What Is A Virtual Summit And Is Launching One Right For You?
Jun 16, 2022
Learn Jenn Zeller's best tips, strategies and myth-busters for hosting a virtual summit to grow your email list, collaborate with other business owners and boost your launch.
In this episode, Jenn and I talked about...
- what is a virtual summit
- top reasons you might want to host a summit
- whether it's better to be a guest speaker or a host of a summit
- where summits can go wrong
- whether to host an evergreen or live summit
- the tech side of things
- Jenn's best advice for hosting your first summit
- how long it takes to plan and deliver a summit
...and much, much more
Things mentioned in this episode
Learn More About Jenn Zellers
Jenn empowers servant-hearted online business owners to create more reach and impact by extending the lifespan of their one-hit-wonder events, be it virtual summit speaking or hosting - without slimy sales tactics! Since she started speaking at summits in 2015, Jenn has seen summit strategies evolve over the years as both a host and speaker, and she loves helping other entrepreneurs grow their businesses through summits
Connect with her on IG: https://www.instagram.com/virtualsummitsearch/
Check Jenn's Website: https://virtualsummitsearch.com/
Book a Summit chat with Jenn: http://share.virtualsummitsearch.com/summitCall
Read the full transcript so you don't miss a thing
Jenn: So if you're thinking about what theme to do for your summit, I tend to work backwards. So figure out what you're looking to launch? Is it a course a membership, a group program? And what is the big pain point that the audience is trying to solve through that? And then you can do a couple of different things. You can work backwards and answer a specific question that people are asking. So for, say, my son, will the summit podcaster edition, the question I was asking answering was, Can I really monetize a podcast without sponsors? And the answer was yes. And we did a four day summit all around how to grow your podcast, and monetize it without sponsors. So you can do that where you find one specific question that has a whole bunch of different angles that you can take on it, and ways that you can address the problem and build a summit around that.
You're listening to the launch playbook podcast, the weekly podcast for service based business owners to discover the starts, stops and tools, the transformation that go into launching their online offers. I'm your host, Sara Vartanian. And if you want to launch your ideas into the world faster, with more success and less burnout, well, friend, consider this show your secret playbook to get you there.
Sara: Today, I'm chatting with Jen Zellers, founder of the virtual summit search, she empowers servant hearted online business owners to create more reach and impact by extending the lifespan of their one hit wonder event, be it virtual summit speaking or hosting without slimy sales tactics.
Jenn: Hey, thanks so much for having me, Sara.
Sara: Oh, my gosh, we were talking in the green room before we started recording I've seen we haven't talked about summits in general at all, or using them as a launching strategy on the podcast. I am really excited for this conversation.
Jenn: Yeah, I'm excited for it. I love talking summits, I could talk hosting the speaking of summits pretty much all day long.
Sara: At least part of your day to day to do so. Okay, so to start off, I thought, let's start with defining what a summit is to get everyone on the same page.
Jenn: Yes. So summits are a little bit ambiguous, I'll be totally honest, it's kind of hard to define them because they can be so many different things. The kinds of summits that I tend to focus on are video summits that have either live or pre recorded or a combination there of presentations like keynote style, they might have panels, they might have some live interactive sessions. And they tend to have a community aspect. So whether it's going all live and having a chat going, or they might have a Facebook group or a Slack channel or a private forum, whatever it happens to be. That's kind of how I defined summits. But like I said, a lot of different people to find them different ways.
Sara: I see that when you say no, it's like a bunch of presentation. So what we could say there was a summit is not like it's not like a webinar going solo or a series of webinars just to yourself. It's like involving other speakers and people.
Jenn: Yeah. And I should also specify, like, you mentioned webinars, and that's something I think a lot of people sometimes get mixed up with is on a summit. I typically, I personally, and most of the summit hosts that I know, don't have the speakers do any kind of pitching, like you can talk about it throughout the presentation in an organic way. And you can offer a freebie, but I've had let folks do a 30 minute or 30 minute, three minute little pitch at the end of their presentations from my first semester. And it just felt weird. It didn't like they think felt weird about it. And I felt weird. And I'm sure the audience felt like it was a little bit weird. So typically, it's not a pitch fest either. It's focused on the value and the education and action that is going to come from watching the presentations.
