Making Online Summits Work with Nathan Wrigley and Anchen le Roux

Nathan Wrigley and Anchen le Roux - webinar slide

Watch Cory Miller in a conversation with Nathan Wrigley and Anchen le Roux about effective online event hosting from planning to execution.

Are you planning to host your first online event in the near future? Has your experience hosting online events approached the level of a small fiasco? Watch Cory Miller in a conversation with Nathan Wrigley (WPBuilds) and Anchen le Roux (Simply Digital Design) as they discuss setting up and managing online events that work. Learn the ins and outs of effective online event hosting from planning to execution with Post Status Live.

About Nathan Wrigley

Nathan Wrigley from WPBuilds

Nathan runs the WP Builds podcast as well as The Page Builder Summit, an online event for WordPress page builder users. He has been building websites on WordPress since 2015

You can find Nathan over on his podcast/website at wpbuilds.com, on Twitter, Facebook Group, and on the Post Status Slack channel.

About Anchen le Roux

Anchen le Roux from Simply Digital Designs

Anchen runs Simply Digital Design, a boutique studio that focuses on Website and Summit site Development on the Day Rate Model. She’s been an avid contributor to the WordPress community for the last 6 years. Besides organizing WordCamps, speaking, and contributing to Core, she loves hosting and producing Summits and offers a Build Your Website Like a Pro course to those who are new to WordPress.

Recently she launched a new venture with her design partner called Simply Stunning Sites to help solve a need for more helpful page, funnel and summit templates.

Machine Transcription 🤖

Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to another Post Status Live webinar. I've got my friend Nathan Wrigley and my new friend Anchen le Roux we're going to be talking about online summits. And but first I wanted to thank our sponsor for this particular webinar, which is Wordfence the awesome people over there.

Mark, Kathy the team we're fans do a great job and we appreciate their partnership and sponsorship at a Post Status. Okay. I want to dive right in, cause I've got a lot of questions for you two but you two are the pros you're PR you're probably mostly on the other side of this. Okay. First, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started? And then now collaborate in this concept. It's probably not brand new, but it's this phenomenon I've seen for sure. Particularly in the online space about gathering big crowds, white launch things and all that. But could you tell us first, we'll go with Anchen could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with doing online summits? And we'll go with Nathan next.

Introductions

Anchen le Roux: [00:01:01] Okay. So, yes. We're a studio owner here in South Africa. I ran Simply Digital Design and we do like direct talk product projects or more product task type websites. And I organized WordCamps for so I've been the lead organizer for WordCamp Johannesburg for two years and then 2019, I decided I want to try and do like a word online type of. Similar to WordCamp, but yeah. And then I ran the, I called it the WP Virtual Summit. So, but it was just small, but yeah, I suppose I really enjoyed it and kind of loved a lot of fun doing it. So yeah, that's how I started on the whole summit thing. And then, yeah, I think I'll let Nathan tell how we actually decided to start working together.

Cory Miller: [00:01:50] I love that you've got a background with being a WordCamp organizer. Thank you so much for doing that. I've had some of my best friends in the world have been WordPress people. And then subset is WordPress organizers and I'm like, I've been to a ton of them sponsored with previous companies, spoken, helped out as best I can, but never, ever wanted to organize one only because I know how much work it is. I mean, and so with your background on that, that just makes a natural to natural, like transitioning. Cause you've got the heart of that. You can't be a WordCamp organizer and not have this huge heart for people and wanting to help people connect.

And so, I want to say, bless your heart. Cause I have a friend of mine she's doing a WordCamp. And I said, I hope you still, like, not because of, anything to do with the foundation or anything like that. It's just that I hope you still like WordPress afterwards because it is so much thankless, often thankless, labor of love.

But I love that you have that background now translating to online spaces. So thanks for that background, Nathan.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:02:54] Excuse me, I don't have that background. I've never I've participated only, I'm a bit like you, Cory, I've attended many of these things, but I've got a lot of friends who do organize and help out and they realize just how much work it was.

So one day that will be in my in my book of things to do. But yeah, my name's Nathan Wrigley. I most recently, I think the thing that I've done is I've built up this podcast called excuse me, WP Builds, which is a podcast that we put out a couple of times a week. We do live shows and things like that, all in the WordPress space.

And that's kind of how I have been interacting with the WordPress community most recently for the last five or six years. And then I attended WordCamp Europe in 2019. I actually went along with Dan, maybe in the Big Orange Heart crowd, formerly WP & Up at the time.

And I was doing a podcast, the set of podcast recordings for them. And you know how it goes, you sort of finish off the daily bit and then you have your social. But I think that's when I actually first met Anchen although. I've definitely seen Anchen in Facebook groups and things like that, but that was the first time that we ever met. And then by some good grace Anchen decided to basically predict the whole COVID thing by doing her summit a whole year or so in advance of everybody having to go online. So she'd got all this stuff under her belt, and then when COVID hit, I was keen to do an online event. It just felt like something that I would really like to get my teeth into.

And if I'm right and I think I just reached out and said, shall we do a summit together and more or less, we came up with the topic, which was something that we were both fond of in this case. It was WordPress page builders. And she said, yes. And that was it.

Getting into Online Summits

Cory Miller: [00:04:45] Now, this is your first go round though, Nathan, right? I mean, I know you've been doing a lot of online stuff. That's how you and I actually met us there. Big Orange Heart I'm on the board now and you interviewed me for the Big Orange Heart podcast, but this particular summit you're talking about, which I want you to give us details about that wasn't your first go round either.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:04] No we, so we just recently finished off. So this was about a week and a half ago. We finished off the second version of what we're calling the page builder summit. And we ran it previously. In October last year. So that was the first go. And then a couple of weeks ago was the second go.

