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Have you heard that virtual summits are an entire funnel, from lead generation to launch? Most marketing strategies out there play a role in generating leads, building awareness, nurturing an existing audience, or making sales. But while each strategy serves a purpose on its own, it requires multiple different strategies combined together in order to form a complete funnel.
Summits however, are a full funnel in one that not only attract, nurture, and convert new leads at an accelerated pace, but also fuel the others strategies in your funnel, making them all more effective.
This week, I’m breaking down the full power and opportunity that can come from hosting a virtual summit that serves as a full funnel on its own.
This topic first came up back in episode 132 of the podcast with Dama Jue. It was such a great episode but after recording it, I just kind of moved on. Then, a year later, as I was outlining one of the talks for our 6-Figure Summits Virtual Conference and comparing different methods people use to grow their businesses, it came up again.
I was looking at which part of the funnel each common marketing strategy fits into, and when I got to a summit, I realized all over again that a summit does it all. Summits tick the box for every single phase of a funnel, and they're an incredibly powerful strategy that truly can't be beat. Let's break it all down, and look at...
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It would be easy for me to assume that everyone here can pull up a visual in their mind of exactly what I mean when I say “full-funnel”, but I’m going to break it down really quickly.
You can think of a funnel basically as an upside-down triangle, where people come in at the top when they first become aware of your business, and then filter through down to the bottom where they become a loyal fan or customer.
The top is wide and that’s where all the people become aware of you through some kind of visibility strategy, including someone else talking about you, and they kind of fall into your sphere of influence to some degree.
Picture this as pouring water into the wide part of a funnel.
At this point, they’re aware of you, and maybe they're following you on social media, and that’s it.
Then, in the middle, they’re ready to take the next step. They’ve heard of you through your visibility and awareness building strategies, and seen something that makes them want to learn more.
The thing people most commonly think of here is opting in for a freebie or something else that adds people to your email list. It could even be purchasing a low ticket, tiny offer for $27.
They get to this point through lead generation, and now they’re on your email list.
At this middle phase of the funnel, you don’t want them to just sit there on your list. You want to be nurturing, engaging, and building trust with your leads at this stage.
This could still be on social media, or it could be through sending weekly emails. It’s anything you do to stay in touch with the people who want to learn more from you.
Then, we move to the bottom of the funnel when your leads make a purchase.
At the top, they come into your sphere. In the middle, they take another step through opting in or signing up for something, and you’re also building trust and engaging in some way that makes them ready to make this larger purchase of your signature offer.
And after that, there might be more offers they can buy or they become your raving fans and want to spread the word about you every chance they get.
So that’s a funnel - from the initial point that they come to know you all the way through buying and on to them becoming a raving fan.
Most online business owners are used to bringing people through this funnel by piling strategy on top of strategy.
For example, let’s look some of the methods you may have tried or currently use at each step of the funnel…
Top of the funnel: Visibility
Middle of the funnel: Lead Generation
Middle of the funnel: Engagement
Bottom of the funnel: Purchase
Bottom of the funnel: Fan or Ambassador
Please hear me when I say that there is nothing wrong with any of these strategies, okay?
I love speaking and being in bundles. I’ve hosted 2 or 3 challenges per year for the past several years. I’ve spent hundreds of thousands on ads, sold low-ticket offers, and more. In fact, I still build those things into my strategy along side summits.
But doing it all and needing it all to work together to take leads through your funnel is a lot, right?
It requires piling strategy on top of strategy just to make a funnel that is fully functional.
And after all of that, you might still feel like those things aren’t getting you to where we want to be, at least not fast enough.
That’s where a virtual summit comes in as the most powerful strategy in online business!
It takes care of literally every step of that funnel we just went over. And it does each step more effectively than all the individual strategies I just listed.
Your speakers share the summit with their audience, and instead of getting in front of one audience- like you would with a podcast interview or JV swap- it’s 10 audiences, 20 audiences, or even more depending on how many speakers you have.
You might bring on additional affiliates or run ads to expand that visibility even more.
Either way, now you just got more visible than you would have in a full year of speaking, running ads, being in bundles, and more.
As the speakers are sending their audience your way and your attendees are spreading the word to their friends, your summit is a built-in lead generator.
In order for this to work, your summit must be a free event. A very successful paid event might bring in a couple hundred leads. But when lead generation is your goal, free summits open the door to bring in thousands more leads at a MUCH higher conversion rate.
All they have to do to sign-up is opt in! That brings in thousands of leads generated at once.
This works way faster and more effectively than something like a webinar or challenge where you’re only attracting people in your audience.
And it opens the door to a whole lot more engagement and recognition than something like running a bundle or being in a bundle would. People know who you are when you run a summit.
Normally, the nurture and engagement period before someone is ready to buy takes months or longer. It takes a while for someone to see what they need to see just on social media or through weekly emails.
A summit does it all in one week!
Hosting a summit accelerates the process by providing your new leads with an amazing and transformational experience that gets them ready for the next step. You’re showing up, you’re running an incredible event, and you're delivering value that your audience needs. That means trust is built incredibly quickly.
I’d also count your all-access pass for your summit as more of a middle of funnel type of offer than bottom.
It’s a lower ticket offer and it doesn't specifically represents what you do, but they are giving you money and taking yet another step toward coming to know you, trust you, and be a fan of your work.
Some of the other middle-of-funnel strategies we’ve talked about give you an opportunity to add a tripwire to the backend of an opt-in, which is great.
But with a summit, you’re bringing in thousands of leads within the span of a couple of weeks and, if you do it right, you can convert them to a paid all-access pass at a rate of 10, 15, or even 20%, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars quickly!
None of the other strategies we’ve talked about are going to get you that type of revenue at the middle of the funnel step, especially in the span of a few weeks.
Generally, you’re paying for people to get that far, not being paid to do it, which is another reason summits are so effective.
Once you get to the bottom of the funnel, your summit will have exploded your visibility, gotten you thousands of leads, engaged and warmed up those new leads, made you tens of thousands of dollars, and finally, it's time to sell your signature offer.
Remember, all of this is happening within a span of a couple of weeks.
The end of your summit is the absolute perfect time for a signature offer launch, whether it’s a course, membership, high-ticket program, or even a service of some kind like a VIP day or coaching package.
I’ve heard many people recommending that you wait several weeks to launch after a summit. I even said that myself before I actually did it. But now I know that the people who say that clearly don’t have experience with it.
Because once your summit is coming to a close, your attendees NEED to be able to continue what they started during your event.
If you don't make your offer, you’ve basically brought them along throughout your event, got them super excited, helped them make progress…and then you just leave them hanging.
They want and need that next step with you and that’s where you can make your offer.
Throughout the process of attracting, nurturing, and converting new leads through your summit, you’ve also created a new group of raving fans. That includes your speakers, your attendees, and your new customers.
You can hear more about that in episode 84 with Desola Davis - she is a customer journey genius and talks about creating raving fans and dream customers through a summit.
No other strategy out there brings someone into your world, gets them to opt-in, warms them up, gets the first purchase out of the way, and makes them ready to buy your signature offer like a summit does.
So if you’re ready to grow your business more in the span of about a month than you would with years of hustling with other strategies, it is time, my friend, for you to host a virtual summit.
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