Summits vs Bundles: Why I'd host a virtual summit over a bundle every time

I've tried a ton of different marketing methods over the years, and while summits are hands down my favorite strategy for quickly growing an audience of high-quality leads, nurturing them, and launching all in one, there are a lot of other options out there!

One of my favorite ways to grow my audience over the years has been participating in bundles put together by other online businesses with similar audiences to mine. It's always worked well for me as a list building strategy, so earlier this year, I decided it was time to run one of my own. 

This week, I'm sharing my experience putting together a bundle, how hosting a bundle compared to hosting a summit, and why I'd ultimately choose to host a summit over a bundle every single time. 

In this post we'll cover...

  • Why I decided to run a bundle
  • What worked and what didn't
  • What I'd do differently next time
  • A full breakdown of the results
  • How the numbers compared to hosting a summit

Why I Decided To Do A Bundle

I know I need to host a summit when I want to bring in thousands of leads, engagement, industry connections, and sales, but I still do a lot of experiments with other things. 

I ultimately decided to host a bundle because I wanted a quick and simple way to list build and give value to our audience before our initial launch of the Summit in a Box® Accelerator. Our Facebook ads have been tanking lately, so I wanted an alternative options for generating new leads. I also needed something that I could put together relatively easily, because I had a summit going on for another business around the same time.

I knew I didn't have the capacity to host two summits for two different businesses at once, and a bundle seemed like a much easier alternative. Keep in mind, we have a solid team and all the systems in place from a summit, so it was quick and easy for me tweak our summit systems to work for a bundle. If you haven’t hosted a summit or bundle before, it wouldn’t be as quick and easy for you.

Another reason I went with a bundle is that I love collaborating with people and this was a fun way to do that.

There’s a bundle I participate in every year that gets me 1000 or more leads every time so I decided it was time to try it for myself.

What Worked About Running A Bundle

Now that it's all said and done, there are things I can look back on and say that I liked about running a bundle. After having done many summits, we had solid systems in place to run a bundle very effectively. It felt very similar to running a summit, but a whole lot simpler.

One advantage of a bundle over a summit was that it was a lot easier to manage bundle contributors compared to summit speakers. I could easily not include someone if they didn’t have their information in on time, which is harder to do with a summit. 

We also had great feedback from our contributors and audience! 

The bundle contributors really enjoyed participating, and several told us that it got them more leads than any other bundle they’d been a part of. We also got great feedback from our audience and did see list growth because of it. 

What Didn't Work

First and foremost, what didn't work about running a bundle was the results. Our results weren't bad, but when you look at the results that came from the bundle vs results we've seen from our summits, there's just no comparison. Let's look at the numbers: 

Bundle Breakdown

I'll start with numbers for the bundle, and then compare them to the numbers for the summit that I ran.

  • Total Signups: 1697 total – about 700 were already on my list…so 1000 new to me
  • My Contribution Signups: 365 total – 330 chose to or already were subscribed
  • Tripwire and upsell:
    • Revenue: $1070
    • Percentages: 6% purchased the tripwire, 22% of those took the order bump, 13% took the upsell
    • Launch revenue: $0 - Literally no bites from the bundle!

When I saw the tripwire revenue numbers, I was pretty darn disappointed, as our tripwire typically performs well. However, I was hopeful that we’d convert some new leads into sales in the launch a few weeks later. I've tried lots of launch strategies including challenges, one-off webinars, summits, and more, and I’ve never had a launch for this business that didn’t bring in a single sale.

This launch overall was quite successful - it just didn’t convert any new leads who came from the bundle.

This was only one experiment, and I'm sure there are things I could do differently to improve results (learn about bundles from Kate Doster, not from me!), so I don’t want to say for sure that bundle participants aren’t as likely to buy as summit attendees. But I will say that in my experience, a summit can really prime people to buy in the launch that follows, and that was not true for our bundle. 

Summit Breakdown

Now that you've seen the bundle numbers, let's compare them with the results of hosting a summit. I'll use the numbers from the last summit I ran for this business with a launch on the backend, which was two years ago. Keep in mind that I only had 2200 people on my list at the time, and when I ran the bundle I had about 10k on my email list. 

  • With 20% of the audience size, we had about the same number of signups through that summit
  • I was able to add all of those people to my list and engage with them through the summit
  • The summit brought in $15,000 in all-access pass revenue, another $63,000 in launch revenue, and over $160,000 in additional sales of our signature offers since then – not counting the smaller offers!

Comparison Recap

To recap a comparison between the two…

  • Bundle: 330 new subscribers + $1000 in total sales
  • Summit: 1500 new subscribers + $78,000 in immediate sales (+ $160k in revenue from future purchases)

Now, it's possible that some of those 330 new subscribers will convert into signature offer sales later down the line, but even just looking at the initial results, I'd choose a summit over a bundle every time. 

With that being said, running a bundle was most definitely more effective (or at least more cost-effective) than something like running Facebook ads, engaging on social media, creating content, etc.

