The Power of Repeat Summits (they're more than a 1-time cash injection)

summit success Jun 06, 2023

See the wider impact you can make for your business by seeing your events for what they are instead of one-off list builders or cash injection methods!

Today we're kicking off a new mini-series, and I'm pumped to be talking to those of you who have already hosted a summit about the power of hosting repeat events. For the first 227 episodes of this podcast, I've mainly spoken to people who are running a first-time summit, but I know there are so many of you who have run one (or 10!) before who still listen and find ways to improve your events with what you learn.

Through working with our clients in the Launch with a Summit Accelerator, I have learned just how much I love working with repeat summit hosts. There's so much power in hosting your event multiple times and making it a part of your ongoing business plan. My team and I are pretty darn good at reviewing someone's previous results and materials and leading them through high-impact improvements to build on their past summits. I'm so excited to share a little of that with you over the next couple of episodes.

Today, we're going to start by breaking down the power of repeat summits. My goal for this episode is to help those of you who have already hosted an event to see what you're missing if you've been looking at your events as a one-off cash injection and help you get excited about the wider impact you can make for your business by building on your last event.

And even if you haven't yet hosted your first event, this episode is for you! This info will help you go in with the right mindset the first time, and you'll already be prepared for what comes next.

Next, we're covering How Annual Virtual Summits Fit Into Your Marketing Strategy (and make everything else work even better)!

Listen to the episode

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Beyond One and Done

I also want to let you know that spots are open now for a live three-part workshop we'll be leading starting on June 20th called Beyond One and Done. This workshop is just for those of you who have hosted a virtual summit before, and the goal is to help you build on your previous summit(s) for bigger and better results with smart and simple tweaks to your initial strategy.

If you're a repeat summit host who's hosted at least one summit before, you're going to walk away knowing: 

  • Exactly what areas you to focus on improving in your next event for the most impact.
  • What you need to change and how to go about making those improvements.
  • How summits fit into your full marketing plan to fuel your business moving forward.

With the same strategies I'll be teaching at this workshop, we have helped clients go from:

  • an $1,800 event to an $18,000 summit
  • a $39k summit to a $97k summit
  • a $17,000 summit to a $55,000 summit
  • a $20k summit to a $42k summit

You get the idea! And this all happened because we were able to work with them to identify their top areas for improvement and show them how to implement them for the best results. This is what we're going to cover in the Beyond One and Done workshop for repeat summit hosts!

My Mindset Shift Around Repeat Summits

Now let's dive into the power of repeat summits! To start us off, I want to share my own example of how I shifted from thinking about my first summit as a one-time cash injection to realizing how I could build on that first summit and repeat it regularly.

My First and Second Virtual Summits

I hosted my first event in April 2018, and it went way better than I expected. I had a baby business and a small audience at the time, but I was able to grow my email list from 500 people to 1500 and bring in $16,000 in revenue, which was more money than I had ever seen at once before by a longshot.

I was so excited by that! I knew that virtual summits needed to continue being a part of my business, but it didn't even cross my mind to leverage that event to create even bigger results.

I went on and hosted my second event six months later, and I looked at it as a totally separate thing. My thinking was basically, “This first event was awesome. I need to do that again, but it needs to be different." I was worried that I'd annoy people by running the same event twice, so I changed things up and crossed my fingers that I'd see close to those results again.

I totally changed the positioning and got creative with the format for my second summit, and without realizing it, I totally got rid of all the good things that made my first summit a success. 

The bad news: I don't remember the exact numbers, and I didn't even write them down because I was so embarrassed, but I think we had like 400 people registered and made about $3,000 in sales. As you can imagine, that was a big disappointment after the success of that first event.

The good news: I learned some really important things through that summit that have had such a big part to play in the success of my events that followed, and are a big reason why I'm able to teach other people how to host high-converting events.

The differences between that second summit and my others are so obvious that it makes it really easy for me to see what works and what doesn't, and those learnings have held consistent over the years.

Back to the Basics with the Third Summit

With one success and one failure under my belt, I knew enough to go back to leaning on what worked the first time when it came time to plan summit #3. I didn't know what to look at to optimize and make improvements, so, in April 2019, I basically repeated that first event again.