Sara: That makes so much sense. And then to the freebie at the end, they can pitch builds on whatever they talked about. Yes, yeah. And then would that be the benefit then again, for the host, other than obviously, like, are the people speaking other than, you know, the visibility, opportunity and all that it would be getting maybe people to come to their list if they're interested further learning about that?
Jenn: Yeah. So typically, speakers get a chance to grow their list, they get a chance to sell through the All Access Pass, which is like the replays and some bonuses and stuff like that, typically. And they can also get really qualified leads by contributing a bonus to that all access pass. So that means like, maybe a 4797 I've had people put in like $297 offers like courses memberships, that type of thing, not one on ones where folks who are getting access to that have put their money where their mouth is and are taking action and so you're getting access to really qualified leads to that as well.
Sara: That's neat. What do you wish people knew about summits? Jen?
Jenn: Oh, gosh, so many. I wish that summit hosts especially knew that having a huge list is not going to guarantee that a speaker is going to promote or even that if they do promote that anything's going to happen. I've seen so many pitches come through to me and to Speaker In my summit speaker directory, saying, Hey, I'd love to have you speak on generic summit title, and you only be 5000 are now starting to become 7000. Apparently, people on your email list in order to participate, and you're guaranteed hundreds of leads, because all of our speakers have 5000 7000 person emailed us. And that doesn't mean like, you can't guarantee that and you can't assume that that's what's going to happen, because maybe these people haven't cleaned their list in five years. And all of the people on their list are cold now, and they're not actually paying attention. And they're not engaged. So you're not going to get people signing up, you're not going to get people buying. And so you're gonna have a lackluster Summit. So that's definitely one big thing that I wish more people would think about.
Sara: My gosh, I really like that you pointed that out, because we talked about lists a lot on here, and how not necessarily a big list doesn't always mean what people think it means. What do you think is more important than for the type of people that you would bring on, like what makes a great segment, then?
Jenn: I look for engaged speakers, I look for people who are either emailing their list regularly or have the like comments on their Instagram, Facebook, whatever posts, and essentially just folks that are active, and that clearly their audience likes what they are putting out there. And that I know will be able to provide value. So I look for folks who have an offer that is aligned with the topic that I want to have them speak on, because if they don't have an offer, if it's aligned, it's probably not something that they're going to be super excited about talking about, because it's not going to lead to much of anything on the back end for them.
Sara: That makes so much sense. So what are the top reasons we would want to host a summit?
Jenn: God, there's so many, so the biggest is the four pillars that I tend to see as being super big benefits for summits. And that is the email list growth. Of course, that is something you could get hundreds to 1000s of new email subscribers and the people that are already on your list. While they may not become new subscribers, obviously, you get to nurture the relationship with them a lot more. And so you're deepening it through the summit, you're also getting to make some sales. So rather than paying, say Facebook, which is junk right now, in terms of the ads, for marketing your business, you can get paid to market. So you're making sales from the All Access Pass, you might be selling an offer on the back end of the summit, like a course or a membership or group coaching program. And so you're getting paid, rather than paying someone else to market for you. And you're also making a ton of connections.
So you might end up with referral partners, through the speakers, you might end up with other future collaborations with them, you're making connections with the attendees. And you might bring on affiliates as well who are not speakers, but just really love the proposition of the summit, the theme of it, and they want to be part of it in some way. So they become an affiliate. And then the other one is the marketing aspect. So this is where you can take the content from the summit. And you can use it in your social media in your emails. And you can just expand on some of the topics that are discussed, or take out snippets from the presentations and turn them into mini podcast episodes, or Instagram reels, stories, what have you, and really utilize it in your content marketing. So you don't have to do as much work in the long run. And especially if you evergreen your Summit, then you can use it to keep sending people back to that evergreen summit even after it's over. So there are so many reasons that I love hosting summits.
Sara: Specifically standing out to me when you're talking about like the repurposing the content. Because I think for myself as a launch copywriter, a lot of the stuff that we talk about with clients talk with client is all that pre launch content, like what do we do in between launches? And it sounds like a summit would be great, obviously other than, like list building, but that content could be great for all that pre launch time. So how do we make sure that our theme of our summit is aligned with our ultimate business goals? Like any tips there?