I would have had to spend a decent amount of money to bring in that many leads via Facebook ads, (although my ad leads do tend to convert). And it would have taken months or years to bring in that many leads through something like social media engagement or even the podcast.

So for me, the bundle proved to be less effective than summits and challenges I’ve run, but more effective than anything else that is meant solely for list-building.

Am I glad I did it?

YES! I would never be able to compare the effectiveness of a summit, challenge, bundle, and other things if I hadn't actually done one myself.

I still grew my list by 330 people, which I’ll take!

We now have the chance to see if these new people who joined my list through the bundle will convert in future launches. 

I also made some new connections which are leading to podcast interviews and opportunities for other collaborations, which is always great.

In the end, it was really interesting to see how it all came together and I'm so glad that I had Kate Doster's Collaboration Cash-In course to walk me through how to do it all!

What would I do differently?

Obviously, I didn't do everything perfectly for this bundle. I get fired up when I hear people say summits don't work after they try it once and have disappointing results, so I'm not going to make a blanket statement that bundles are not as good as summits. But for me, that was my experience, and I know I'll be sticking with summits moving forward.

However, there are things I could have done differently to improve my results, so if you're thinking about hosting a bundle, here are some things to consider:

  • Different topic – This bundle was called The Collaboration Magic Bundle, and the focus was on teaching people how to use collaborations to grow their business. Summits are one of many types of collaborations that was featured in the bundle, but I think there may have been too much of a disconnect between the topic and my contribution. So maybe a different topic would have helped. 
  • Promotion – I could have required a certain amount of promotion. I’ve been a part of bundles that don’t require promotion. I’ve been a part of bundles that require two solo emails. I didn’t want to have any requirements for this, so I didn’t, and yet almost everyone still promoted, so I'm not sure if it would have made a difference.
  • Run paid ads – I did not run any paid ads for the bundle like I would have for a virtual summit. I relied only on word of mouth and social media content. I'm not sure ads would have made much of a difference, but it's something I could have tried.
  • Featured myself more - I really didn’t want to make this the Krista show. It felt wrong to me in this context to put myself super front and center. I did put my resource at the top of the category I was in and offered an extra audio training on the thank you page and in the confirmation email. I also had videos of myself and mentioned that the bundle was sponsored by Summit In A Box®. So I did feature myself some through the bundle, but I could have chosen to do even more.
  • Put everyone on my email list - I could have considered everyone who joined the bundle a new lead to add to my email list, but that didn't feel right to me. There’s just no way that the 1300+ people who signed up for the bundle and didn’t get my virtual summit resource would have enjoyed being added to my email list. They made an intentional choice to not get my contribution that was featured right at the top of the page, and it didn't make sense to me to add them to my list. Technically, I could have, and then I’d be sitting here telling you I grew my list by 1700 people instead of 330, but I'd also have a ton of unsubscribes and lower-quality leads who weren't really interested in what I teach.
  • Logistics - This probably wouldn't have made much of a difference in my results, but here's a tip for anyone considering running a bundle in the future that will make your life easier: Have your speakers set their coupon codes to expire the day after you tell people bonuses are expiring to avoid time zone issues.
  • Paid bundle - Another option I'd consider would be to host a paid bundle rather than a free bundle. Hypothetically speaking, a paid bundle would’ve brought in more revenue, and I broke down those numbers to see how it could have played out. We had 1700 people sign up for the free bundle, and the numbers below are assuming that we'd have about 7% of those who'd be willing to pay $97 for it. 
    • 120 signups for a $97 bundle
    • $11,640 in revenue
    • Minus 50% in affiliate payouts…
    • I would have brought in $5800 in profit  
    •  This option would have brought in more direct profits for me, but much fewer leads, and I don't think it would have benefited my contributors as much. 

Or… on the other hand, I could run a summit and bring in thousands of new leads and thousands of dollars. I realize that some people see great success with paid bundles, but I’d rather build a paid bundle into a summit, which is basically what I do with an all-access pass, to have a greater opportunity to impact attendees, draw people who are actually a good fit, engage with them, and build relationships with speakers.

My preference and why

Obviously, summits are still my preference, which is a relief, but still… My initial plan was to maybe start doing one bundle per year and a summit per year…but that’s probably not going to happen. I’d rather take part in someone else’s bundle.

Based on my experiences…

  • Pros to running a bundle…
  • Pros to running a summit…
    • You can actually engage and build relationships with the people who sign up
    • There are natural ways you’ll build in for yourself to stand out
    • You’ll generate more leads
    • You have the opportunity to generate revenue from sponsorships, the all-access pass, and your offer launch
    • Deeper connections with speakers

So to me, it kind of seems to be a comparison between the level of effort that goes into it versus the results, which is totally fine!

Summits are definitely not for everyone and I totally understand that, but based on the fact that I saw 78x better results with a summit, I’ll take the tripled workload for those results!



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I'm breaking down my take on virtual summits vs bundles. I'll share why I ran a bundle, the results, what I did and didn't like, and more in this week's episode.I'm breaking down my take on virtual summits vs bundles. I'll share why I ran a bundle, the results, what I did and didn't like, and more in this week's episode.

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