Pretty confident we're going to have a third go. But it, I honestly there's so much to learn and fortunately Anshan had learned most of it because she's got a, she's put a lot of time into developing those set of skills outside of WordPress. She's made doing some, it's a big part of her. Kind of daily job and what have you.

So there was all I had to do really was just embody everything that ancient told me and not to do anything that ancient told me not to do. It was fast.

Cory Miller: [00:05:56] Okay. Well, I want to dive into your, all your experiences around these, but I want to start with you first so Anjan for instance, you started with in-person and then you came to online summit kind of versions of that, but. Why what prompted that? And what are some of the I'd love to hear from both of you on this is what are some of the reasons to do an online type summit?

Now, last year we've had covered everything had to move basically online, but I love online. I love it. My sport, I still like it. In-person and hugging people and being able to sit knee to knee and sharing a dinner for instance like that. But I am definitely more, I enjoy right here. I get to go sleep in my own house at night.

See my family don't have to get on planes and there's of course the costs, but why should someone consider doing an online summit?

Anchen le Roux: [00:06:52] So the reason behind my first summit was especially I wanted to focus on. Especially full the African continent, because there was an eye on that. At that stage, there was a lot of WordCamp starting in some of the smaller countries, but there wasn't, they didn't really have the access to go to the bigger word camps.

So I started off. Like, giving access to more speakers and things to people that can travel. So that was the goal back then before covered. And then there's like, I knew quite a few people from WP elevation and I had all these, I knew all these people, like, these awesome speakers and I thought it would be so, yeah, just, I think the accessibility to these PE people was my main. Yeah. Before COVID reason.

The Benefits of Online Event Hosting

Cory Miller: [00:07:39] Yes. I mean, and I've heard that specifically, like with WordCamps, some people can't afford to, the hotel and the travel expense to travel to a big city or somewhere where a WordCamp is. So I've heard that over and over, and that's such a great reason. Nathan, in the marketing space that what's interesting about your story is I've always tried to avoid in person organized like a just confess, but, and I love this space, but you went, from this to eventually you said, I think you want to do in person, but what are some of the benefits you see?

I mean, it, I know off the top of my head, it's a great way to build a brand and an audience to start. But what are your thoughts around why someone would think about doing an online summit?

Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:21] So I guess one of the nice things is you really can do it without having expertise in things that I really don't have expertise in, like, booking actual hotels or venues and organizing a variety of different meals and things like that.

There's absolutely none of that. It's very straightforward to just put up a website. And obviously if you're playing around with WordPress, this is an area, presumably you have some interest in as a whole host of different ways that you can do that. So. It allows you to manage a fairly big event.

If you play your cards right. With just your laptop, you can, you can pretty much do it wherever you happen to be. There's quite a lot of work in the lead up time. Don't get me wrong. It's not like you just sort of wake up on the morning of the summit and de it off. It goes as there's more to it than that, but it does allow you to do it in the same way that you build a website.

The other nice thing I think is just meeting new people. One of the unexpected consequences for me of these previous two summits is I've met a whole different bunch of people than I had done in my sort of WP Builds endeavors. That crowd is many of them did come along for the ride, but it was a whole new bunch of people who came along and presented themselves and were.

Incredibly friendly. And I think it's fair to say that we'll be, I'll be keeping in touch with quite a lot of them. So the friendships that you build up, the experiences that you gain, it's quite nice for me at least to do something where there's a bit of a deadline, because often I'm kind of moving away from doing client work.

The deadlines are self-imposed for me. I kind of have to make things make deadlines up for myself. This there's a very firm line in the sand the day that it'll can I go library? Yeah, there's just, there's no backing out of that. And it was also, it was quite nice to collaborate with ancient, that was a really nice part of it as well.

Because typically I deal with, or have dealt with clients and the relationship with clients can sometimes be a little bit tense, but maybe I've made ancient tense. I don't know, but we haven't fallen out yet. Anyway.

Building Comunity Can Be a Good Business Model

Cory Miller: [00:10:22] Well, and so when you say Nathan, you're kind of transition and also for you Anchen, it you're both kind of transitioning or having online summits take a bigger part of what you do professionally to earn money. Both of you are kind of in that same bucket, right? You really enjoy this. You're making money off of it. It's a thing that you obviously enjoy the community aspect of it.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:10:46] Do you want to go first?

Anchen le Roux: [00:10:48] So in my case, I kind of made it part of the website design. I offer summit websites. I've got with the whole day rate model, I've got like a summit in a day, and a summit in three days and things.

So I do offer that as a service. We both, both do the website. We do the branding around that the social media posts around that. So it pretty much became an offer so,

Cory Miller: [00:11:13] yeah, that's great. Okay. Could you all, Nathan, the answer to, would you mind putting your site where you do that in the chat, and we'll put it in the show notes as well or you can tell me and I'll type it into it, TRT

Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:25] you do that Anchen and yeah, so my story is a little bit different in that I've only done these two summits with Anshan. I don't have any expertise beyond that. And I think it's fair to say that ancient really does have a sort of thriving ecosystem of smaller summits medium-sized summits and what have you. So I've just tagged along for the ride on these last two, but for me the content side of things has been more podcasting and doing live video.

