How to Launch a Membership Through a Virtual Summit with Lee Chaix McDonough

Hosting a virtual summit is a great way to grow your email list and make some extra income, but it becomes even more impactful when you can use it to set you up for additional growth as well.

Launching a membership or growing an existing membership as a part of your summit strategy is an incredibly powerful approach. 

Lee Chaix McDonough is a prime example of this, as she used her first virtual summit to launch her membership and ended up with a 5-figure launch.

In this post, we'll cover:

  • How to launch a membership through a virtual summit (there are a couple options)
  • What Lee's strategy looked like
  • Why she did it that way and what she'd do differently next time

Why Lee decided to host her first virtual summit

Lee had honed in on the perfect services to offer her clients. She was able to serve her audience incredibly well, but found herself struggling to get her message out.

With the help of a coach, a virtual summit is the strategy she landed on to push past that issue. She knew it would be a great opportunity to both build her audience and connect with other industry experts (her speakers).

Here's what she had to say:

And that was when I started researching and when I connected with you and your products, which were instrumental in terms of the planning and preparation for the summit. Certainly I loved putting the summit on. It did build my list. It connected me with new people and it was just such a fantastic business building experience for me.

The Details of Lee's Summit Setup

Lee ran her own 5-day summit in late-September 2019. Monday-Thursday featured other industry experts and she used Friday to lead into her membership.

Content delivered on Friday included:

  • A session with a learning design expert, who helped give a behind the scenes look at Lee's membership and how thoughtfully it was created.
  • A masterclass delivered by Lee to teach and open her membership.

However, Friday's content wasn't the first time that summit attendees heard about the membership. They were hearing about it all along, rather than being pitched an all-access pass.

In addition, she gave anyone who joined before the summit started $100 off of their first year of being a member. She said this early-bird rate is where about 50% of her new members came from.

Once the summit started, she sent two emails per day:

  1. Morning email - The morning email was focused on what the presentation lineup was for the day and anything else they needed to know about the summit.
  2. Evening email - Evening emails gave a summary of that day, a preview at the sessions for the next day, and reminded them to sign up for the membership.

Why Lee sold her membership, rather than an all-access pass

While I generally recommend selling an all-access pass during your summit and selling anything extra afterwards, Lee did things differently and focused her entire summit on selling her all-access pass.

She did it this way because she really wanted her membership to be center-stage and wanted to experiment to see how it would go.

She then sold ongoing access to summit recordings as a downsell for those who didn't join her membership, while anyone who joined her membership automatically had them included.

Lee's Results

I'm so excited to share Lee's results with you because they show just how effective this strategy was!

Here is the breakdown:

  • 550 summit attendees
  • 22 new paying members during the summit
    • She has had even more join in the months since her summit has been over! These members are not counted in the revenue below.
  • Pricing:
    • Regular price: $797 annually or $77 per month
    • Early bird price: $697 annually or $67 per month
  • Revenue:
    • $15,000 in immediate revenue
    • An additional $1000 in monthly recurring revenue for the next 11 months

$15k in revenue from a first-time summit with 550 attendees? That is worth celebrating!

I'm so excited to see what Lee does in future summits as her number of attendees multiplies each time.

What she'll do differently next time

There are a couple things Lee said that she would do differently next time:

  1. Focus on affiliates - Lee expected more sales to come through the affiliate program she set up for her speakers. For her next summit, she will narrow in on her audience more so it is easier for her speakers to share and increase her affiliate commissions.
  2. Narrow in on her audience - To go deeper on the last point, Lee found that the audience she was attracted was quite a bit wider than the audience that was a good fit for her membership. Next time, she'll target her summit just towards people who could benefit from joining.

An alternate way to use a virtual summit to sell a membership

Through Lee's experience, we can see that it worked well for her to pitch her membership during her summit, rather than an all-access pass.

However, in most cases, I tend to recommend doing it the other way around. So instead, you:

  1. Pitch the all-access pass during your summit
  2. Launch / open your membership afterwards

But this really depends on your comfort with launching. The most effective post-summit launch method I've seen is a webinar. But, if you're not experienced with webinars, you might not see the results you were hoping for, in which case Lee's approach may be a better fit for you.

Overall, do what feels like the best fit for you and your audience!

Resources

 

About Lee 

Lee Chaix McDonough is the Founder and CEO of Coach with Clarity, and is a business coach for entrepreneurs seeking to leverage their intuition to grow profitable businesses and fulfilling lives. She is the force behind the Coach with Clarity membership, a program for intuitive, heart-centered coaches, and the author of the #1 Amazon book, "ACT On Your Business: Braving the storms of entrepreneurship and creating success through meaning, mindset, and mindfulness." Lee is also the host of the Work Your Inner Wisdom podcast and the forthcoming Coach with Clarity podcast. She lives in North Carolina with her husband Patrick, their two sons Jack and Ben, and their adorable pug Phineas.

Coach with Clarity | QUIZ: What's Your Coaching Superpower?

 

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