Why Your Offer Needs to be Proven Before Launching with a Summit

behind the scenes Dec 06, 2022

I usually reference launching a proven offer with your virtual summit, and today we're going to break down why that is and my experiences with it.

Lately, we've been talking quite a bit about using a virtual summit to launch a scalable offer, like a course membership or group coaching program. When I've been talking about those things, you might have noticed me quickly reference launching not just any offer, but a proven offer, and today, I want to break down why that is.

One of the reasons I’m so passionate about using summits to launch a scalable offer is because I’ve experienced for myself how powerful it can be to use the momentum from your summit to lead right into a launch of an offer that you know will serve your attendees well. I’ve also seen it time and time again with my students.

But one thing I don’t talk about very often is the first time I launched an offer after a summit… and it completely flopped!

I thought that because my summit was proven, that a new offer on a related topic was bound to be a hit. But I was wrong. I learned the hard way why it’s so important to test your offers before selling them with a summit, and I want to help you avoid that mistake.

In this short, sweet, and a little spicy episode, we’re covering:

  • Why it’s so important to test out your offer before selling it through a summit
  • My personal experience with launching an unproven offer after a summit - that totally flopped!
  • Whether or not it’s worth it to host a summit if you don’t have a proven offer to launch yet
  • And what to do if you’re already planning a summit and want to launch a new offer at the end

Let’s dive right in!

Listen on your favorite platform:

Download the episode transcript here.

Hosting a summit is no joke.

You’ve heard me say it before and you’ll hear me say it again: hosting a summit is a lot of work!

I'm never going to pretend that summits are an easy, quick thing you can put together without any effort.

It comes with an incredible payoff, but hosting a summit is a big project and it takes some serious dedication to make it happen.

With that in mind…hosting a summit is a big project

Please do not use something as big as a summit to test a brand-new offer.

There is so much uncertainty and unpredictability when it comes to launching something new for the first time. You can do your market research and talk to your audience, and work on the positioning and promise of your program all day long, but until you’ve launched it and had people buy it, it’s not proven. And there are plenty of ways to do an initial test launch that are so much easier than hosting a summit.

When you test your offer early, your summit becomes more profitable.

Imagine how disappointing it would be to put in the 90 days to plan for a summit, bring together a group of awesome experts, attract thousands of new leads, get them excited to take the next step…. and then wind up with an offer that doesn't convert.

You are so much better off testing your offer before hosting a summit with a faster and easier launch method!

Of course, no matter what happens with your launch, you'll still have hosted an awesome summit, increased your leads, visibility, and connections, and brought in revenue through your all-access pass. But you’re missing out on all that launch revenue you could have made by launching a proven offer at the end!

I learned the hard way

One of the reasons I’m so passionate about helping people avoid the disappointment that comes from testing out a new offer with a virtual summit is because I’ve experienced it for myself. And let me tell you, it is not fun!

When it came time to plan my third summit, I had an offer brewing in my head, and I got a little overconfident. I had the idea to launch a coaching program related to my summit topic after the event.

I had run that summit successfully several times, so I knew the summit worked. And I knew people cared about my summit topic and wanted help with it, so I decided to launch a coaching program on the back of my next one.

I spent weeks putting the offer together, planning it all out, deciding on the pricing and what was included, writing the copy, making the sales page, setting up the automations, and even buying the contract template I needed to offer this service. I had everything ready to go.

When it came time to host my summit and launch my coaching program, the summit part was great. I’d hosted it several times before with great results, and that part went according to plan.

You know what wasn't popular? The offer I had never tested before.

It did not work. Even though I launched to 1000s of people who were signed up for the summit, zero people bought. Because the offer was not proven! It doesn't matter how successful your summit is, it cannot fix a broken offer.

Test your offer before launching with a summit.

Before my failed launch, I actually thought I had tested it by working with a couple of free beta clients, but now I know that free beta tests do not translate into a proven offer.
You need to be paid for your offer before launching it with a summit, and there are so many options for this! Do a paid beta round of your program, an internal launch to your email list, or connect with some perfect fit students or clients on social media and sell in the DMs.

However you want to do it, please test your offer before you try to launch it through a summit. From there, once your offer is proven, THEN it makes sense to host a high-converting summit with a launch on the backend. It's truly a combination that cannot be beat, as long as you have a proven offer!

But can’t I just do it and see what happens?

I know there are some of you reading this and thinking that you’re going to host a summit no matter what, so you might as well use the summit to test out an offer… right?

Look, there are many benefits that come from hosting a summit like all-access pass revenue and list growth even if you don’t launch something at the end. You don’t have to incorporate a launch into your summit. If you don’t have a scalable offer you want to sell after your summit, you can absolutely host a summit as a stand-alone event without a launch on the backend.

But when you add in a launch, that adds more work to the already big project of hosting a summit, and you want to make sure it’s worth it.

So if you’re hosting a summit and want to launch a new scalable offer at the end of the event, here’s what I recommend:

Push back your summit date by two or three weeks to give you time to do a small, simple test launch of your offer first.

Not only will this help you test your offer so that it’s proven before you launch with a summit, but it also helps you to get all of your launch materials prepped ahead of time so you’re not scrambling to create them during your summit.

Don’t make it harder than it needs to be

Even when launching a proven offer through a summit I still recommend that our Launch with a Summit Accelerator™ clients spend the first couple of weeks of their summit planning process pulling together all of their launch material.

This includes things like their proven launch emails, webinar slides, sales page, and any automations they need. Once you’ve created these things once, you should be able to repurpose them for the most part, with only a few small tweaks so that they make sense in the context of your summit.

Without testing your offer before launching it through a summit, you’d end up planning a summit for the first time, creating a brand new offer, and putting together all of the launch material for that brand new offer at once.

To me, that sounds like a recipe for being completely overwhelmed and regretting your life decisions.

Since you need to have your launch material ready to go before you start your summit planning anyways, you already have everything you need to do that test launch. If you push your event back literally just a couple of weeks, you can multiply your summit revenue by tying in that offer launch once it’s proven.

It is so worth it to get that first launch out of the way early, even if it’s to a tiny list, and then make tweaks based on conversion rates when you launch the next time through your summit. Even if that test launch doesn’t go the way you want it to, it will give you feedback, and that feedback can be applied to your next launch to make it bigger and better. Please don’t waste an opportunity as big as launching with all the momentum that comes from a summit, without making sure your offer is proven first. You won't regret it!

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I usually reference launching a proven offer with your virtual summit, and today we're going to break down why that is and my experiences with it.I usually reference launching a proven offer with your virtual summit, and today we're going to break down why that is and my experiences with it.
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