Telesummits are everywhere! As a small business owner and coach for the past 8 years, I’ve been invited to participate in many virtual telesummit events. Whether they’re termed telesummits, classes, or online giveaways, they are all similar and I’ve learned some secrets that can help you either host or participate.
#1 – Know Your Niche & Their Idiosyncracies
It’s imperative to understand the people you want to attract with your virtual telesummit or online program. And, the tighter the niche, the better… I’ve heard it often said – the ‘riches’ are in the ‘niches’ – and even though I pronounce that word a bit differently – the saying does apply here. When choosing your audience for the telesummit or event, clearly articulate who will be invited and attracted to participate. AND, be sure the experts you assemble serve the same audience as well. When you focus in on your niche, it’s really important to identify their pain points and struggles. This marketing technique will help you cut through all the noise online to get their attention and encourage them to participate. Truly uncovering a need, and offering advice, guidance, tools, and assistance will draw the right crowd and encourage them to take action and opt-in so they can get the goods!
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For example, the Connections Master Class Series was a pre-recorded telesummit. It was designed for small business owners struggling with social media.
The specific topics included:
- Set Up: Tips on how to set up professional-looking profiles on each social platform
- Specifics: How each social media platform works (and is unique) and how they work together (or how they may not work well together)
- Content: What type of content to put where
- Shortcuts: Tips to save an entrepreneur’s time
- Niche: How to find their niche and where their peeps hang out
- Strategy: How to create a social media strategy as a marketing end for their business
- Tactics: How to get it all done so everything works well together
As above, the cleaner your target audience, the more likely you are to assemble the right people in the group. And, assembling them is the first step, the next thing you’ll need to do is be sure you get them to opt-in!
#2 – Set Positive Goals
For your telesummit, you’ll want to have clear goals that deliver on what your participants are looking for. Keep your content inclusive, accessible, and generally positive. Most people are strangled by ‘fear of doing it wrong’, so the more tangible and step by step your content, the better. Tie everything back to clear and positive goals and use repetition throughout your delivery to be sure you’re reminding people as they make their way through the content.
#3 – Determine Your Delivery Format
There are many ways to deliver your telesummit, but the adage “Begin with the end in mind” is never truer than when you plan a big event! How will you create your program? What components will be included? What do you need to pull together in terms of raw materials? And finally, how will you deliver the goods to your participants? All of these questions should be answered before you begin the program. The more details you have fleshed out beforehand, the easier it will be to manage the logistics of both expert participants and attendees. Each piece requires an input process and a delivery process – so it’s important to think these pieces through and plan them out BEFORE you start.
#4 – Design Your Theme
Any online event needs a theme, which will lead you to graphics and other pieces that work together to support your theme idea. I titled my event – ‘Connections – Master Class Series’ and with that – the theme was born. Next, I needed to design graphics that gave the telesummit a professional flavor and feel. When the graphics were done, it was time to dive deep into the production of videos and other pieces that could be shared socially.
#5 – Assemble Your Experts
When you have a good idea of your telesummit audience and their pain points, it will simplify finding experts to fill the needs of the group. Experts need lead time and they need to have several things in place to make it all work… (See Secret #7 specifics below) Be sure you create a download contain the details Experts need. Be sure to include details, dates, locations, downloads, and images. Life will be much easier if you list it once and refer everyone. And, your experts will need to have bios, profile images, and content ready to roll for your event. Get them together early so they have time to prepare everything.
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#6 – Create Your Materials
Whatever you create should be branded to the program and/or your expert presenters only. Request all handouts be unique and branded so you can copyright everything to protect you and your experts. Be sure you straighten all those details out prior to getting started so your experts are clear and on board. Once you create your consistent look, you can determine whatever types of materials you’ll include.
Will you have recorded interviews? Audios? Podcasts? Templates? Or perhaps you’ll have your guests speak from pre-loaded Powerpoint slide decks, or decide to screen share via an online meeting format. Whatever the case, you’ll need to be sure you have a consistent look to everything and there’s a method you follow with all the content.
#7 – Build Your List (And Theirs Too!)
Whenever you create any launch, consider it as a ‘list building event’. You’ve heard all about list building and telesummits if you follow any marketing gurus out there… so – here are the top 3 things you need bottom line for an event like this to be a successful list builder.
- Your Website Landing Page or Opt In Form: It’s important to drive people to the location they need to be to opt in! You will have an opt in page for your event and all new people will instantly gain access to the program and the marketing messages you’ve created as reminders. New opt-ins will not only optimize your own list building capabilities, but if you’re collaborating with others, invite them to create their own opt in page and customize it to the program. You may use the program banners and graphics (already on Dropbox) to spice up your squeeze page.
- Either design it yourself, or have each of your experts create something downloadable: You’ll commonly hear this referred to as an IFO (Irresistible Free Offer), VFO (Valuable Free Offer), or IoV (Item of Value), I’m using this term because some of you may create a checklist of tips, hacks or dos and don’ts, templates, tools or you may even provide videos outlining a step by step process… or some synergistic combination. Regardless, these ‘items’ must be tantalizing enough to trigger your attendees’ willingness to offer their email address to you in exchange… So, this is a must. (And if you don’t yet have something like this on your site… START NOW!)
- Be sure you have a list-building system: At the very least, you’ll need a newsletter or list building system. Whether you have MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, Infusionsoft, Hatchbuck or something else, you’ll need an opt in box and a back end system to gather email addresses of interested parties so when people sign up they are easily able to download your valuable freebie.
#8 – Clear Your Schedule
Most big events (even when virtual) require at least a few months of lead time to pull together. You’ll want to be sure at the minimum you have at least 2 months lead time to prepare, schedule and gather all your resources for your telesummit. Do this BEFORE you begin marketing and getting the word out. Select your dates and reverse engineer your event.
Start with the end in mind and then figure out the milestones you need to hit on your way to the target date. Think of things like creating a sales or engagement page, shooting and editing video messages, creating a system to deliver your materials, creating emails and reminders for when the program is open and when it closes down. hat you’ll need to by deadlines.
Class Length: When you’re putting together a telesummit, it’s important to build your content into blocks of time between 15 and 60 minutes. People no longer have patience for things longer than one hour. I think a good ballpark for content is set at around 20-30 minutes for this type of information. You’ll need to determine if you’re going to offer an interview style or more of a one to many, more traditional classroom/teaching style. Also you want to be sure you have a place for people to ask questions. Many telesummits are recorded and offer a forum along with them to keep the conversation going.
#9 – Go Social
I know it’s a lot to set up, but the key to how to host a telesummit (or other event) is to share the free. When you take your free offer to the social platforms, you will drive traffic and build your list! You can always drive interest to your opt in pages through the typical social sharing aspects, but another great way to invite even more people in is to feature your experts in a blog blitz the week prior – to entice people to opt in. If you can, feature your experts who create content rich blog posts, host them on teaser interviews via Periscope and Blab – or highlight their bylines and bios in the weeks prior to the event.
Your Telesummit Sanity Assignment
Whether you’re just getting started, or have loads of experience with list building events like Telesummits, we’d love you to share your insights and knowledge in the comments box below. Please scroll down and share your lessons learned comments and questions. Let’s get this party started!