From MVP to Membership to Epic Program: The Launch Method I Used to Create Summit in a Box!

behind the scenes May 21, 2020

This episode is coming to you thanks to getting a lot of questions about how I launched my new Summit in a Box program. Once my friend Zoe asked if I had any resources on the method I used, I decided it was time to make something, so here we are!

In this bonus episode of the Summit Host Hangout podcast, I'm sharing a behind-the-scenes look at how I went from a minimum viable product to membership to an epic program over the course of 11 months.

I'll cover:

  • why I did it this way
  • what each offer looked like
  • the results I saw
  • the strategy I used for building out the membership
  • how I decided when I was done.

Why I did it this way

  • I made the Summit Host Process Map first because it was high value and something I already had.
    • I could start making money right away and gauging interest about whether this was even a good business idea
    • This has also been really helpful in my funnel because I can use it as a lower-priced product to sell in other areas
    • As of resourcing this, this initial offer has made me about $23,000
  • But from the time I started the Summit in a Box brand, my plan was to have one signature product that had every training, template, script, tutorial, and resource someone needed to run a summit
    • Because it's what I wanted!
    • And I had all of my own templates from a summit that went really well
  • was a beast...and I kept putting it off because it felt so impossible
  • One day, I decided okay, I need to make progress on this thing or just go back to focusing on my development business
    • So I asked myself why I was putting it off
      • Answer: It was too much
    • Question: How can I fix that?
      • Answer: I could create just a few resources per month and stop thinking about it as one big project I had to do
    • Question: What if it's not worth it? And how do I hold myself accountable to it?
      • Answer: Get people to pay for it
        • This did two things:
          • It was my beta test - if people would give me money for an incomplete group of summit-hosting resources, it made me feel pretty comfortable in thinking that they'd pay me for a complete product
          • It motivated me to get to work
  • So that turned into my Summit Host Vault membership
    • A monthly membership of resources, templates, trainings, and more to make hosting a virtual summit easy.
    • Each month, I released 3 new bundles of resources.
    • Each month, I increased the price to encourage people to join and account for the new number of resources inside
    • I did not offer any calls or 1:1 support because I needed to spend my time creating resources
    • The monthly price increase was an important part of it to
      • For example, the first month had a speaker pitch template, a speaker tracking spreadsheet, a planning workbook, and maybe a registration page template
      • I was pretty sure NO ONE would pay me money for that
      • So I launched at $12/month and anyone who kept their membership the entire time I was working on building the Summit in a Box program was promised my completed product for free.
      • Two things about that:
        • It worked - 24 members with a tiiiny audience
        • That low price hurts a little bit now - ha
      • But increasing the price each month made me feel more comfortable that I was being paid fairly for the resources I was creating
        • By the end, people were getting a ridiculous amount of resources for $97/month (which is where I capped it), BUT the goal was to motivate me and to be a beta test and it worked
    • This membership ran from June 2019 to May 2020 - so almost a year
    • And during the lifetime of the membership, I made about $18,000, which was plenty of motivation for me!
  • I will say that the transition to the full product was a little tricky just with the people management
    • Communicating that the membership was closing felt sticky (even though we made it as clear as possible on the sales page) and there was a lot of extra customer support
    • Specifically, creating like 180 coupon codes
      • This is what we did to help increase the conversion rate from membership to full product and to help people feel like we weren't cheating them out of something
      • We totaled up the amount that each person had paid into the membership, doubled it, and gave them a coupon code for that amount off of the full product
      • So we had codes ranging from free access for our founding members to about $1000 off of the total price
      • I do think it helped, but it was a little messy
  • And that's that
    • From there, we launched our full Summit in a Box product and it was so worth it! We had about a $60,000 launch and are on track to make $30-40k on evergreen the first month
    • And I 100% wouldn't have had the offer right or the messaging down if I would have tried to make it all behind the scenes and then launch it
    • I had soooo many good testimonials too!
      • Ask for them!

My strategy for building out the membership

  • What to launch with
    • Decide how much you want to release per month, which I'll touch on next, and start with either that or 2x that
    • Pieces of your offer that people will be really excited about
    • For me, people wanted a pitch template, I thought my speaker tracking spreadsheet was pretty cool, and I knew people could use a registration page template
    • Make it a variety or one complete mini-product
  • How much to add per month
    • How much is reasonable for you?
    • I wanted to push myself, but not go crazy
    • In the beginning, I planned for 3 resources per month. Meaning like a training video, a copy template, and maybe a website template
      • That ended up being too slow for me so I turned it into 3 resource bundles per month. So if I did a training video, I also released any templates and tutorials that could go along with it
        • I have about 400 individual resources in my program so I needed to do it that way if I didn't want it to take years
    • But decide what's reasonable for you and give yourself the space to tweak what it looks like if you need to - this was another reason I ended up with my initial price so one who paid $12 was going to be mad if I had to tweak my plan a bit
  • How to know what to add next
    • Survey your people!
    • Master list in Airtable
      • Made a huge list of sticky notes on my closet and my ideas lived there for a long time
      • Actually still have my initial brainstorm hanging up on my door on one of those huge notepad things - it was so cute! I had like 10 ideas.
      • But then got smarter and moved my closet sticky notes to Airtable
      • Each resource sorted into categories
      • Tracked my brainstorming, the planned launch date, where it was in the process, what we were waiting on, how much effort was required, the status, and whether anything would need to be updated when we moved it to the larger program
    • I put most of them into a poll using Interact (link)
    • And took the top resources each month and made those. Sometimes, if I didn't like what they chose, I just did the top 1-2 and then picked whatever I wanted for the rest
    • Either to add variety to that month's launch or to work on what I was most inspired to work on
    • Each month, I did a mini launch
      • Nothing crazy, but I'd let my email list and social media following know what new resources were coming and what the price was increasing to
      • Usually had a few people jump in
  • How I knew I was done
    • When each step of the process was covered and as easy as possible
    • Now going back and adding bells and whistles

How much is too much

  • I feel like I don't have a good answer to this because I would guess learning design experts would say that 400 resources is too many
  • However, my people love it
  • If something you have will be helpful to get your people the results you promised them, add it
  • If it's just added fluff, don't? But I'm not much for fluff

How to know if this is a good idea for you

  • If the regular beta offer doesn't work
    • i.e. if you can't get it done within a couple of months, this is probably a good fit
  • If you need the motivation to get it done
  • And if it feels like a good option
  • I wasn't trying to be super strategic with this, it's just what felt right for me, I went with it, and people seem to think it was a decent idea! 





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