055: Increase Attendee Engagement Through Email with Sarah Anderson

Mar 03, 2020

There are a LOT of emails that go into a summit and it can get to be a lot for our attendees...unless we make them engaging!

In this episode we're chatting with Sarah Anderson about how to increase attendee engagement through out emails, rather than driving them away. We'll cover things like the part emails have to play in creating an engaged audience, how to write engaging emails, and moving from subscriber to attendee once the summit is over.

Subscribe

Apple | Google | Spotify | Sticher

Resources

Transcript

Krista:
Hey, Hey, welcome to the Summit Host Hangout Podcast, where you'll learn how to plan, strategize, and launch your profitable online summit, no influencer status necessary. I'm your host, Krista from Summit In A Box, and we are currently in a series about creating an engaging event. Today in episode 55, we're breaking that down to chat about increasing attending engagement through emails and copy with an insanely smart guest who I cannot wait for you to hear from. We're going to cover things like the part email has to play in an engaged summit audience, making emails engaging even when you're pitching and making sure our attendees continue to open our emails, and we'll finish things off by talking about moving your summit attendees to subscribers and keeping them engaged during that transition.

Krista:
To give you some background information on our guest, she's an email strategist and copywriter for course creators, coaches and service providers with bold digital brands. She helps ambitious female entrepreneurs go from stressing over what to send in their email list, to having powerful emails lifted off their shoulders. She's going to show you that today. So let's dive in and talk with Sarah Anderson.

Krista:
Hey, Sarah, I'm so excited to chat with you today about all this good stuff you have to share with us.

Sarah Anderson:
Yes, thank you so much for having me on. I'm so excited to talk with you because I feel like I've known you online for a long time and it's just so great to finally connect.

Krista:
That's one of my favorite things about having a podcast, is that there are these people like you who I've literally known, I'm saying an air quotes, was for years and have just never done the outreach I needed to do and now the podcast is a perfect excuse for us to finally have the talk. So I'm so glad to have you on today. Before we dive into all this good stuff about emails and creating an engaged a summit through sending emails, tell us a little bit about you and your business.

About Sarah's Business

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, so I am an email strategist and a copywriter. So I do all things email marketing and I work with a lot of coaches and service providers and course creators on emails, strategy and sales copies. So I've done a lot of welcome sequences. I do a lot of sales funnels, and I even work on summits for people. So I've had clients that are hosting summits that bring me on to work on the email side.

Krista:
Ooh, that is a great idea, by the way. I like the idea of having a pro copywriter there to help with all the copy stuff because it gets pretty intense.

Sarah Anderson:
There are so many emails in a summit.

Krista:
Yeah, it's a lot. So okay, you have a really unique take then having been the copywriter for summits. What else have you been a part of when it comes to summit, host, attendee, speaker?

Sarah's Experience with Summits

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, I've been all of them in summits. I've had experience as an attendee. I've been to lots of online summits because it's such a great way to learn stuff. There is so much amazing content that people are putting out there. And also as a copywriter, I love signing up and seeing what other people are doing with the email strategy, and even the sales strategy of summits of what they're offering for their pre-summit offer, what they're doing post summit.

Sarah Anderson:
I've also been a guest on several summits where I go and talk about email marketing, so I've been the Infopreneur Summit. And I did one where the client that I was helping with, she had me also as a speaker. And I'm doing another summit early 2020 about keys to conversions. And then I've even been a host of a summit, so last year another copywriter and I co hosted a summit. And that was an amazing experience just to see all that goes into it because when you're in an attendee you don't realize just how much work it is to put on a summit.

Krista:
I know we make it look too easy I think because you'd have no idea.

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, you just have some people, just outreach to some people, they'll do it all. You just do a couple of interviews and it's great. It's like, no.

Krista:
Right.

Sarah Anderson:
It's months of prep time to get it all put together.

Krista:
For sure. Okay. I love that you have all this experience because it's going to, I feel like it just helps you be able to come at this topic we're talking about in so many different ways because I'm sure you've been on the end of email copy that isn't that engaging for attendees. And then the summits that you're like, "Okay I'm being talked at but I can't engage with it."