Jenn: Yeah. So if you're thinking about what theme to do for your summit, I tend to work backwards. So figure out what you're looking to launch? Is it a course a membership, a group program? And what is the big pain point that the audience is trying to solve through that? And then you can do a couple of different things you can work backwards and answer a specific question that people are asking. So for, say, my soul, the summit and podcaster edition, the question I was asking answering was, Can I really monetize a podcast without sponsors? And the answer was yes. And we did a four day summit all around how to grow your podcast, and monetize it without sponsors. So you can do that where you find one specific question that has a whole bunch of different angles that you can take on it, and ways that you can address the problem and build a summit around that. Or you can go and look at so you're doing a course. And you're launching that through the summit. If you can look at the problem, the core solves any answer everything except that problem. So answer all the things around it. So I could have done, how to start a podcast, and how to create the graphics for a podcast, and all that kind of stuff. And then the question they'd be left asking is, how do I grow and monetize it? And if I had a course around that I could have sent them over there instead of addressing it in the summit. So those are my two favorite ways to figure out what topic should I have my Summit?
Sara: That's really juicy. I hope that listeners that you're taking notes for that one that was really helpful. And that leads me into the next question. So how can we make a summit work with a launch? So I know you said about the new at that end offer? Like do they replace sort of a typical launch event, say a webinar? Or do you think it's more of a pre launch audience building thing?
Jenn: You could do it either way, personally, I, if you're doing it as a pre launch, I would probably space it out more. Where because they're gonna have already felt like they've gotten pitch too, because you're selling the All Access Pass, probably. And so you don't I personally, at least, don't know they would work super great to go, Okay, we're gonna do a summit. And then a week later, we're gonna go into this whole big launch strategy for like, three weeks or whatever it happens to be. But I have seen it work really, really well, too, as a launch vehicle. So I hosted several the summit course creator edition with Kristin Miller over at Simonet box back in September 2020. And we used it as a launch platform for her seminar, the box program. And it's a higher ticket, like, DIY, for how to host a summit. And so the premise was use a summit to launch your course within the next 90 days, or to your next course launch whatever stage they were at. And so we ran the summit for four days. On day five, it was our Action Day, we did a whole bunch of interactive sessions. And then the last one, she did a full live masterclass where people ask questions and got to learn more about hosting the Summit and the keys to that and things like that. And she had one of her biggest course launches yet. It was really phenomenal. It was, I think, a 40% conversion rate for everybody that was on that masterclass. And it was, it was amazing. So it can definitely be used as a launch vehicle in and of itself.
Sara: That's really interesting. Those are some great results. Yeah. So how do you would you feel like we define success in the summit? Like, is it you know, you mentioned the results of conversion? Are there other metrics or, or things that we should be looking at?
Jenn: So there's a few different goals you can take with summits, it really depends. So for example, September and October of 2021, we're really hot trash fires for pretty much every single summit hosts that I know, I think everyone is just burned out. And we're like, I can't, I can't do some ads. Right now, I'm not interested. So we had everyone had really abysmal results in terms of attendance, and sales and everything like that, like it just barely broke even. And it if I was looking at it just in terms of those numbers, I would definitely view it as a failure. And luckily, there are other metrics you can look at that may not be as tangible as the numbers. But like I said, some of the things that you're getting out of a summit are not only those leads and sales, but also those connections and the marketing opportunities. So for me, I ran that summit in October, and I am still putting out podcast episodes of the snippets from that. So that's been really helpful. Because I don't have to recreate that content, I just record a 22nd intro a 10, second, outro, or whatever it ends up being, tack those on after I've cut the session down to about 10 minutes, and I've got a podcast episode. And it's still providing value to the people who are joining my audience after the summit was over. It's getting the speaker's additional visibility. And it's just it's really a benefit to everybody. So that's one great thing that can come out of a summit even if it feels like a failure. But there's also that networking chance. So I was still able to establish myself as an authority. For the people who did attend, I was able to Evergreen my Summit. And so it's still out there as a resource for people because the last one I ran was for some speakers. And there's nothing out there for some speakers. So especially if you're filling a need that is not currently being met in your industry, that's really great in terms of establishing that authority and continuing to provide something that no one else is doing for your audience. But you're also making the connections with those speakers. So I have gone and done things with past speakers who maybe they reach out a year later and they say hey, would you be interested in doing a joint venture? So looking at just the numbers in terms of leads and sales and conversions and stuff like that, it may sometimes look a little bit disheartening. If something especially something outside of your control, like having a really bad summit season in September and October. It can make you feel really disheartened and I feel like I'm never going to run a summit again. But if you look at it from the other aspects and benefits of hosting the summit, you may realize you actually got a lot more out of it than you initially thought.
