How a Virtual Summit Can Grow Your Business

summit basics Aug 15, 2019


An online summit can truly transform your business and that's exactly what we'll talk about in this episode. Learn how you can see major growth in terms of your income, email list, expert positioning, connections, and value to your audience.


Hey there! Welcome to the Summit Host Hangout podcast where you'll learn to plan, strategize, and launch your online summit. No influencer status necessary. I'm your host Krista from Summit In A Box and since I want to have all the basics laid out for you before we dive into our first series here on the podcast, today in episode three we are going to talk about how an online summit can truly transform your business.

But before we dive in, I want to invite you to join the Summit Host Hangout Facebook group. This is a group of summit hosts, whether they are up-and-coming or past hosts, who have all come together to get support and to support each other in the summit planning journey. It's a great place to ask questions, get support, support other people, and just feel understood since people who aren't on this track really just don't get it. Join this amazing community by going to


Let's dive right in here with the first way an online summit can transform your business. We're going to start with the obvious one and dive right into the income aspect.

I want to start this by saying wanting to make money through your summit is nothing to feel guilty about. I feel like this is something we have started hearing a lot is that you shouldn't do something just to make money, but we're running businesses. We are supposed to want to make money and we need to make money. I don't think that that being a goal as a part of your summit is anything to feel guilty about. I don't think it should be the only goal, but it can definitely be a big reason you put on a summit.

I've talked about this already a couple of times in our first few episodes, but with my very first summit ever, I was hoping to make $2-3,000. I wanted something fun that would bring me visibility and hopefully kind of make back the money I put into it. But instead I made $16,000 and, remember, I was not hugely successful at the time. I had 500 people on my email list after running my business for three years and I had about 800 followers on Instagram. Nothing super impressive.

I do want to break this down a little bit because summits are free to attend. How does the income work? How did I make $16,000? The key to making money through a summit is that with free registration people can get limited time access to those presentations. A lot of times it is 24, maybe 48 hours to watch each presentation, but they can purchase lifetime access.

You could also choose to bundle products from your speakers and include them in your all-access pass. You could also choose to skip the all-access pass altogether and pitch your own product or service instead.

In addition to what you sell during your summit, there's even more opportunity for income after the fact. After your summit is over, you should really think about pitching something else or putting your audience through a funnel you already have going.

This income portion can be really transformational if you're looking for a way to bring your annual revenue over the next threshold or maybe reduce the amount of products or services you need to sell. For example, if you are offering one on one work and want to take maybe one last client a month, maybe you host a summit and make the money that way instead, and then you can scale back the amount of hours you need to work throughout the rest of the year.

For me, it actually funded and overfunded my first maternity leave. That's not why I hosted it, but it was a fun way to look at it because I was so worried when I took the first three months of the year off to have and take care of my baby that I was not going to make enough money throughout the rest of the year. And then I came back and three weeks later made much more money than I would have made from just offering my regular services. That was great to see. And you can kind of, you know, spin that however you want to if you know that's a way that will be transformational for your business.

Another way you can make income, which I very quickly mentioned are sponsors. Basically, companies are paying to get in front of your summit audience and you are featuring them to your attendees.

They are going to be on the registration page. They're going to be mentioned in your emails. You may promote them at the beginning of each presentation video. By doing that promotion, companies are giving you a nice chunk of money for that.

Income is the first way that a summit can really transform your businesses. If you need another way to bring in income, this can totally do that. But let's move on to the second way and that is email list growth.

Email list growth

Right now I want you to stop and remember what your email list actually is. It is not just this thing that we talk about and try to grow for no reason. Your email list is warm leads for your products and your services.

Now, my first summit tripled my email list and I doubled it with my most recent. So to put it in perspective, it took me three years to build my email list to 500 people then and the three months that I promoted my summit, it jumped to 1400. I will take tripling my list size in a matter of a couple of weeks overgrowing into 500, over several years, any day.

But where does the email list growth come from? There are a few things. The big one is obviously your speakers. If you have, say, 20 speakers and each speaker promotes to their audience, that is massive growth you are going to see right there and it's just something to keep in mind when you're selecting your speakers. Now I don't want you to choose speakers just because they have a big email list, but it's great if you can get some people with a larger audience to agree to be a part of your summit.

Now your existing audience is also going to give you email list growth because if you are promoting on social media, you might get new people on your list who weren't there originally and people who are already on your list are going to be excited about your summit and share it with their friends. They're going to be bringing people in as well. Your existing audience will help you grow through your summit.

