Review of Robert Puddy's LFMpire Workshop, Bristol, May 2009
Robert Puddy's 2009 seminar was held in Bristol on the weekend of the 8th, 9th and 10th of May 2009.
The event was called the "LFMpire Builders Workshop" and was jointly held by Robert Puddy, Donna Fox and Soren Jordansen.
The following review gives a quick overview of what happened and who presented at the seminar, including details of the subjects that were covered.
Thursday 7th May 2009
I arrived in Bristol and checked into the hotel at about 5pm. The seminar was due to start at 9am on Friday morning but Robert had organised a special meal on the Thursday - a "VIP" dinner where the seminar attendees could mix and network with all of the speakers in an informal atmosphere.
After I dropped my bags off I headed for the one place where you are bound to find internet marketers at a seminar - the hotel bar.
Although it was still only early the bar area contained plenty of familiar faces including people I had met at previous events in 2006 and 2007 and also three members of the mastermind group I belong to.
After several drinks, some banter and plenty of industry-related gossip we were herded into a special room for the VIP dinner.
I sat down on a large table along with several fellow marketers and enjoyed a meal. Once the meal had finished the "speed-dating" part of the evening began. This is where the speakers move from table to table so they can be quizzed by the delegates on any marketing related subject.
The dinner lasted a couple of hours but the socialising continued until the early hours.
I decided to call it a night at about half past one in the morning. At this point there was a group of delegates standing outside in the smoking area, given that it was a mild night and many people were smoking.
One marketer brought out a tray of shots of Sambuca and started passing them around. I wanted to make sure I was up in time for breakfast and then in the seminar room for the first presentation so I retired.
Popping into the loo on the way back to my room I heard some very audible snoring coming from one of the cubicles. Several of us had noticed that one of the more 'jolly' of the attendees had gone missing - looks like he didn't get too far!
I later discovered that the bar didn't close and some dedicated individuals were still up at 6am... which didn't really surprise me as I have seen firsthand how much internet marketers can drink when they put their minds to it.
Friday 8th May 2009
I managed to get up at a reasonable time and make my way to the breakfast room.
By 9 o'clock I was registered and waiting in the seminar room for the event to start.
The layout of the room was a little awkward, with the speakers forced to contend with several pillars at the front of the room. Although it did cause problems with visibility for some attendees, it didn't stop anyone from speaking.
First up was Donna Fox who started at around 9.15am. She informed us that there was a slight change to the lineup. Jennie Armato had been forced to cancel and would not be appearing. The late substitution was Tahir Shah, who was attending as a VIP Expert, not a speaker. However, he volunteered to speak in place of Jennie despite having no speech to give.
Donna's presentation was on the subject of the marketing funnel and how to build an online empire by adding one site a month to your portfolio.
The idea was that if you created a new product per month you would have 12 products after one year - all selling and making money for you.
Once Donna's presentation was finished we had a 30 minute break in order to grab a drink, take a smoke break (for those who need it) and, well, stretch your legs I guess.
At 11am Tahir Shah stood up to bravely give an unprepared talk to the audience. Tahir is a UK-based internet marketer, specialising in offline consultancy. His talk was reasonably brief but interesting nevertheless. He spoke about motivation and how to emulate successful people. He also gave several examples of his successful products.
He was able to devote most of his time to fielding questions from the attendees which was very well received by the audience.
We broke for lunch for an hour before the afternoon session.
At quarter to 2 the seminar resumed with a hot-seat session. This is where an attendee volunteers to have his website analyzed by the experts. The attendee will state what he hopes to achieve from the site and then the experts tell him what to do and what changes he needs to make to accomplish his goals for the site.
Our volunteer at this point was Malcolm who ran a health-related website and wanted to sell more products from his site on a commission-only basis i.e. he wanted to promote and sell other people's products as an affiliate.
The experts all contributed their different ideas giving him plenty of action to take after the seminar.
There was time for another quick break before the next speaker started.
At 3pm we were given a presentation by Justin Brooke, an American marketer who specialises in search engine optimisation.
His talk involved 'social media domination' and he described his process for getting high up in the natural search engine results for specific keywords.
Justin gave plenty of nuggets of information and left the audience with plenty of ideas to use including how to make use of outsourcers in the Philippines to get good search engine rankings.
The end of his presentation signalled the end of day 1.
