Virtual Summits Don't Work? Here's What I Have To Say

summit success Dec 31, 2019

Have you heard someone say that online summits don't work? I have and, as you'd probably guess, I have some pretty strong feelings about it and in this episode you'll hear all about them. Word of caution: my soapbox makes an appearance.


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 we're currently in a series about whether summits are still worth doing. Today, in episode 42, we're breaking that down to chat about people who say that online summits don't work, and what I have to say about it. Word of caution though, my soapbox will probably make an appearance, but I want to make sure you get a good idea of the kinds of people who say they don't work and spoiler alert why yours actually will.

Let's start with kind of talking about the people who say online summits don't work and what I have to say about that. The idea for this episode came to me earlier in 2018 actually when I was watching the Instagram stories of someone I really liked who had hosted a summit in what I believe was like late 2017 and I'd actually never heard her say anything but really positive stuff about the results of her summit.

But on this particular day she went totally off about how summits don't work and why they're not worth doing. I wish I could think back to that more clearly and tell you the specifics of exactly what she said didn't work for her. But as you can imagine, I was a little fired up and more focused on ranting to my biz bestie who got fired up or right along with me just like she should than taking notes on what the person said. But regardless of what she actually said, we can probably guess it had something to do with the effort not being worth the pay off she got or something about that.

Here's what I have to say there. If you host your summit in a way where you're not set up for success, it's not going to work. If you don't use the right strategies, it's not going to work. If you don't have the right audience or offer or summit topic, it's not going to work. If you can't get your summit in front of the right people, it's not going to work. If you don't include connection and building relationships as a part of your summit, it's not going to work. And if you go in with just a goal of making money and not paying attention to the experience people are getting, it's not going to work.

If you can find me something you can do with bad strategies, the wrong audience, ineffective promotion and no focus on the results people will get and can still be successful doing that, please let me know and we'll revisit this conversation. But I'm guessing you can't find something like that. All in all, if you find someone who says that summits don't work, they've either never hosted one before or they didn't do it right. It's as simple as that.

I'm going to take a breath, back away from the soapbox and break some of these down a little bit to make sure you don't fall into any of the traps we just brushed over because they are real and they do happen to a lot of people out there. That's why you might hear more negative things about summits, but we're going to make sure you don't have to worry about that.

Having the Right Audience and Offer

Let's start with the biggest one. One of the biggest reasons people host a summit without seeing results is not having the right audience and offer everything else about the summit can be spot on. But if the audience and the offer are wrong literally none of that matters and the biggest mistake that I see comes from a summit that's too general. Those are like summits for all business owners who want to grow their business like no one cares.

Like I mean they care but it's not going to hit them hard enough to make them really want to participate and purchase your All-Access Pass and anything else you have. I dove in deeper to choosing a good audience and topic in episodes four and five so check those out. But I think this was one of the big issues with the person who was saying summits don't work. They were kind of targeting all online business owners and they also sold their All-Access Pass for like $19 or something crazy like that. Clearly it's going to take a lot of people purchasing to see a big growth with your revenue. So I think those are some of the biggest issues and I just really want you to pay attention to that.

I've been having a lot of results roll in from students over the past couple of weeks and all of the ones who are seeing huge results, they don't have the huge audiences, but they have the very specific audiences and they're getting things like 15% conversion rates to purchasing their All-Access Pass, which is insane. So keep that in mind.

Using the Right Strategies

The next thing I want to touch on is using the right strategies. If you're going to do something as big as a summit and expect it to work, you have to do it right. It's as simple as that. It's just like anything else you wouldn't expect for your Facebook ads to get good conversions if you had no idea what you were doing and you wouldn't expect something like a week long challenge or a webinar to get great results for you if you had no idea what you were doing. Don't make this up. Use a proven strategies that work. That's why I have this podcast. It's why I have the Summit Host Vault, which will soon turn into Summit In A Box, and it's why I have the Summit Host Process Map. Those tools all give you my step-by-step strategies that are proven to work, so don't waste your time and energy making things up.

I know there are other resources out there as well. You don't have to use mine. Of course I would love it if you did, but what's more important to me is that you're running summits that actually get you results. Don't make up a totally new process when you don't have to and then expect that things are going to go perfectly because they probably won't.

Get Your Summit In Front of Your Audience

Third, get your summit in front of your audience, and this is another issue I've seen and that's people just struggling to get their summit in front of enough people to get good results, and if you don't have an email list yourself, it's still totally possible to host a very successful summit. We covered that in episode 15 but for that to happen, you either need to pitch speakers with larger and relevant audiences or know your ways around paid advertising.

If you don't give yourself an audience to promote to, you're obviously not going to get any signups. It's not one of those things that's like if you build it, they'll come. That's not how it works. You have to at least get in front of those people and when you have that great specific audience and a topic that's really just chosen for them specifically, then they'll come, but they have to see it first. You also have to be willing to promote and have a good strategy for that, so do not be afraid of emailing your audience several times and repurposing that content on social media. People need to see you talk about your summit times before they're ready to sign up. Listen to episode 37 for more on promoting, but don't be afraid to get this thing in front of your people. You worked hard, you deserve to tell them about it.

Connecting with Speakers and Attendees

The next thing I want to talk about is connecting with your speakers and attendees and this is another huge issue with summits that might not be successful. If they're missing the connection aspect, you're just going to be missing something throughout in your conversion rates are not going to be as high. You need to connect with both your speakers and your attendees. The more connected you are to your speakers, the more effort they'll put into promoting and then the bigger return you'll see. If they're not feeling engaged or like they're an important part of your summit, they're not going to promote as hard. It's as easy as that and just as important as your speakers is your audience. You can't let them register for the event and just sit around waiting until day one to get blasted with emails about it and then call it done.

Invest in the people who sign up for your summit, send them valuable and informative content leading up to the event. Have a Facebook community where they can connect with each other and you ask questions and just feel involved overall and have a way for them to participate. Live during presentations, even if they're prerecorded. And that can be as easy as having a chat box on each page. It doesn't take very long to do that and it's free. But most importantly, don't talk at your audience throughout your whole summit. Talk with them, ask them questions, give them a reason to participate and communicate with you and your speakers and each other. The more connected you are to the people who sign up, the more sales you're going to make. And then the last thing I want to touch on is the importance of caring about people over profit.

And I'm not saying you need to be sacrificing your profit or you're not allowed to care about the money you make, but you really need to care about the people involved, your speakers and your attendees more than the profit. The more connected you are with them, the more your profit will increase, so they go hand in hand. But when you're focused more on the people, you're going to create a better experience for them, which will naturally increase those sales, both the sales you make as a part of your summit and the sales that come in afterwards through audience members who just felt connected with you and stay that way after the summit is over.

People who say that summits don't work, I honestly just don't know what they're talking about. It's as easy as that. They've either never done it before or something was just wrong with their strategy, but that's not going to be your experience because you are here.

Action Steps

I have a couple of action steps for you today. First, I want you to focus on getting the most important part of your summit down, and that is your audience and your topic. So listen to episodes four and five if you haven't, to get that figured out, and then come into the Summit Host Hangout Facebook community at to get feedback from myself and other really incredible members.

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. In the next episode, we'll be talking about my experience planning a summit as an introvert, so be sure to stay tuned for that.

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




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