Usually well, predominantly about WordPress and I think that was quite a nice. That was the fact that I've been doing that for a number of years made. I think the ability to do the first page builder summit a little bit easier because we were able to communicate with some of the speakers.

And fortunately I had. Had quite a few quite a number of them on the podcast already. So the outreach became a little bit easier because of the podcast that I've been doing and the people that I'd spoken to. But for me, it's, it is it's brand new. It's only, I'm only two down. I don't have a, I don't have a business running summits. 

Cory Miller: [00:12:25] Gotcha. Gotcha. But I love that having been interviewed and listened to your podcast and what you do, you've got a great flare for community Nathan. So, this seemed like an Even bigger live version of what you might do from a podcast standpoint and like your WP builds and things like that.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:43] The interesting thing about it is that we chose something which was a fairly well, it's not that niche, but it's a niche within WordPress. So not everybody uses a page builder. I think more people are becoming curious about it as time goes on, but also it enfolds the whole Guttenberg thing as well.

So blocks. Got dragged in more this year than they had previously. And I think that feels to me like the most sensible way of approaching something like this. If you were to mention may disagree, cause she obviously did her Mo more broad WordPress summit, but there's, to me that if you're going to embark on doing a summit, whatever niche you're in, whether it's WordPress or automobiles or whatever it would be, it feels like a good way to go is to fine tune that audience and make sure that you're not trying to.

To preach to absolutely everybody pick something in this case, page builders, there are other summits about various other things in WordPress, but that's a good way to go. And although the audience would be smaller, I think your likelihood of capturing the audience is greater.

Cory Miller: [00:13:42] That's a really good point. So how did you two decide on page builder, this particular topic? Whoever wants to go first. Yeah,

Anchen le Roux: [00:13:52] I think Nathan just came to me with the idea of page builders. I thought it was a great idea. So I don't know Nathan, why, when that first no landed for you,

Nathan Wrigley: [00:14:03] but y'all yeah, I think for me it was just the fact that Gothenburg so rewind we're about, probably about a year ago that we started thinking about it the first one.

So we had it for few and the. It was just, it just curious to me that everybody, these seem to be talking about page builders and no matter where I went, the conversations about template dot PHP, the singular template file and all of that seems to be dying away. And everybody seems to be doing these kinds of things with easier to use tools.

And although people disagree about which one is there. Their favorite or the best or the most lean or whatever it might be. It feels like the community's moving in that direction. And in fact, the whole internet is moving in that direction. You've got SAS products like Wix and Squarespace, which are firmly in the SAS camp and they are making great inroads into the website building market.

And people want these tools, but they don't necessarily have the time. To go out and explore, what does this one do? What does this one do? How does this one behave in a different way? And so by putting more or less 40 people together in one week, All of whom have got a bit of an area of expertise, then it allows you in a few hours to pick up on something, which probably you wouldn't have discovered before, whether that's an actual technique for building a block or whether it's a little technique for doing setting a layout out in beaver builder or Elementor or whatever it might be.

There's just lots and lots to learn. And it was, it went down really well.

Cory Miller: [00:15:34] That's great. Yeah, I signed up by the way. Cause two years ago when Lyft, my. Former company. I think I had for 10 years, people that would help me build websites and then I had to do it myself. And I really loved the phenomenon of these page builders send me, so I came back to all of it and now I have to build my own sites.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:52] It's a lot easier now than it would have been just a few years ago. And that the pace of that doesn't seem to be slowing down the innovation is. Yeah, unbelievably, it's very quick. You only in the last couple of weeks, we've had an entire new ecosystem launching with this new builder called bricks.

And I was checking out their Facebook group just today. And I think they've managed to gather an audience of about 2000 in a matter of weeks. It's incredible. Yeah.

Cory Miller: [00:16:14] Okay. So Anchen I want to switch over to you and ask some of the nuts and bolts of things. So, Nathan said a second ago, small, medium, and large, and just looking at some of the projects you've done on your site there.

What can one? Okay, so we start with an audience like Nathan was saying what's the steps that you typically. Walk someone through when they're like, want to do an online summit.

Anchen le Roux: [00:16:39] Awesome. Yeah. So I first ask what the goal is. So all the goals are because they can be a lot of different goals for the summit.

Like in our case, we were very much for the community and things, but mainly if you do a summit for, as a marketing tool, it's to build your list because it's a, like a crowdsourcing things, all the different speakers promote. You get access to quite a wide range of people that you wouldn't normally do.

You build your list. So that could be your goal. You could maybe want to launch something on the back of it. It's a really awesome tool to launch something because you're engaging these people for five days. I know you like intimately, and then if you launch something on the back of that's like very it's a very engaged audience.

So yeah. Then it all depends on that. Some people purely want to do this Hamad as a to make money from so you can sell that will access passes and you can actually really met. Make money from that. So it, yeah, so it just all depends on the different things, because that will, that will my English if you're going to use all ax parts in that, then there's different take for that and things like that.

So, so that's the first thing. And then, yeah, then just we usually need about 90 days to get everything done. So, there's, we've got like a like a task list for about 350 different things that needs to be done over these three months. So it just depends on yeah, exactly what, which of those things they're going to include

Cory Miller: [00:18:11] Let me go back to one thing you said, which is the make money part in the all access pass.

So I'm curious, so like, With the page builder summit. And I forgive me, I'm blanking on it, but so like, is that all access model, the way to monetize? Attend 10 for free and then pay for recordings or something. How do you usually see that on TV?

