This week’s episode is a REALLY good one.

I’m chatting with dietitian Susannah Juteau about using virtual summits to grow your brand and email list.

Susannah runs a private practice and by hosting and running her own online summits, she was able to network with dozens of other wellness professionals, establish herself as a leader in her niche, AND add thousands of people to her email list/grow her clientele.

And the best part is – you can do ALL of this too, even if you are starting from absolute zero with no email list or audience of your own.

The Unconventional RD Podcast Episode 50 - Using Virtual Summits to Grow Your Audience with Susannah Juteau

What You’ll learn:

  • What virtual summits are.
  • How they can help grow your business.
  • Whether summits should be free or paid.
  • How many speakers are usually involved.
  • How to coordinate all the interviews.
  • The tech behind running a summit.
  • Tips for getting attendees.
  • How to leverage your new-found audience to grow your business.

More About Susannah Juteau

Susannah Juteau MSc, RD, is a registered dietitian who specializes in regulating headache and migraine conditions through natural remedies. She has a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics from McGill.

Connect with Susannah

Erica Julson: This week's episode is a really good one. I'm chatting with dietitian Susannah Juteau about using virtual summits to grow your brand and email list. Susannah runs her own private practice called headache nutritionist, and by hosting and running her own online summits she was able to network with dozens of other wellness professionals, establish herself as a leader in her niche, and add thousands of people to her email list, and grow her clientele base, and the best part is you can do all of this too even if you're starting from absolute zero with no email list for audience of your own.
In this episode, we explain exactly what virtual summits are, how they work, why they're such a great way to grow your audience, and best practices for running them. Get some pen and paper out for this one. I know you're going to want to take notes.
Welcome to The Unconventional RD Podcast where we inspire dietitians to think outside of the traditional employment box and create their own unconventional income streams. We'll talk all things online business to help you start, grow, and scale your own digital empire.
Hi, Susannah. Thank you so much for being here on the podcast today. I am so excited to talk with you about your experience running virtual summits to grow your business. We have not covered that on the podcast yet, so thank you for volunteering this topic. I think it's a great one.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah, no problem. I was like I wish more dietitians knew about this, and this opportunity for marketing, and I know you from your SEO course which I took two years ago, which was such an amazing course, and just opened my eyes so much, that I was like, how can I give back to her community?

Erica Julson: Thanks.

Susannah Juteau: Thanks for having me on.

Erica Julson: Yeah. I know you emailed me before this podcast with some of the results that you've gotten from summits, and I was like, "Oh my gosh. People need to hear about this." We'll get into that later. Before we dive into the nitty gritty of virtual summits, can you let people know who you are, what your background is in nutrition, what you're doing these days?

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. For sure. I specialize in headache nutrition, and specifically migraine nutrition, and before getting into this, because this is a newer niche for me, I worked at a community health center in Canada. I now live in California, but we have community health centers in Canada where everyone comes for services, and it's all free, but lots of group programs, one-by-ones, and outreach into the community with food banks, and shelters, and stuff.
My background is really community nutrition, and then when I moved here I decided to delve into the private practice side of things and have had some different niches along the way, so as we get into the summits you'll find out what those different ones were, and now I feel really good about working exclusively with migraine clients.

Erica Julson: Love it, and thank you for being open about changing your niches along the way, because again that's something that's so common, but I feel like people are almost scared to admit that because they-

Susannah Juteau: Right. It's been quite the up and down journey. That's for sure.

Erica Julson: Yeah. Hopefully, as we talk about what summits are maybe it'll help people find clarity as well if they're struggling to find their niche. You know?

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. I think it's actually through the summits that I really did get that clarity. It gave me a real focus, and then I realized what clients I was drawing in from the summit, and then I was like I don't really have a passion for working with weight loss, especially was the ... My first two summits I got a lot of weight loss clients out of it, and I was like, "Uh."
Yeah, so it did open up my eyes, and sped up that clarity journey.

Erica Julson: Just for people listening, can we start by even defining what a virtual summit is?

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. Yeah. A virtual summit is where we pull in a bunch of different speakers on different topics, but you have an overarching seam, like an overarching topic. For instance, my first summit was on mindset, so I drew in experts in the field who were talking about different subcategories of mindset, and why it was important, and so that overarching theme was mindset for weight loss.
At the time, I was working with weight loss clients, but I really wanted them to focus on more of the bigger picture rather than the number on the scale, so I found experts who were in line with that message, and then you interview them, and you broadcast it. Some people do it live, or I prerecord all of my interviews, and then release either one per day, or two per day. That way your listeners get to have a bigger experience, and it's your show, so you're the expert. You're broadcasting yourself as the go-to person on that topic, and showing that you are networking with all these other people. It's a really great platform for marketing, and for just showing your wisdom as well.

