“Everything Vee took on for us was always done with aplomb, professionalism and enthusiasm. I could always rely on Vee for doing things on time and within budget. She’s got an amazing work ethic, a brilliant team player and not afraid to challenge. She always explains things back in a format so that you understand the implications. Vee is simply the best.”

René Carayol MBE

Leadership Speaker, Inspired Leaders Network

Case Study: René Carayol MBE – Inspired Leaders Network

I originally came to train René’s team on how best to use Constant Contact for their email marketing. During the training session, it became apparent that whilst they had a good online presence already with websites, email newsletters and social media there was scope to super-charge it and getting it working even better to generate more sales using the techniques I was showing them in my training.

René has many professional roles – he’s an international keynote speaker and leadership expert advising and guiding CEO’s of bluechip companies (including HSBC, World Bank, Vodafone & Convatec to name a few) who are going through challenging transformations. He was also about to launch his third book, SPIKE. He wanted to increase speaking gig bookings as well as be able to increase his speaker fee and he knew that digital marketing was key to achieving this.

Here are some of the things I built & improved and the impact they had on the business.

Rene Carayol MBE

Improved Newsletter

They already had a list that they sent occasional newsletter campaigns to. There was also a huge bank of articles and videos that René had written and shot over the years.

First we agreed a regular schedule for newsletter, I redesigned the look of it, made some changes in key areas of the email that I knew would help improve the open rates.

I set up a process so that we utilised articles and content that René created. Creating content wasn’t a problem for René – he loves writing and it became a regular slot in his very busy diary.

Once the article was written, I created a process to turn his article into a blog article for his website, then repurposed and made it suitable for his different social media channels.

The procedure was then implemented by his team.

We experimented with posting articles on various social media channels.

We created branded graphics to accompany the articles.

René recorded audio versions of the same articles that were then published as podcasts.

Lots of ways to use essentially the same article, adjusted to suit the platform it was going to be published on.

Religiously, every Wednesday fortnight, a newsletter campaign was produced that was sent to his database which contained links to the content we had been producing. 

The impact of the new look and feel was immediate positive feedback.

His subscribers loved the new look and style of the newsletter.

Daily Spike Sparks

With the publishing of his new book SPIKE, we wanted to build a Spike following/fan base of advocates.

Spike is about finding your strengths and playing to them (Strengths Positively Identified Kickstart Excellence).

The book is littered with short inspirational quotes that René had written called ‘Spike Sparks’ designed to help readers think about their own strengths and developing them.

So I turned these Spike Sparks into a lead magnet.

People could sign up to receive a daily Spike Spark by email.

This proved to be very popular.

We knew this because one day we inadvertently ran out of Spike Sparks to send and people complained they had stopped receiving them.

So René wrote a hundred more to ‘feed the machine’ and invested more in making the Daily Spike Spark emails look more appealing with branded images.

Daily Spike Spark sign up

Leveraging speaker engagements

René speaks at a lot of events as an invited keynote speaker.

Although attendees were given the opportunity to download his slides, the process was cumbersome and admin intensive (not to speak of not compliant with the imminent new GDPR law going to be introduced).

We also recognised that attendees were perfect advocates for getting more book sales and future speaking bookings.

Using Constant Contact and their website, I set up a process so that collecting names and emails from attendees wishing to download slides was quicker and easier.

It was mobile-friendly so slides could be downloaded there and then in the auditorium.

They could also opt to receive Daily Spike Sparks and the newsletter.

I also included more follow on steps so that attendees would receive an email a few hours later asking for simple feedback.

They had to simply click on a happy face or unhappy face.

Depending on which face they clicked on it would give them the opportunity to leave a written testimonial – all automated and all important to getting more social proof and credibility which helps potential clients decide to book René for future gigs.

Nearly all of the sign ups from events are now (compliantly) opted in the newsletter as well as the Daily Spike Sparks.

This means we continue to touch them with messages and remind them regularly about René and what he could do for them.

We can also keep track of how René’s talks are being received because we could monitor how many were clicking on the happy face (or unhappy face – unsurprisingly, hardly any!).

