Today I want to touch on a topic that comes up a lot in the Launch with a Summit Accelerator, in our Facebook group, and most recently, with our summit production client and that is: what actually matters on your first day of promotion for your virtual summit.
If you’ve hosted a summit before, you might have run into what I’m about to talk about. And if you’re planning your first one, you’ll be able to put your mind at ease by having this information, before you open registration for your first summit.
Let’s start by setting the scene:
Imagine that you’ve spent the last few months planning an incredible event and putting together an incredible lineup of speakers. Now it’s time for it to all start paying off, when you open your summit registration and start promoting it.
You set some big goals that you’re nervous and excited to hit, and you know that on Day 1 of promotion, your audience is going to be all over the event you created.
Except…what if they’re not!?
It’s totally normal to see a slow start on the first day you start promoting your summit, and believe it or not, it’s usually nothing to worry about.
In this post, I’ll be sharing the range of experiences and results I’ve seen on Day 1 during our summits and with our clients and students. We’ll also cover what doesn’t matter, that people tend to get caught up in during the first few days of promotion, and what you should be looking at instead.
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Up until a few years ago, I’d helped plenty of clients and students navigate lower Day 1 numbers than they were expecting, but I experienced it for myself for the first time during my March 2021 summit.
We had hosted this same summit four times previously, we had an awesome speaker lineup, and we had a bigger email list than ever before, so when we went to start promoting it, I just knew it was going to be amazing.
I opened registration expecting to hit huge numbers and make 1000s of dollars on the first day of promotion, but by the end of the day, we only had 100 registrations… not at all what I was expecting! This definitely caused some concern and anxiety, but at that point, I had no choice but to keep going.
I knew I had done the things I needed to do on Day 1 of promotions (which we’ll get to soon!), and all I could do was to keep plugging along with summit promotion…. And it turned into my biggest event yet.
My event that had only 100 registrations on the first day of promotion turned into our biggest event to date with over 6500 people registered and over $120,000 in sales by the end of it.
Those Day 1 numbers meant nothing, and all I did by focusing on them was cause myself to stress for no reason.
While I had hosted several summits of my own before experiencing a disappointing Day 1 of promotion, I’ve seen it happen plenty of times with our Summit in a Box® and Launch with a Summit Accelerator™ clients, and most recently with our summit production client, which inspired me to share this post.
But the good news is that the results you see on Day 1, especially in terms of the total number of sales and sign-ups, are not an indication of the final results you’ll see from your event.
There are three numbers that people tend to get caught up paying attention to on Day 1 of the summit, but these numbers are no indication of how well promotion is going or not:
These tend to be the easiest numbers to look at, but they hold no context and don’t tell you anything about the success of the event or what changes you need to make (if any).
Let’s get into why these numbers aren’t worth paying attention to:
The main reason it’s not helpful to look at these numbers is that 1- you have no control over those numbers, and 2- these numbers alone don’t mean anything without more context.
Your summit registration numbers don’t tell you anything without also looking at the number of people who’ve seen your registration page.
The number of all-access passes you sell doesn’t mean anything without considering how many people signed up and saw the offer.
And the percentage of people who are opening or clicking your emails and registering on Day 1 is not an indication of how many of those people will end up registering eventually throughout your summit promotion period.
By the end of a summit, I usually expect 20, maybe 30% of an existing email list to sign up, but that definitely goes down, the bigger the email list you have. It really depends on a ton of factors, like how engaged your audience is and how targeted your summit is to your existing email list, but you're not expecting your whole email list to sign up. After all, one of the benefits of hosting a summit is that you’re bringing in primarily NEW people into your audience when your speakers start promoting.
Another reason you shouldn't be worried about Day 1 numbers is because people tend to wait until the last minute to sign up for things.
I tend to wait until the last minute to sign up for things like summits, and I know I'm not the only one! The first time I see a summit being promoted, I usually think, “That sounds cool, but I’m on my phone and don’t have time to sign up right now, so I’ll do it later.” People generally wait until the last minute to sign up for things, which means, you will see a lot of registrations the day before your summit starts and even on Days 1 and 2 of your Summit. All the more reason not to worry too much about Day 1 results!
That's not to say that people don't sometimes blow it out of the water on Day 1. I’ve definitely seen summits that were a clear success from Day 1, but a lot of the times that’s not the case. If your summit ends up falling into the latter category, I want to make sure you’re looking at the right things!
So, if refreshing the numbers all day isn’t a good use of your time on Day 1 of your summit promotion, what should you be doing instead? There are 4 things you'll want to pay attention to that actually matter on Day 1 of your summit. Start by asking yourself these 4 questions:
#1. Is your tech working?
This should be your primary concern on Day 1 of your summit. No matter how much testing you've done, beforehand, you need to check again once registration is live for other people. Do a tech check to make sure the answer to all of these questions is “yes”:
If these basics aren’t working when you open up summit registration, you can't succeed. Even if you tested these things and they worked for you before opening registration, it’s worth testing again to make sure it’s working for others as they sign up.
#2. What’s your conversion rate?
