An integral part of being able to push forward a product or a message is expanding your reach to include more people on more platforms. There are, now than ever, more platforms out there that give you even more opportunities to expand your audience in different ways. Today, Scott Carson speaks with Dr. Mark T. Wade of VirtualSummit.com. Dr. Wade shares his experience and expertise in the online summit field about why it’s easier than ever to expand your audience reach and monetize your message with virtual summits.
Listen to the podcast here:
Virtual Summits: Expanding Your Message Reach With Dr. Mark T. Wade
I’m even more jacked up to have a buddy on who I’ve met who I’m going to be spending a lot of time with over the next few years. He has a passion for life, passion for helping others succeed and overcome obstacles. I have the good fortune to spend some time with this guy down in The Big Easy, having some beignets, enjoying a ghost tour around New Orleans and spending some time fellowshipping and getting to know the guy and see how he’s helping a lot of people up there. I knew it was valuable enough to have him come on here to share his message and what he’s doing. If you’ve got big plans in the future for whatever you’re doing, whether you’re a real estate investor, a note investor or some other passion thing that you’re doing, I think we’re seeing a new evolution and people communicating and sharing their message, getting out there. I’m honored and jacked up to have my buddy, Dr. Mark T. Wade, join us here. He’s the Founder of the Virtual Summits Software and Creator of the One-Day Summit Formula. He went from brick and mortar businesses to online multimillionaire using collaborative marketing strategies such as the One Day Summit. He’s got an interesting story. I’ll share a little more of the story, but we are honored to have you join us here, Dr. Mark.
It is an absolute pleasure to be here. I’m definitely thinking back to our time in New Orleans. We had some fun out there for sure.
Your favorite city is The Big Easy. There’s good food. I’m still wanting some more gumbo. I think I had gumbo every meal.
I had shrimp and grits four nights in a row. I was like sampling the best shrimp and grits in New Orleans and I didn’t even intend for that to happen. I enjoyed it so much the first night. I tried it the second night and then the third night. It was an easy go to. It’s a great place.
You had me on your podcast, the Virtual Summits Podcast, which I highly encourage you all go and listen to my episode. It’s been out on his podcast. You started doing virtual summits a while back. The Virtual Summit, when we started doing online summits, online virtual note buying workshops, it revolutionized our business and was the creation from a failure to help us take our business to a different level. You want to talk a little about how you got into doing that, what created that or your background. We’ll dive into that first, Dr. Mark.
I’m a postural neurologist by trade. I have two doctorates and about 30-something certifications in neurology, neuroscience and human function. I ran one of the most successful posture correction clinics in the country.
It means you’re a neuro-science?
It means I’m a nerd. I’m probably the biggest nerd and it doesn’t stop there. I take my nerdiness into every aspect of my life, including business and passions as well. What ended up happening with that is, I wanted to help more people and didn’t want to open up more clinics. I thought, “This online business thing seems like it should be pretty easy to do.” As we all know, it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to jump out into. I went ahead and did it. I heard about this concept of a virtual summit from my buddy, Pat Flynn, over at Smart Passive Income, his podcast, and gave it a whirl. I couldn’t do it at the time. I didn’t have enough connections. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was trying to wing it so I couldn’t run a full virtual summit. I had nine speakers, two of them being me and my partner.
My ego prevented me from going to the seven who had said yes and telling them I couldn’t do it. I decided to run it as a one-day summit. At the time, I didn’t know I was doing anything special or fancy. I didn’t want to tell them I couldn’t do a summit, so we ran it as a one-day summit and did pretty well. We generated about 5,000 leads, $32,000, which was the first online success we had had, but the backbone of that summit ended up becoming a certification, which became a multimillion-dollar certification for that online institute. That online institute became a multimillion-dollar company, which is still there now. It’s the leader in its niche and industry. From that point forward, we ran 2 to 4 multi-day summits and 4 to 8 one-day summits every year in that business and in all of my businesses.
I wasn’t a summit expert. I was running summits to build my business. Like you, it’s a great way to get your message out to the world, the value out to your audience in to help educate them with things they need or want. Most things that end up being created, it comes from a need or necessity. We were running these things. I had a team of five people on my team running these full-time. I was like, “There’s got to be an easier way to do it. You can do a course or a webinar without any tech skill or knowledge.” We set out to build a software. At that time, it was the first and only software dedicated for virtual summits. That took me in another direction, where I get to help entrepreneurs who have messages and impacts to make in the world, get that message out to the world via these collaborative marketing strategies.
That’s one of the biggest things I want our readers out in Note Nation to understand. We are all capable of putting on a one-day summit for a variety of reasons. One, to get the word out on what you’re doing. Two, lead generation. Three, expanding on horizon. I’d like to say leveraging our peer’s database or leverage our peers to become an expert. When you surround yourself with good people, you up your game. We average about five people we surround ourselves with the most. If you can pull some profits out of by monetization or affiliate splits or selling tickets to it, depending on what you’re doing, it can be a very easy thing. Nine people, that’s a pretty good one-day summit. What’s the average that you see across the board with people that have one-day summits? Is it always 9 or is it 3 or 1?
