Lately, we've been talking more and more about using a virtual summit to launch a course, membership, or high-ticket program.
Using the momentum from your summit to launch on the backend has truly incredible results for you as the host... but what about your speakers?
I've been asked a few times recently whether or not speakers care if you incorporate a launch into your summit:
I cannot speak for everybody on this topic, because you are almost never going to make everyone happy. But if you go into it with good intentions, those intentions will usually come across. As long as you go in to your summit with the intention of making it a beneficial experience for your speakers, and you prioritize that in your plans, you're speakers, generally speaking, won't care. In fact, launching after your summit can actually be a benefit for your speakers, if you go about it correctly.
So, let's dive into…
Let’s start by talking about two very important things to avoid when you launch with a virtual summit.
If your speakers had no idea you were going to launch, it comes out of nowhere, and it's a big focus of the whole event, it’s very possible that you’ll have some upset speakers.
In the Launch with a Summit Accelerator™, we really focus on building awareness of your course through the summit. That starts with your speakers, long before the summit even starts!
Your speakers should be aware of the fact that there’s going to be a launch coming before it happens. That doesn’t mean you have to send a giant email with all your reasons for launching; that’s overkill, but they should know it’s coming.
The other thing you want to avoid is steamrolling your speakers and putting yourself front and center at their expense. Don’t try to outshine your speakers. Each and every one of your speakers deserve their time in the spotlight and to be featured and shown off during the event. You’ll naturally stand out as the host of the event, so let your speakers have their moments in the spotlight too.
Specifically, I would avoid having ads for your own offer on speaker presentations or speaker pages. I’ve seen it happen, but it doesn’t feel good to me. Promote your speakers without always tying in promotion of yourself.
Keep in mind that you couldn’t host your event without them. Acknowledge that and act accordingly.
I can’t promise that every speaker will always be cool with you launching following your summit, but there are a few ways you can position the launch to encourage your speaker’s support.
The first thing you can do is make non-transactional, ick-free speaker connections. This requires connecting with potential speakers before pitching them, and building genuine relationships. Taking the time to make these connections will benefit you in so many ways - getting speakers on board with your launch is just one of them! When you have an existing relationship with your speakers, they will know what your offers are – so they’ll expect it!
Next, let your speakers know that a launch is coming. But remember, this doesn't mean making a big announcement with all the reasons why you're launching! Instead, you can build in mentions of your launch and other ways for them to know that it's coming in your speaker communication. There are several ways you can do this, but one of my favorite ways is to talk about the commission they’ll make on the post-summit launch everywhere you talk about speaker benefits - pitch, speaker information page, and agreement.
When they know what commission they’ll earn, they’re also learning about the fact that a launch is going to happen in a way that they really won’t even think to be upset about.
The next thing you can do to make speakers okay with your launch is to build awareness gently. Like I already said, it’s not going to feel good to them if your offer is plastered everywhere.
We teach our clients tasteful ways to build awareness of their course, membership or high-ticket program all throughout the summit without it feeling like a pitch fest. In fact, most of our speakers probably don’t even see that we’re launching. Not that we’re trying to hide it, but we’re strategic with which portion of the event audience we actually launch to, and a lot of the time, speakers don’t end up in that audience.
If speakers see your offer everywhere they turn, they’re not going to like it, but there are ways to build awareness and excitement about your offer without making it the focus of your entire event.
I mentioned one of my favorite ways to make speakers aware of your launch is to tell them before they even agree what affiliate commission they’ll earn on your offer. Giving them that commission will make them much happier to support you.
It can be a lower commission than the 40-50% I recommend for the all-access pass, but the fact that there’s a commission is what will stand out.
If you can track affiliate sales during your launch, do it.
I know there are some of you that this would be tricky for. If you host your summit on a different platform than your course, you probably can’t track affiliates in a manageable way.
The first time I launched, I cohosted the event, and our summit was on a WordPress website. My course was on Kajabi, so there wasn't a way for me to track those sales with affiliate links...so I didn’t.
Not a single speaker complained, but I felt bad about it. In the future, if I were to launch after my summit without offering affiliate commissions on my course sales, I'd probably increase the all-access pass commission, even more, to account for it.
Overall, if you make it known from the beginning, aren’t gross about it, and even turn it into a benefit for your speakers, the majority aren’t going to have an issue.
Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.