Anchen le Roux: [00:18:32] Yes. So how they it's usually pay for recordings and then you do try and add some bonuses in, so getting some bonuses from the speakers, if that contribute and then things like whatever you can add, if you can do like audio files or you can have a workbook that like transcripts, anything that you can add, maybe networking sessions we had.

This time, like co-working at networking sessions, so things to add value to the group to do not just have the recordings.

Cory Miller: [00:19:02] Yeah. That's fantastic. When you said 90 days and I'd love to hear your comments to Nathan. Is it, is that a good window of promotion to like enough time to properly promote something where you get the max value?

I've done one days and two days. Maybe three days. We did some that were pretty, pretty longer after I think it's, but not to the scale or formality that you all have done these. But what's an appropriate window of time to properly promote something like this.

Anchen le Roux: [00:19:30] Well, you actually don't need a too long window, two and a half to three weeks is actually good enough.

We found that when you start earlier, because it's the tape like it's like with a webinar, people don't tend to sign up too early. The closer it got. The zero. It got like, even like the day before, even the week off, we got more registrations and we would have two weeks before. I think Nathan can maybe add to that.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:58] I think the 90-day project encapsulates the entire project. So that's kind of the moment that you switch your attention from zero to something. So you begin outreach is, I mean, many people do the. Do the opposite, instead of outreach they ask people to submit speaker submissions and what have you and sponsor submissions.

We do the opposite. We go out and reach out to the people that we would like on and that's been working really well. But so there's a lot to do, there's, you've got to get. From commitments from people that they're going to give a talk, you've got to make sure that they're aware of everything that they've got to submit.

You've got to ask them the questions about, are they willing to provide something to add? So this monetized all access pass and it all gets tabulated in spreadsheets. And what have you. And then of course, you've got to re get the content from them, ensure that it's up to scratch, return it. If it's not get another copy back then, in our case, you have to do the sort of video editorial stuff.

So we add sponsorship links into the video, to the videos. Got to be edited and ancient or spends a lot of time putting the, what we call the power pack. So it's everything combined into this one, all access pass, you pay one fee and you get access to apps that you have everything. And there's a, there's an awful lot that goes into that.

So 90 days is it's a whole bunch of little tasks. Like I mentioned said 350. It kind of feels like I did about four of those and cheated. 346, but there is a lot to do. And so the 90 day thing is everything from start to finish. And I feel like the promotion window is kinda like the last three weeks when you've kind of happy that you've got most of it ready to roll.

I mean, there's bits sort of hanging that haven't been tied off yet, but most of it you're confident. Okay. We've got 90% of the speakers, submissions in everything seems to be ticking along nicely. Let's promote it. Yep.

Cory Miller: [00:21:51] What do you think you need in terms of audience to do a an existing audience? Like for instance, for you, Nathan, you've been doing this for a while, consistently showing up for people, you all have a thought about size or. An audience to promote to something to get it started. And what do you think that minimum or what do you think that kind of looks like.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:22:12] you know what, the more that I think about this, the more the number is of no importance. I mean, obviously at some point the number matters, but I genuinely don't know what that number is. So. Clearly, if you're in a certain, like, I dunno, let's say you're in the Minecraft niche or something like that, or you're into gaming. I would imagine that you're at your aspirations are going to be bigger than ours because ours is a subset of people who use a sub-service CMS.

So, I don't honestly think you need to have enormous numbers to make it work. I just think you need to have something which is compelling. My, my understanding with podcasts and this wisdom does not come from me. And I don't know if it's wise in any case, but. My understanding is really, if you've got anything over a thousand people, you can make it work.

You can make days and weeks and months of effort work. If you can reach out to a thousand people successfully. And I don't mean that they all convert. I mean that you just. Have a thousand people that you can speak to now that may be a disagree disagreeable number to some people they might have higher aspirations, or they might think that's a little bit too grandiose, but yeah we don't, we hadn't really obsessed too much about the numbers.

I don't think we got too worried about that. Did we mention, obviously it's quite, yeah. Nice to have big numbers. And we were lucky that we did have fairly large audience, but I don't know that there is a number, I guess you've got to just. Examine what it is that you're doing and think, is this a popular thing or am I really niching down on something that I'm just curious about?

Cory Miller: [00:23:49] Interesting. Do you have another commentary on that?

Anchen le Roux: [00:23:51] Yeah. So I've done summits with people that are really small it's like. 200, 300 people on their list, like really small, but it, so like I've mentioned before, it depends more on your networking or the people that you have on. So, there's one person I did one for had like a really small list, but she had relationships with all these larger speaker or speakers of larger lists.

So she had it at the end. I think she had two, two and a half thousand people on her summit. So has she grown less from something like 200 or 300 to two and a half thousand just because of her relationships with these people? So that's, I think that's the whole thing about summits is that it's not about your email, is that much as it is about who, and you can get to them

Cory Miller: [00:24:42] You have a multiplying effect. When you have a speaker come in that they're bringing their platform and audience too.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:24:48] Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a really good point. Again, in the WordPress space, there are some fairly there are some people who have more notoriety than others let's say.

And the same would be the case in any sphere, I mean, if you were doing some kind of. Aeronautics kind of thing. And you could somehow get Elon Musk to talk with you for an hour. My expectation is that, it's a home run. Whoo. But yeah, I guess that's a surefire way to make your summit more successful would be to locate the people who appear to have the most, to say and audience seem to be attuned to what they're saying.