Sara: That's really great advice. And just for the folks listening, at the time, we're recording this, it's beginning of April. So you were saying that you had done that one back in October, and you're still using that content? So Google coming up six months, right? I want people to know, like, that's pretty impressive to have all that content for the blog, because we know how much content time you can take out of our time. So you talked about evergreening, your content afterwards? I'm curious about evergreen or live like running your Summit? Does it matter? Do you think there's one better than the other? Do you have a preference?
Jenn: I do both. I do not find like evergreen, a summit is great to reach people who were not in your audience when the summit ran. And so I love being able to do it for that you're still getting leads and conversions, you can use it as an upsell for other things. For the Evergreen All Access Pass, which is different from the live all access pass, I just want to put that out there because a lot of folks ask that, because you're not putting in say the speaker bonuses and stuff like that, I don't feel like it's right to ask the speakers to give away something in perpetuity that they would normally be selling. But the live Summit, you really cannot be the vibe of having a live community, whether it's on live sessions or in the private community, whatever it happens to be that you're offering them, nothing's going to beat that you're not going to have the same kind of excitement with an evergreen Summit, there are ways to do it. Like I work with my clients on the Evergreen summit VIP days that I do to figure out ways to encourage engagement with Evergreen attendees. But it's just it's not the same. I wish I could say it was, but it's not. So I always recommend, run the live Summit, get everything you can out of that in terms of building the excitement, building the audience, really serving them in the best way that you can, and then evergreen the summit. So I usually take the weekend after the cart closes for the all access pass, and I turn the summit Evergreen. And that's also the nice thing about taking the content from the summit and turning them into many podcast episodes is I can say hey, if you want the full session, you can go sign up for the Evergreen summit version of this, and you can still watch the rest of it, you just have a limited time to do so. And so it's it's a really great way to do both of them rather than one or the other.
Sara: Yeah, that makes so much sense. Jen, how long do you think it would take person during the first time, let's say for a launch event, to plan it and then run it or a time we need?
Jenn: Give it absolutely no less than three months, if it depends on how big a team you have and how much other things you have going on. But I would give it three to six months, if I can I give myself is somewhere between that three to six months, like the longer I can give myself, the easier it feels. And the first time is always going to be a lot harder. You don't have any of the assets, you don't have the website ready, you don't have the graphics and other promotional material and all of the other speaker information page and all that. The second time you run a summit, it feels so much easier because you're going in you're adjusting the copy from the first one, if you're running it for the same audience and a similar topic and like me who is crazy and changes it every single time, then it's going to be even easier, because you may not have to change much of anything besides dates, and speakers and topics. And just the little things that are obviously going to change between each Summit. So yeah, minimum three months, I wouldn't say more than six months, unless you're having a really crazy busy schedule. And you're running it by yourself, which if you can at all get any help. I highly recommend it. I run them by myself at this point. And it is is a lot. And I don't think I would want to do it for a first time summit by myself again, if I could at all help it.
Sara: So Jen, do we need a lot of tech to run a summit? Go what are we what are we looking at?