Krista:
So let's start by talking a little bit about the part that email can have to play in creating an engaged summit audience. How can we focus our emails on that?

How to focus your summit emails on getting engagement

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, so email is so key to creating engagement with summit because basically people are signing up and then your emails are driving them to all of this content. And I really like to think about it in the multiple phases that you have of a summit. Emails have different goals at these different phases, and to break it down that way I think makes it easier to understand what you're trying to do with email.

Sarah Anderson:
So let's talk about some of the different areas of somebody's emails. So first of all, you have the promo period. This is when you're actually inviting people to your summit and you're announcing the summit and telling them what they're going to learn. And this is where you really want to highlight those benefits of what are they going to get out of coming to this summit? Why is this summit a can't miss? Because there's so many marketing and things going on, there's so many summit's going on. It's what makes yours different? And having that kind of your value proposition of your summit really dialed in clearly is so key when you're just promoting it to make it stand out.

Sarah Anderson:
Also in this promo period, you want to give your speakers some great summit swipe copy that they can share to their email list, because that's where the magic of summits come from, is getting all these other people involved.

Krista:
Oh my gosh. Okay. I love it. So the first thing I want to just highlight there is that when you were talking about this promotion period you brought up, we're not promoting a summit when we write these promo emails. The fact that it's a summit, that's cool, but you're not writing emails, pitching your audience and other people's audiences being like, "Here's a summit, come because it's going to be really cool."

Krista:
Like you highlighted, we're focusing on the benefits and the value proposition and I feel like that is our first chance to get people engaged because they want those things and are coming to our event because of it.

Sarah Anderson:
Exactly. And if you're not, it you're just like, "Here's a summit, you can get three video interviews for a week, every day." Just the content isn't what people want. It's what will the content help them do? And that's what you've got to, as you're coming up and planning your summit, think through that because that will make it so much easier to promote and get people excited about it. If they're excited from the beginning, they're going to be a lot more engaged throughout the summit also.

Krista:
For sure. So what is another phase that you like to break down.

Getting engagement during the pre-summit phase

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah. So then after you get someone that opts-in to the summit, they're like, "Yes, I'm going to grab my ticket." Then you have that pre-summit phase, because usually you're promoting a summit for a few weeks before it actually goes live. So this time it's like after someone registers, this is a chance to warm them up and introduce them to you as the host, introduce them to the speakers that they're going to meet, and also continue to give them a reason to show up. Really talk about what's in it for them, why is it worth it to spend this time coming to the summit. And then you're also doing some selling in that if you're going to presale. If you have a promo offer where you can get all the recordings for free, early bird stuff.

Sarah Anderson:
So you got to have to kind of mix all of this, and it's sort of a nurture sequence and a sales sequence and a show up sequence all in one.

Krista:
It is really intense, and I just recorded a podcast interview as a guest earlier today and that's something I realized as I was talking through that with her. Like, "Whoa." I have these templates that I know convert but they're intense. You are having to get all of those pieces to mesh really well into emails, it's almost like an art. So I love that you highlighted that.

Sarah Anderson:
Because there's so many calls to action that you can have someone do at this point in the summit. Join the Facebook group, buy the summit recordings, check out the speakers, follow us online. And you can't do it all at once, you have to space it out or else people will get totally overwhelmed and be like, "I don't want to open another email from you at all."

Krista:
Yeah, I have to do way too much work when I open one of these emails. Okay. So we have the promo period, the pre-summit, then what's next?

Getting engagement during your summit

Sarah Anderson:
Then there's actual someone emails. So this is where your summit is live and you are delivering the content and also trying to keep people engaged throughout. Because sometimes, this is the thing as an attendee, sometimes summits can get really overwhelming and bogged down. There's ones I've been to that they send two or three emails every day. Even if they're doing like four speakers a day, they send one for every single one and then they send a wrap up one, and it can be so much content that it's just I'm overwhelmed.