And then we put a, like a schedule page together in a speaker list. And in the run up to the summit, we have a fairly. Straightforward page, which is just the list of all the speakers and that, that seems to work quite well. We present what the topic is that they're talking about who they are a photograph and then they can sign up.

We'll be informed about it. And that works really well.

Cory Miller: [00:25:42] Okay. If you just kind of look and take off WordPress for a second, just in general, when you go online, summits would be so good for blank. What do you think about like we're in tech and post status members are obviously in WordPress, under tech.

But I think this has an opportunity with way broader than we probably saw that in last year. But when we talk about the online summit conversation, do you have. Industries or niches or people, groups, or even that you're like that they should do an online summit. Is there any kind of any come to mind?

Nathan Wrigley: [00:26:18] My thoughts on that are obviously the fact that you've got the screen is incredibly helpful, so I was just thinking there, what if I want it to be to knitting or something? I don't need it, but if I was into knitting, you could totally do that. Obviously something like car mechanics might be a little bit more difficult because you've got to, you have to really refine the video and get underneath the hood and all of that kind of stuff.

But I would say anything where you can. Meet face to face, communicate, share screens and all of those kinds of things. And a point that you raised earlier, which we haven't really come back to is I think in the future, we're going to have a hybrid. Kind of event in that I really can't see a word camp of a major scale in the future.

Let's say a word camp London, or a WordCamp us, or a word com EDU. Now that we've kind of broken down the geographical barrier and you were saying, Corey, that, it's not really in your bag to get on a plane is all that often. And it's just, it's a bit Fathy, but I think in the future, any event where there's real people gathering.

In a hotel or a conference center there's more or less going to have to be an online component. So yeah, there's going to be a kind of like a hybrid nature to it. It could be as simple as putting a camera at the back end, staring across the auditorium or whatever, but yeah, honestly, I would imagine if you spent 10 minutes thinking of a hundred different things that you could do with some it's about literally randomly coming up with topics, I'm pretty sure that 99 of them, you could carry off if you thought enough about it,

Cory Miller: [00:27:54] you got to my question. I have the feature here and I love that. And there might be some people that, well, to your point earlier on don't have financial means or whatever to get somewhere. And the others that like me is just would rather be accounts for data.

So I think that is so interesting about the future. We saw some of that, like, you had kind of some live streams before COVID pandemic hit and things like that, or they'd offer a lot of strain, but it seems like. But w if there is a PO pauses there that came through the pandemic, is it accelerated some of this, like the need to have another option?

That's out there to do that. What about you on Anchen? I'm curious what you see for the future, too.

Anchen le Roux: [00:28:35] Yeah. Well, I was still thinking about the different groups, but yeah, I'm in a lot of Facebook groups for summit. So, and this literally everything like. Anything, like you mentioned the knitting, there's a lot of craft summits there's, especially in the education platform and churches, lots of like women in churches using churches. Basically anything that you can think of, anything that could ever have like a in-person thing do dental.

They try to do a virtual summit last year. So, yeah. So, yeah. I can't think about anything else hope for the future. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:29:17] Could I just interrupt? I'm sorry. One of the things that I've been quite curious about is the kind of like. Over the last year, it would seem a lot of money has gone into developing.

Interesting new ways to try to make these events a little bit, perhaps more like the real world. So there's a laundry list now of platforms, which a bit apple had this term back in the day called skeuomorphism and it was trying to make something in the re like apple calendar, tried to look like a notepad. It actually had the, sort of the fake stitching along the binding and all of that kind of stuff. And he was trying to make things that were real look real on the screen. And a lot of these platforms are going down that route. That they're trying to pretend that there's a table over there and there are four seats around the table and you just drop your little icon in and all of a sudden you can only communicate with the other three people.

You can approach that table and look in the background. You can listen to what those people are saying, but you can't interrupt until a seat becomes available. And then. Does the main stage and all of these kinds of things. And there's some other platforms which you've gone totally in the opposite direction.

They've gone all eight bit Commodore 64 and they've invented platforms yet. Cory's Whoo. And you can wander around in this eight bit world and enter doors a bit like. I don't know, a cheap version of doom or something like that. And in there is the thing that you want to see. If you don't show up to the correct event at the right time, if you don't move your little icon across the corridor, into the right room, you miss it.

It's just extraordinary, all these interesting technologies. And it seems like VR is getting involved in this as well. People are putting headsets on and, staring up and down and just. As you wander past people, that conversation comes louder and as they walk past you, the conversation fades away.

And all of these really curious things for me, We've got this really low fire approach where it's just, it's a website with prerecorded videos and it works really well, but I can see all these different SAS platforms trying to carve out a niche for themselves. And in the future, these hybrid events of real world and AR and whatever complicated tools come up in the future, I feel that's a, it's a really burgeoning market.

Cory Miller: [00:31:32] Well, okay. You talked about Commodore 64 and you're like hitting all my childhood thing. So now I got to geek out. So I bought on that note, you got clubhouse, that's out there, kind of with the audio space and then Twitter spaces. And honestly, I've been on clubhouse twice. I don't know if I have been on Twitter spaces, but we're doing something with post status here this week that I want to jump on and just explore it because I love exploring new platforms or technology and ways to do things.

But you said VR. And so Christmas time a colleague of mine had mentioned you need to go get a an Oculus think it's wrapped the two. Yeah. And a wholly encapsulated here. Note kind of tethered to a. Hardware or anything, it's all here. And that was the first time I was like, this is a different experience.

