053: Crafting An Engaging Event

Feb 18, 2020

The more engaging your summit is, the more you, your speakers, and your attendees will get out of it.

To help you make a powerful engagement plan, in this episode we're going over how to craft an engaging event, including 18 ideas to get you started.

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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 today we're starting a short series about creating engagement in your summit. Today in episode 53 we're breaking that down to chat about how to craft an engaged event. We are going to cover why engagement is so important, the key areas to focus and ways to increase engagement before, during, and after the event.

Why you should focus on engagement

Let's start by talking about why we should even focus on engagement. You'll see summits out there that don't do a single thing to bring engagement to their summit. It's a summit run through email with no chatbox during presentations or any way to interact with other attendees or the presenters. Honestly, those summits are on their way out and for good reason. They are not what's going to get you good results in any way, shape or form. When people say they don't like summits or that they don't work, these are the types of summits they're talking about.

But on the flip side, focusing on engagement is beneficial for so many reasons. You're going to build a community where everyone is engaged, which is really what people crave. People come originally for those presentation topics. Once they get in there, the community is what makes them stick around bringing engagement. It brings your audience so much closer to you, which is really powerful for how many cold audience members you'll have joining you for your summit. It makes them want to support you because when you connect them and support them, they want to support you right back and really it gets absolutely everyone better results - you, the attendees, and your speakers.

Where to focus on building engagement

There are a few key areas to focus when it comes to engagement. First is that community building build a community that everybody can feel like they're a part of and that means your speakers as well as your attendees. People can talk to each other or work together, share biggest takeaways, share wins, share struggles. It's just a really powerful thing to do, so focus on that community. You also want to focus on facilitating discussion. It's up to you as the host to make sure that community is being built and by allowing room for people to have conversations. It's a great way to do that easily. And then last you want to make sure that everyone feels like your summit is the place for them. You want them to feel included.

And really the more you show up as the host, the more everybody else will. When you're showing up, these three things are going to come really naturally and you're going to get a bigger return in every area of your summit.

How to increase engagement before the event

Let's make this super actionable and start talking about increasing engagement before the event. And I'll tell you, I've got some serious bullet points coming up for you here. So you're either going to want to have a notebook handy.

On social media

The first way you can increase engagement before your summit even starts is during your promotion. And I think a great way to do this is on social media. When you're promoting your summit, promote with video. And it doesn't have to be this perfect, polished thing. I'll take my phone out record a quick video of what I was doing for an Instagram story, and use that that as an ad. The more natural you are the more people are going to be drawn to you as a person. There is definitely something to those polished videos, but that's not what you have to do. So you can start building engagement from the very second someone runs across your summit.

With welcome videos

Another great way to increase that engagement during the promo period before your summit even starts is a couple of welcome videos. I think it's a really great thing to have a welcome video on your registration page as well as on your thank you page after someone registers. And these are great ways to build powerful connections with people who are new to you and give them those next steps to take that are going to get them even more engaged and pull them even farther into the community you're building for your summit.

Registration email sequence

Right after that comes your registration email sequence and this is another great way to get them more and more engaged. You can use this registration sequence to tell them what you want them to get out of the summit and how to do that as well as get them to join your community where all the action is really going to happen.

In your Facebook community

Once they're inside your community you want to have a welcome video, so as your pin announcement post in your Facebook group, you should have a quick welcome video introducing yourself, telling them what to expect from the group and then encouraging them to introduce themselves. They can either introduce themselves in a comment or in their own post, but either way, make sure you're responding to them and hopefully other attendees will jump in and welcome them as well. I also like to do welcome posts tagging new members, so even if you're encouraging people to introduce themselves in that welcome video, not everybody is going to see it. Every couple of days use that welcome feature that Facebook has in their group to tag all of your new members and welcome them and again encouraging them to introduce themselves. They're going to feel much more welcome to actually post and interact in your group when they've gotten a personal welcome from you.