And another way you will see email list growth is through paid advertising if you choose to do it. Now, if you haven't run Facebook ads before, if you've never done any type of paid advertising, I don't recommend starting when you're hosting a summit unless you are bringing in someone to do it for you. But if you already know the ropes, you've run some ads here and there. It's a great thing to use in your summit strategy.

Then the last is additional affiliates. Your speakers will probably make up most of your affiliates. But if there are other people who have an audience similar to yours, don't be afraid to reach out to get them to be an affiliate even if they're not a speaker.

The reason I have email list, growth listed as a way a summit can transform your business is because this is the fastest way to grow your warm leads without spending a crazy amount of money on Facebook ads and it is far more effective than something like a webinar.

My conversion rate for my last summit was almost 19% and I'm confident that I can make it even higher next time. Now notice that it's important that you follow the strategies I give if you think you're going to see a conversion rate that high. I know of many well-done summits that have converted much lower, around the eight or 9% mark. But my converted at 18% so that's just showing that it's possible. It really matters that you get super focused with your summit's niche and topic. But I will leave it at that.

Expert positioning

The next way I want to mention that a summit can really transform your business is through expert positioning. With this, I want you to note that you should not wait until you're an expert or an influencer to host a summit because that is so backwards. A summit will make you an expert assuming you already know your stuff.

Since hosting my first summit, I have had all kinds of potential clients and collaborators reach out to me and reference the summit as how they heard about me, which is so great to see. It's kind of a way that your summit will just continue to pay off for years to come.

With this expert positioning, how you're going to get it, each speaker you have on your registration page really boosts your credibility, especially to their audience. You know, people will go to your registration page and say, "Oh wow, I've never seen this person before, but these few people that I definitely recognize and like are a part of this summit. So the person hosting it must be all right too. Right?"

The fact also that you're willing to put in the work to host a summit also says a lot. I think everybody understands that a summit isn't something easy to up together. It takes dedication and knowledge and really a lot of belief that what you're doing is making a difference and that your topic is important. Just the fact that you are hosting a summit, as long as you're doing it well, will do a ton for your positioning.

Also to give yourself an extra boost for this positioning aspect, be a speaker at your own summit and show your face as much as possible in other areas of it. For example, make sure you have a video that shows you face on your registration page and on your thank you page. Do a kickoff call before your summit starts. Host some bonus training videos. Show your face to your attendees as much as possible.

Do not host the kind of summit where people leave on the last day and they're like, "I have no idea who hosted this thing. " Make sure they do not forget who you are.

Mutually beneficial connections

The next benefit I want to dive into here are simply mutually beneficial connections. I will be the first to say that pitching speakers is scary, especially speakers who you feel like are farther along in business than you are and have a bigger audience than you. But it is so worth getting over the fear or intimidation aspect of this because each speaker you pitch and get a yes from is someone you have in the future to collaborate with. So whether you are starting a new project and want someone to work with or you need someone to promote online, every person you have in your summit is someone you can reach out to for that.

Now, definitely keep in mind that you need to return the favor when you expect that of somebody, but it's just so nice to have all of those connections ready to go and already know that they are someone you can depend on.

Value to your audience

The last way I want to touch on that as summit will transform your business is by bringing immense value to your audience.

A summit provides more value in any one location then anything else you can do, especially anything else that's free. You are connecting attendees with new experts that can help them. You are connecting them with other attendees, you're introducing them to resources you can offer and resources your speakers can offer. I want you to just never underestimate how much you can change the lives of other people, especially your attendees, through your summit.

This is always going to be my favorite part of hosting summits, even if I need to be reminded of it every time. It is so crazy to see the difference you can make in someone's life or hundreds or thousands of people's lives through a week long event that you put on.

The Recap

I hope that you can see how truly transformational a summit can be. Yes, it's a lot of work. Yes, I will tell you that in the majority of the episodes of this podcast, but yes, it is so, so worth it. And like we covered in this episode, it can transform your income, your email list, your positioning, your connections, and the value you provide your audience.

I want you to consider in what ways you would want a summit to transform your business. Whether you are actively planning one right now or it's something you're lightly considering and playing around with for the future, take a couple minutes to just jot it down so you have it to look back on and plan around as you go through the process. But thank you so much for tuning into this episode.

In the next episode, we're actually going to dive into our first themed series all about branding your summit, which will cover everything from positioning to the visuals. Specifically in episode four, we're going to get the first step out of the way and choose your summit's, niche and topic or audience and topic. Skipping this, or doing it incorrectly, can really be the difference between a summit that makes a couple hundred dollars versus tens of thousands of dollars. So be sure to tune in for that.

What we talked about in this episode is all very possible, but you need to put your summit together the right way and pay attention to all the small details. To help, I've put together a pdf with my 12 best summit hosting tips, and you can get it today at



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