Erica Julson: Yeah, like a big authority booster. Definitely. What are the different summits that you've run to date?

Susannah Juteau: I'm actually currently in the middle of my third summit, so this was a timely time to do this interview because it's fresh on the mind. The first one was on mindset. The second was on fasting. Therapeutic fasting has been one of the tools that has really helped me because my history I had brain surgery a few years ago, so overcoming the headaches, and the migraine and everything that was one of the tools that really helped me.
And so, my second summit was on fasting, and again I was trying to steer people away from fasting for weight loss, which of course is what everyone comes to fasting for, and I was like, "No, no, no. There's all this other great evidence. Let's talk about longevity. Let's talk about hormone balancing, and brain health, and inflammation." So, all these other things. That was what my second summit was on. How is fasting useful for things other than weight loss? I can't remember what the tagline was. It was obviously much more catchier than that.
And then, my current summit is focused on my current niche, which it's called Hope for Headaches, and it's Discover Under The Radar Healing Methods to Get to Your Migraine Free Life.

Erica Julson: I see the progression, so was it you always maybe wanted to work with headaches, but you had to niche your way down to get there? Did you have that in the back of your mind initially, or was that born out of seeing the response from the summits?

Susannah Juteau: So often response, and what people ask me about, because that is my own story. It's so obvious in hindsight. Headaches, it makes so much sense for me because that's where all of my history is, and that's what I've overcome, and all these things that it's so obvious in hindsight, but I was trying to I guess put myself in ... You know where you put yourself in that dietitian box? So many people want help with weight loss, so I'm going to help them, even though that's not my passion area, and that's where I had the most experience from my community job is everyone's looking for how to eat healthier and stuff.
I put myself in that box, and it took me a while to realize, "Why aren't I drawing on my own story more?" Because instead I was trying to relate with people who deal with heavy weight that they want to lose, and I never went through that but I was trying to connect with them, and it just wasn't filling up my cup I guess is the best way.
It was after that fasting summit that I was like, man, what everyone has asked me about is my own story, and how nutrition can help with headaches, and so it just opened my eyes. I was like of course I should be focusing on this in my own private practice.

Erica Julson: And how did it go as you honed down the niche topics more and more? Was it more successful, or how was the crosstalk?

Susannah Juteau: Yeah, absolutely. And it just feels so much more authentic even just talking about my story. Sometimes before I'd be like, "Oh yeah. I went through weight gain because of medications due to ..." such and such happening. It was almost like I was forcing it into that weight bubble, and now that I don't have to talk about weight loss at all it's just so much easier to talk about my own story, and connect with people on that, and connect with the struggles of going to the doctors, and not getting answers, and so many people just have no idea that nutrition is the base of overcoming migraine.
The causes that we see are often stress and not getting enough sleep, but the underlying root cause always comes down to nutrition, so just helping people with that awareness really helps, and I speak authentically from my own point of view too.

Erica Julson: Thank you for sharing that. I think a lot of people are going to be like, relief, like you don't have to have it all figured out. You can figure it out by taking action and then pivoting based on what happens. That's really inspirational. Back to just the point of a summit, how does a summit help you let's say grow your email list? How does that all work?

Susannah Juteau: The main purpose as someone who's running a summit is to grow the email list, so that is the whole point is that if you don't have an audience to sell to then you're going to be falling on crickets, and you just have no one to talk to for that market research point of view to find out even what they're looking for. I did take a business coaching program when I first started doing the summits.
They're like, "To start off a business you really need to get that population seeing you first, and seeing you as an expert," so that was the goal behind the summit is to grow my email list, and the speakers have other goals, but for me it's you're making sure that you're getting all the speakers on a summit. They all have a requirement of sending one solo email to their list, and having a minimum list size of 5,000, so that way the overall potential reach is 100,000 people if you have 20 people on your summit.
It's just a really great list-building strategy, and you're also positioning yourself as the expert, so it just boosts up. And the networking opportunities are awesome as well.

Erica Julson: What I'm hearing out of that is, even if you have an audience size of zero at the moment, you can still run a summit to get an audience. Is that accurate?

Susannah Juteau: Exactly. Exactly. It's a really great list build from the get go where you don't have to put money into Facebook ads, and yes, there's absolutely some cost behind a summit, but they're not significant. For me, my first summit I ran my whole first summit, like I did all the backend stuff, so I didn't need a VA. Most people do get a VA if they don't like the tech stuff, but that's really your only cost and time, so it's a really effective strategy, especially when you're starting out. You don't have money to invest in Facebook ads, or some of these other strategies, that this can be a really great strategy when you're launching.