Daily prompts

Another great way to boost engagement before your summit starts is with daily prompts with fun questions. So my promotion period for my summit is usually two and a half to three weeks and each day during that time frame I'm posting a fun question in the group. Something like, you know, what's your favorite Starbucks drink or what are you doing this weekend? Because people are more likely to answer those questions than they are to answer like a leading question that feels like market research and people can also connect really easily with these fun questions if they like the same Starbucks drink or they're doing the same thing on the weekend or wish they could do what the other person was doing and they're going to start communicating with each other as well. But the biggest thing here is that when someone posts or comments once in your community, they're way more likely to do it again. By having all of these fun prompts, you're building up more and more people who are commenting, which makes them way more likely to do so in the future. If things start out a little quiet here, ask your speakers and friends to jump in and start answering those questions because sometimes people don't want to comment because they don't want to be the only one. And if your speakers and friends are helping boost that engagement, your attendees will start to jump in as well.

Have a quiz

Another thing I like to do to build engagement before the summit starts this have the quiz. One of the bigger downsides I guess about summits is that sometimes there are so many presentations that your attendees don't even know where to focus or they might try to go to all of them but then not even have like brain space to implement anything because they learn too much. You can have a quiz to help your attendees decide which presentations to go to. And while this doesn't necessarily do anything inside of your community, again it gets them to take that first action and afterwards they're more likely to do other things. Then this just continues to pay off during the summit because when people are focused on presentations that will actually help them, it's going to get them more results and keep them more engaged without just feeling overwhelmed.

Bonus trainings

Another thing you can do throughout your promotion period are bonus trainings. So one of your join questions for when someone requests to join your attendee Facebook group, it should be something like what's your biggest struggle related to blank, where blank is your summit's topic. And when you start seeing the same thing mentioned over and over that you don't have a presentation for, take that topic and do a quick bonus training on it during the promotion period in your Facebook group. This is going to be a great way to start providing value before your summit starts and getting people paying attention to that group. You'll get people starting to come in and talk to each other. It's just a great and nice and easy thing to do. You can also have your speakers go live if you want to have them go in and introduce themselves. Maybe give a quick tip. I wouldn't make it required, but you know, encourage them to do that, pointing out how it can benefit them as well.

Kickoff call

And then the last thing you'll do during your promotion period to really start setting the stage for engagement is your kickoff call. So this is the call that happens either the day before or the morning of day one of your summit. And you do all kinds of things in here. But basically welcome everybody. Let them know what to expect. Give them a rundown of the logistics, like where they'll get the links for the presentations, how long they'll be available. I like to help my people plan for how to make the most of the presentations so they can make progress later. And then of course pitch that all access pass. But you're going to see so many people joining this call and commenting and having a great time. So as great as it as it is for increasing sales, it's also great for increasing engagement.

So those are all the things that you can do just before your event starts to increase engagement. We have two more sections here.

Increasing engagement during the event

Moving onto the next one, which is increasing engagement during the event.

Daily Updates

The first thing you can do is easy and you'd do it anyways and that's give daily updates. So each day you should be sending an email and posting in your Facebook group just an update of what they can expect for that day, any important announcements that you've thought of since the previous day. It's a great way to set the stage for, you know, the next day of your summit for that specific day. And what is to come and then the more people stay updated, the more likely they are to engage with the event.

Chat boxes

Another thing you can do is have a chat box. Whether your presentations are live or prerecorded, I recommend that you have a chat box for them. I always have my speakers be in the chat box for the first hour that their presentation is live. If you do have a speaker who can't make their time for whatever reason, I don't think that's any reason to say, okay, you can't be a part of it, but just know that you're going to have to be in there interacting with the attendees instead of them. I also like to encourage my speakers to go live in the Facebook group after the presentation is over to either give a bonus tip or do a little Q And A if they've been getting a lot of questions in the chat box. Again, it's all a ton of extra value. It's going to catch people who are scrolling Facebook and kind of forgot about the summit. It's another chance for your speakers to connect with the attendees and get even more out of participating. It's just overall a great thing to do that doesn't require a bunch of effort on your end, which is always great.