The increase in results between my first and third summits was a mix of a little bit of luck, having a little bit more confidence in selling the all-access pass during the summit, and having a bigger, warm audience to start with. That third event brought in 1400 attendees, so about the same number of leads as the first, but $22,000 in revenue instead of $16k.

This is where I started to see that I could not only repeat the success of that first event, but I could improve on it, at least a little bit. Thanks to a combination of things I learned through that third summit, closely watching other people's events, and working with students on their summits, I started to key in on some things that made a big difference in the success of events.

The Changes I Made To My Summit Strategy

After wrapping up that third summit, I reviewed my past results and conversion rates and noticed which speakers saw success and doubled down there. That lead to my next event multiplying in size!

I went from 1400 leads and $22,000 in revenue in my third summit to 4000 attendees and $60,000 in sales at my 4th summit in March 2020.

With my new knowledge around summits and also more business experience, I made even more strategic changes for my next event. I doubled down on what worked, fixed what didn't, and the following event in March 2021 brought in 6500 attendees and $121,000 in sales.

The ability to go from making $16k from my first summit to a life-changing $121k in my fifth, is a prime example of the power of repeat summits. And that's just scratching the surface. There's truly so much more to it than that, and I didn't really see the true impact until years later.

What Makes Repeat Summits So Powerful

So, what makes repeat summits so powerful? Let's look at the specifics and get into where you can focus as a repeat summit host to increase your results with every event you host from here on out.

We're going to break down the power of repeat summit starting with the most obvious: how your revenue and event size can naturally and easily grow from event to event if you're intentional about it.

  • Increase your summit registrations. For most hosts, the foundation of growing your event revenue year after year is the fact that you grow your event registrations and increase attendance each year. If you have more people sign up, you have more people to sell to, which means you can make more money.
  • Grow your email list. Your email list is bigger each time you host your summit, thanks to your previous summit and any other list growth you do between events. This means the audience you can promote your summit to is bigger before speakers even start promoting. Many people think that they need to have a certain email list size before hosting a summit, but that is so backward because hosting a summit is how you grow your email list, and then your list is bigger for the next one.

Once you've hosted that first summit, not only do you have more people to promote your virtual summit to, but the people on your list will already know about your summit and be excited about it when you start promoting it.

You're set up for more success from the very beginning.

When your registration numbers are higher, that usually means more all-access pass sales and higher revenue, even if nothing else changes. But there are still more things you can do to increase results even more from one event to the next.

Improve Conversion Rates in Repeat Events

There are also ways to improve your conversion rates so not only does the total number of people landing on your registration page go up, but the percentage of those people who sign up increases too. From there, you can also improve the all-access pass conversion rate so the percentage of those people who purchase goes up too.

Let’s look at a couple of simple examples.

  • Testimonials - After your first summit, you'll have testimonials and screenshots from the first one that you can use in your registration and all-access pass sales pages, which can help to increase conversion rates.
  • Messaging - You'll learn a lot about what your audience resonated with, what didn't work so well in your messaging, and the way you presented this summit to your audience after that first one. You can use those insights to refine your messaging, often with small, simple tweaks, that increase your numbers.

Of course, there's a lot that goes into that, and even more things you can do to increase your conversion rates that we'll cover in the Beyond One and Done Workshop for repeat summit hosts.  We'll get into all of this along with more details on what changes to make for the best results from your next summit. So be sure to your spot for that!

Your first event is just the beginning.

When I reflect on my experience hosting so many repeat summits over the years, I always think about how different things would be now if I'd quit after my first event. Imagine if I decided that the $16k from the first summit wasn't worth it. I could have just stopped there, and I 100% would not be where I am today. I would have missed out on the rest of the $280k that I've brought into my business through the summits that followed.

But honestly, thinking about the revenue I'd have lost isn't even the most heartbreaking thing about it. I would've missed out on so much more in terms of the impact I've been able to make through my summits and also through teaching others how to host successful events. I'm so glad I decided to keep going and learn from and leverage my events.