Websites With Purpose

Another challenge I took on was improving the websites of which there was two, and

They already had great graphics, images and looked amazing. 

With a few tweaks and adjustments to the text it became much clearer who he served, the problems they had and how he solved them and how to contact him.

I improved the flow of how people moved through the site and made it far more guided and obvious to visitors, making it smoother that they did one of two things: –

  1. make a speaking enquiry or
  2. sign up to the list (Daily Spike Sparks and/or his newsletter)

That way we have better control over what they receive and see from us.

Inspired Leaders Network’s website looked ok but the business focus had changed since it was built.

It also had a clunky backend so it was difficult and cumbersome to update.

So, I gave Inspired Leaders’ website a complete overhaul.

I recreated something more user-friendly in WordPress, that was easier for both the admin team to take care of behind the scenes and improved what visitors saw.

It was much cleaner and clearer what visitors should do when they arrived.

carayol website

Reducing No-Shows

Inspired Leaders Network run regular networking events.

They feature a panel discussion with special guests who are experts about various topical issues surrounding leadership.

René facilitates the events with a small studio audience who are invited to participate by asking questions.

The events serve to demonstrate René’s facilitating expertise to potential event organisers and speaker agencies.

The events were often oversubscribed, in part because it was a free event.

However, more than 50% didn’t show up, even though they had booked a place.

That made it difficult to plan catering which had to be booked in advance.

Here’s what I did to reduce no-shows

I figured that people were signing up to attend on a whim.

It was super easy to get a ticket which meant they weren’t that invested in coming.

I wanted to make the event so desirable that people fought for an audience ticket.

I put in an application process so that we attracted people who really wanted to attend and valued their free place.

We grabbed people at the event to talk about their experience so we had a good batch of video testimonials.

The event itself was live-streamed, first on Facebook Live, and then upgraded to have our own channel so we weren’t dependent on Facebook’s technology or the venue’s limited wifi.

Did it work?

Attendance for the first event with this new process implemented was a success.

So much higher that in fact we had people standing in the aisles.

So this new step has remained in place for all subsequent events and the no-show rate has dropped significantly.

It’s meant that catering is easier to plan. 

Livestream attendees grew each time we went live as we were able to field questions from people watching live so they felt included and so were much more engaged.

Doubled Speak Fees

Did René’s investment in all these new systems pay off?

Did he get more sales enquiries and speaking engagements?

After 6 months, René shared with me that he had noticed a huge improvement in responses and feedback thanks to all the new systems and work I’d done on the websites and social media.

His team were more focused and had the content-machine nailed to a tee.

He was impressed that all he had to do was write an article and it would ‘magically’ appear everywhere yielding comments and engagement.

And, most importantly, he was noticing many more sales enquiries.

His list had been cleansed through a few unsubscribes.

The new subscribers coming onboard were far more engaged.

To top it all, he was able to more than double his speaker fee from when I first started, 6 months earlier.

What Else?

I continued working with René and his team for a further 12 months (18 months in all), making sure all the systems I had created were probably embedded and being maintained by his in-house team.

I also created a further lead magnet (a secret guide for event organisers choosing speakers) and René Confidential – a newsletter for his retainer clients’ teams.

We set up more Daily Spike Sparks, continued improving the websites and social media postings, developed a skill on Amazon’s Alexa Daily Flash Briefings (another media form for the Daily Spike Sparks), and established René’s podcast.

What I learned

Working intensively with the Carayol team meant I was able to deep dive into exactly how the business and industry worked, how the team worked, their individual strengths and therefore what each of them were more suited to doing

I was able to see what was working well and what needed tweaking or sometimes just dropping altogether.

I helped the team members develop their digital marketing skills and they became confident knowing how to make best use of all the tools we had at our disposal.

We were allowed to experiment and try things that didn’t always work how we expected, but that was ok, because we always learned something from it that was useful going forward.

What we all realised is that the digital landscape is ever-evolving and it’s ok to try different things out and evaluate, tweak, test and evaluate again.

Your Turn

Ready to have me on your team taking care of your web tech tools?

Set up an ‘are we right for each other’ call