We should clarify because maybe there are people out there that are even like, “What is a virtual summit?” It is like it sounds. It’s like an online conference or virtual conference. It’s used more in a way for marketing, lead generation and awareness creation. More than like, “I’m going to host a conference and use this to stream it.” Essentially a virtual summit, there are several kinds, but the most common one is a multi-day summit. That’s anywhere from about three days, upwards of maybe fourteen days with 4 or 5 being the sweet spot. They have anywhere from about 20 speakers to 80 speakers with around 30-ish to be in the sweet spot again. Unless you’re a rock star like Scott, usually it’s free to attend and with some all-access pass or something on the backend for monetization.
It’s based on a specific problem or topic that an audience needs to have. You bring in high-value experts to solve those problems. It’s like getting access to some amazing people virtually. That’s a multi-day summit. We have premium summits, which is paid access to get into it, but the other type, which we were speaking about, is a one-day summit, which is like it sounds. It’s one day, but it doesn’t mean it’s a full-day in content. It means that’s the amount of time your audience has to consume that information. It has anywhere from around 5 upwards of 15, with 8 to 10 be in the sweet spot. Unless you’re doing a summit series, then 5 to 6 is more of the sweet spot when it comes to speakers.
We all know 5 to 6 people that could jump on for a one-day thing. That’s an hour here, hour there and if you wanted to prerecord it, you could or do it live. What I have found is that the speakers that we have love it because they go off and double dip. They get to speak at my event while they’re attending another event and they like it better because they’re like, “I could do it from the waist up. I don’t have to be fully dressed.” If I have a PowerPoint presentation, I don’t have to travel. I can do it from home. You’re living in Puerto Rico right now. When you’re talking to people, what are some of the most common objections people will tell you or will say, “I can’t do it because of this?”
The crazy thing is anybody can do a virtual summit. We have things like the software. We talked about Virtual Summits Software now. You can have a summit up ready to rock in a few hours with no tech skill, tech knowledge, whatsoever. The technical aspect is no longer a barrier to entry. Probably the number one thing people will say when they’re debating whether to do it or not. It’s like, “I don’t know if I can get experts. Maybe I’m getting started. Maybe I don’t have a whole lot of authority or name brand recognition. I don’t think I could get the speakers.” It’s like what you were saying when you first got started. Here’s the crazy thing. If I would’ve known what I was doing, I would’ve had no problem getting speakers.
It’s not that hard because here’s the thing, everybody in the world needs a platform or is looking for a platform to be on. When you’re the host of a summit, one, you immediately have authority or influence because you’re hosting this. Scott, you mentioned, when you have the experts on there with you, you leverage their expertise. We call it expert leverage. You leverage their expertise, their authority, their credibility and their audience. You immediately gain authority and influence, even if you’re getting started in business or if you’re trying to increase brand awareness. The thing is everybody else is looking for opportunities to get their message out to the world.
They’re looking for podcasts to be on. They’re looking for people to partner with webinars. They’re looking for live events that they can be at in person and talk to an audience. When you host a summit, people are looking for the opportunity to speak on it. Now there are some easier strategies to make it easier to get these people on, but don’t ever have that fear that if I host a summit, I can’t have speakers on it. Also, if you do a one-day summit, you know 5 to 6 people in your community or in your network that would be more than happy to hop on with you.
In preparation for this episode, I did my first one-day summit. I’ve been doing three-day and four-day summits and stuff like that. I was like, “I’ve never done a one day. Let me try a one day out.” Because of what I learned from you, I was like, “Great.” It was basically me speaking for six hours. I made it very simple. I outlined every 30 minutes. We took a half-hour lunch break and a half-hour break in the afternoon that we ended up speeding up. The only non-good thing was I lost my voice from speaking so much.
It was a one-day summit of one, but you talk about networking, which was valuable for people. That’s one of the big things that people are like, “The network is not as good at a virtual summit versus an in-person summit.” You’re shaking your head no because you can do things. I know you can break people online from a viewership to be an in line and they can share what they’re doing. You can share social media handles, you can share LinkedIn profile names, all that good stuff to entice that and go from there, Mark?
Yeah. I love that you brought that up, the reason I love a one-day summit so much is because there are so many different frameworks in which you can use it for. When we’re talking about a multi-day virtual summit, the number one most common reason to do that is to build an audience, a community of people, so prospects, leads, things like that and create know, like and trust. I always say a summit is your relationship building strategy. People are skeptical out there in the world. They’re going to pitch that from everybody about everything, but they go to and they buy from people that they know, like and trust.
A summit is a great way to do that, also including that expert leverage that we talked about. With a one-day summit, you can use it as a list builder or you can use it like there are all kinds of different frameworks. Like you talked about right there, it’s a solo show. It’s almost like an online course stacked on its head. It’s novel, it’s new, it’s different. We have premium frameworks. We’ve used these before for launching a podcast, a book launch, a product launch or an affiliate promotion. We’ve done it for membership branding, live events, as well as masterminds. It’s relatively all similar and easy. It’s different tweaks in the messaging we’re putting out and the content we’re producing to go to the end goal. I love that because this is the other aspect. Say you don’t know anybody or you have something you’re trying to increase awareness around or excitement, get engagement from your audience, you throw a one-day summit on the front end of that and that dramatically increases those promotions.