How to Increase Results with Repeat Summits

So how do you make sure that you see this increased growth from one event to the next, whether you're happy with the results of your first one or not? There are some mindset shifts as well as practical things that make a big difference: 

See Your First Event As A Learning Experience

Viewing your first event as a learning experience is key to building on it and increasing results for the next one. This is how I look at all of my events, whether they flop or whether they're incredibly successful.

After your event, you're going to break down your numbers and look at what you're happy with, what needs improvement, and how those improvements can be made

The most obvious thing to look for when we're talking about numbers is:

  • The traffic  to your registration page
  • Your registration page conversion rate
  • Your all-access pass conversion rate

Maybe you see that your registration page conversion rate was low, so that's a really good clue that your positioning was off for the audience you targeted or that your copy needed some more work. Making these improvements are some of our favorite things to work with clients on in the Launch with a Summit Accelerator.

Looking at these results and finding ways to improve have contributed to big improvements in our clients' results, like helping Shelby go from $30k to $90k from one event to the next.

These are exactly the types of things we're going to talk you through walk you through in next week's workshop.

Your Connections and Expert Status Grow

Another big advantage to hosting a repeat summit is that your connections and expert status grows with each one as well. More people have heard of you and your event when you start planning your next one, and that makes it so much easier to find speakers to pitch, land bigger speakers, and know which speakers from your last summit to invite back.

You can invite back top-performing speakers every year, you're going to have people approaching you wanting to be a speaker, and when you start sending pitches, a lot more potential speakers will already know about you and your event.

And in the Beyond One and Done workshop, we'll also get into all of this in much more detail. We'll talk about how to strategically choose who you want to invite back to speak again, how to evaluate the pitches that you start receiving from potential speakers, and how to decide who to say yes to as more people learn about your event and start seeking out opportunities to speak.

The Process Gets Easier Each Time

The final thing I want to talk about that contributes to building on your previous summit results is that the process of hosting your event gets significantly easier each time. That means it can just be an easier experience for you, or you could choose to use that extra time and space to add more advanced strategies and do more experimenting to increase results even more.

As your business evolves and improves as you continue hosting multiple summits, your launches will also become bigger, better, and more effective as you keep going.

You’re basically rinsing and repeating, but there are a lot of factors that combine to make your results continue to grow.

What If Your First Summit Flopped?

We’ve talked about how to build on results from your first summit and grow them with repeat events, but what if you host your first summit, and it totally flopped?

We talked earlier about how you can refine and improve your messaging from one summit to the next, but if your first summit really didn't perform well, or hit even close to the conversion rates you were hoping for, that could mean that you need to make some bigger shifts in your positioning to make your summit a success.

If you treat your summit like an experiment and dig into the data, you can figure out what went wrong and make adjustments so the next one is a success.

Even if you do end up needing to start from scratch, when you start by looking at the data, you can figure out where the disaster started and gain more insights on what to do differently next time. Digging into the results from your first summit will help you know what foundational improvements you need to make moving forward. 

We're going to cover that as well in the workshop next week, so whether you had a successful event that you want to make even better, or are wanting to start from scratch after a failed first event, you won't want to miss it! You'll get so many incredible insights, and we're making it really actionable, so you walk away knowing exactly what changes you need to make.

Go All-In with the Accelerator

For those of you who are ready to go all-in with building on your previous summit(s) for bigger and better results, our Launch with a Summit Accelerator is the perfect place for you to get our support and help with leveraging all of this and more. The Accelerator was originally created for people launching through a summit, but we have seen over and over just how much of a difference we can make for people with previous summit experience as well.

We're so good at seeing the opportunities and knowing what changes to make to fix what didn't work and to leverage what did. Even if you aren't launching through a summit, if you've hosted one before and want our direct help and making the next one bigger and better, then we would love to have you apply for the Accelerator.  

I hope this has helped you start to see just how powerful virtual summits can be when you see them as more than a one-off strategy. They are powerful on their own, don't get me wrong, but repeat summits can do so much for your business.



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See the wider impact you can make for your business by seeing your events for what they are instead of one-off list builders or cash injection methods!See the wider impact you can make for your business by seeing your events for what they are instead of one-off list builders or cash injection methods!

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