041: Are Virtual Summits On Their Way Out?

summit basics Dec 26, 2019

Are virtual summits on their way out? Let's chat about it!

In this episode we'll cover why people might say that summits are on their way out, my response to that, the types of summits that *are* indeed on their way out, and how to make sure you host a summit that gets results.


Hey, Hey, welcome to the Summit Host Hangout podcast where you'll learn how to plan, strategize, and launch your profitable online summit, no influencer status necessary. I'm your host, Krista from Summit In A Box, and we're currently in a mini series about whether summits are still worth doing.

Today, in episode 41, and we're breaking that down to chat about whether or not virtual summits are on their way out. We're going to cover things like why people might say that summits are on their way out. My response to that, the types of summits that are in fact on their way out and how to make sure you host a summit that gets the right results. So let's just dive right in.

Are Summits On Their Way Out?

You might have heard people say that summits are on their way out. They'll say things like, there's too many of them. No one likes them anymore. They're not an effective way to market your business.

The first time I heard someone say that after hosting my first summit, it fired me up. Like how did I just quadruple my normal monthly income, triple my email list, book my services out for six months in advance with something that's on its way out. But after I thought about that, cooled down a little bit, took a step back, I was able to see kind of where they were coming from.

My Answer

With that being said, here is my answer about whether virtual summits are on their way out: I think that it depends on the approach. Gross marketing, heavy connectionless summits are most certainly on their way out, and they should have been a long time ago. People are too smart to sign up for a week long pitch fest where they don't benefit at all other than being, you know, convinced to buy something that they didn't necessarily need. We have all seen that happen, and that's not what anyone wants anymore. Almost every audience out there is starting to get a little too smart for that kind of thing.

To give you an example, I actually went to a summit like this. It was back in 2015. Since then, I've smartened up and avoid those kinds of summits. But back in 2015 I was brand new to business, and I'd been in business for maybe a month or two. It was my very first summit experience, so I didn't think anything of it. I just thought it was right. They had a pretty decent lineup, maybe five to seven-ish presenters per day. All pretty big names who I had seen around Pinterest and Twitter everywhere I was hanging out with those days. This was a summit from a company with a course hosting platform. Immediately after signing up I was being hit with constant promotions to join their course platform.

That wasn't necessarily the problem. It's a good strategy in your summit to, you know, constantly put your offer in front of your people. But the problem was how they went about it. I was being made to feel like I was less than if I didn't buy what they were selling. The entire point of this summit was for me to buy that. It wasn't really for me to benefit. They also, along with that, didn't do a single thing to promote connection throughout the summit. They did have a chat box but there was, I don't even remember if there are people talking in it, you know, other than the the attendees. I don't think we were getting any feedback from them. There was no community aspect whatsoever. All I could do to participate was get hit with the emails they were sending everyday, multiple emails per day, post in a chat box that no one was paying attention to anyways.

Then the presentations themselves were just webinars for whatever their presenters were selling. These presentations made you realize that you were missing something and instead of helping you make steps towards that solution, like your summit presentations should do. They just pitched you their offer as a solution. Like you weren't getting any help unless you purchased what they were selling. Like I said, it was a giant pitch fast, no personal connection, no benefit for me. To top it off at the end of the summit, my email address was shared with every single speaker, whether or not I cared about their presentation. All of a sudden I was getting hit with, I don't know, it was like 30 different people from being added their email list.

Those kinds of summits, those summits are out. People are too smart for those to do anything except feel gross, and that does not leave people with a positive experience with your brand.

I still want nothing to do with the brand that hosted that summit. So how can you do it differently?

How To Host A Summit People Want to Attend

Let's talk about that because if you do it differently, you do not have to worry about your summit being on the way out. Because clearly with the results I listed earlier that I've had, they still work.

Lead with Value and Connection

The first piece of doing it differently is leading with value and connection. When you go into your summit, do not lead by planning out every single way you're going to, you know, make money off of this. Yes, you want to know that. But first lead with value and connection. Craft your summit to solve a real problem that your audience has. You want to hand select your speakers who can and will help your audience with a piece of the puzzle that does not require buying something to get started.

I don't necessarily mind when at the end of presentations there's a pitch for a free offer or even a paid product, even though that doesn't work the best, as long as the presenters were able to take steps forward and make a step towards their transformation through that presentation. The most important piece of this value portion is just focus on creating that transformation. We talked about that a lot in episode 22 with Jessica Rasdall. So be sure to check that out, but you got to lead with the value.

After that comes the connection. Because transformation paired with connection is incredibly powerful. In your emails that you're sending to summit attendees take some time away from pitching to make a real connection. Let your attendees know that you're here to help, that you understand their struggles, show them that you're actually a real person and not just someone trying to get money out of them, and you're going to do that by focusing on the connection.

Give Attendees a Place to Connect

You also want to have that community aspect. Give attendees a place to connect with each other, preferably and your speakers as well. This can be a Facebook group that's only open during your summit, so you don't have to constantly be moderating all year long if you don't want to. But in that group, you're going to do things like post daily prompts. Ask them for biggest takeaways everyday during the summit. Encourage people to ask questions and give feedback. Give them some bonus trainings, make real connections over video so they know you're a real person.

This lets people go from being talked at to being able to have a conversation which like makes a world of difference when it comes to something like a summit. Once they leave, they're going to have such a positive experience with you and your brand versus just going to carry them through. They're going to become your biggest fans and you are going to get better results through your summit and afterwards because of that and these are the kinds of summits that are still in.

Time for A Gut Check

Right now I want you to do a quick gut check. Are you hosting your summit for the right reasons? Are you in it to help people or is the only goal to make money if you're in it for the right reasons and keep that in mind throughout and focus on really making a transformation for your audience. You do not have to worry about the kind of summit you are hosting and being on its way out. You can watch other people say that that's happening all day long. Just know that they are thinking about the wrong type of summit and that's not what you are doing.

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. In the next episode, or we'll be taking this a step further and talking about what I have to say to people who say that summits don't work and my soapbox is bound to make an appearance even more than it did here. So be sure to tune in for that.

What we talked about in this episode is a secret to success you don't hear a lot about, and guess what? There are more. In fact, I've put together a PDF with my 12 best summit hosting tips, and you can get it today summithosthangout.com/secrets.

Now go out and take action to plan, strategize, and launch your profitable online summit.




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