It’s one of the things that I have found is that especially in this world where everybody’s all worried about the coronavirus and attending events. I’m not making fun of that in any way. It is a serious thing taking place. That’s the one thing is that it becomes much more valuable now, especially with people often being tight budget-wise, being tight on travel. God knows how interesting it is to travel these days, all the horror stories you hear. The cost of honestly putting on an event at a hotel and paying $94 for a gallon of coffee. That’s the aspect is you can learn from your computer, your home or your office. You can save so much money on those travel costs. You can avoid getting sick from bumping into somebody who’s got a case of the fungly and still learn and network along the way.
There are many positives and benefits to running a summit. There’s transactional. There are ones we all know and talk about. You generate more leads. I ran a summit on one of my companies to enter a new niche, a new industry, and within a week, we did 26,000 new leads, emails, and did about $75,000 from the summit. There are more things that matter more than even the leads and the money. It’s what I call intangible return on investments. One, authority. You immediately are looked at as somebody of authority or influence because of the people you’re around.
Two, awareness. Your brand is now like what I say, let’s say you ran a summit and you generated 5,000 leads. That’s 5,000 people that opted in for your summit and that are now full-on relationships with you. There were at least 50,000 people that got an email about you, read about you, heard about you that you are now on their radar. Exposure is tremendous. The other aspect is relationships because if you do a summit and you bring people on it, you are creating relationships with those experts and that could then become strategic partners later down the road. That is a limitless opportunity with that.
After the summit, it increases what we call the post-summit profit strategy. Whatever your next promotion is, it increases those conversions dramatically. I would also say my favorite reason why I like helping people and why we do summits is more about I know there are so many people in the world right now that have a message. They have something important and they want to get it out in front of more people. The problem is it’s hard right now to get that message out and to get people to pay attention or hear you. With a summit, it’s one of the most effective ways, whether you’re getting started in business or you already have a successful business, to amplify that message further and make a bigger impact.
Everybody has some message inside. It’s like everybody is, “I want to write a book. I have a book I want to write.” If you have a hard time writing, do a summit and transcribe the full thing.
You bring up even other more benefits so you can transcribe it and turn it into a book. We even do that for some of our clients, but the other thing is I hate writing content, like hand raise. We talked about this at Summit Fest Live. I was like, “Who here loves writing content?” A lot of people enjoy it and there’s a small percentage of us like myself that it’s like I procrastinate to the last exact minute before I write a blog or something like that. When you do a summit, you’re generating almost an entire year of content. Let’s say we do a one-day summit. We’ve got maybe eight speakers on there, that’s eight videos. You transcribe those. You now have eight blogs. You take the videos and you can put them on YouTube as well. You can take the audio from that and use it as a podcast if you want and you can splice all of those up into little sections and use those as social posts. I’m the lazy guy over here. What’s the easiest, quickest way I can get the most value or quality? That’s another reason why a summit is beneficial.
You can do it from anywhere, whether it’s pool side with your tank top. Sun is out, guns out. One of the things I want to come back to, you said your first summit had 26,000 leads?
The first one-day summit I had 5,000, which is totally great. It’s still an amazing thing. I’m going to real talk with you right now, Scott. I personally think list size is BS. We should not be focused on list. I usually joke about this, pun and cheeky, “It’s not about the size, ladies and gentlemen. It’s about the quality engagement of that list.” I talk about my first $136,000 launch. It came from a list of 900 people. I made almost $500,000 from a list of 1,000 people and out of those, only about 400 of them were opening those emails. We need to not focus and I know you’re with me on this, Scott. I hear so many gurus, so many people out there who are like, “I’ve got 100,000 people on my list,” and they’ve got a 3% open rate.
It’s not about how many people. I’ve got a client. He generated 500 leads. We showed him what to do and he ran with it in a specific niche. His offer is $40,000. He sold four of those. He did six figures from a one-day summit with 500 people on it. You also have to keep in mind who your audience is. The one that had 26,000 leads on it, that was to a general consumer. It was a bigger, broader audience. The Institute is directly towards health professionals. We certify and educate doctors across the world. Every one of those is 100 normal leads. The quality of the lead is way more important than how many you get on your list.
That’s why I brought you back to that because it’s such an important thing versus posting to Facebook or posting to LinkedIn. There are a variety of ways to do things properly to make sure you’ve got a quality list versus as we used to say in the financial industry or the boiler room, deadwood. It’s an email where nobody is doing anything. You don’t want deadwood. You want good things. I talked about that on your podcast as well. A quality lead is somebody who’s opening it and engaging not a price pig that’s showing up for the freebies.
That’s what I liked about your strategy too when we were brainstorming. What’s working for you guys over there is when you know you’re going to put high value and quality into the summit and you’ve got some amazing people that are going to be giving information that they don’t normally give away for free, like on podcasts or whatnot. Putting a barrier to entry in there is even better because that is increasing the quality. You don’t want everybody in there kicking the tires and asking you 1,000 questions when they have no intention of moving forward with you. There are places for both of those but that right there, it’s going to be a smaller audience. It’s going to be so much more engaged and qualified. You’re going to have a lot more fun hanging out with them too.