Erica Julson: Yeah, and obviously the networking I think is a huge bonus as well, but in contrast there may be other strategies that teach you how to grow your following on certain social media platforms. I like that you're getting people onto your actual email list so you have a more direct connection with them as well, so that's something to consider too.

Susannah Juteau: Yes, and they see in person. It's all video so they get to interact with you that way, whereas, at least with me, my Instagram strategy hasn't been that great, you get a lot of followers, but then if you're not great at engaging with your followers then you've just got a lot of followers and you don't grow that well that way. We're all better at some strategies than others.

Erica Julson: Totally, but I like to show ... On this podcast, I have talked about Instagram strategies.

Susannah Juteau: I know. I love that. That way, everyone can connect and be like, "Oh, that's the perfect strategy for me."

Erica Julson: Right. For me, it's writing and blogging, and for other people they're like, "Hell no." You know? It just depends, so I love that, and again thanks for sharing the details behind this strategy. I myself signed up for many summits over the years on nutrition and business topics, and some of them have been free, some of them have been freemium where it's free and paid, and some are just flat out paid, so what do you think the difference is between those different strategies, and what did you do?

Susannah Juteau: A lot of the big summits I find are usually paid, but they're putting a lot of ad money behind it to get the volume in so that they can get paid, or they'll do like it's free for two days and then you have to pay, so then of course no one can watch that many interviews in two days. No one's taking off their whole life to listen to a summit, so I don't personally like that strategy because my main goal is to connect with the audience, and it's not a money builder.
For me, my very first summit I only had one interview per day, and it stretched out across the months, so people had lots of time to listen to the interviews. Each interview was live for 48 hours. It gives people, again, that opportunity to watch and listen for free. Since then, I've moved to two interviews per day which I like more because otherwise the summit last for a whole month, and it's better to tighten it up a little bit.
The two per day worked really well. The whole purpose is really to connect with the audience. Now, all three summits I have had the option to upgrade because there are a lot of people who come in and are just like, "No, I don't want the free version," or they start listening and they're like, "Hey, I want access to this forever," so there is always that option, but the purpose isn't to make money so for me it doesn't matter if there're five people to upgrade, or 100 who upgrade.
And something that I'm doing on this current summit, which I will definitely be doing moving forward ... Each summit, I learn a lot more what to improve, but this time all the upgrades are going towards donations, so I'm donating to the American Migraine Foundation, so it gives a whole other level of purpose for the summit where the intention is really to give back, and I find a lot of speakers appreciate that as well, that it's like, okay, we're doing this for a bigger purpose.

Erica Julson: I don't think any of the summits I've registered for have done that, so I think that's awesome.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. I always bring that up to people. You won't see other summits like this.

Erica Julson: Yeah. And you're right, then it makes the person who's maybe volunteering their time to participate feel like it's going towards a good cause as well.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. And I see people making the donations even if they don't plan to watch the interviews later, or that it's like, "Thank you for just having this opportunity to donate," and remind me let's give back to the migraine community, and help support others.

Erica Julson: How many speakers do you usually have on the summit?

Susannah Juteau: This has also changed. The first summit I had 27 speakers. There was just way too many, and way too many to organize. The second summit I had 24, so it was still too many. This current summit I have 12 speakers, which is a really nice balance, because of course that other intention of connecting with the speakers is really important to me, and that networking, so it's hard to give them the most of your attention if you're trying to talk to 24 people at once.

Erica Julson: And obviously, if it's not a paid event you're probably not paying them I would imagine.

Susannah Juteau: Right. They don't get paid, and they actually never even ask for payment, so I find that really interesting because so many people are like, "Well, how much do you have to pay your speakers?" And I was like, "No. That's never an issue." A lot of speakers are doing it to give back. They want to serve people, and they want to serve their own audience and other audiences, so they're like, "Hey. This is a really good topic. I want to bring it to my audience."
And they're also doing it just for omnipresence, to get their name out there so people are seeing them, they're seeing that they're giving back, and they're a part of things, and they're not doing it for financial. A lot of people will do affiliate links, so people who do the VIP package ana upgrade, and what I've heard is that a lot of the speakers don't even really care because even if you make 500 from it that's pennies compared to what a lot of these speakers are already making because usually they're quite successful in their business.
So yeah, I never went the affiliate route.

Erica Julson: And then, do you let them at the end of their presentation mention their own services, or website and stuff, so at least it's a promotion?

Susannah Juteau: It's a free promotion, exactly. That's a big component of it is that they give a free gift to the audience so that the audience can then opt in to their email list. There's a lot of summits that ... I know a lot of those bigger summits it's like when you sign up for the summit then everyone has access to you, and then you get bombarded by emails from 20 different speakers at once, so this summit is not like that. It's like the audience chooses to opt in, so they're only on my email list. I don't share the email list with any of the speakers, and then they're choosing who to opt in on those based on if they connect with the speaker, if they like the free gift, and stuff like that.