Sarah Anderson:
So you have to kind of balance that with what are your attendees willing to accept from you and what do you need to do as a host to actually get people coming and interacting with your speakers? So that's a really tough balance too, but you want to encourage people to show up and encourage participation. And you're also probably doing some selling as well if you're continuing to sell recordings or maybe you're holding off till you do like a post summit offer. But again, it's a lot of moving parts going on.

Krista:
Yeah. So I like that you brought that up because for when my summits are live, I send one email a day. But like you said, I've been a part of summits where they're sending two emails a day or like you said one for each speaker. Is there a strategy that you have in mind as a copywriter that is better than some of the others?

The number of emails to send per day during the summit

Sarah Anderson:
I think it depends on your personal preference, both as a business owner and a marketer and a person. Because me, even though I'm an email marketer and I understand that people need a lot of emails and reminders, I don't want more than two emails a day from your summit. If you're sending me multiple, multiple emails, I'm probably going to tune out. I might even unsubscribe, because I'm just not that interested.

Sarah Anderson:
There's also a lot of times summits have so many great speakers but you're as an attendee only interested in a few. So you don't need a reminder for every single person, because there might just be five of the 20 people that are speaking that you're like, "Oh yeah, I want to check that out."

Sarah Anderson:
So I think you can send out email reminders at the beginning of the day if you're like, "This is what we have going." And then at the end of the day if you want to wrap up, if you want to do two or you can just send one a day and let people know, "Here's what we're doing, here's how you can check it out." And make it simple for them. Don't make it another job for them to come to your summit.

Krista:
A job for them to sit and delete all your emails is what I'm thinking about. While you were talking, I was thinking something that could be worth experimenting with is maybe send two emails a day, but that second email only goes out to people who didn't open or didn't click or something like that as that reminder, rather than just pounding musical who are engaged with all of these emails.

Sarah Anderson:
Exactly, because there are people that are going to be super engaged and are really into what you're doing and are loving everything and are in the Facebook group, cheerleading and are super excited, taking it all in. And then there's people that are a little bit less engaged, and yeah, maybe give them an extra reminder. But if they're really engaged, don't keep pounding them. Like, "Here's the thing and you need to check out all these things, watch every presentation. It's going to be gone in a day, hurry up."

Krista:
I hate that. I really don't like, even as much as I love summits, I do really despise what you just brought up there. And really just hitting on the limited time thing, I feel it makes the summit more stressful for people than enjoyable when you're just pounding them with that time sensitiveness and making them feel like they need to go to every presentation. I love what you're saying here. We want to focus on engagement over pitching and overwhelming people.

Krista:
So I'm curious what specific strategies you have for keeping a summit audience engaged through email specifically?

Keeping your summit audience engaged through email

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, so again, we want to focus on the benefits to them. Where are they going to get out of coming to these presentations? What are they going to get out of actually engaging with this summit? Because people are really busy, and it's a big time commitment. Also know that people are not going to come to every single presentation in your summit, and that's okay and don't expect them, and don't write with the expectation that they should be doing that. Because, especially if you're doing something that's for business owners, we are so busy, probably you'd be lucky to get people coming in at some time every day to watch your summit unless they're super interested in the topic. But if they're a casual viewer and they're like most summit attendees, they're probably just going to check in on the ones that sounded interesting. So make them sound really interesting. That is something you can do with your emails too, highlight the benefits and takeaways that they'll get from each summit.

Sarah Anderson:
So this is a little copywriting trick that I like. It's something called fascinations, is this covering term. But basically what it is, is it's a little bullet points that you use to tease out big takeaways and you can write them in a way where it's highlighting stuff but it's not giving everything away. So it's teasing what they'll get from it, highlighting the big takeaway, but not just summarizing it. So you don't want to summarize your interviews or your presentations, but you want to give people an idea of what are you going to learn? What are you going to take away from this presentation? What are you actually going to get out of spending the 20 to 30 minutes or an hour watching this video?

Krista:
I like that because, yeah, it could take one of those points to make someone decide to click over and actually maybe engage in their first presentation that you have or that they'd been a part of. And then once they see how good that one is, that's all it takes for them to keep going and watching other ones.

