Kat Gaskin is the person behind The Content Planner—a physical planning system with a large engaged social media community of 38K followers and counting. Kat leveraged the popularity of her planner business to create live, in-person events and workshops about content planning and goal setting. But in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her from hosting those events. In a matter of days, she transformed her business model into a fully virtual one and used Leadpages to promote her events and automate everything from processing payments to emailing her attendees.
5 virtual conferences hosted | $100+K revenue generated | 96% profit margin
The results weren’t just good. They made her question why she hadn’t been doing it this way all along.
The story of Kat and The Content Planner
Everyone has dreamed of quitting their 9-to-5 job to pursue their dreams.
In October of 2012, Katherine Gaskin actually did it. She left her job to start her own freelance business with one goal in mind: to work less and travel more.
Discipline, paired with a dedication to planning, and a sharp eye for aesthetics helped her meet deadlines and build a brand that clients wanted to work with—even if she was on the other side of the globe.
But when it came to planning her content, she could never find the right tool for the job. Popular online task management platforms came with promises of productivity and staying organized. But they weren’t tactile or visual, nor did they let her plan and visualize the way she wanted to. And while she preferred the medium of pen and paper, lined notebooks didn’t do much to inspire, either.
That’s when she came up with The Content Planner—a beautifully designed physical planner that allows content creators and business owners to plan the content they want to publish on social media or their blog, and set goals for themselves.
While The Content Planner was an instant success (selling out every iteration since launch), there’s a profit ceiling on a single physical product offering. Kat wanted to grow her planner business into something bigger. With her expert-level planning skills and a hugely engaged community on social media, she developed a series of content planning sessions and workshops that would allow her to build on the success of The Content Planner—as well as achieve her initial goal of being able to travel more.
“I had plans to take the workshops all over the world.”
She lined up workshops in New York, Toronto, Miami, Calgary, Vancouver, and Palm Springs. Her flights were booked. Her accommodations were reserved. And more importantly, her events had paying attendees. Things couldn’t have been going better.
Until March, 2020.
COVID-19 cancels everything
The global lockdowns of March of 2020 instantly put a stop to all of her plans. No travelling. No sessions. And, other than modest planner sales, no income. It was a worst case scenario for her business. And she had almost no control over any of it.
6 sold-out sessions cancelled | $150K in revenue lost
Losing $150K of booked revenue in one fell swoop is a devastating blow for any small business. If recovery was even possible, it would take years. And that’s to say nothing about the larger, and potentially longer term impact to her brand and physical planner business.
Tapping into the same hustle that made The Content Planner successful, Kat explored other ways to make it work. After all, she still had the knowledge, she still had the audience, she just needed a way to bring them both together.
Shifting from an in-person model to a live, virtual one was made possible with Zoom. She could host the events from her home in the exact same way as a live event.
But there’s more to hosting virtual events than simply creating a Zoom meeting. How would she promote her events? How would she accept payments? How would she communicate important details to attendees? And how would she do it without expert-level coding skills?
How Leadpages helped
On a recommendation, Kat turned to Leadpages to create landing pages for her now-virtual workshops. In just 48 hours, she was able to spin up several on-brand landing pages to promote her new virtual workshops.
“In just 48 hours, I learned how to use both Zoom and Leadpages which allowed me to move my events to an all-digital format without missing a beat.”
Kat had a strong eye for good design, but not enough time to build something from the ground up. Leadpages’ huge selection of landing page templates made it easy for her to choose a design that best fit her brand and objective, while also giving her flexibility to add and customize certain elements as she needed to.
She used Leadpages’ Drag-and-Drop Builder to format her page, and customize to flow the way she wanted it to. With just a few clicks she was able to format section headers, add CTA buttons, and build the forms for attendees to fill out. And the Leadmeter feature helped ensure that her page was optimized for max conversions.
“I appreciate how much thought went into the user experience. It’s very easy to drag and drop sections. And I love that you can customize it, too.”
The technical challenges
There’s more to creating a good landing page than choosing a template and filling it with some copy, a CTA, and a few form fields. There’s collecting attendee information, payment processing, and even email marketing to worry about.
From a technical standpoint, that might seem like a huge challenge or something that comes with a significant expense. But Leadpages’ suite of native integrations let her automate every step of the process.
“I don’t have an assistant, or a team, or anyone managing anything for me—I did it all myself.”
Using the Google Docs integration, she was able to aggregate all the customer form fill data from Leadpages—including names and email addresses—into a single spreadsheet, so she had all of her event attendee information organized in one place.
She used the Stripe integration to accept credit card payments through her landing pages, which processed the transactions and transferred all of the revenue to her bank account in a matter of days.
The Zoom integration made sure that every attendee that signed up through her Leadpages landing pages was properly registered and could access the live sessions.
And with the Mailchimp integration, she was able to email her attendees all the important information they needed—like the date, time, and link—prior to the event.
With Zoom, Leadpages and a few third-party integrations, and a bit of hustle, Kat was able to convert an expensive live event with hundreds of moving parts into something she was able to manage on her own, from home.
Initially, Kat’s effort to pivot from a large, in-person event to a virtual online model was something of a hail Mary—a way to salvage some of her initial investment and keep her business afloat, if only barely.
But that’s not what happened. In fact, moving to an all-virtual model had a profoundly beneficial effect on Kat’s business.
Hosting multiple live events comes with massive overhead costs. Flights, hotels, venues, meals, and all the small details in-between. Moving to a virtual model eliminated 96% of those costs, which also allowed her to drastically reduce her admission fees.
Because the virtual sessions weren’t limited by the size of a venue or location, Kat was able to increase attendance on every session and effectively host workshops around the world. And because the cost of attending one of her events was significantly lower, it made the events accessible to more people.
The end result? Less overhead. A larger community. And more profit.
Plans for the future
In addition to continuing her live virtual sessions, Kat is creating on-demand content that allows her to share more of her knowledge and skills while generating passive income. And Leadpages is the tool she’s using to promote the content, generate leads, and improve conversions.
There isn’t a single person in the world that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t impacted. But sometimes adversity opens doors that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. Kat and her Content Planner business are proof of that.
While the pandemic is currently preventing Kat from travelling the world, using Leadpages is making it easier for her to not just grow her income and her community, but bring that community closer—even at a distance.
“Every entrepreneur wishes they could clone themselves and do it all in a few clicks. Leadpages is the ultimate multi-tasking platform.”
Eventually, when borders reopen and international travel resumes, the work that Kat has put in transforming her business will have another big payoff—she’ll be able to do more traveling and less working than she ever dreamed of.
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