Here’s the thing is when you have like minds on something, you get good questions, you’re not getting those off the wall weird questions that somebody is showing up, but they don’t have any experience in what you’re doing or you don’t want that. You’re taking away from the serious people that are valuable leads for you as well, which is a beautiful thing. I love what you talked about taking that 1-day or 3-day turning into a series. We did that with the Note Camp Podcast on a couple of times where we did two Zoom rooms. We did 30 speakers and it turned into 30 episodes that have resulted in over another 90,000 downloads on our note network for the most part.
That’s crushing it right there. To dig into this, because people might be going, “Mark, you’re talking about healthcare professionals or you’re talking about belly dancers.” The point of what I was going to bring up here is the diversity that we’re starting to see people using summits for. Before, it’s very common in the health space. It’s very common in internet marketing, digital information space. We’re starting to see amazing people doing it in the notes space. Also, what’s I’m liking is we see a lot more people in the brick and mortar businesses starting to use this.
I could be running one international. I can be here in Puerto Rico. My audience could be all over the world because maybe I have an information product, but let’s say I have a brick and mortar business. I work in a specific city. I want people to come into my business or take a look at what I’m offering. If I’m a painter, for example, and I’m painting houses in Kansas City. What I could do is run a one-day summit. Let’s talk about how you would do this if you were going to put on a one-day summit.
You always start with who’s your audience? Who’s your customer? What’s the end goal? Where are you taking them? In this example, we want somebody who wants their house painted. You know that’s what they want. The solution is their house getting painted. What’s their problem? People would say, “Their problem is they need their house painted.” That’s not their problem. That is something they need. What are they thinking about? When they drive home, they go, “My house does not look as good as my neighbor’s house.” They’re jealous. They’re embarrassed.
We look at some intrinsic things here. They’re not going to do it on their own. If we talked to the intrinsic or the emotional reason that focuses on the problem, the problem is my house doesn’t look good and it needs to be painted. Emotionally I’m going, “I’m embarrassed, I don’t have the time to do it. My neighbor’s house looks better and he’s got a better car than me. I want my house to look better than his.” What I can do is set up a one-day summit. I can find people in my community to be on my one-day summit as speakers. Look at these more as like referral sources. Who would be great referral sources for you and your business?
The painter might be looking at people who are doing other home remodeling. Maybe they bring somebody on who does kitchen work, maybe they bring somebody on that does lawn or yard landscaping. You make it however you want. The point is those are people that are doing stuff on their businesses. You could also make it super focused on how to paint a house and give away all of this amazing information. You could have other painters on there even that have audiences of people who want their houses painted and talk about different ways, different strategies of painting your house, different techniques.
What you’re doing is you’re creating know, like and trust and positioning yourself as the authority. Because you might be thinking, “Mark, why would I bring my competitors onto my summit?” You’re the one hosting it, so everybody else is looking at you as you’re the authority. They’re speaking on your summit. What they do at this point is they generate an audience of people in the community that have this problem, have this interest and now you have this list or this community to start marketing to building a relationship with, give them an opportunity to come into your office or your brick and mortar business and take advantage of something. I’m loving how we can use one-day summit, both from a virtual standpoint and selling virtual products, all the way down to a brick and mortar business.
We all know the expensive cost of doing an office. You probably have more scars than other people have out there doing some of your background. We’ll get that in a second because it’s an interesting story of passion and determination. The thing is the more you can do that’s evergreen and more that you can do the stuff that’s online, it doesn’t require hosting. Here’s the biggest thing. We all know putting on an event gets exciting. It’s ego. It’s total cortisone shot. It’s totally the dopamine kicking in when you’re standing on stage.
Who doesn’t like to stand on stage in front of an audience of 5 people or 5,000 people? You have to approach it like, “I’m standing in front of an audience of 500 people or 5,000 people that are showing up here for this summit.” You don’t know who’s going to see that. That’s why I love podcasts because I’m like, “I’m going to be on somebody’s podcast. It’s in front of their audience. Maybe it’s only 100 people who listen to that episode. It’s still 100 more in an hour than I had sitting on my ass watching Marvel movies or one of that.”
Depending on the audience, especially virtual, I feel like we’ve numbed out because we talk about leads and conversions. We’ve gotten so much in the woods these days in online businesses and businesses in general. We forget the fact that that’s not a lead. That’s a person. I’ve seen people run a summit and they’ve generated maybe 500 leads. They were all sad because they wanted 5,000. I’m like, “That’s 500 people that spent a day or a couple of days with you. That is more value right there than anything else.” Keep talking to them. Keep that relationship going because 500 leads, 1,000 leads, that’s a 6 to 7-figure business right there. You don’t need 100,000 people. Views, leads, I feel we’ve numbed over. Remember those are people.