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah. And the hard part of this is trying to write them all, especially if you have speakers that are recording it for you and you're like, "Oh, I don't know what's the best takeaway." But you can ask the speakers like, "What is the top takeaway from this?" And then write it from that. Or if you're doing an interview, take down your notes and after you do the interview and be like, "Oh that was so good. People are going to want to learn this." And you'll have lots of ideas that you can then tweak as you're writing the emails out.

Krista:
I like that a lot. So okay, for people listening, if you have my email template, I should just edit the email template and then you won't have to worry about it. But in my daily emails up until now, I've had, okay, here's the schedule for today. Click here to watch, click here to download the worksheet. But in that bullet point list, all I got to do is add a couple extras with some of those key takeaways. That is nice and easy.

Krista:
I also love that you mentioned to focus on the benefits, because it gets really easy as a host. You're focused on the logistics. You're focused on how everything is going to work, where people are going, but that's not what they care about. They care about what they're going to get out of it. So even those daily email where you're feeling like all you should send them is this schedule. If you hit on their benefits, it's going to make it a whole lot more likely that they'll be like, "Oh yeah, this is why I came here. This is what I need." And go interact with maybe in your Facebook group, watch presentations, whatever that is.

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, exactly, because there is a lot of logistics as running a summit. And I know as a summit host at a certain point you're just like so overwhelmed. There's so many things going on that you're just like, "I need to get this email out, this is what they need." But yeah if you take some time and think through that stuff before you get full on in summit mode and work through these email things ahead of time, that'll help to ease your stress and also make your attendees way more engaged and way more interested.

Krista:
For sure. Those tips are so great. Do you have any tips for making our emails that have the purpose of pitching still engaging? So we mentioned some of our emails in the sequence people get after they register are going to be for pitching. We probably want to mix some pitching into our daily emails. The emails that go out after the summit, you certainly wanted to be doing some pitching. How do we make those still engaging while getting our point across?

Making your emails engaging but still informative

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah. So those ones are such a big part of a summit. If you're doing all this work to create all this, drive all this traffic and get all these people engaged and then you want to sell them something, you don't want to just drop the ball and be like, "Okay the thing, buy it now. It's going to go away." Pound, pound, pound on that urgency.

Sarah Anderson:
So you can spend some time in these emails telling stories, especially if you have learned something through the summit or the summit really lines up well with something that you offer that maybe they're in the place that you were a year or two ago and you have found some solutions. And you can talk about some of the pain points that you were feeling at that point and make it feel really real for them and that will help them engage. Because if you call out how they're feeling and you help them see themselves in the copy, they're going to pay attention.

Sarah Anderson:
Because a lot of people aren't even doing that. They're just like, "Here's the offer. Here's when it's expiring, here's what it includes. Go buy it now." But if you can engage and tell a story and be like, "I was there too. This is what it felt like. I was struggling with this. Here's a way that I got through it. Here's something that might help you." And that's when you go into your offer and talk about the details, talk about what's included and talk about how they can buy it.

Krista:
I love that idea because when you're telling a story, it's really easy for your audience to put themselves right next to you and be like, "Oh, she's feeling what I felt. She's going to tell me how she got past it. How did she?" And maybe you do share a little bit of how you did it, but you have this offer for them that's just boom, it solves it for them right there. So I can see how that's so much more effective and would increase conversion rates and make people feel better about buying in the end as well.

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah. And you could also talk about the results. So if they want to be like you, you can talk about what they'll get after they go through this offer. So maybe if it was something that might've helped you when you wished that you'd had when you were just starting out. You can talk about how people that go through this can become X, Y, Z. Maybe it's a coaching thing and they become more confident, they get more clients and they feel better about what they're doing. So talk about the results too, not just the features of what's included, what they get, when they need to buy it by.

Krista:
Yes, yes. Oh my gosh, I'm really excited to go rework some of my stuff after this because it's such a good point. And I feel like writing straight pitch emails, that's easy, we can do that. But writing pitch emails that focus on the person and not the thing you're selling, so much more effective and so much harder to write. So I'm really glad you're bringing this up. In that so let's say we write these great emails, we're selling this thing well, we're telling stories, focusing on the results, the benefits, how can we make sure people are opening these emails?

