Posted by: Kristen Beireis, Trust Marketing Expert

I just met Jen Louden, The Comfort Queen, yesterday and she rocked my marketing world!  I’m so psyched about this.  She has created a very cool new way to work with clients virtually and I think the coaching community needs to know about it.  So, we got together via phone and I asked some questions, to help all of you understand what the possibilities of this creative idea are.

Wanna know what this really cool virtual marketing idea is?  It’s called a “Virtual Retreat.”  I know many coaches who go out and do these really great retreats all over the world.   Some enjoy the travel adventure and some enjoy connecting with flesh & blood humans.

Jenn is not only the “Comfort Queen,” but she’s also a retreat-a-holic.  Every year she travels the world and visits places where women show up to find comfort while in the midst of change.  This year, Jen recognized she is feeling the fear of the economy.  She knew others had to be feeling that too.  She wanted to provide comfort, but also wanted to share what she was learning about that fear.  LOVE this! 

Jen is all about sharing what she learns and she turns that into products. woo hoo!

Jen considered travelling the country doing lots of smaller retreats this year so people wouldn’t have to pay for travel.  After considering, she decided she didn’t want to do that much work.  So, she chose to stay within the familiar comforts of her own office and take her retreats to the internet.  She’s calling it “The Comfort Queens 2009 Virtual Retreat” and it starts tomorrow, January 16.

Now, you’re probably wondering how in the world she will create a “retreat” atmosphere via the phone.  Read the schedule and you’ll see.

She’s providing her own coaching throughout the entire retreat.

There will be check-in moments where she will be able to help all attendees re-center and integrate their learning.  Yes, the structure is VERY similar to a telesummit, but with this addition of coaching thrown into the middle of it, there is WAY more value than any telesummit I’ve ever seen.

Every coach has something to bring to an event like this.  Jen brings calmness and stillness to help keep attendees out of overwhelm.  Think about what your unique coaching ability could add to an event like this.

I want to break this down for you in terms of implementing an idea like this into your business.  So, here are some questions I asked Jen about putting this event together.  Most of these are questions I ask my clients to think about before they jump into a major marketing campaign like this one.

1)  Who is your target market? - “I never picked a target market or niche.”  “I published my book ‘The Women’s Retreat Book’ and then all of a sudden women in their mid-30’s to mid-50’s whose lives were changing in some way and needed some help, started showing up.” Jen’s target market found her!  The best way to find a target market.

2)  What personal value are you honoring in creating this Virtual Retreat? - “Waking up and waking others up.” [Being awake] “comes in waves, and sprials, and peels like an onion.” Jen recognized this at one point and started reading and talking to friends.  She wanted to turn it into something and it morphed into doing live events.  [The Virtual Retreat is] “just a new way to teach what I’ve always taught.”

3)  What was the implementation process like for you? - Jen put this idea into action right away.  So, 6 weeks later, she’s leading the event.  “The big learning, for me, is that people [JV partners, team members etc...] need more time to process doing, writing and promoting it.”   “I needed more time to promote affiliate relationships.”  “Next year, I’m starting in October.”

4)  What do you hope attendees will come away with after attending your retreat? - “The word that came to me was recalibration.” Jen had sent out a survey to her community and after reading them and checking in with her own needs she came to the conculsion that; “We feel like there’s hope and change and at the same time so many things we’ve known are crumbling around us.”  “I have touched into that place of well-being no matter what’s going on around me and I’m going to have to in the future too.”  “I want to make this an experience about FEELING calm and content.”  “Can you even grap that this is possible in the midst of [the chaos around you]?”  “I want to give them the ability to return to themselves and return to their center no matter how badly they get knocked off. [For me, it's about] how fast can I notice it and come back to where I am now? There are so many ways to get into that.” “[I want the attendees] to have a variety of opportunities [to return to center].”

5)  What words of wisdom do you have for a coach who would also like to implement a virtual retreat in their business? “There are a lot of moving parts.  You need someone on board who is good at managing those and thinking through all the pieces.  You don’t want to do it yourself unless you want to think about all the pieces yourself.”

Jen is truly an amazing woman who is doing work that brings value for her and those she helps.  The invention of the Virtual Retreat came authentically from that combination.  I believe this format is a truly wonderful combination of the offline world and virtual world and I’d like to see more coaches take this idea and run with it.  Check out Jen’s sales page for “The Comfort Queens 2009 Virtual Retreat.”  Sign up if you feel it’s appropriate for you, but more than that…notice how Jen’s passion and “being” comes through in the marketing and how she has structured this event for herself.

What do you think?  Would you like to create a virtual retreat?  Have you ever done something like this?  What do you think of it as a marketing strategy?  What have you learned from this interview?  Share with us in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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