You might have heard of online summits before, been a speaker at one, or attended one. If you haven’t, online summits are a collection of people that share their knowledge around a certain topic.
I’ve done a few online summits before my husband’s diagnosis and taking time off for caretaking. After coming back from that break and moving back into increasing my exposure and reach, I’ve been looking at online summits and deciding if it’s something I should put on my to-do list.
It’s interesting to see that a lot of online summits nowadays seem to have a minimum list requirement. When you want to join a summit, you apply just like anywhere else, and many of them have a minimum list requirement of 500 people.
I get where they’re going with this even if it’s not just to grow their own email list. You want to make sure that your online summit has a nice reach and people at the same level. I get it.
But really? I know at least 5 people who are amazing online influencers with crazy reach who produce through their followers and not an email list.
They couldn’t be in these online summits because they only have an email list of 250.
Guess what. With that 250 email list, they have an 85% open rate. Compare that to a 500 or 5,000 email list that has an open rate of 15%.
That is my first problem with online summits.
I was talking to a friend in San Diego who was in an online summit recently and she had no return whatsoever.
She had a freebie and tracked everything. Nothing really came off it. Spending a whole bunch of time to set up, make her slides, and advertise the summit, and still got nothing in return.
I’m friends with Becky Mollenkamp on Instagram and I was browsing through my stories when I saw her post and just shook my head at what happened to her.
We know that online summits have some requirements and there’s a reason for that. But get this, someone reached out to her and invited her to a summit. It’s not a general application anymore, they actually reached out to her to get her on their summit.
To me, that says, “I know your worth. I know your work. I want you in my summit.”
So they go through the process of everything and when it gets to signing the papers and release form, she sees that there’s a minimum list requirement of 500 or something like that.
She messages them back and says something like, “Oh, I don’t have a list like that.” And guess what. They don’t want her on their summit anymore after that.
My personal lesson out of that is, if someone reaches out to me and wants me on a summit and it fits my topic and I like that person and the approach they’re taking, I’ll be in.
But I will not put any time and effort in trying to join a summit because no matter who I talk to, there is just no return on investment unless you’re putting the summit on yourself.
That’s the flip side of it. If you’re putting on a summit and pulling in people for your summit, their followers are likely going to sign up to see their idol. They want to watch that person and learn something new. So suddenly, you are growing your list.
The downside of that is that I’ve seen so many online summits go after big lists and big name people that don’t even fit their own target market. This means you’re going to be building an empty list!
Focus on personal engagement. Talk to your followers. If you really give them value, your list will grow.