Erica Julson: That's way better.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. I think so.

Erica Julson: And then, how do you do it? Because I've seen both where it's like the host is interviewing all of the guests, and it's a more conversational Zoom meeting, or I've also seen it where it's straight up presentations, like the person came with some topic that they're discussing, and they're prerecorded maybe, and then it goes up. Which way do you do it?

Susannah Juteau: I do it where it's interview style because that's getting my message out as well, and it's really allowing the audience to see me as an expert, and that's the main purpose is to have my platform to establish myself. I like the interview style the best because the presentation style, one, it can get really scientific, so usually the audience attending it feels overwhelming, and interview style is a bit more engaging. You can go for a walk and listen.
I do it on Zoom. We're side-by-side. And I think on my next summit I might try audio only because I've heard feedback that people really like the audio only, and then in the Facebook group have more recap sessions and videos that way.

Erica Julson: Cool. I imagine with each iteration you get to try new things and get all these cool data points, so that's exciting. How many times a year have you been doing it or do you plan to do summits?

Susannah Juteau: I've been doing it twice a year. I'll probably continue that way.

Erica Julson: Because you don't want to burn people out. You want them to be excited. You need enough time to pass. Yeah.

Susannah Juteau: You get excited. You get refreshed, the list builds, and it's really nice to do before a launch because you've got a whole new group of people. You do a launch, and you add it into the cycle that it's like I'm doing this big summit with the launch on the end, and then you deliver, so once or twice a year I think is plenty.

Erica Julson: Do you come up with topics that you want to touch on, and then find a speaker, or do you find a speaker and then come up with the topic together? How do you organize it?

Susannah Juteau: At first, when I was less confident I would just get the speaker and be so happy that they were on board, and then I'd be like, "What do you want to talk about?" But I found that was more of a free for all. There was a lot of speakers who'd want to talk about the same thing, so nowadays I definitely come up with the topics first, and then look for the speakers, or sometimes if I have a speaker in mind that I really want to reach out to, and I already know their topic, but I make sure that there's no overlapping of topics.

Erica Julson: Yeah. That's really good insight. There was a time a few years ago where me and another dietitian almost put together a summit. We did all the background work and we reached out to people, and we had all the topics planned out, and then we just ended up not moving forward with it, but we found the same thing that if you let other people just bring forward a topic so many people say the same thing.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah.

Erica Julson: Yeah. So, being more organized, and being like, "Hey, would you speak about this?" Was a little more effective.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. Planning it out ahead of time. What is your goal for the summit? Is your goal to connect with speakers? Is your goal to connect with the audience? And then, what topics, and what do you want to showcase yourself as too? Because that's something else I've learned is showcasing yourself as one of the interviewers as well. It's like you have the knowledge in nutrition, so why have any other speaker speak on that, and then you're the last interviewer to wrap up the summit, and then they're really getting a sense of you, and your packages, and it just makes it much more likely that they'll book a discovery call and continue working with you.
And stay on your email list, because of course with summits a lot of people will sign up and I always expect so many to drop off after, and it surprises me all the time how few actually do drop off because of the style of summit that I do, that it's not just a quick money grab.

Erica Julson: Yeah. I really like everything you're saying. It seems really effective. But going back to getting the speakers do you have any tips for finding the right people? How do you find the people, and then when you're doing it twice a year did you ever invite people back? Is it always new people? How does that work?

Susannah Juteau: I definitely invite some people back. There's certain speakers that I connect to, the audience connects to, that the topic is relevant, because of course my three summits are all on very different topics, but I have had some where I can ask a speaker to come back, but usually I'm looking for more newer speakers.
And when searching for speakers this is where especially someone doing their first summit has a hard time. The requirement has to be that they have a minimum of a 5,000 email list. This last one I did a 10,000 minimum, and a lot of people are like, "But isn't your purpose to network? Isn't your purpose to get your message out there?" But the reality is you don't get your message out there if someone has a list of a 1,000. I've tried it multiple times where I make exceptions, and then they only get three opt ins or something.
And because of all the work behind the summit you do want to make sure that you're sticking to those requirements. And in terms of finding the speakers there's just so much amazing work out there that I usually look for someone who's engaging well with their audience, and then the chances are they do have a pretty good list build because they have some marketing strategies, and they know the importance of an email list, and because they're connecting so well with their audience that I know that they'd be a good fit.
And then, also especially with my first summit I looked for people who had done other summits because it simplified things for me that I was like I pretty much know that they do have the list sites because they've been on those other summits. I went that way, but that's not always the best strategy too because if someone's on say 20 summits a year their email list is so tired of being invited to the summits, so it's ideal to have people that are middle. They'll do a couple that they really connect with, but overall that they're not just on every summit.