Speaker shoutouts

Another thing I like to do during the event to increase engagement is to give my speakers shout outs after each presentation. During the presentations sometimes I'm off doing different management things, but I'm always paying attention to try to find this big takeaway that they had that I want everyone else to notice. So then after their presentations over, I'll hop over to the Facebook group and be like, how incredible was that presentation from so-and-so? My biggest takeaway was this, what was yours? And this is powerful for a few reasons. First and engages your speakers because they feel really good seeing you and attendees saying how great their presentation was. It's also great because it gets those attendees who are watching and have a big takeaway. They loved talking and communicating with each other and commenting back and forth on, you know, each other's takeaways. But maybe the most powerful thing is that every time when someone comments, it's going to bump that post to the top of someone's feed. And then people who aren't paying attention to your summit or wanting to see this post and all of these incredible things other attendees had to say about the presentation, it's going to make them want to go watch. So that one really is like great for so many pieces of engagement throughout your summit.

Giveaway Prizes

Another thing I like to do are giveaway prizes, and I totally use my prizes to bribe attendees to participate. These are engagement based prizes. When my attendees are in the chatbox or posting in the Facebook group or commenting on each other's posts or my posts, I'm kind of keeping track. There's an official system, but I do keep track and each day I draw a winner for a prize. And these aren't big expensive prizes for my last summit. They could pick between a planner or a couple books that I had picked out that were kind of related to my topic. So they were, what, eight, $10 prizes. I also had grand prizes that I hand chose people for. The very most engaged people who would get the most out of the prize, I was able to pick them, which again was a great way to get people who maybe would usually be too shy to talk to talk because I knew I really wanted them to and they would get something from it. Don't be afraid to bribe people with prizes.

Games

Then the last tip I have for you here for increasing engagement during the event is to do games. Games actually aren't something I've ever done, but I've seen people come up with such fun ideas in my mind. Bonus points if you can think of games that are related to your summit. I actually know someone who hosted a Halloween theme summit and she had a costume contest during her promotion period or during her summit, which I thought was so fun. But you can do things like trivia related to your topic or the presentations for that day. You can do scavenger hunts, you know, think of something fun that will really get people excited and engaged and it will just kind of set your summit apart from the rest because there aren't that many people that do that kind of thing.

Increasing engagement after the event

Now onto our third section here, which is increasing engagement after the event. So after your summit is over, things will definitely wind down naturally, but it's up to you to make the most of the new community you just built.

Invite them to follow you outside of the Facebook group

So if you're not going to keep the group open, be sure to invite them to follow you and each other on your favorite social platform so that you're all staying connected for when you decide to do your summit. Again, you still have access to these people outside of your email list. You can also choose to keep the group open and make a plan for it or direct them to another Facebook group you run if you have one or just tell them where to go to keep up with what you're doing until next time.

Feedback survey with a prize

And then I also like to do a feedback survey with a prize afterwards. This doesn't necessarily increase engagement for that summit, but it will help you learn something new for the next one that could make it even better. It's just a way that they are again interacting with your summit, which is technically engagement.

As a recap, the more you show up for your summit, the more everyone else will and the more fun you make it, the more everyone else will want to be a part of it. And that means you need to go in with a plan.

Action Steps

So your action steps for this episode are to use the ideas we covered today to brainstorm what you can do to create fun and engagement in your summit. And also I want to mention don't be limited by these ideas. Use them as inspiration and take it even further. Let me know if you come up with a cool idea too, because that's always fun to learn something new and to try a new engagement strategy.

But thank you so much for tuning into this episode.

I have trainings, templates, video outlines, and more for most of what we talked about today inside of the Summit Host Vault, along with all kinds of other incredible resources for you. So to make the engagement aspect of your summit incredibly easy, had to summitinabox.com/vault for more information.

The next episode we'll be chatting with a guest about building interest and engagement for your summit before it begins. So be sure to tune in for that.

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

 

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