The next thing to look at is your conversion rates. The number of registrations or sales you make doesn’t matter on their own, but they are very useful to pay attention to when you put them into context.
Once you've had enough people click over to your landing page from your email and social media promotions, you’ll want to check to see how your registration page is converting. We often have clients who are concerned about only having, let’s say, 40 registrations on Day 1, but then when we look at their registration page views, they’ve only had 60 people land on the page so far - that’s a 60+% conversion rate! Anything over a 50% registration page conversion rate on Day 1 of your summit is a very good sign and nothing to worry about.
The same goes for your sales. If someone comes to me concerned about having only 10 sales on Day 1, but they only had 50-100 people sign up and actually have the chance to buy the all-access pass, 10 sales is a very good thing.
It's something to celebrate that your summit is converting, even if the numbers are low on Day 1. You just need more eyeballs, and that's the easy part. I would rather have you in a place where your goal is to drive more traffic than have you trying to shift your messaging after you’ve already started promoting because your summit isn’t converting.
#3. What’s the general response from your audience?
Another thing to pay attention to is the general response that you're getting from your audience. Are they excited? Are you hearing anything from them? If you usually have an engaged audience, you should expect to get a positive response on Day 1. If you’re someone with a newer audience or whose audience doesn't tend to comment on social media or reply to your emails, I wouldn’t pay as much attention to this. But if you normally get feedback and comments, a positive response from your people on Day 1 is what you want.
#4. Are you getting a lot of questions?
Something else to look at is whether or not you’re getting a lot of questions or support emails. Be sure to pay attention to your customer support inbox for any issues you might not have caught in your tech check or FAQs you might need to add to your summit pages.
If these 4 things look good, you are set up for success throughout the rest of your promotion period. With that being said, let’s look at a few red flags you might find on Day 1, and what to do about them.
#1. People are seeing your registration page and not signing up
The first red flag that would tell you something is wrong, would be having a lot of people seeing your registration page and not signing up. That means you either have a tech issue where people can't sign up, or you have a conversion rate issue. If you’ve checked your tech and everything is fine there, a low conversion rate is usually because of an issue with your messaging. Either people are reading your registration page, but they’re not feeling inspired to sign up, or you're promoting to the wrong people who see your registration page and don’t think your summit is for them.
We see this often when someone is using their summit to pivot when they have an audience that isn't necessarily the audience they want to be serving, or they’re serving a different audience than who they have on their email list through their summit. In this case, you’d expect to see a low conversion rate from your existing audience. But otherwise, if you see a low conversion rate from page views to registrations, you’ll want to pay attention to it and work on improving your registration page conversion rate.
#2. People are signing up, but not buying
The next thing to pay attention to is people signing up but not buying. Again, you’ll want to check to see if it’s a tech issue keeping people from being able to buy, or if it's a conversion rate issue. If the tech is all looking fine, it’s likely an issue with your all-access pass offer or the way it’s presented. This could be for a few reasons:
If you’re seeing low conversion rates on your all-access pass sales, that's something you want to fix as early as possible!
#3 Your normally engaged audience isn’t responding
Another red flag is you have an audience you usually get feedback from, but you're not really seeing any excitement from them. To me, that would probably show me a messaging issue where you're not showing them the transformation they can get through your event
The reason I consider these the things you should pay attention to on Day 1 is because they are really the only things you have a shred of control over. You can’t control how many people click on your email and see your landing page on Day 1, and sitting and refreshing the page all day won’t make any difference.
Instead, focus on the things you can control.
In the Launch with a Summit Accelerator™, we have a one-on-one milestone call built into the program to go over the initial results right after registration opens. We work really closely with our clients every step of the way to make sure that the red flags mentioned above aren’t going to be an issue for them. But sometimes tweaks are needed early on in the promotion process. We want to help our clients make those tweaks as quickly as possible, while also looking at the numbers objectively to make sure they understand what's going well and what could be improved, and make a detailed list of action steps that are actually going to make a difference for them. Sometimes there aren't any improvements needed, but we want to catch anything that is needed early on.
By knowing what to focus on before, during, and after opening summit registration, we’ve helped our clients increase registration page conversion rates by 20% compared to the results they got hosting a summit on their own. We've increased all-access pass conversion rates by over 10%, which adds 1000s or even 10s of 1000s of dollars in sales for people depending on the size of the event. And we've had over 300 members added to a membership with our launch strategies through a single summit!
I love that we can have such a direct impact through our coaching, positioning help, copy reviews, critiques, and these milestone calls. And of course, helping people pay attention to the parts of their events that actually matter rather than stressing about the pieces that don't.
If you have a summit coming up, whether you're still dreaming about it, just starting, you're already in the middle of planning, apply for the Accelerator, or reach out to us on Instagram about it. Even a small increase in conversion rates means a huge difference in your bottom line. Even for a small summit of only 1500 attendees, if we increase your conversion rate by 5% it makes back on your investment in the Accelerator and we’ve seen it happen over and over again. It also never hurts to have a little (or a lot) of support throughout the process!
Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.