Erica Julson: Yeah. That's a good point. Summit fatigue.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah.

Erica Julson: And then, since you changed the topic thus far every time, what about for your next one? I'm just thinking people listening. Let's say they're a pediatric dietitian. Is it every single time? Obviously, they wouldn't call it the Pediatric Nutrition Summit, or something that's really boring, but is it always just something like that, or would you recommend doing a sub topic that changes for each summit?

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. I think a lot of people can have those subtopics that change and still the overarching topic still fits within their niche. For me, this current summit that I'm doing, the Hope for Headaches, there's so many subtopics under that already that I'm going to be calling it the same thing, and have the same tagline, because there's so many different angles I can do. And even something like this summit we talked about gut health, but a different expert would have a different angle for the gut health, so I'd likely have some similar topics like gut health, inflammation, and hormones that I would do again, but with a different speaker.
For instance, for this topic I interviewed someone who does tapping, who does ASMR for headaches, which is a type of hypnosis, and a lot of I call them under the radar strategies, so those can really be switched up. I didn't interview anyone on yoga, or I didn't interview anyone on breath work, or meditation, that those I can use on the next summit, so I'll probably just call the next one Hope for Headaches 2.0.

Erica Julson: Love it. And then, how do you get people to sign up? I want to know this from the marketing strategy, but also the tech strategy, so where is the signup form? Is it on your website? Are you using a tool? And then, how are you spreading the word?

Susannah Juteau: You want to have either a lead page, or however you usually do your options, so they opt in to the summit that way, and then on the thank you page is where I put the VIP upgrade is someone wants to make the donation to upgrade. But on the opt in page itself you want a pretty clean opt in page, so if people are just going there and not reading a whole bunch of stuff, so I just put a video inviting them to the summit and my reason behind the summit, and then they opt in right there.
I use Kartra for everything. Kartra or Kajabi, whatever people are using. That part's really easy. The tech part overall is pretty easy, but the main thing is that all of the speakers are promoting. I had 12 speakers this last one, so each speaker is sending at least one solo email to their list, and they're doing social media too. The social media doesn't usually get much traction unless they have a super engaged social media, but usually I don't even worry about if they're doing social promotion or not. The main thing is always the solo email, so they're just talking about the summit and inviting people, and that's where we get the most opt ins is through everyone else. And then, I of course promote my own list, and my own social.
But yeah, you don't need to have a list of your own for people to participate. I have never once had a speaker ask me what my own list size was because they're not on the summit for that purpose.

Erica Julson: How do you know where the people registered from? Is there a way to track this person sent this many people?

Susannah Juteau: Yeah. Yeah. With Kartra I send everyone their individual tracking links, so I can see how many clicks they've got, and how many opt ins they've got, and then you also sign up to their email list so that you can see that they sent their solo because partly all the speakers are very busy so you need to remind them, and I'm sure there's occasionally people that if someone's not watching they might not send that solo. They're like I can get on a summit and not send a solo.
You do always want to follow up with speakers and make sure that they're engaged and that they actually want to be a part of the summit, because as I mentioned before there's a lot of speakers who actually just want to be on summits, and they don't really care about the purpose. It's all about that omnipresence to get out there more.
Making sure that you connect with the speakers as well is really important because then they want to promote for you, and when they're connected to the mission, especially it helps putting all the donations towards the Migraine Foundation because then they're extra connected to the purpose, so that certainly helps. My tracking links will tell me all of that information. I can also tell if they've just promoted on social because you get a lot of clicks through on social but not that many opt ins, whereas through an email list it's usually a 50 to 60% opt in.

Erica Julson: Yeah. I found that as well. I haven't participated in a free summit, but I often speak at the RD Entrepreneurs Symposium, which is paid, and I have an affiliate link as the speaker, but almost everyone who ends up registering is through my emails and not through my social media links.

Susannah Juteau: That's the power of an email list. Again, my social isn't super engaged, so that's probably the main difference.

Erica Julson: Even my Facebook group has 10,000 people in it, and my email list is half that size, but it's just a lot more effective just even with the reach, and even though there's 10,000 in the group maybe only 2,000 see any given post, and then they have to click on it, and open up the link, and type in their information, and maybe they're on the go and they can't do it right now.

Susannah Juteau: Absolutely.

Erica Julson: Just to get a bigger picture of the workflow, so you've come up with the topic, maybe you've mapped out what you want to cover, and who you want to reach out to, and then you book those interviews, you do them on Zoom, and then obviously you have some sort of recorded video file. Where does that video file go? How are you hosting the summit?