Krista:
So let's even think about maybe the emails that are going out after the summit's over. You're doing the last chance for your all access pass at this point. They've been along with you for weeks during the promotion period during the summit. How do we make sure these people keep opening our emails?

How to ensure attendees are opening your emails

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah. This is such a good question because that's the thing with someone, you're sending so many emails and people are naturally going to taper off. That's totally normal. But something that you can do is keep making these emails fun and make them fun all throughout. And by that, by fun, I mean just putting in a gif, using some emojis, adding a photo. Just writing an email to a person from a person, writing it like a personal email, making it like an email that's something that you might send a friend. And also thinking about if you were writing the email, would someone that wasn't interested in the offer still enjoy it as an email?

Sarah Anderson:
I think that's the thing with engaging emails. Even if you're not interested in the offer, is there still a takeaway that you might like? And that's going back to the stories, where even if you're not wanting to buy the summit upgrade, you could still enjoy the story of seeing the behind the scenes of someone's business or seeing maybe the journey that they might be on and writing it to one person rather than like, "This is what everyone's getting. I'm Blasting you out. This is the last chance, buy it right now."

Sarah Anderson:
That kind of stuff gets really old really quickly. If you're going to do that time urgency stuff, I would not do it before the last day or last two days. You don't want to do it like, "There's a week to buy it. You better hurry up." No one cares.

Krista:
You're really right. You're very right. There are much more effective things we can focus on at that point and we should and it's going to make people feel better about opening your emails. When someone feels good when they open an email, they're going to want to do it again. So that just makes so much sense.

Krista:
Since we're talking about these emails that are going out after ... Actually a question I just got on my Facebook group this morning was from someone like, "What do I do with my subscribers after this summit?" She said, "I feel like 90% of them are just going to unsubscribe." And I will say that does not happen you guys. If you have a good connection with your attendees, it was an engaging summit, you're not going to see just this crazy painful drop-off.

Krista:
But Sarah, I'm curious as to what tips of you have for moving an attendee to an email subscriber and how we can keep building that relationship once the summit is over and avoid having that huge drop off in subscribers?

How to retain subscribers after the summit is over

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, definitely. And I know some subscribers there is a mix, there are some people that are just there for the summit and when it's done they're going to bounce. But there are a lot of people that it's their first intro to you and it's a chance to really let them get to know who you are and see like, "Oh, this person has something really great of value to offer me too."

Sarah Anderson:
Something that I would recommend is when you're getting set up for a summit, make sure that you have some tagging in place so that you can determine who of the summit attendees were already on your list and already know who you are and who are new to your list. And so then when the summit is over, you can segment out that section that is new to your list and send them a mini welcome sequence that is a chance to really introduce them and welcome them in. I mean you could send them a modified version of your actual welcome sequence. You could send them something just smaller, just a one or two emails to just be like, "Hey, thanks for coming to the summit. This is what you can look forward to moving forward."

Sarah Anderson:
And it depends too on how involved you've been as a summit host. Some summits, if you're interviewing, they get a really good chance to know who you are. Some summits, if you've got other people doing presentations, they might not know the host as well. So that would be a great time to introduce yourself in an email and just be like, "Hey, this is what I do when I'm not hosting this summit."

Sarah Anderson:
And also tie it back into the summit topic that they signed up for because obviously they're interested in that and it's probably related to something that you do in some way. So let them know how they can continue learning more and why they would want to stick around.

Krista:
So I love that you brought up the welcome sequence, and I think that's a really great idea. For my last few summits, I've sent out like, "Here's what's coming next after the summit has been over." But I think it would be even more effective to send them through a funnel. If you don't have a funnel, send them through whatever kind of welcome sequence you have up or make wine.

Krista:
So I'm curious if there are any key pieces that you think need to be included in the welcome sequence?