Jenn: It depends on how you approach it. So some folks will run it on something like Kajabi I personally don't like doing that. Especially if you're going to Evergreen it because you kind of get locked in to pain for certain tech. But I'm also a tech nerd I grew up in our from Microsoft. I've been in computers literally since I was three. So I'm really comfortable cobbling things together and making my own system that works the way I want it to versus the way that a program happens to think it should run. So for me, I use WordPress primarily. And I use SEO to try to go through my tech stack in my head so they can access the presentations on WordPress I have all of my presentations are pre recorded, just because I don't want any tech issues with people accessing them if at all possible. And back when I was starting to speak at summits in 2015 and stuff, most of them are live and there are so many tech glitches. So avoid that whenever possible and host them on. Not host them but put them onto word Press for people to access them, I use a timer like curry timer or deadline funnel to limit the access to them because my presentations are available for 24 hours. And then after that, if they want access, they'll have to get the all access pass. And that's mainly because I want them to take action on it. I don't want them to, you know how you buy a course. And like, Okay, I'll get to that next week. And then next week is next week is next week, and you never actually get to it. So that encourages the action that Ben take. So those are the probably the two biggest ones. But you also need email marketing, you might want to use a social proof. So like, hey, so and so join the summit 15 minutes ago, or what have you, there's a lot of tech that can go into it. And I personally just say whatever tech you already have, try to utilize as much of it as possible. So if you're already on Kajabi, for example, and you know, you're going to be keeping it. And so therefore, it's not an added expense, go for it. But if you're already on WordPress, and you have an email marketing platform that you love, and all of that kind of stuff, you'll probably also want to learn a management system like LearnDash, or thrive cart learn, which I use Thrive cart to process, the All Access Pass. So I've also switched over all of my all access passes to thrivecart. Because it's just so much easier. And it's a one time fee. And so things like that, if you already have them, utilize them. If you don't need to go get a new piece of tech, I would say don't do it. If you do need to get a new piece of tech, though, feel free to DM me, I can give you some recommendations. But if at all possible, I stick with the same tech stack that you already have. Because you're familiar with it, there's it means that it's not going to be as much of a learning curve.
Sara: Is there something that you prefer for the community aspect? You mentioned earlier and Facebook or Slack channels? Is there something that works best you find?
Jenn: I find it works best wherever your community is. So for some communities are super active on Facebook groups. So yeah, go for Facebook groups. If they're not, though, maybe it's a more professional community, you're working with folks who are trying to ditch their corporate job, maybe they're already using Slack a ton. And so you decide to use Slack. Or maybe you're like me, and you don't like Facebook, and your audience is getting less enamored with Facebook groups. And so I'm probably going to post it on a private forum using pure board on my WordPress website. So it's just kind of figuring out what your audience wants and meeting them where they're at.
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Sara: Jen, what we like to do on this podcast is you know talk about taking action. And you've given us so much of that how tos like really generously. We also like to talk about where things can go wrong, because I think not often do people always want to chat about that. But we need to know so we can know watch out for what to expect those like roadblocks and things. So where can somebody go wrong?
Jenn: Oh, there are lots of places. There. Like I said the tech is always a big thing. So for example, Zoom tends to hate me. So I've had to switch off of that, because having all of the past codes that people have to enter is really difficult. So that's like that's why I don't necessarily do live sessions. For the presentations. Anyway, I'll do co working networking sessions asked me anything, stuff like that on live video, but I tend to steer away from doing it for the presentations because something goes wrong goes really, really wrong. And you end up with a ton of tech support emails, and you it just it's a nightmare. So video is definitely a big one. If you're doing anything live, there's always going to be some sort of tech that goes down. I've known many summit hosts who use ConvertKit or MailChimp or mailer light. And of course, inevitably, the servers will go down at some point during the summit or a automation won't fire or whatever. There's just there's a lot of little moving pieces. So that's why I really recommend testing all of your tech beforehand and making sure that it runs the way you expect it to. So that's probably one of the big ones but then some of the things people don't necessarily think about out our speakers suddenly ghosting you. I always overbooked my speakers just a little bit because I can almost guarantee there's going to be at least one person who is says, Hey, life happened, I'm not going to get my presentation in on time. When I ran my summit back in March of 21, I had at least three speakers get COVID and be down for two weeks. And that put everything behind. So I always move my deadlines up further than I technically need them. Because one, we're going to fill up the space that we have. So speakers are typically going to turn in their presentations last minute anyways, so might as well make last minute, not really last minute. So if they say, Hey, I got COVID Or my kid just got sick, or my grandma died. And I have to go drive somewhere. You can say, oh, that's totally fine. Have a week extension, and stuff like that there are things that can go wrong that people may not necessarily think about.