Susannah Juteau: Once everyone is opted in then they've got the emails, and on the backend I am just creating web pages, so I've got a web page with each speaker with their video. I've recorded it on Zoom. I just uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube, and then put it on those pages. Underneath the page is their free gift, and a description, and then their bio and headshot. And then, I just create a page like that for each speaker.

Erica Julson: On your website, or is it on a different platform?

Susannah Juteau: It's on Kartra, so it's not on my website actually, but it's so that I can direct people just to that page, and then the page expires after 48 hours, so there's no SEO behind it or anything because it's just those who opted in who will get access to it. And then, every day of the summit I just send the link to those pages.

Erica Julson: So, it's through email basically that they're getting invited each day.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah.

Erica Julson: The launch, okay. Cool. I think that's really helpful, especially for people who've never attended a summit.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah, exactly. And it encourages people to open up your emails. It encourages them to click on your emails, so then down the road once the summit is over the deliverability is up, and-

Erica Julson: Genius.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah, so all the things help improve that.

Erica Julson: Yeah. That's another point. I didn't even really think about that, but that's a really big benefit actually. Are you comfortable with sharing the numbers or the results that you've gotten from these summits?

Susannah Juteau: The first one that I did, which as I mentioned I made a lot of exceptions, so I had a lot of people who did have the list size, but then I was like, "Why would people want to go on my summit? I don't even have a list," and all those limiting beliefs that come up, so I made a lot of exceptions.
And I didn't want to turn people down. That's another huge one is like, "I love your message. I connect with you. Yes, you can be on my summit." What I learned though is that it's not fair to the other experts, is that they're bringing in 100 people and then someone's bringing in three, so it's really not fair to the others, so that's helped over time. And how I word things to the experts helps too, that I say, "Okay. Here are the requirements. Are you in alignment with that?" And then, they say, "Oh, I actually don't have a list size that much."
And then, I say, "Okay. That's okay. We can connect in other ways. Let's do a workshop instead. Let's do lead magnet exchange," or there's other ways you can connect with people. The first summit there was about 1,200 how opted in, so that was good, and there was 27 speakers. 1,200 for 27 speakers. It was a lot of work, but I was happy with the result, especially for a first summit.
My second summit I had 24 speakers, and I had 6,200 opt in. That one was paid upgrade without donations, and I made $9,200 off that summit. Of course, a very popular topic though, so that's the main difference is that fasting is very popular, so I wouldn't expect that for most topics, and I had some really awesome speakers on there. It was only for females, so it made me stand out from all the other fasting summits. It was only females and I had all of the lead fasting experts on that one.
And then, my current summit we're still in the middle of it, but we have 1,250 signed up, and that's with 12 speakers. Everything keeps improving.

Erica Julson: All together, you've basically grown your list by a little under 10,000 people-

Susannah Juteau: Yeah.

Erica Julson: ... from these free summits. That's a lot. I haven't been super focused on growing my Unconventional RD email list. People just opt in when they join my Facebook group pretty much. Mine's only 5,000 right now just from doing nothing. I'd like to get 10,000 from not only establishing yourself as an expert, and networking, and all of the other benefits. Now, I'm like, shoot, I need to do a summit. A summit for RDs. There you go.

Susannah Juteau: I know.

Erica Julson: Yeah. You have that really great draw because your Facebook group is so engaged, so you do have that one mechanism to get people on a list, but I think for a lot of people starting out we don't have that one thing, like if your social isn't up there, if you don't have a Facebook group, especially when it first starts out. They're not that engaged even if you do have 500 people in it.
It's just a really good started. And then, you get invited to other summits and you continue growing your list that way because you've established yourself as that expert, and then maybe you don't have to run a summit anymore. For me, I likely will probably do one at least once a year just for that platform for people to get to know you.
And then, what do you do after the summit's over? Because that might be a hiccup for people too. They're like, "Okay. I do this giant summit, and everyone's on my list, and then what do I do? What do I email them? How do I keep them?"

Susannah Juteau: I see this all the time, especially that first business program that I joined where it was teaching all the summits. It's like so many people would get their summit done and then never email their list anymore, and I was like, what was the point? You definitely want to have something in mind, and ideally have a pretty good idea of what your niche is going to be, because otherwise you're just building a list, and then it's like I don't actually want to talk about this subject, so you do want to have an idea of what you're going to be talking about.
You do also want to have it in mind what is the product that you're going to be offering after, or are you doing one-on-ones, or what is the end goal in mind? Because there's no point in having an email list and then doing nothing with them, or dropping them completely after the summit. For me, it's really important that I email my list at least once a week, usually twice a week. Sometimes it's just giving content. Sometimes it's inviting them to my program, or inviting them to other things that I feel like they'll be interested in being involved with, but definitely having that in mind before just going out there and building the list for no reason.