It’s more than, “I want to put on a summit,” and go and do it. You should take some time to preplan it, to look into it. The most important thing after the event is that nurturing, that talking to, but to have a valuable after event and see who’s on there. I like using surveys, incentivizing people to fill out the survey and they get the replays or something like that. Let’s talk about that aspect. What time or what time frame? I’m only bringing this because I’ve had some friends that are like, “I want to do this. We’ll do this next year.” It’s January. Why are you going to wait to 2021 to do this? What’s the good time frame you see with success taking place? What’s the ideal time for them to start promoting an online virtual summit?
It depends on your workflow. Are you swamped up to your eyeballs and you’ve only got an hour or two a week to do it or can you spare maybe 5 to 10 hours a week? Typical multi-day summits like the going thing is about 90 days. I like to give myself 120 days. When we work with clients, we ask for five months. If it’s a one-day summit, my partners put together and like you did, she’s put together one-day summits in a matter of a week. We asked for about 5 to 6 months when we’re building out like in our viral summit’s concierge service because we’re pulling out all the bells and whistles. We’re not putting on normal summits. We’re creating Netflix style, TEDx style summit, docu-summit series, things like that. In our own summits, 90 to 120 days is pretty good for a multi-day summit. If you’re doing a one-day summit, the first one, give yourself 60 to 90 days, but after you’ve done one and you understand the concept, 30 days is all you need.
I always say too with a one-day summit do. This is why I love the one-day summit series and why I’m so passionate about this for brands and businesses starting to incorporate these is because when you do another one-day summit, it’s not like twice as much work. It’s like 50% more work. If you do a third one, it’s not 50% more work. That one is like 25% more work because everything you’re doing essentially is you’ve got the structure, the foundations, all of the other aspect. It starts to get into the outreach and the interview and that doesn’t take a lot. It may take some time, but it’s not that time consuming, especially if you’re only doing 5 to 6 interviews.
That’s the great thing. It doesn’t take that much in it. There are some easy tools. I don’t say it’s more work. I say it’s less work because you already know what’s going on so it gets a lot easier. You’re not having to set up a Calendly link for the first time. We’re setting up Virtual Summits Software. You’ve got it down. You know exactly how it’s going. You understand an email system, a better aspect of things. You understand that the majority bulk of your signups are probably going to be that 3 weeks, 2 weeks out because they don’t have to book travel, but you use that extra 60 days to build awareness to get in front of people and follow up. We all know 80% of sales are made after the fifth contact as long as you keep that in mind that you’re going to have to hit people multiple times. You came out sending one magical email and sit back and, “We’re good. We’re booked.”
We’re getting in advanced strategies, but the simplest version is you leverage the experts who are speaking on your summit to help target their networks, their audiences. We call it a collaborative marketing strategy. Everybody on the summit is collaborating together. It increases exposure for everybody. It makes everybody look good. Everybody generates some leads and some sales as well. I’m a big fan of win-win-win scenarios. I know you do some aspects of this as well, Scott, we have our pre-summit launch or pre-summit promotion. We’ll take the concepts of the summit, it’s like back to those problems or those pain points.
We’ll do some videos around 1, 2 or 3 of those specific pain points and same concept. We’ll transcribe it, we’ll use that as a blog, we’ll put it out on Facebook and we’ll pixel it all. We’ll tag our speakers in it. It starts to create awareness around it. We’re pixeling people, so we’re not necessarily pushing hard for them to go opt-in to the summit or buy anything. People are getting value out of it. Later once we go to do the promotion, we can retarget them if we want or we’ve already built up some audience or things around that. You still leverage the speakers at that point as well.
I would say that’s one of the more powerful reasons for newer business or brand to do a virtual summit. If you’re trying to generate an audience the old-fashioned way right now, organically, it’s going to take a while. If you’re going to pay for that through Facebook ads or paid media, you’re going to spend a little bit of money like we call summits a self-liquidating offer. Meaning it’s one of the only marketing strategies out there that you can generate leads and you don’t have to pay for them. We don’t usually run many Facebook ads for our summits. That means all of those leads, my first summit, the 5,000 leads summit, I didn’t run ads on that. I generated 5,000 leads without spending any marketing. If I were to pay them Facebook Ads, that’s over six figures in Facebook Ads. That’s a huge benefit for those businesses and brands that are getting started.
Facebook Ads are very misconceiving on the effect of it these days. It’s changed out there if you know what you’re doing and leveraging things. I call it Fakebook because you’re not getting a true aspect of things that people are seeing. There are a variety of other ways out there to generate lists and leads for you to get people in there like other people’s posts, other people’s networks, running ads. You could easily buy a list of people you’re looking to get on relatively inexpensive as well from some places. We have done that in the past too as well. You guys have done a great job with your software. Why don’t we dive a little bit and talk about all the bells and whistles that your Virtual Summits Software has? It’s an important thing for people out there if you’ve got a tool that makes life easier and your tool definitely does that for a lot of people, Mark.
I appreciate that. It came out of necessity. Essentially, in my other business, it’s me and my partner, Dr. Krista Burns, and she’s the content creator. She’s also the face of that business. I was the marketing strategy, the concepts and how we were going to position things. It got to the point where if we were doing a summit and sometimes it would come down to last minute things, I’m not going to point any fingers, but on somebody else. It would come down to me having to jump in there and do it. On top of other things, I joke about that, but when I did decide to create this, because that first summit I talked about, it had nine different pieces of software and 26 plugins.