Something here, we're hitting some kind of like inflection points on this, where I think the technology is going to really take off. And so I had my kids who are eight and six. They love it. They are just indigenousness to it. My wife and I got on and we started looking around and I'm afraid of Heights anyway.

And for some reason I thought let's go to the top of a skyscraper and I was on the floor in my house. On my rug looking over the side and we ended up getting a little motion sick and had to go to bed early, but that is so compelling because the VR side of this acceleration brings this conversation with online summits and the bridge to in-person.

A little bit more into that than just like right now, I can just see you on a screen. And there is a virtual reality component to this too, but it'd be totally different if I can, since Nathan is sitting here and options here and I can, just like in real life, that's so interesting. You bring those things up.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:15] I don't know if you saw this week. In Google maybe it was last week in Google IO, they had this new technology and annoyingly I've forgotten the name of it, but it's this, you it's basically, you sit in front of this screen, but the, they play with light. And again, don't ask me to explain it, but they play with light and they have in front of your three dimensional projection.

So it's not projected onto a surface. It's somehow this 3d three-dimensional representation of the person opposite you, such that people who see it kind of convinced that the person is just sitting behind a pane of glass in front of them. And, you can move a bit left and a bit run so long as you don't go too far that distortion and that you're fooled into thinking that they are a 3d, it's almost like holograms and things.

And this is. You got to think just the beginning of this stuff. And it's a bit weird and it's a bit strange and, but rewind 10 years, it would have been so weird to say, everybody's going to be walking around with a star Trek tricorder in their hand. No, we don't want anything to do with that. That's too weird. And now we're all doing it and it just, it moves on right.

Cory Miller: [00:34:23] Absolutely. Well, okay. You answered a question, man. Okay. Now we kind of licked off into the feature and geeked out about technology. But you answered the question I had, which is live or prerecorded. I think you just answered that, which is prerecorded? Or Anchen, your clients, are they prerecorded or live?

Anchen le Roux: [00:34:44] So most of them prerecorded, there are some people that do live, but then they usually do like a one or two day event. I think doing a five day event live would be a little, very hectic. Yeah, we prefer preview. Pulled it, I mean, it's just a lot of the, admin and take things eliminated.

And it's also like, Nathan always say it's there, but the base version. So it's the edited version of the presentation. So it just makes for a better experience. We do have live chat. So. To do, bring in that engagement the bed. And we also do have some live events or some live webinar type things as well.

Cory Miller: [00:35:23] I might do it live person. Brian who founded Post Status was very much a prerecord because they didn't want anything going wrong during the live thing. But I have not. Put on, eight hours or whatever, it might be a program over several days and all those, for most of the stuff I've done that been multi-day has been one, maybe two percenters during that time.

So I could totally see you got a longer event minimizing the tech. I do probably 15 to 20 hours of. One hour webinar, live webinar content, and I happen to love it. Cause you were talking about deadlines earlier, Nathan. You can't be perfect. You have to just like, if you're lying, we have to go live.

No, you can't be perfect. But where does that come into with some of the recording stuff? Is it okay? We're live, pretend we're live, goes through conversation. And then second part of that question would be on that live chat on gin. Do you then are the presenters in the live chat there?

Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:20] I'll do the first bit, if that's all right.

And then maybe the second chat bit. We don't do live. Like we're doing it now. We literally thrash out a subject and we let them record it with no interaction from us. And then we receive the video from them and then edit it, sometimes they've pressed go. Obviously they've then arrived at their chair and got everything ready. And that's in the video that they've sent us. So we edited it all out, get it so that the beginning is the best bit and clip it before the end. And what have you, because it's not there. They're not necessarily experts in this, but some of them are amazing.

They've obviously spent a lot of time figuring out how to do this. So then we edit it. We add our own bit. At the beginning, we had a preamble where we. Either Anshan or I, we split it 50 50, introduce the speaker. So it's, we literally record ourselves straight to camera, introduce the speaker. And then we add that in intersperse it with advert, some jingles to do with the actual summit and what have you.

It works well that way, but it's curious because some people are like you, they would rather do it live because they know that it's one hour in time. In that hour, you're going to do it. And that's it. Whereas other people are, they're very fastidious and they want to get it right. And the idea of doing it live and having the potential for it to go wrong, the power fails, or the slide doesn't work, or the website stops loading or whatever, that's terrifying.

And so it's a bit of a mixture, but I do think you get the best version is just an as an illustration, we had quite a few speakers this year who submitted multiple times. Because they'd submitted it and were happy with it. And then they just thought actually there was something that the product got updated about.

Let's do it again. They did it all again and sent it again. And so, it's swings and roundabouts live is quicker, but more error prone. But I think you get a, potentially, you got a better experience with these kinds of things, if you pre-record it.

Anchen le Roux: [00:38:19] Yeah. So we do ask our speakers to be live in the chat, so they did everyone did show up live. So that, and that really, I think that adds a lot to the whole experience. People are because it's just, we don't try and stream it, even though the record is stream the recording, you can literally go and play.

So people are at different stages, but we just, we add the text. Like a subset takes two and say just when you ask a question, just make sure that the speaker understand where you're at in the video. And yeah, w we had positive feedback from almost everyone, like most speakers are very happy to do that because I could just show up, that they're not on screen when they show up and from people as well, because sometimes people are a bit light and then they miss the start of the video. So overall we always get some people that ask for it to be more. More live and more, everyone must start at the same time and they want to, but overall it's mostly people are very happy with it like that.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:19] Yeah. You're not going to tune into the BBC and watch David Attenborough and complain because it's not live it's you just want the best bit and you want David Attenborough's re prerecorded cogitated over. Version of events. Yeah, I think it works really well that, and also it reduces anxiety.