Sara: Oh my gosh, I think that this time of COVID has made us all a lot more cognizant of the fact that like things are going to crop up. And we have to plan for those even more than ever, because for sure our family, my family actually just all went through COVID The past few weeks, I don't know how I skated through it. I'm gonna like knock on wood here. But yeah, it just shut down, like my work for the past couple weeks as well, because the three people are self isolating. I was just like a caregiver dropping off things. Everyone's door knocking, checking, checking temps. But yeah, I see that in the last couple years that, you know, we've always had that we've always had life happens. But now, it really is coming to our door. And it's happening more frequently to more people at a time. I feel like I like that you talked about how like the tech and all that can, you know can go wrong when he's checking because it's so true. I find like even in the lunch space, that's always happening with my clients who are always like, No, you should run it. And even when you run it, and even on the best case scenarios, things still happen. One of the things that I run into launching is to always like put someone there, you know, who's not the host to be checking in on that stuff. Because it can be a lot like you're seeing all those texts or emails, I got like a visual like a cringe thinking of that, because I have been that person long ago, I used to help my clients with that part of a launch, like during webinars and things and like all those emails, I don't do that now I'd recommend that they have one of their team for that.
Jenn: So worth it out somebody on board? Absolutely.
Sara: Are there any common myths about cement that you'd like to best?
Jenn: Oh, gosh, there's a lot of people say some it's don't work because people are burned out. I do not think that's true. I've seen, I'm trying to remember what the numbers I last heard were, I think I heard someone having a six figures limit last month in March of 22. And I know plenty of people who five to six figure summits. So that's something that I hear a lot, I hear that they don't work as a launch sometimes because it's technically launching something in and of itself, but they definitely do. I know many people who have launched a course or a membership or group program off of a summit and had phenomenal results. So that's something and when it comes to speakers, a lot of hosts tell me all my speakers don't promote. And my response to that is, well, maybe you need to adjust how you're asking them to promote. So for me, I've switched over to a 50% profit share for my next summit. Because one, I just feel like it's the right thing to do to pay everyone at least something even if it's say only five bucks, because if you have a small audience, but you're providing value to the summit attendees, then maybe your people aren't ready to buy the All Access Pass. And so having an affiliate commission isn't going to serve you. But if you make sure that your speakers are well aligned, that their audience is going to really benefit and they're going to benefit, you're much more likely to see speakers promote. But it's also not their responsibility to market your Summit, as much as that is a really big benefit of having a lot of great speakers on there who are well aligned, and their audience will hopefully be excited. It is not their responsibility to promote your Summit. So that's definitely something that I think summit hosts need to think about, and have a plan for how they're going to promote and how they can make it easy for the speaker to promote. Maybe you go and you do a bunch of Instagram stories that you tag them on. So they can easily share it rather than forcing them to do it all from scratch and add on to their play. Just make it as easy as possible for them. And you're much more likely to see see speaker engagement in terms of being part of the summit when it's live, but also promoting the summit before it goes live.
Sara: That's really good. That's really helpful to think about how we can make things easy for folks, something that you said about one of those methods and people think that it doesn't work for launching and I know you already gave us some great examples like that quest is launched and things like that, how that worked. Talk about that a little more. So what you said that people say doesn't work because you're kind of you're launching like that all access pass, but then you're also launching a course or something off the bat off the side of it. How do we make that work? How do you differentiate that for people?