Erica Julson: I use my list to build connection, and to serve, because if you just send them spammy stuff all the time you're definitely unsubscribing. There has to be a point to opening them and get them excited. And then, of course, obviously having a business goal in mind because we are entrepreneurs. We need to make money as well. Yeah, good points there.
So now, that you've done this a few times, do you have any cool things you're considering trying? I know you mentioned a few things already, but any other things you're going to try to experiment with moving forward?

Susannah Juteau: Something that I haven't been doing great with these summits is that I've been planning them really last minute. The first one that I did, I did it in nine weeks, and then the two since were six weeks and five weeks, and it's just not enough time. It's very pressured where you're looking to get all your speakers in one week, and people don't always respond right away, so you're sending all these follow ups, and you're like come on, and you get that moment where you're like I'm not going to get speakers in time.
And then, you're doing all the interviews, and it's very crunched. With my next one I'm just going to give myself a lot more space to do it properly, and to do it better. It's just so important to connect with your speakers even before you invite them, and get a real sense of what their audience is like, and whether it's the same audience that you want. If their audience is all male physiotherapists or something I mostly work with women, and then that just doesn't jive.
Getting a sense of who their audience is, how they engage with their audience, and whether they're right for it first, and getting to know them, actually reaching out to them, before you ever ask them to be on the summit because it shows that you really like their content and genuinely want them to be on the summit, because a lot of speakers, especially speakers with a large audience, are invited to things all the time. They're invited to summits all the time. They're invited to podcasts, and all these things, so why would they say yes to you over anything else, so you want to stand out.
I'll be taking more time with my next one, and writing good copy behind it, and having a better plan for my Facebook group with some giveaways, and being able to connect with the audience that way.

Erica Julson: Yeah. And I think sometimes people overthink the networking piece as well. I'm not super active on Instagram, so maybe more DM conversations happen there. They probably do, but just being on Facebook and stuff, and even having the podcast, not that many people ever reach out to me, so if you do then I probably remember you. You know what I mean?

Susannah Juteau: And it's finding the jewels in there too. You don't necessarily want a speaker who has 100,000 email list because they're constantly promoting for things, and when you look at their newsletters it's not a connecting with your audience type newsletter. A lot of these really big popular people, which is a mistake that I did with my first summit is that I was trying to get all the big names and stuff.
And it's actually much better to find speakers who are engaged, but maybe not super popular, but are doing really great work, because then you're also showcasing them and they really appreciate the boost, and exposure, and they're genuinely excited for the summit and looking forward to promoting for it rather than here's another thing that I'm going to send out.

Erica Julson: I feel the same way about even my podcast interviews. Obviously, it's different, because it's not an opt in thing, or growing my list thing even, but I want to hear the cool stories. It doesn't really even matter what people's audience size is, or their list size. I don't know. And sometimes when you do get an interview with somebody who has a huge audience it's sometimes a little lackluster, sometimes, because they do it all the time, and the newer person maybe is a little more-

Susannah Juteau: Or they're really rushed. I've had quite a few speakers that are like, "Can we just skip the ..." Because I always do a 15-minute pre-interview, "Are we the right fit for each other?" And they're like, "Can we just skip that and just do the interview? And I've done that before, but I find even the interview with the person it feels like it's not that deeper connection because I've never spoken to them before. I don't really know that much about them, and they know zero about me because they're just coming on, they're telling their spiel, which is likely a similar spiel to all the other ones, and then that's it. So yeah, I really like the connection part of it more.

Erica Julson: How did you learn to do all of this? Do you have any recommended resources for learning more about setting up summits?

Susannah Juteau: I feel like what we talked about can really give people a good start because I don't really have any resources, because I did that one coaching program that led us through step-by-step, and I'm actually part of another coaching program now that's more focused on copy, and so she helps as well with summits, and we met through that first program.
But as far as I know, there's only big coaching packages, and the first business one that I did I wouldn't actually recommend to anyone, so I'm not going to say the name of it. It was good. I learned summits, and so I wouldn't take it back, but after doing your summit it was a bit lackluster after that, but the current one I absolutely love, and so if anyone wanted to learn more about that they can totally just reach out to me.
I don't know of any resources online. I know there's some summit sites. It's Summit in a Box where they do all the backend for you.

Erica Julson: Oh gosh. We looked into some of that. Oh man, no, I don't recommend that either. It's crazy expensive, and they have really high requirements for your audience size before they'll even touch you, so if you're a beginner it's not even ... Yeah.