I think for the people putting on the summit as long as you've got them uploaded and you've got the pages created and all of that, you can mitigate, in fact, I'd go as far as to say that the week of the summit is probably for us at least. Not as stressful as it would be if we were doing everything life, I think that the stress would just build up and up and up, but it kind of plateaus on the week and yeah, it's good.

Cory Miller: [00:40:00] Okay. One thing last thing, and then I'll open it up. See if you all have any thoughts or questions I haven't asked you wish I would have Nathan, we, we met, like we were talking through big orange chart and one thing back to what you're saying is like this blend of maybe. There's a table or a networking kind of space.

And I think about here's the throwback for you, Nathan? Second life. I don't know if you ever remember second life to be our world back in the day. I think about that note in a no big orange chart with some of the events have had that where, okay, here's a sponsor booth area or a network area and things like that.

I'm curious your thoughts about that. It was so interesting because it felt like particularly for that community, the interaction. Is a high value and high component of what they're do. And, but that doesn't seem like what you've done. Nathan necessarily just the live chat there. But on, do you have any thoughts about that particular side of the tooth and networking or, trying to replicate the whole sponsor booth area kind of thing.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:00] So we, we took a slightly different approach. We have the sponsorship we take very seriously and we make sure to promote it through emails and actually on the page itself where all the speakers are, the sponsor logos and what have you are there they're right underneath the video player. We also provide a page for the sponsors if they wish to take us up on that.

And then depending on the tier that you're on, we also offer the opportunity to have. Deliberate sessions within the summit time frame. So we'll block out sessions where they can do their own presentation. And we actually had two of those during the summit. So they were they were like this, they were four people on a screen.

And then we had webinars after the event as well, like the following week. So that was last week. And I think that works really well, to be honest, I think it's quite a nice way of doing it.

Anchen le Roux: [00:41:52] Yeah. Fortunately with online, it's very difficult to be all this, even though it seems like very easy to be in different places.

It's not like where you physically go to a place. And so what I, what we've done with the is to only have one thing on at a time, so, and then maybe. Invite people to go, but not like with some of the other events where they have the online booth. I haven't found a way to think around that and make it work.

So yeah, there might be a way. We really tried this time to do aspect of the networking, but we just kept it like, like zoom that we had a zoom call with everyone on and no fancy software and just doing some co-working together.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:42:44] I think one of the other things to mention is that you've got this very constrained amount of time for this community sort of pops up for a bit. Exists. And then it's kind of archive for a bit. So we have a Facebook group as well, and that by the way, was really a great idea that must've been Anson's idea. And that's worked really well. People have flocked to the Facebook group and they totally get it. And, people have concerns about Facebook and that may not be your bag, but the fact of the matter is.

Many people have Facebook log-ins and they're willing to be over there. So we PR we have an awful lot of stuff. Like we have a bingo competition, which goes on in the Facebook group and you can download a bingo card and present your winning entry in the Facebook group. And so that's a nice way of doing all of that.

And that gets a lot of engagement. We post things, asking open-ended questions about the things that might be coming up that day. And it gets really a lot of engagement. And so yeah, the event pops up has a little bit of a life and then sort of gets archived for a period of time. So you don't really have the opportunity like you might do with the post status community where you can sort of educate them over time and say, okay, this is the way we're going to do it from now on.

You just have this brief moment in time where it's a hit or miss you've. Got it. You've got to get them to know quickly. And so having complexity and this room and that room, and you can go here and go there. And there's a stage and another stage, I think personally, I think that all gets a bit overwhelming.

So just one thing at a time for us keeps it simple. Makes it easy to understand.

Cory Miller: [00:44:16] Couple of questions came in real quick. So are there any calls to actions that you suggest to get extra engagement during or after the summit? They tried giveaways and. Things like that before, but any thoughts about the calls to actions during, or after the summit?

You mentioned Facebook group and then post webinars and things like that.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:38] I'll let you handle this one.

Anchen le Roux: [00:44:40] So, the bingo  card. That's like similar to giveaways, but so each of the blocks is a call to action. So anything that you would really like them to do. We have like one block might be post something in the Facebook group about your experience.

Like might be tag us on Instagram. Like anything that you would want them to do that you can Put that in your finger caught. So that's one way. Yeah, and just, we also did some pop quizzes on the, on, on the Facebook group as well. And yeah, getting them to join the Facebook group was was something that we had in every email going out because that's also, getting them all, there is a big thing.

Yeah, I think you can add to that.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:45:23] Yeah. I completely agree with that for the Facebook group thing was real, really an eclectic thing. So Anchen posted pop-up prizes. So literally the first person to answer this question correctly will win. A thing. And it was, it might have been a licensed to a particular product or a course or something.

And so that's kind of nice because it creates a little bit of intrigue and, you've gotta be logged in and all that kind of stuff. That was really good. And another thing that we did was when people signed up and bought the access pass, we threw a raffle in at that point where if you were to share.

The existence of the page builder summit, you got the chance to basically claim your feedback. And so five people will claim their feedback and Yeah. It's the usual sort of social sharing type widget. There's a plugin that we used and you sort of share here and you get one point, if you share over on Twitter, you get one point.

If you follow us over here, you get one point. And in the end there's a five winners and they get the they get the all access pass back for free. And so that was another thing as well. Just lots of little things really.

