program, which is that 90-minute video training, and there’s a little bit more in that.
There are few bonuses we’ve stacked on to make it accessible for people. It’s at a really low price point that’s accessible because we do want people to experience us, to understand whether people want to work with us—am I the right fit for what you’re trying to do and what you want to achieve? Are the results that our students and clients have got similar to the results that you want to achieve? Then great, awesome. Let’s talk about how that might work together. Maybe one of our courses or coaching programs is a fit. You can just see how that funnel works if you check out that URL.
Cool. If I was, let’s just say theoretically, interested in becoming a client and I want to apply your model—either the summit’s or the workshop’s model—to what I’m doing. I’m thinking of a couple of examples. One being, I’m on the board of a nonprofit called and they do an annual event called Chefs for Impact. It’s in-person. You have dinner that’s prepared by these really extraordinary chefs in New York City that many of them have their own restaurants and stuff. This is a fundraiser.
People come for the food. They come to support the organization and the mission. The organization is building and operating schools in rural Zambia. It’s a really great mission. I’ve been on the board for six years now or something. One idea is to have a virtual event to either augment or replace Chefs for Impact because it is hard to get people to attend in person because of the pandemic. Ticket sales have been a lot lower than in previous years, as you might imagine. That’s example one or potential use case one.
The second one is, I have another podcast called Get Yourself Optimized. It’s all about spirituality and personal development. I would love to put together a virtual summit around spirituality. I have a lot of great guests that I’ve interviewed over the years who I would invite back to do this virtual summit. This is outside of my SEO business and my agency, it’s really a passion project. It needs to not just be a money loser or a thing that I somehow fit in on top of all the other work I have already. Those are two use cases. I’m curious, what would you see as a way to implement your methodologies in both cases?
Okay, great. One thing we haven’t touched on, which I think is really critical and crucial part of the success of these events, is when it’s mission-based when there’s a cause behind what we’re trying to do, it really does spread like wildfire the way we design these summits. If there’s that mission and there’s that passion like when you call that a passion project, when there’s that passion and community rallying behind a cause. It’s the virality of it, encouraging people to share and recommend the event becomes so much easier. It’s ridiculous just that little difference makes.
Every event that we run we try to include who is the enemy that we’re trying to repel, and how are we going to try to rally the troops behind a common cause or against a common enemy? All right. Whenever there is that natural one in place already, and nonprofits, obviously, have this built-in already, the ability to get existing attendees to share the message and share the free tickets of the event becomes so much easier. That would be one thing.
I love working with mission-driven businesses because it’s like putting a fire underneath this system already because they just help it explode. If you do have a mission-based business, I’ll give you an example of one that wasn’t run by me, but one that’s in the industry—The Truth About Cancer. Obviously, something that people feel very strongly about. Just to give you examples, that people actually literally die from, loved ones are suffering from, and they need treatment. They need help. There’s constantly new data, information, and resources. Information is becoming available.
This event, this summit, I think in the third or fourth year, the fourth iteration made $10 million. Just in terms of revenue from that summit because of the virality and the nature of the mission-driven purpose of the topic. If you can include that, anyone listening into your business or into your events, then it is going to encourage people to bring along friends and share it with the world, which is what you want to do. Typically, a different idea, we see anywhere between 14% to 20% of our free ticket holders coming from a referral when we implement this. That means one in five people at our events is being invited by someone else.If they're the correct type of people you're trying to attract, have a conversation and position your offer so that they can take that next step in the journey with you. Click To Tweet
It’s that whole collaboration approach of the event. We’re getting referrals, which are more likely to want to continue working with us, take that next step, or be involved in the organization, whatever that next step is for your attendees. Any questions on that section before I jump into the spirituality one?
No, that’s great. I like it.