Jenn: Yeah, so I just make sure that it's supplementary to whatever you're launching on the back end. So, for example, when we did the launch with Krista summit in a box program, we made sure that we were not covering all the same topics that people were going to get inside of the program we were adding things on. And she actually ended up making an entire supplemental program based off of what we had done there, which has been fantastic. So as long as you're not duplicating things, and maybe you can duplicate a little bit like maybe someone else is going to have a different perspective on something that you cover. And so you, you have someone speak on a different email marketing platform, or what have you, that isn't going to detract from your program, or your coaching or whatever it happens to be, but is going to give people other options that maybe you don't explore because you don't use that program, or you don't use that strategy. But you see how it could be valuable for someone else. And so that was why when we were talking about figuring out your summit theme, if you're positioning the summit as solving every problem, except whatever your program, or course or whatever it happens to be solves, it's going to be no brainer, because they're going to be that's the next step. And if you're answering questions around it, where maybe it's, it's not necessarily the next step, but it will help them take it another rung farther, I guess, then you can still position it in a way where it's a no brainer for them. And that that's essentially what the goal is, is don't cover the things that you're going to cover in let's say you're doing a group coaching program, or a membership, where you have live calls, incorporate that kind of stuff into the summit. So that, then they can go and get a taste of what they're going to experience. And you can get that excitement going, you can bring in like offer free ticket to people who are inside of your program, and say, Hey, I'm bringing in guest experts who are going to give you even more value around what we're already talking about inside. If you want to come and just hang out, learn more. And if you want to bring people in, then like they can help pipe up the program that you're offering at the end of the summit too. So just a lot of different ways you can get creative with making sure that it doesn't feel like a duplicate of what you're already offering in your post summit offer. And so that way, they can buy the All Access Pass and still benefit from what you're offering on the back end.
Sara: So when you see it on the back end, does that mean that we shouldn't do, let's say, one of the presentations or pitching about whatever we're selling, should it really be more like in the email sequence afterwards. And follow up the post part?
Jenn: There's a few different ways you can do it. So we I haven't necessarily launched in the same way since that summit. But what we did with that one is we talked about it in the emails, but we also actually had a scholarship. So it gave us a really organic way to talk about the program and share things about the program and get people excited about the program without feeling salesy. Because that's something that I really hate, I hate the brand marketing and all that kind of stuff where you're just selling, selling, selling, we wanted to find ways to do it organically. So by offering the scholarship, people had to fill out a form, they had to participate in the community because the more we saw your name, the more likely you were to win because we were able to tell that you were going to be an action taker. Christa wanted action takers in her program, because there's no reason to get a high ticket program if you're not going to use it. So that's something that you can do. And then like I said, she did the master class as the very last session on the last day, so that people who were interested who had we also did the scholarship drawing right before that. So folks knew, Okay, I didn't when I want to come learn more about this. And so that way they were ready to buy if they were not the winner. And that that was probably why I would say that she has such a good launch is because we spent the week just talking about it and getting people excited, because it was a really good promo is a really good program. And it was something they needed. Because we were not covering how to launch Summit, we were covering how to use a summit for a course launch. And we covered a little bit of the basics and stuff, but not enough that they they could go and run a summit, but having that full program where they were absolutely 100% equipped to just take all of Chris's content and go, it was really valuable for them. And I think that is probably why they were so excited to jump in on that.
Sara: Now that's really interesting. And you mentioned that you know, you're avoiding slimy sales tactics. So that's something I read in your intro. And you've already mentioned a couple about like not having pitches at the end of every one. Are there any other new slimy sales tax you say? You don't want in the summit, where you try to avoid?
Jenn: It's mostly just the Sell, sell sell kind of mentality, I hate the ones that are a bait and switch to. So essentially, as long as you're serving your audience through the summit, and that's your focus, rather than I want to make $100,000 off of this, I have sales goals when I run my summits, but I don't focus on those I focus on, okay, 100 people have signed up, that means there are 100 people who have the potential to launch their course through summit to grow their podcast through summit to grow their membership, through Summit, whatever the theme happens to be, these are people that are going to be directly impacted by what we're sharing. And it could make a huge difference in their business, which is going to make a huge difference in their family, which is going to make a huge difference in their community. And so that's mostly it. I think it's just the mindset of what is your focus? And is it on the sales? Is it on the leads? Or is it on the people? And I think that's the biggest difference for me.
Sara: Jen, at the end of every episode, I'd like to ask a few quick final questions, and I sort of rotate through some of them. So what I'm most thinking for you is where do you see the future of summits in marketing?