It took me over 100 hours to create and still look like a third grader built it. I was like, “There’s got to be a better way.” That’s why we built the Virtual Summits Software. One of the main concepts behind that was my litmus test was Dr. Krista had to be able to use it without having to ask me for help. I wanted it that easy and simple. Essentially, it will do everything you need to do to prepare, create, host and run a summit. It’s got some cool stuff. I won’t bore people with all the features and stuff. I would look at it like this. To run a summit, you’ve got to have a landing page, you’ve got to have a place for people to opt in. You’ve got to have a way to sell them something on the summit.
One of my favorite things about the Summits Software is the speaker management tool. I’m sure you have these too, Scott. We could compare Excel documents where you’ve got every speaker listed out, maybe 60, 70 speakers. The dates you contacted them. Did you get their bio? Did you get their head shot? Did they give you their links? I’m amazed to figure out like that was one of my first things with the software. I want the software to be like you have a virtual assistant working for you. It reaches out and follows up with the speakers. The speakers can log in and add their own stuff to it. That’s a pretty cool thing. Probably one of the more revolutionary aspect is also beneficial for people who are wanting to continue to build their audience ongoing is we built a proprietary piece of technology into it called the Ever Summit. With one click of a button, the software will rerun the summit as if it’s live ongoing forever.
You have the replay. You have the videos in there and it reruns it on an evergreen basis?
Even better than that, let me dive into this for you. We used to use other software. It would cost us something like a couple of grand a month for these other software to rerun our summits. I’ve got 30 summits sitting on shelves. I want it to be using those ongoing. Don’t let me forget, Scott. I would love to get into our summit ascension business model. This makes sense for people because I’ve built several 6, 7 multi seven-figure companies with this three-pronged approach. After the summit is over, you run the summit as if it’s live, which this is the other benefit of the software. You don’t have to do anything. The software unlocks, locks, opens, assigns, delivers everything to the audience without you having to do anything.
That way you can focus on marketing, engagement strategies with your speakers and the attendees. The software unlocks and locks everything. All that is taken care of. Usually, people run a summit. After the summit is over, it sits there and they’ll do something called an evergreen strategy, which is I’ve got this summit. It’s extremely valuable. It’s got 10 or 20 sessions of valuable content, so now I’ll sell this. Those are great for upsells, flash sells, down-sells, affiliate sales, things like that. They’re not very good at generating more leads because as an audience, here’s where my nerdiness comes out, and I love psychology. When we look at why people do what they do or don’t do what they do, and we’re all guilty of this. When we look at something and see that it’s over, we assume it’s old and we automatically assume if it’s old, it’s no longer valuable.
You and I both know those twenty videos that took us a lot of time and energy to do, those are as valuable as they were yesterday. Why are we not still getting the use or value out of those? You set the software whether you want it to be monthly, twice a month, once a week, whatever, and the software will rerun the seminar as if it’s live. You continue to direct traffic to it, so maybe it’s a podcast or maybe it’s on a blog. We’re not talking about paid strategies. We’re talking about organic strategies that float out there. People see it and they go, “Oh.” Maybe you talk about this blog where you’re talking about this one problem. “If you want more information on this, check out the X Summit that we did that dives in even more things there.”
They click over to it and they see, “The X Summit starts next Tuesday.” They go into the summit and the summit tags each person and it opens the summit as if it was live on the appropriate days and times, and closes it up. If that person purchased the all-access pass or whatnot, they have ongoing access to it. If they don’t and they go back to the landing page, it says, “Sorry. The summit has ended. Upgrade,” but all other people that go to that same landing page see, “The summit starts next Tuesday.” It changed the game. It’s probably one of my favorite features inside the software. We used summits as the beginning of our customer journey. If I go, “I’ve got a certification, a coaching program, a membership, a mastermind, that’s the thing I want to sell,” I don’t start with that. I don’t start with some information about that. I go, “That’s what I want to sell. What summit can I create engagement, awareness and interest in this topic to create an audience to then sell that to?” We set it on ever summit and let it continue to do it ongoing forever.
I hope you guys took some nuggets out of that because that’s one way to have it rock and rolling. As in the words of Buzz Lightyear, “To infinity and beyond,” if you needed to. This isn’t a sales pitch. It’s pretty affordable for everybody. You want to talk about that aspect because we’re not here to pitch the software, we’re sharing some good stuff, but it’s a very valuable tool. You guys all should know here in Note Nation because I don’t bring on somebody to talk about a product unless I believe in what they’re doing. I use it or others that I believe and trust are using it. I’m a big fan of what Mark is doing. What’s the cost of your software?
Put this in perspective, that first summit I created, I built on my own the nine pieces of software, 26 plugins. That cost me $7,000. Every summit after that costs that. If I would have other people build it for me, anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. You can get this software at $97 a month. Affordable is the case there.
