Expanding your mailing list is a balancing act between quantity and quality. Having an email list of 100,000 people unresponsive to your brand is so unhelpful that it’s counterproductive – it just becomes expensive to maintain.
On the flip side, having a small group of enabled people on your mailing list won’t always help you achieve what you want to achieve.
A good mailing list consists of an active but scalable audience.
And how can you attract an active but scalable audience? Well, okay, the title was a little giveaway, but you got it! Virtual events.
Virtual events are one of the most efficient ways to get email addresses and engage your audience. HeySummit has an average of 2643 participants per event – that’s a lot of email addresses!
In addition, virtual events are a powerful cross-fertilization tool and a fantastic way to reuse content. Most importantly, virtual events demonstrate your worth through the power of experience.
Here are 5 ways to add a virtual event to your mailing list:
1. Know your why
Do you know why you want to add to your list.
We’re not trying to be abstract or philosophical here, but knowing why you want to grow your email list is absolutely critical to your marketing strategy. Ask yourself:
- Do I want to spread knowledge?
- Am I trying to sell a product?
- Do I want to grow and activate a community?
- Is my ego a motivator?
- Do I want to establish myself as a leader in my field?
If you’re not sure why you want to add to your email list, you will find it quite difficult to try. It’s that simple. Knowing your “why” is essential for clear and effective communication with your attendees and speakers.
Write down at least three reasons why you want to add to your email list and use them as guidelines for your strategy.
For example, if ego is a motivator, embrace it! Thought leadership is a common and compelling reason to want to add to your email list. Focus on networking and network with experts in your field. The entrepreneur coach Doc Williams recruits his clients as speakers on topics such as How to Brand Yourself as an Influencer. As he firmly believes in letting his work speak for itself, Doc’s virtual events establish Social Proof and Thought Leadership.
2. Create a participant persona
Treat your event like a product, even if it’s free. This will sharpen your focus on growing your mailing list. Like every product, your event also needs a customer personality. Or, in this case, a participant persona.
A participant persona is a very detailed profile of the type of person you are trying to reach. If you know your participant, you’ll know what makes them sign up.
- What does your typical participant look like?
- How old are you?
- What are you interested in?
- What are their pain points?
- What was your favorite song in high school?
The more detailed the better.
For example, Siobhan Farr’s Digital Nomads Beyond 50 2021 summit was built on a clear participant personality. This persona includes, but is not limited to:
- An aspiring digital nomad in his late 40s and beyond
- Based in the USA
- Without children or with children who have flown the nest
- Consider retiring now due to COVID -19
- Her concerns are: understanding how to pay taxes while traveling, find new sources of income, be a good guest in a foreign country, etc.
Siobhan sought speakers to address these vulnerabilities in order to attract and maintain attendees’ attention. Over 130 people signed up for Siobhan’s summit and increased their Facebook group Digital Nomads Beyond 50 Network to 388 members.
Just as it is important to know who your event is for, you also need to be clear about who it is not for. For example, Siobhan peaks are not for people under the age of 47 or for those unable to work remotely. If you can’t think of anyone who your event isn’t suitable for, it’s way too comprehensive.
When was the last time you signed up for something that you are vaguely familiar with? Your registrations come from people who see your event as something that speaks to them directly. Don’t underestimate the power of your participant personality – they will guide everything you do.
3. Find your niche
Once you have your focus on your participant personality, narrow it down even further to one of their problems.
We’re serious – you need a microscope for this thing. You’ve heard the saying, “If you try to please everyone, you won’t please anyone.” The same goes for your participants’ problems. If you try to solve all of your attendees’ problems, you won’t end up solving any of them.
When creating your event, start with the problem. Whatever you do, don’t start with a solution and look for a problem that you randomly attach to it. It sounds simple, but it’s frustratingly easy to turn it upside down. Fall in love with the problem.
There can be a lot of problems that you are absolutely excited about. That’s great! In time, you will address these too. Just make sure to prove your credibility with one problem first before moving on to the next. The other problems won’t be jealous, I promise.
Writing coach Daniel Wallace’s first peak, Escape the Plot Forest, has really sharpened its niche. It was designed for and focused on aspiring fiction writers one Aspect of writing: action.
Escape the Plot Forest drew over 3,000 visitors and had sales of over $ 26,000. Not only did Daniel get a lot more registrations than he expected, but he also grew and activated his online community. Trust us to find your niche will work.
4. Dust yourself with your speakers
Virtual events are powerful sources of cross-pollination.
Cross-pollination occurs when individuals or companies combine their talents to expand their reach. Inviting speakers to your event gives them access to your audience. And guess what? You get access to theirs!
Having your speaker’s audience sign up for your event is a fantastic way to capture email addresses. If you have multiple speakers – that’s more email addresses!
It can be inconvenient to ask your speakers to promote your event. We know this is easier said than done, but prevail. It will be worth it.
Inviting speakers to your event also gives them the opportunity to expand their own list. Be open with your speakers about how you expect them to share your event with their audience. If some people disagree, c’est la vie! You will find another speaker who is.
At the same time, you make it as easy as possible for speakers to share your event. Ask them what their outreach strategy is and what you can do to help them do it. Give them copies, prompts, and anything they need.
Product-led growth pioneer Wes Bush fertilizes each other at quarterly virtual ProductLed events. His speakers are people who recognize his participants as strong players in the product-oriented area. Bringing so many experts together is fantastic for generating new leads, growing Wes’s email list, and in turn, great promotion for his book Product-Led Growth: How To Build a Product That Sells.
Cross-pollination is one of the most efficient ways to add to your list – take advantage of it!
5. Maximize your content
Collecting event registrations before the start day isn’t the only way you have in your event marketing strategy to add to your list.
Your event is not a single moment. You have the set-up, the event itself and the aftercare. Growing your mailing list is about both maintenance and tracking. Don’t forget your new registrations when the event is over – give them a reason to stay.
Most of the events on HeySummit are ‘evergreens’ – they stay open after they’re over. They are great for SEO _and _ so that people can discover your event afterwards.
The Worlds of Learning Summit for Course Developers and Entrepreneurs is a great example of an open event. Since the start in March 2021, all-access passes and reruns of certain calls are still available. Record your event, keep it open, and don’t take future opportunities to add to your list.
Events give you _so _ much content. Use it again! For example, if your event had 30 lectures, that’s 30 podcast episodes, 30 blog posts, and 30 social media campaigns, each with their own call-to-action to join your mailing list. The more events, the more content you provide and the easier it is to grow your list.
Your event shouldn’t be an isolated event. Do it with your marketing flow. If you’re a podcaster and you use events to capture leads, talk about your events on your podcast, and talk about your podcast at your events. This way, you are giving people multiple reasons to sign up across channels.
The best way to make a list is to make people believe in the value you offer. Hosting a virtual event is one of the best ways to demonstrate your worth. When virtual events are well done, you show your audience that you not only know your worth, but know it too. Sharpen your focus and:
- Know your why
- Create your participant persona
- Find your niche
- Fertilize yourself with your speakers
- Maximize your content
Go on – go on this (virtual) stage!
Written by our guest author Rob Gelb, founder and CEO of HeySummit
He loves technology, cool projects and cheering great people.