What should be included in your welcome sequence

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, so I can talk about some of my favorite welcome sequence emails that I would say. I love welcome sequences. This is my favorite topic, but you need to of course have something that introduces you and your brand. That is an essential one for a welcome sequence. So something that's like who you are, maybe how you got started, what you do and some of who you are as a person too. You're not just a business, especially a lot of us that are personal brands, you can bring a little bit more of who you are other than your business into that email and let them know some fun facts about you or even just a picture of you to know so they can put a face to the name.

Sarah Anderson:
I also love when people include some extra value in their welcome sequence. So that can be another great resource you have. It could be your top blog post, it could be if you're doing a podcast, something like that, that you're putting out every week. That is great content that they can enjoy and get to learn more from you.

Sarah Anderson:
And then another email that is great to include your welcome sequence is an email that creates a connection with you and your subscribers. So this could be asking them to reply to the email and starting a conversation one-on-one. It could be asking them for feedback, especially after summit, you could ask them for feedback. What did you think of the summit? What did you like, what would you like to see if we do it next year? And continue to start that conversation with people and make email more of a two way conversation instead of just you blasting out emails to people and never encouraging that engagement back and forth.

Krista:
For sure. I love that. Thank you for breaking that down. That was a little bonus thing that I had to ask you about. So based on what we've talked about today, what is your biggest takeaway you want listeners to get from what we talked about with increasing attending engagement through email?

Your biggest takeaway

Sarah Anderson:
I think that the biggest takeaway is that summit emails are so important to the overall success of your summit. And I know that there is a lot to manage as a host of a summit, but you don't want to let the emails fall to the end of your list or just phone them in when you're just super stressed. Like, "Okay, let me just knock this out. This is the info, this is what you need. Okay, here you go."

Sarah Anderson:
Actually spend some time working through and thinking about it as an attendee, putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about the emails that you'd want to be sending and that you'd want to be receiving as an attendee and think about where they're at at each point in the summit experience. What they're feeling and how you can create emails that will match up with that and hit them in a really good way so it's not just like, "Oh my gosh, another email."

Krista:
Yeah. Like I said earlier, it's easy to write pitch emails when it comes to a summit. It takes a lot more effort to create a connection, to create engagement. So I'm so glad you came on and talked to us a little bit about that. So I'd love to know where people can go to learn more about you and what you offer. And I know you have an awesome Open Rate Checklist that I would love to hear more about as well.

Sarah Anderson:
Yeah, so you can find me online. My website is Sarahmarieanderson.com and that's my home base and that's where you can also find the Open Rate Booster Checklist. That is on my home page as well and that is my checklist. It's got five ways that you can increase your open rates and get more people reading your emails every time you send them out, which is awesome.

Sarah Anderson:
I also have a YouTube channel. You can find me on YouTube, just search Sarah Marie Anderson and you'll find me there. I post weekly videos with email marketing tips and copywriting tips and it's fun over there. And then I'm also on Instagram @sarahmarieglobal, so come by and say hi on Instagram too.

Krista:
Thank you so much for being here today, Sarah. I will link to all that in the show notes and I loved all of this awesome stuff.

Sarah Anderson:
Thanks so much, Krista.

Krista:
I hope you loved this episode with Sarah. Everything she said was such a great reminder that it's easy for us as summit hosts to focus on what's next. What do we want our attendees to do, what actions should they take, and telling them that. When really what we need to be focusing on is why they should, what are they going to get from taking those actions? Whether it is pitching them your all access pass, getting them to watch our presentation, getting them to join their Facebook group. We need to focus on why they want to take each and every step. So I hope that is a great takeaway from you that you can start to implement right away.

Krista:
Now go out and take action to plan, strategize, and launch your profitable online summit.

 

About Sarah

Sarah Marie Anderson is an email strategist + copywriter for course creators, coaches, and service providers with bold digital brands. She helps ambitious female entrepreneurs go from stressing over what to send to their email list to having powerful emails lifted off their shoulders.

Instagram | YouTube | Open Rate Booster Checklist

 

Resources

 

View related episodes >>

Close

50% Complete

Free: Virtual Summit Prep Timeline

Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.