All attendees were encouraged to regroup in the hotel bar for further networking at 6.30pm. I was happy to meet up with everybody and grabbed some dinner whilst chatting with several other attendees and watching Preston North End draw with Sheffield United.
Again we had a great night of drinking and socialising and there were plenty of people left in the bar when I decided to go to bed at about 2am.
The young barmaid turned out to be an expert sales woman, coaxing plenty of money out of drunken marketers for trays of shots and even giving special deals - "one time offers".
Saturday 9th May 2009
Somehow I managed to drag myself out of bed and into breakfast where I bumped into one of my seminar drinking buddies who I'm not going to name for reasons you will soon discover.
It turns out my friend, who was sitting here eating breakfast with me at about half 8, didn't get back to his room until gone 6am.
He had been drinking with a big group of attendees until that time but the mood had turned a little sour when one of the party had become a little too drunk and attacked a bar man. It had turned even worse when this person eventually had to be subdued by the police! His arrest was only halted by a persuasive fellow drinker who convinced the police to let him go.
Looks like I went to bed a little too early as I completely missed all of this. I was astounded by the description of the events though, it was stunning that this could happen at a business seminar.
I guess the moral is - have some drinks by all means but don't get so drunk that you lose control.
After breakfast I took my seat in the seminar room for another presentation at 9am from Donna Fox - this time on the subject of persuasion (quite apt considering the excellent persuasion skills one attendee had shown to the police earlier that morning!)
Realising that the room layout on the Friday wasn't particularly well-planned, someone took it upon themselves to switch around the layout and this morning it was far better with no pillars blocking the attendees' view of the speakers and the front screen.
There was a quick break before the second presentation of the day which came from Soren Jordansen. Soren is a membership site and traffic exchange expert from Denmark.
His presentation was on "Membership Site Myths" and he gave some excellent advice about monetising all kinds of different parts of a membership site. He called it "Integration Marketing".
It was a very interesting talk with lots of 'take-home' points that I noted down.
After lunch at 2pm we were given a brief talk by Robert Puddy, again on the value of integration marketing and membership websites - including specific examples.
The final talk of the day was given by Amit Mehta who started presenting at 3pm. He spoke about using pay per click marketing along with affiliate marketing to make money.
He also did a Q and A session with the attendees for an hour or so afterwards.
Again we were asked to meet in the bar at the same time, half past 6.
Tonight a group of us decided that the hotel food wasn't particularly brilliant and that it might be an idea to venture elsewhere to have a meal. I'm going to name drop a little here and let you know who went. The group consisted of myself, Phil Wiley, Matt Garrett, David Allen, Randy Smith, Simon Hodgkinson, Pete Lauder, JP Schoeffel and Cormac Murphy.
We managed to find a pretty nice pub for a late night meal and plenty of beers.
Back at the hotel we carried on as we had been doing for the two nights before and drank plenty whilst taking up our usual positions outside in the smoking area, even though several of us did not smoke (it's a great place to network). We also had a surprise guest for the Saturday night with Alex Jeffreys popping over from Cardiff to say hello and see a few of his students.
It was another excellent night of 'networking' and even the drunken marauder from the previous night came down to the bar to enjoy some soft drinks and keep a low profile.
Sunday 10th May 2009
I was a little late getting into the seminar room and I missed a little of the special 'live by satellite' session from Alex Mandossian on telemarketing. Without Alex actually being in the room it was quite hard to concentrate and along with the problem of having a little bit of a bad head from the Saturday night, I didn't manage to make many notes.
Robert Puddy did another session at just after 11am which was again based around the idea of setting up membership sites. He also offering a very good sounding special offer for a new, one of a kind website and LFM software package for just a grand or so. He had a lot of takers as it was a popular offer.
After lunch there was a special 'speaker panel' session with Robert Puddy, Soren Jordansen, Tahir Shar, Justin Brooke and Martin Avis. They fielded a load of questions from the attendees and provided us with a lot more to think about.
Robert made us a very special offer for tickets for the 2010 UK event and then closed off proceedings. I spent a couple of hours hanging around the seminar room and chatting with fellow attendees and then made my way back to the bar area.
After some dinner and several more beers with the surprisingly large amount of people still at the hotel though the seminar had finished, I called it a night.
The next day I made my way home via the train. All in all, another great seminar and I am looking forward to Robert's next event in May 2010 which will again be held in Bristol.