Susannah Juteau: crosstalk are the big summits that you see, you see Facebook ads for and stuff, and I find them just ... They're all the same, right? They're just trying to get a whole bunch of people in the door, and what I like is that this is unique, and it's much more about raising us as the experts, and that's the other unique part. And one of the reasons why I wanted to speak to you on this podcast is that as dietitians we really want to be the go-to expert, and this is one of those ways that really raise up the dietitians and say we're the experts, and we're putting on a big summit, or we're the go-to person, and we choose who we put on.
And so, it's people whose messages we're aligned with. I'm not particular about only having other dietitians. I find there's a lot of value with other health professionals, but at least I wouldn't have someone who has conspiracy theories, or we have very different messages, or anything, so I'm not featuring anyone like that.

Erica Julson: And again, empowering the dietitians. You can do this. You don't need to hire a five figure company to put it all together for you, especially if you're starting out. It might seem a little scary, but just start. Maybe you get a thousand people the first one, but that's a win. That's 1,000 people that you now have to connect with. You know?

Susannah Juteau: Exactly. And even if you started with just 10 experts, and say you brought in 300 people, and then the next one you build that much more. I think at least in that coaching program it was like if you get 700 people that's a very successful summit, and then you build from there, and you know how to talk to people better once you've done that first one, and it always gets way easier.

Erica Julson: Yeah. The first one's the hardest, and then it's like rinse and repeat a little bit.

Susannah Juteau: Exactly.

Erica Julson: With whatever you're doing that's new.

Susannah Juteau: And we often do a lot of the same copy or at least a lot of the same backend. I just copy each page, change the video, change the biography, and it's really quick.

Erica Julson: And double check because I have done that, and then I sent the wrong link, and I'm like, "Shoot."

Susannah Juteau: Oh yes. Plenty of that happening too.

Erica Julson: Yeah.

Susannah Juteau: Part of the beauty of it too is that you can mess up a little and because it's not this massive ... Maybe you get a few messages that might be a little bit hateful, but that's all part of the game too.

Erica Julson: Yeah. I've done that multiple times and no one's ever sent me hate mail. It's fine. I just send out another email like, "Oops. Wrong link." To close us out today what are your top three tips for somebody who's interested in launching a virtual summit in 2021?

Susannah Juteau: Find a topic that you're really aligned with, that is on the path that you want to pursue, and then start with 10 speakers just so that you're not overwhelming yourself, and not working so hard that you can't get anything else done. Start with 10 speakers, and reach out to them, and just have that confidence that this is effective, and that you are worthy of speakers, and if anyone asks you, "Hey, what is your list size? Why are you doing this?" Then that's probably not the right speaker for you anyways. Maybe that's not three.

Erica Julson: We've got come up with a topic. Don't be too stressed out about-

Susannah Juteau: Confidence and networking. The purpose is networking, so communication and networking, and reaching out to others, and just have a lot of fun with it. It's like networking with professionals who are complimentary to you, people that you might want to build a referral network with is really good.

Erica Julson: Awesome. And then, where can people go maybe to check out your summits and just see what this is all about? Where should people check out?

Susannah Juteau: On my website I actually keep up ... I don't know if I'll do that with this current summit, but with my past two summits if anyone wanted to check them out I do keep up five interviews rather than the whole thing, so they can basically see the whole opt in process, and see what the daily emails look like, and what the backend looks like. And so, that's on my website at
And people can feel free to reach out to me on Facebook. Just search me. And if anyone feels like they have something that's complimentary to headache nutrition and you'd like to be featured on one of my summits then you can reach out to me.

Erica Julson: Awesome. What social platform would you say you're most active on?

Susannah Juteau: In terms of talking with people and getting an answer quickly Facebook would be best. I'm on Instagram as well, but Facebook's always best.

Erica Julson: Great. And would they just search for your business name and reach out there?

Susannah Juteau: You can search it for my business name or for my personal name.

Erica Julson: Great. I will also put the links to all of your website, and your social profiles, and all that at If you click on the podcast tab you can find this episode right there at the top, or if you're listening to this later just look at the podcast number and you can find it all organized there.
I do put show notes for every episode, so hopefully some people will be headed your way from there, or just from listening. Thank you again, seriously. This was really informative. I learned a lot, and I'm going to be keeping my eye out, like "Okay, how many people are making summits now?" Because this is so good. This was really inspirational, so thank you, and thank you for being so open too with sharing all the details. I think that's really helpful.

Susannah Juteau: Yeah, absolutely.

Erica Julson: I hope you enjoyed that episode. As always, if you really get a lot out of this podcast please hit the subscribe button so you can get all the new episodes as they roll out each week, and I greatly appreciate any ratings or reviews that you can leave in iTunes, or Spotify, or wherever you're listening. It really helps us reach more people. Thank you, and I will catch you next week.

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Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.