You sell one ticket at $97 on a monthly basis, you’re in the black at that point going forward. You sell instant access, but they get the replays for $97, which a lot of people do. You’ve got something big on the back end. You’re offering up a class and in-person coaching, one-on-one training, a mastermind, things like that, a continuity thing where it’s a membership or something like that. It’s a valuable thing that you can look at doing for everybody. We hinted at this about the three-tier approach. Let me come back and touch a little bit more about your beliefs on that.
Our business model is what we call it as the ascension model. The reason I say this, a lot of people probably already have established business models. This doesn’t have to take over a business model. We’ve seen a lot of successful businesses and brands add this as a side step to almost accelerate their success or scaling. It’s simple. It’s summit, journey and scale. Summit starts at the journey. The journey is the customer journey or what we call the post-summit profit strategy. That’s when we identify what is the problem that our audience has and what solutions are we going to create to solve that? Once we’ve identified that, we go back and say, “What’s the summit that’s going to attract the audience?”
The biggest mistake I see people do, easiest to say, let’s talk about courses. It could be anything. It could be any sale as they’ll spend time and energy building up this thing. They’ll create this thing. They’ll spend so much time. They’ll love it and it’s precious to them. They go to sleep dreaming about it. When it’s time to sell it, they turn around and there’s nobody there to sell it to. You have to have an audience if you’re going to sell something. Not an audience, you have to have an audience that’s qualified to engage and has know, like and trust. That’s why the summit for us always is the beginning of our customer journey. That brings them into the customer journey, which is our post-summit profit strategy.
We’ve a three-step approach with that, which I won’t get into the details of that. It’s essentially whatever the next thing is we’re going to sell, we have a strategy of doing that. The last piece is scale. I see this happen all the time too. People will take the time and the energy to build something, whether it’s a summit or any other thing. They’ll do it one time and it sits on the shelf and collects dust. We look at the process. We analyze, optimize and automate it. What worked well with the post-summit profit strategy, we optimize it. We may get better. What didn’t work? What’s cool with the software is you can go in and change things on the fly. It’s all done and good. We automate it.
Whether it’s the ever summit or you’re using some other funnel software or something like that. We have that continue to go. We have this plethora of one-day summits. Once a quarter, we’ll create a new one. What will happen, we’ll go in, we’ll launch the new one. We’ll take one of the old ones with the software. We turn it off. We’ll go back into one of our previous ones, optimize it again, turn it on and let it run. We’ll let that happen for a quarter and we’ll keep creating new but utilizing old ones as well. For us, we’ve been able to not have to spend much advertising dollars and not building hundreds of thousands of leads but building tens and twenties of thousands but using that to generate seven figures ongoing.
I don’t know about you, but my gears are twitching here. We’re going to have a longer conversation after we finish with this. You’ve got an interesting story. I wanted to save this to the end because you guys did something a little bit different and ask backward when a lot of people launch their entrepreneur career. Can you share a little about, “We’re going to open a new clinic, but we’re going to do it in Italy because we love Italy,” and go from there a little bit? We don’t want to know about the $10,000 paint job, but talk a little about that, how that’s set you up for success in the long run from that.
I always say if I knew how difficult things were going to be before I did them, I would have never done things. Being a nerd and being a little bit naive or probably better put is big vision. I like to jump in and do stuff. When I graduated with my first doctorate, my partner and me, we wanted to go abroad. We decided to go to Italy, which now sounds crazy talking about it. We didn’t speak Italian and had no business knowledge at that time. We had no connections. We didn’t know anyone in the worst economic downfall in Italian history. We should be setting ourselves up for success. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite like that. It’s the same with any business. There’s a learning curve.
That first year for us we call was the treadmill effect. We spent about a year trying to do about anything and everything. We were never lacking in motivation or willingness to work hard. We would work super hard and it would feel like we were sprinting and never moving forward in place, hence the treadmill. I read a book called Good to Great by Jim Collins. In there, he talked about the hedgehog concept which we call the unique expert position. What we realized looking back is that we were trying to do a little bit of everything, thinking it was going to get us more attention and more people in by offering this service and that service and this thing and that thing. What we ended up being is the jack-of-all-trades.
After reading that book in a weekend, we decided to completely change our strategy and focus on posture. Fast forward a year from that moment, we were the most successful posture correction clinic in the country. We were working with seven professional sports teams, implemented a posture correction program throughout the Italian school system. The point was the only thing that change was niching down and focusing on one specific topic. What it allowed us to do was one, we became way more referable because everybody knew what to say when trying to talk about us. They say, “Those guys do the posture stuff,” versus weight loss, gluten-less, yoga, whatever. The other thing that allowed us to do was focus our attention when building our expertise.
Instead of reading a little bit about everything, we were able to read a lot about one thing which made us very quickly the most knowledgeable people on the planet. Still to this date, we’re considered the two most certified posture experts on the planet. Additionally, it allowed us to hone our skillset so much faster because we were only doing these types of things. We quickly became very skilled and experts in helping and it allowed us to get the results much quicker and more than essentially other people in similar industries or niches. It was crazy. It took us going over to Italy. Every month we looked at each other and we were like, “We should probably pack it. This isn’t working.” All it took was that one quick tweak for it to be a completely different story.