Jenn: I think that they're gonna keep growing. I know that COVID is starting to die down right now in April 22. But I don't think that they're going to go anywhere, I think they're going to evolve. I think that we need them to evolve, we don't want just a bunch of pre recorded presentations that have no engagement opportunities. And so like for my upcoming summit, that I'm going to be running in June for membership owners, we are going to be doing panels with folks who have actually launched a membership or grown a membership through a summit. And we're going to be shrinking down the timeline a little bit. So rather than doing four days of presentations, plus an Action Day, we're doing three days of presentations plus an Action Day, and a lot of Summit hosts are starting to shrink down the length of their presentations. It used to be 45, to 60 minutes of educational presentations. And personally, I tend to go with 15 to 25 minutes, because I want them to be really focused and actionable and not overwhelming. So I think that's going to be where we start seeing some it's going is incorporating more of the live aspects, hopefully, and maybe doing more profit shares with the speakers rather than an affiliate commission. And just finding ways to be more engaging, and less just pre recorded here, watch this video.
Sara: Sounds like more connection with the people who are attending. Yes, I am. So looking forward to your sermon, not only because I want to learn from it, but also speaking at this one. So I'm pretty excited about that. And we're gonna have, of course, a link to that in the show notes. We can update that as it's ready. And the other question I have for you general, final question is if our listeners could only walk away with one thing from this episode, what do you hope it would be?
Jenn: If you're thinking about hosting the summit? Give it a try, because at the very worst, you'll probably make a few sales, but you'll learn a lot. And even if you decide not to launch with the summit, again, it can still inform future launches, you may learn what your audience is looking for, you may learn marketing tactics that do not work for your audience. And just little things like that. And you you'll at least walk away with potential collaboration partners, and referral partners because you're making these connections with the speakers. And if you are a little bit intimidated by hosting a summit, taking three to six months use it as a launch platform, going to speak at a summit first you can join the speaker directory is totally free. And so that way, one of the reasons that I really recommend speaking that maybe three summits if possible before you launch a summit, is because you get an idea of what you do and don't like behind the scenes, and what you do and don't like about the communities and other things that they do with the summit. You don't have to speak at a summit beforehand. But a lot of people that I know who've done that have felt like they were a lot better equipped, and just strategically more ready to host their summit because they knew what they didn't didn't like it. They had kind of a jumpstart on that.
Sara: Yeah, I could see that. I know that the few that I've spoken at every time they're all a little bit different. And so he's like really interesting things I take away as a marketer that I could see applying even to my own business. So I could teach, especially imagine that as someone who might want to host a summit, all the learning, you'd see from that. Jen, where can our listeners find out more about you? And virtual summit search and how to access that information?
Jenn: Yeah, so you can go to virtual summit search.com. And you check out the directories we have on there, we've got the summit directory. So if you do host a summit, definitely submit it on there so that more people can find it. I, as far as I know, that's the only summit directory out there, or at least in our kind of circles. And we also have the speaker directory. So if you're going to host a summit, you can go and find speakers on there. Or if you want to speak at summits, you can also submit your profile on there as well. We have a provider directory to for folks who help with running summits, and we're getting ready to launch an evergreen summit later this year. So if you end up evergreening your summit and using it as an evergreen launch strategy And then you can add your summit on there. And then if you want to learn more about hosting summits, then you can go to sell the summit.com. We'll be having the membership edition, which like we said, Sarah is going to be speaking at. And that'll be happening in June 22. Not sure when this is airing, but we'd love to have you there. And you can always get the Evergreen versions of the past summits on there as well. And I would love to hear what you think of them what your biggest takeaways are. And if you decide to host a summit, shoot me a DM on Instagram at virtual summit search and let's talk
Sara: Amazing yet we'll have all of that in the show notes. And this episode will come out about a month before the summit. So the VT, you know, people will go check it out. So thank you so much for joining me today in the launch playbook podcast, Jen.
Jenn: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I have so much fun talking about the stuff.
Sara: It was a blast. I'm sure that our listeners are gonna have so many notes to take. I know that I'm gonna go back to this episode to it and same thing to jot down things. I can't do what we're talking afterwards, I for sure well, so thanks again. Thanks for tuning in to the launch playbook podcast. If you want to get weekly launch secrets in your ears. I hope you'll hit subscribe on iTunes. You'll never miss an episode. Because who knows? It could reveal just a thing. You've been looking forward to make your next launch a success. And be sure to leave a five star review on iTunes telling me how this episode inspired your launch plans. Until next time, keep putting your big ideas out into the world. I'm rooting for you!
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