Having trouble coming up with a great marketing program during the pandemic? If so, then consider virtual events.
In this installment of the Ignite Visibility University podcast, I sat down with serial entrepreneur Roland Frasier to learn the secrets behind the success of his e-classes and webinars.
Here are a few highlights from the interview.
Who Is Roland Frasier?
Roland Frasier is co-founder and/or principal of five Inc. Magazine fastest-growing companies.
He’s also built and sold more than 20 businesses. They’ve ranged in value from $20 million to just under $4 billion.
Frasier is currently CEO of All Channels Media and principal at scalable.co. He also works with Big Block Realty, a company that bills itself as California’s fastest-growing real estate brokerage.
Offering Value in the Midst of a Crisis
At the beginning of the interview, I asked Frasier about the hot spots he sees in digital marketing right now.
He went straight to offering value.
Specifically, he said that the COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of marketers to either fall off the grid or get busy making the most of the situation.
For his part, he got busy.
He explained how one of his companies literally gave away 65,000 accounts for free. It was a lower-end level of service, but it still cost money.
But it also offered a benefit.
The company converted some of those 65,000 new accounts to paying accounts. And I’m sure Frasier and his team are working to convert the rest of them.
He says that kind of strategy is still working for people, even this late in the game.
Other Success Stories
Frasier also told me that some marketers succeed right now by adapting their campaigns to a home-bound audience.
For example, he says that everyone he knows in e-learning is doing very well. That includes his own organization and its virtual events.
He also pointed to the example of Tony Robbins, who recently conducted a virtual event complete with dancers on a stage.
Roland Frasier thinks that’s great because “old school” virtual events were horribly boring.
Now, he says, AV companies are building virtual sound stages. He wonders how that will affect the hotel and convention center industry.
He also says that the “mini-class” strategy is working well for marketers.
A mini-class is when marketers offer a few 10-12 minute video lessons around a specific theme.
Same thing with mini-webinars. Lots of strategists succeed these days by starting off with a call to action (“I’m looking for some more clients for my agency”) and then working backwards by ultimately saying something like “this is how what we have to offer can help you with the problems you face.”
But again, those webinars last just 10-12 minutes so people won’t feel like they’re wasting a lot of time with them even if they don’t go for the pitch.
He pointed out that neither he nor I would ever sit down and just listen to a 90-minute webinar. So why should we expect anyone else to do so?
Let’s face it: we’re all busy.
That’s why less is more when it comes to webinars and online learning. Hit somebody with the pitch right out of the gate, then explain why your business is best to handle the current challenges, and let people make up their minds.
Free Offerings Still Viable?
I asked Frasier if he thought that the era of free offerings had passed.
He answered by saying that the best time in 2020 for freebie marketing occurred around the March-April timeframe. That’s because people who went that route during that time were “first movers.”
But, he pointed out, there’s always a market for free promos. It just might not be as effective as it was.
He also said that the low end and high end are working well for giveaways, but the middle end doesn’t seem to work as well.
Getting Folks in the Funnel
Next, I mentioned that anyone can go the “freemium” route by offering something of value for free just to get more folks into the funnel. I asked him if Frasier thinks that’s a great idea.
He said it’s absolutely a great idea.
Specifically, he said that in addition to mini-classes and mini-webinars, Roland Frasier loves the idea of challenges.
“The challenge, I think, is working well because it proves to people in advance,” he said.
Frasier, co-founder and/or principal of five Inc. Magazine fastest-growing companies, went on to say that the challenges that work well are the ones that make a promise that the person who attends the challenge wants to see fulfilled.
When the person knows that they’re going to get something of value in 3, 5, 7, 14, or 28 days, then they’ll stay engaged along the way as they’re seeing micro-successes that they can celebrate over time.
But it’s about more than just engagement. That’s because they can celebrate their victories with other people who are also going through the same thing.
And that fits in with the “we’re all in this together” theme of the current state of affairs.
“I think we’re still looking for ‘where’s my tribe?’ because I don’t have anybody right now because I can’t go and socialize like I used to,” Frasier said. “So if I can form a tribe, even for a small amount of time around a particular goal that I want to achieve and we’re all in that together trying to do the steps to make it happen and we’re seeing the progress and we’re encouraged by each other’s progress and then at the end we have this thing and if a call to action is made at that point to be able to go deeper, then it’s a logical ‘yes.’”
In other words, when people see that the person they trusted with the challenge lived up to the advertisement, then they’ll believe that the same person can deliver on future promises.
And it’s a lot easier to say yes when other people in their “tribe” are saying the same thing.
Roland Frasier Speaking From Experience
Frasier himself has plenty of experience with using the challenge strategy. He ran four challenges so far this year.
Unsurprisingly, his challenges focused on his own expertise: buying and selling businesses. Even for folks who have little to no capital.
Frasier had to start his challenge by talking about the current state of the economy. Why would anyone want to buy a business in the midst of a global pandemic?
To answer that question, he spun the narrative around. Because so many businesses are facing challenges this year, that means they’re “on sale.”
And the pandemic won’t always be with us. That means those businesses can easily bounce back once the economy returns to normal.
On the other hand, Frasier didn’t want prospective entrepreneurs feeling like they’re predators taking advantage of business owners in distress.
So he pitched it as helping businesses get back to profitability in the middle of a recession. There’s nothing predatory about that.
Frasier set up a five-day challenge. No, not buying a business within five days. That would be too ambitious.
Instead, he asked participants to simply find five businesses that they might like to buy. With $0 out of pocket.
Then, folks shared their findings in a Facebook group. That gave other people in the program who were a bit reluctant to participate some inspiration to take their own initiatives.
There’s that “tribe” thing in action again.
Did it work? Yep.
Frasier says that 33% of the people in the first challenge converted. More than 18% of participants in the second challenge converted.
And, overall, his company saw a 2.2 or 2.3 return on ad spend (ROAS). Specifically, the ad spend came in at $150,000 to $200,000 and generated about $400,000 in revenue.
The Biggest Tip for Success in E-vents from Roland Frasier
Next, I asked Frasier to share his best tip on hosting virtual events. His answer can be summed up in one word: engagement.
You need to get people engaged with whatever it is you’re doing online.
As an example, he said that for one of his events he mailed (not emailed, but real mailed) engagement props. to all participants. In this case, he mailed them a t-shirt, a board, and a sharpie.
The theme of the event was “breakthroughs.” Frasier asked people to write on one side of the board something that’s holding them back from achieving success. Then, he asked them to write on the other side of the board what they would accomplish if they could “break through” that limiting factor
Then he asked participants to break the board. At the event itself, martial arts experts broke boards on a stage.
And once again, everybody was able to do something together.
But beyond that, participants were engaged.
Wrapping It Up
Roland Frasier, co-founder and/or principal of five Inc. Magazine fastest-growing companies, shared plenty of other tips for success in the podcast. If you haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, I encourage you to do so.
Then, take some action items from the things that you learn.