Anchen le Roux: [00:46:34] Yeah. Another thing that if you do plan to sell your, like, do they have like an access parcel, some monitorization thing we used deadline funnels to have like a quick, like a fast action price and basically, yeah.

Everyone took us up on that because it was 20 minutes at a certain price. And then I think it's almost doubles that. Yeah. So, yeah, that's and we did try and tell everyone, like beforehand, there's going to be a fast action prize. Don't, get it, if you want to get it that that's the cheapest you'll ever get it. So, I think that definitely worked.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:09] And on that point, maybe people disagree. I think that was really reasonably priced. I forgive me if anybody saw that at all, that’s horrifically priced. There’s no way I’m going, but we didn't. We didn't try to make it expensive. We tried to make it really affordable, especially if you acted within that first 20 minutes, because I think you're going to make more customers.

If you lower the price than if you have a really high price and just hope that a few people will jump over that barrier. And I think that proved to be the

Cory Miller: [00:47:42] thank you. Okay. Here's another one. I think I have tried to get sponsors for summits before, but they all want to know the return on investment ROI.

What do you suggest when having that conversation?

Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:55] So, okay. This is a really difficult one because in, in the world, in which we've been moving for the last period of time, maybe the last eight or nine years. Everybody's worked on a click model and you can really, you can measure the click. I've been making podcasts for years and there isn't a click. There is literally no click you've got to in the audio, tell people to go to a website and then click it. It's so difficult to do that. I think it's a reasonable argument to say, if you're putting on a summit, it's about positioning. You are putting something really valuable together.

The community are there, whether it's knitting or WordPress, if you get the right people in and you have a summit, which is being talked about those companies, they really get value from the fact that they are associated with you, but also don't be shy. Two and I'm, I was terrible at this to begin with.

Don't be shy to make sure that the audience know that the summit could only have happened via the route of sponsorship. There really is no other way to do it at the level that we were at, we needed sponsorship to make it happen. And so we were unabashed in saying, thank you.

This is just fabulous. Thanks so much for supporting us. And. They may not be able to measure. We got 15,000 clicks off that summit and it converted at this rate because it might not happen. People might just see the logo. It's a bit like television advertising. It's not as measurable, but boy, do people pay for the Superbowl ads, right?

Cory Miller: [00:49:32] Exactly. Anchen do you have anything to add?

Anchen le Roux: [00:49:36] No, not really. And I think it's more in charge of the sponsorship, but yeah, it's just yeah, I just. When I agree with him, it's definitely about, it's more about visibility and than it is about actual return, like the direct return.

Cory Miller: [00:49:54] I wonder if one is number of registrations and, or live attendees, at least something to try to think back, particularly what we're postdocs.

We, we have partners and. Most know the ROI for what they do. It is straight on visibility. Now we can track, we can help them track their clicks and all that kind of stuff. But you know, the value of being able to. To the site, see something, we mentioned word fists fence earlier, having the conversation.

That's tough, but I wonder if that's the other thing is, seats to registrations and a lot of attendees and things. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:31] I think that the sort of dichotomy there you've got is you have to do one in order to gather that data. So the first one might be a punt into the dark, and it may be that you don't get the sponsorship that you wish to do, but if you put all of your energy into making it amazing and have people talk about it so that when the second one comes along, people are not only the people who attended the first one are really keen to come again, but they're also keen to sort of spread the message and, almost like osmosis, it will kind of spread in the way that these things do and you make a really good point there, you post status it's the community, right?

It's an amazing thing. That's been built over many years, and Wordfence just being bound to that. Just the mere mention that well, Wordfence sponsors Post Status in all sorts of parts of the community that's just a connection, which is being made. You may not be able to get the ROI of that, but it post status. Yeah. Oh yeah. If Wordfence posts that is worth, it just adds up over time and it's ephemeral, it's hard to gauge, but this is the reality that we're living in.

You, you are going to have to hustle a little bit, I suppose, for that, make some connections, justify it, maybe lower your price the first time around and see how it works out. And just keep plugging away at it

Cory Miller: [00:51:50] Anchen, Nathan, thank you so much for being here today. This has been incredibly helpful. I hope people say thanks to you all on Twitter and elsewhere, but w would you tell us how to find you both.

Anchen I'll have you go first, your platform of choice. And of course your website again, please.

Anchen le Roux: [00:52:07] Okay. So, I'm on Twitter at or at Instagram, Simply Digital Design.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:14] Okay. And my Twitter handle is WPbuilds and my website is WPbuilds.com.

Cory Miller: [00:52:23] Easy enough. Thank you both. Any last thought, tip that you didn't get to say before we say thank you so much for your time today.

Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:33] If you are thinking about doing a summit, please reach out. You never know. It might be that we might have something to say to assist you on the path. But I think in the same way that websites. 20 years ago, weren't a thing. And now are a thing and things like care plans 10 years ago, weren't a thing. And now are a thing.

I feel like summits five years ago weren't a thing. Now they're a thing. So jump on board.  There's a lot to be done.

Cory Miller: [00:52:59] Well, thank you both for being so open and sharing your experiences and your expertise. And we'll be sure to put simply digital design.co.ca in the show notes to see if you want to take advantage of what opt-in offers.

Thank you both. So good to see you, Nathan. Good to meet you Anchen.

Anchen le Roux: [00:53:18] Thank you so much. Great to be here.

Cory Miller: [00:53:22] Bye-bye.