Okay, great. In terms of spirituality, I think it fits into a similar basket. In this case, where there’s a strong belief or community already existing behind this, where we can encourage more and more people to jump in and be involved. One of our clients who was actually just a customer of our online course, Sarah, ran an event very similar to yours, in terms of spirituality topic or niche. She had 18% of people refer a friend to come to the events. Eighteen percent of her attendees were being referred by friends. I don’t know if I can share all the numbers or anything, but if you join in the groups, you can see that she has shared that.
It did really, really well. She has now become a client and is now running these more often, as well as evergreening her existing events, turning them into clients for her retreats, as well as her coaching programs as well. There are a lot of impacts I think we can make in these mission-driven based offerings that are out there. I think they work. They lend themselves really well to this system and this type of model.
Sounds very cool. I know we’re out of time. If our listener wants to take one of the workshops, attend one of the summits, or learn from you directly through coaching, consulting type arrangement, where would we send them to?
I think quickworkshopwin.com is great because that’s where you can find out about the workshop and how that all works. It’s free in terms of the checklist. If you decide to take action on the others, great, awesome. You can figure out in-depth how that all works. In regards to the summit, if you go to virtualsummitclass.com, there’s a class on how to run these virtual summits. It’s a 90-minute class as well. It’s set up in a webinar format. If you decide you want to go more in-depth, you can purchase our Virtual Summit Academy course or our Virtual Events That Sell program as well.The strategy behind these events is getting people's results by building trust and authority, leveraging strategic partners, and growing lists to ultimately enroll them into our higher-priced programs and courses. Click To Tweet
Awesome. Well, thank you, Liam. This was fabulous and inspires me to create my own virtual summit, so thank you for that.
Thanks for inviting me. I see these questions, you probably see, I get all excited myself talking about this and all the possibilities that can come out of these events. If I can leave a lasting message, don’t just run the event one-off and say, done. Now I’ve got to think about what to do next.
If it worked and made you money, got you an email list, turn it evergreen. Use those recordings, package it up as a course. When you do it live the very first time, it’s your first launch. Every time you turn up on demand, there’s going to be days, weeks, months, years into the future that you can tweak and change and improve that funnel. It converts even better for yourself and has an even bigger impact for your attendees, for your business, and for yourself. Just run it once, teach whatever it is, teach it live, record it, and then sell it evergreen for that predictable income and consistent clients for yourself.
Good stuff. Thank you, Liam. Thank you, listeners, out there. Make a difference in the world. We’ll catch you on the next episode. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Aim to over-deliver and surpass my sponsors’ expectations and ensure their willingness to come back. Make them feel important and appreciated for all the help they’ve given to my cause.
Acquire sponsors who share the same values and want to be associated with my mission, message & agenda.
Collaborate with well-known speakers in my niche and encourage them to share my event with their audience.
Reach out to the media to access a wider reach. Contact affiliate marketers to share and spread the word. I can grow my audience and get support, authority, and credibility.
Publish evergreen content, design, and blueprint to get customers and clients from my events. Be passionate about my cause/projects to make people want to share and recommend the event.
Gain attendees’ trust by providing them with a credible event journey.
As much as possible, don’t make it a pitch fest and present it as informational and educational as it can be.
Listen to my audiences’ demands and if there’s enough demand, create that thing.
Make my content accessible at any time, on-demand for people for a consistent flow of leads coming to the event.
Visit quickworkshopwin.com for a proven virtual workshop system that helps in getting clients and check virtualsummitclass.com for classes and programs on how to run virtual summits.
About Liam Austin
Liam Austin is the co-founder of Entrepreneurs HQ and a virtual event strategist, having launched over 15 virtual summits, dozens of quick workshops, and many more online events, hosting over 400 speakers whilst educating 100,000+ business owners through his programs. Virtual Events That Sell is his 6-week implementation program which makes it easy for you to create your own high impact virtual events, from workshops and masterminds to summits and conferences, with the end goal of selling more of your high-ticket offer (includes how to blueprint, validate and sell your new program.) Liam is also the creator of the Million Dollar Virtual Summit Program, where he partners with select clients to generate seven figures.