The reason I want you to bring that up is you hit so many great nails on the head there about niching down to one thing. A lot of us have like we want to do this and we want to do this. That’s the wrong way to do it. Come back to one central focus, one central concept, one idea and build from there versus trying to do everything at once and people don’t know. It’s a confusing message at that point. You know one thing and one thing well, that’s the best way to build that expertise level. You will find speakers or whatever your focus is for the summit or to get your message out. It doesn’t mean you can’t add things later on but start with the one thing. Start with a niche and work your way out from there. I’m glad you brought that up. I think anybody can learn from that message. We all learned from mistakes what to do and what to do better. Another thing that I love so much from getting a chance to hang with you and Krista is the fact that starting off, you guys run a tight budget. You couldn’t go to these conferences and workshops. You created your own book club where you would read a book, she would read a book, and then you would present the book to each other. It’s brilliant.
It was one of the most powerful things ever. We were on a very limited budget. We were failing in business. We didn’t have the money to spend on coaching, on traveling to seminars and conferences. We said, “How can we learn?” We were listening to podcasts and we decided to read. We could afford each $10 to $20 book. We would spend the month reading the book. We would pick one weekend and we would each prepare. We didn’t take this lightly. I would spend an entire week preparing a PowerPoint presentation to present the book to her and vice versa. We would pick one weekend. We close the clinic on Friday and Saturday. I would spend all day Friday presenting my book and defending my book and topics.
It was like the ax grinding steel there because we would debate this. I’d be like, “We should do this.” She would bring up other reasons why we should or shouldn’t. We would fine-tune our strategy. We would implement it. She would do hers the next day. The key to that is not the focus on learning it. When you present something or teach it, you learn it even better. It was a quick implementation. We didn’t drag our feet the next week. When we said this is what we’re going to do on Sunday, we made steps to implement it. On Monday, it happened. When we were talking about the UEP, that next Monday, we scrapped all of our marketing plan and completely went into posture. That is a part of it. When you know something or if you’re paying somebody for advice, this one blows my mind, Scott. When people pay mentors and coaches and the mentor or coach says, “You should do this.” They go, “I can’t do it because of this.” If you’re paying somebody for information or knowledge, first off, it should be somebody you trust that’s already got the results you want. If that is then the case, do what they say. You’ll speed up your success and ability to scale dramatically by taking fast action.
Dr. Mark, what’s the best way for people to reach out, to connect with you or take a look at that awesome Virtual Summits Software that you are rocking and rolling?
Two best places, I have a Facebook group called Viral Summits, which is me and a bunch of high-level entrepreneurs hanging out, trying to get our messages out to the world. If you’re on Facebook, you can join us over there at Viral Summits. Additionally, you can go to VirtualSummits.com, which is where we’ve got information about the software, a bunch of freebies to get started with summits like our Summitology Foundations Training, a bunch of cool stuff like that if you’re interested in moving forward with the summit. If you want to follow me, you can check out my personal Instagram @HustleAndScale. I’m a fun guy to follow. You can hang out with me on my journeys around the world there.
When’s the next event in New Orleans?
It’s Summit Fest Live. If you want to be around other amazing entrepreneurs who have messages, are impacting the world and get that message out to the world, you can join us at Summit Fest Live. It’s always the first week in February or you can go to SummitFestLive.com, grab an early bird ticket right now and join me and Scott. Scott is going to be one of our featured speakers there. You’d get to hang out with him in person as well. We had Scott do a couple of sessions at this last event. I swear, all the other speakers who I know well and are well respected and the gurus in their little industries or niches, they’re all coming up to me, “Mark, where did you find this guy? He is a hidden gem of wealth of knowledge.” Lots of compliments were paid to you, Scott.
I appreciate the invite. I was honored to be there and glad to give back anything I could. I’m looking forward to that. We definitely have to hang out some more between now and then for sure.
Thanks, everybody. I want to leave you with this. I personally believe no matter where you’re at in your business or brand, no matter what you’ve got going on, I know that you have a message inside of you that the world needs to hear and an impact that you need to make. No matter what you’re feeling or what you think, do not give up on it. Double down, triple down and make it happen because the world needs you.
Take Mark up on the opportunities. Check it out, join those groups. Once again, if you’ve got a message, you’ve got something you’re focused on, it’s much easier now than it ever was before. If you’re letting people tell you that you can’t do it, you can do it. Mark has made it a whole lot easier with what he’s done out there. Go out, take some action, check it out, everybody. We look forward to seeing you all at the top.
- Virtual Summits Software
- One-Day Summit Formula
- Virtual Summits Podcast
- Episode – Scott Carson on Virtual Summits Podcast
- Smart Passive Income
- Summit Fest Live
- Good to Great
- Viral Summits – Facebook group
- @HustleAndScale – Instagram
About Dr. Mark Wade
Dr. Mark T Wade went from brick & mortar to multi-million dollar online business using a strategy called the One-Day Summit Formula. Founder of Virtual Summits Software, host of the Virtual Summit Podcast & Summit Fest Live Dr. Mark helps entrepreneurs go from unknown to Influencer using a collaborative marketing strategy.
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