How a Virtual Summit Can Grow Your Business

summit basics Aug 15, 2019

 A virtual summit can grow your business in every aspect. From leads and revenue to visibility and industry connections. Let’s get started!

An online summit can truly transform your business. At first thought, you've probably considered the influx of revenue and email subscribers, but there's really so much more to it.

After my first summit, I was blown away by the changes my business saw afterwards. I totally didn't expect the influx of clients, the real difference I made for attendees, and the way the new relationship I had with speakers continued to pay off.

So let's cover some of the biggest ways that a virtual summit can grow your business!

How a Virtual Summit Can Grow Your Business

Income

I want to start this by saying wanting to make money through your summit is nothing to feel guilty about.

A lot of the time we hear that we shouldn't do something just to make money. But...you're running a business. You should want to make money!

With that being said, it shouldn't be your only goal, but it's totally okay if it's a primary one!

With my first summit, I was hoping to make $2-3k. I wanted a fun marketing strategy that would bring me visibility and hopefully make back the money I put into it.

Instead, I made $16,000! And that came from someone with a small email list of 500 subscribers. If I can do it, you can too! 

How to Make Money with a Free Virtual Summit

When I talk about the revenue aspect of summits, a question I hear a lot is, "If your summit is free to attend, how are you making so much money?"

The key to making money through a summit is that your free registration will lead to a paid upsell.

The free registration gives attendees limited-time access to presentations. However, many will want longer access and that's where a paid all-access pass comes in.

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 can present your signature product or service as a next step.

This income portion can be transformational if you're looking for a way to bring your annual revenue over the next threshold without needing to add more clients or product sales to your plate.

For me, it actually funded (and overfunded) my first maternity leave! I was so worried when I took the first three months of 2018 off that I wouldn't make enough money throughout the rest of the year. I came back and, three weeks later, made much more money than I would have made from just offering my regular services (and it was way more fun)!

 

Email list growth

Before we dive in here, take a minute to stop and think about the purpose of your email list. It's not just this thing that we talk about and try to grow for no reason, right?

Your email list is a list of warm leads for your products and services.

My first summit tripled my email list I've doubled it in all my summits since. To put it in perspective, it took me 3 years to build my email list to 500 people. But in just the 3 weeks that I promoted my first summit, it jumped to 1500!

Where does email list growth come from?

A summit is truly the fastest way to grow your list of warm leads without spending a crazy amount of money on Facebook ads and it is far more effective than something like a webinar.

There are a few things that will get you the biggest growth from your event. The big one is 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. Keep that in mind when you're selecting speakers - their audience really matters!

Your existing audience is also going to give you email list growth. If you 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 might even share it with their friends. 

Paid Advertising

If you haven't run Facebook ads before, I don't recommend starting when you're hosting a summit.

However, if you already know the ropes, you've run some ads here and there, then Facebook ads are a great tool to use in your summit promotion strategy.

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.

Expert positioning

Have you found yourself feeling like you should wait until you're an expert to host a summit?

I totally felt that way before my first one, but the truth is that a summit will position you as an expert (assuming you really do 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 a way that your summit will continue to pay off for years to come.

Where does the expert positioning come from?

Each speaker you have boosts your credibility, especially to their audience. People will go to your registration page and say, "Oh wow, I've never seen this person before, but these are a few people that I definitely recognize and are a part of this summit. The person hosting it must be all right too. Right?"

The fact that you're willing to put in the work to host a summit also says a lot. Everybody understands that a summit isn't something easy to put together. It takes dedication and knowledge and 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.

To give yourself an extra boost for this positioning aspect:

  • Be a speaker at your own summit.
  • Show your face as much as possible.
  • Have a video that shows your face on your registration and thank you pages.
  • Do a live kickoff call before your summit starts.
  • Host bonus trainings in your attendee community.

Do not host the kind of summit where attendees leave on the last day and have no idea who you are. You should be the face of your event!

Mutually beneficial connections

Pitching speakers is scary. Especially when you're reaching out to speakers who are farther along in business or have a bigger audience. But it is so worth getting over the fear or intimidation aspect of this! 

Each speaker you pitch and get a "yes" from is someone you have in the future to collaborate with. Whether you are starting a new project and want someone to work with or you need someone to promote, every person you have in your summit is someone you can reach out to in the future.

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.

Want to know more about why you don't need a huge audience to attract speakers? Check out our free masterclass on the 3-Part Framework to Triple Your Monthly Revenue with a Virtual Summit (while building your list for free).

Value-add to your audience

A summit will transform your business by bringing immense value to your audience.

A summit provides more value in any one location than anything else you can do, especially anything else that's free.

How?

  1. You're connecting attendees with new experts that can help them.
  2. You're connecting them with other attendees and giving them an opportunity to network.
  3. You're introducing them to resources you and your speakers offer.
  4. You're providing them with a ton of free trainings through your presentations.

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.

Action Steps

I hope that you can see how truly transformational a summit can be. Yes, it's a lot of work, but yes, it is so worth it.

It can transform your income, your email list, your positioning, your connections, and the value you provide your audience.

Your action step for today is to consider how you 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 of minutes to just jot it down so you have it to look back on and plan around as you go through the process.

Resources

 

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