What you missed if you weren’t in Estes Park last weekend

With apologies to all of the other workshops I’ve led, I had more fun in Estes Park than I’ve ever had! I was a little worried because I was in charge of everything. Usually I just fly in, deliver, and fly out. This time I had to order food, set up the room, set out signs, create the handouts, and more. Luckily, I had trusty sidekicks at my side, Lisa Call and Cynthia Morris. I couldn’t have done it without them! CM-LC_twitter (Here they are in our cabin getting caught up on Facebook and Twitter after a long day in the seminar.)

Last Friday, we arrived at the YMCA of the Rockies in the middle of a cold rain. It soon became clear to us that people were going to have a hard time finding the seminar location, so Cynthia painted signs while Lisa and I set up the room.

With the room set up “just so,” we put notebooks and a free copy of I’d Rather Be in the Studio! at every place. I don’t mind bragging that the notebooks are gorgeous! 100% recycled paper with recycled tabs and inserts. And another free gift inside: The Best Of my podcasts about marketing online. (Tofu inspects the notebooks in the picture below.)

Friday night, we had everyone who wanted to come over to our cabin–22 people squeezed in for decaf and coffee. Just what I needed to kick start the weekend. I love meeting people before a workshop because it takes away the presentation jitters.

I announced that we’d open up at 8:30 for coffee and a continental breakfast and most of the 39 attendees (who came from 8 states!) arrived shortly thereafter.

The business agenda (focused on online marketing) was as follows:

9:30-12:00 Mailing lists and getting your email straight–8 secrets (This is always an Aha moment for people who think email is a no-brainer

12-1:00 Lunch break

1:00-3:30 Web sites (design/functionality) and blogs (why/how to/what to say)

Homework was a worksheet: Why are you doing this online marketing? What’s your motive? What will you get out of this? Then they were asked to prioritize (1-5) what their focus should be: Email, Mailing List, Website, Blog, or Social Media.

Saturday was Kentucky Derby Day, which meant that I had to have a mint julep. I invited everyone to the cabin again following the session–this time for mind juleps. Either (1) they didn’t like my coffee the night before, (2) we had a lot of responsible adults who needed to drive home and chose not to drink first, or (3) I wore them out since there were only 14 of us for mint juleps. Lots of people tasted their first julep and liked it!

9:00-10:00 Social media focusing on Facebook and Twitter and then (this is key!) how it all works with your other online marketing (blogs, websites, newsletter)

I had attendees break up into pairs (with someone they didn’t really know) and talk about their homework from the night before. One person was to coach the other person in helping them dig to the heart of their motivation and make sure they knew what their focus area was from the homework.

After a short break, I split them up into five groups according to focus areas. They discussed what they’d be working on and got help from one another. The handouts included a complete online marketing plan, but I asked them to just fill out their area of focus. After 30 minutes, I then asked that they identify one (just one!) action step to take in each of the other four focus areas in the next two weeks. (Photo: Karen Scharer, Barry McDonald, Deborah Uhl, and Janice Earhart rap about their next steps.)

We talked about insights they had, wrapped things up, and then dismissed–to a beautifully clear day in the Rocky Mountains–armed with a list of actions to take toward our goals.

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