Did you know that it is possible to increase your customers and sales of your online business by organizing virtual summits?
Hi, in this article i’m going to teach you how to plan, launch and host your virtual summit.
A virtual summit is an online conference that allows participants from many parts of the world to learn from an event that takes place live. This event is organized by a person called a host. These events usually have between 5 to 30 guests who discuss a particular topic.
By running virtual summits, you can expect to get a list of leads for your business, which can transform into potential customers.
Holding virtual summits brings with it many benefits, among them, are:
- Increase the visibility of your profile.
- Establish strong relationships with influencers and experts.
- Build a community.
- Get free marketing.
- Enter a network of greater creativity.
- Freedom to present yourself at places and dates that you decide.
- There is no limit to the participants that you can invite.
- Make money thanks to different types of virtual summits.
- Create your business model.
- Be part of the new form of doing business.
When it comes to events, planning is critical. You must create a strategy so that you can be organized and in control throughout the process. The problem with making improvised virtual summits is that you will not be able to plan your marketing strategy effectively. In addition to this, you will make your audience feel that you are aggressive when it comes to advertising and promotion. If you make an advertising message appear during the virtual summit, suddenly and every so often, you will achieve the opposite of your goal. The process should look as organic as possible.
Below I present the steps you must do to start your virtual summit:
Step 1) The logistics.
First of all, you need three to four months to train and prepare yourself. A virtual summit is not something you should rush into. You need the moment and the time to build your event in stages. Think about how long your virtual summit will last—the best dates, and when you will sell your all-access pass to participants. A summit should not last more than seven days, and for a beginner, it is recommended for 4 to 5 days.
You should ask yourself the following questions:
- What industry or niche am I most passionate about?
- What will be the topic of my virtual summit?
- What topic makes me feel more comfortable when providing information to my audience?
- What are my short and long term goals during and after the virtual summit?
- What type of public do I want to attract within this niche or industry?
- What do my potential clients want to see at the virtual summit?
Asking yourself these kinds of questions will help you understand and develop a vision of who your target audience is.
Your topic should be broad enough to interest a large audience within your niche, and at the same time, specific enough to add value to the business or profile of the participants.
To illustrate this, let’s see the following example:
If you are hosting a virtual summit regarding yoga, there is no doubt that those who practice yoga will be interested in participating in your virtual summit. They will be involved in listening to the guests you have while feeling part of the community. So, this is where you should think more deeply about it.
What can yoga do for other people? What do you offer? You can, for example, offer live yoga classes to stay-at-home moms or fathers who want to exercise from home. They may also be large corporations that wish to provide yoga classes for their employees during lunch hours. Another example may be athletes who need to increase their flexibility but are not sure how to start.
Step 2) Plan your content.
Imagine that you are the creative director of your virtual summit. As a creative director, you can choose the direction your event will take. This includes aspects such as the name of the event, the people who will speak during the event, the brand, the type of questions you want to ask, the topic in general. This is the most fun stage, so find and develop ideas with your colleagues and friends. You can also research it, for example, what has been done before and who would speak at that event.
An important aspect that you should take into account is that you should give your virtual summit a name that is short and catchy. Make use of the word summit to make it clear to your audience that it is an event and not a webinar, tutorial, or podcast.
Step 3) Decide on the technology you are going to use.
The first impression is what counts; therefore, making use of an excellent technological platform is very important to obtain success in your virtual summit. This includes the following aspects: quality hardware and fast internet access.
Now I present you some of the technological elements that you will need:
- Video capture and recording software.
- Image editing software.
- Images, graphics, and videos.
- Email marketing automation software.
- Software for sales funnel.
- Web hosting.
Step 4) Select the people who will speak and register them on the platform.
This is the time to get closer to your invited participants. It may be that you already know some of the participants in person, these turn out to be the easiest. For others, it will be somewhat more complicated to get in touch with them and plan their intervention at the summit. Choose influencers that go with your style, with those you find interesting and, most importantly, with those who add value to the virtual summit.
The order of participation of your guests is critical. This order influences how your audience’s attention will unfold—the number of guests who will speak ranges from 5 to 30. Be careful to select the ideal amount for your virtual summit. Using many participating guests can be challenging to manage. The number of participants should be according to the time each participant has and the total time of each day of your virtual summit.
When you contact your invited participants, treat them like your colleagues, rather than a fan of a teacher. It is vital that they feel that their participation in the event will be beneficial to them as well. Make your invitation sound exciting.
Step 5) Sales funnel to capture leads and sales.
It is here when you must configure your digital platform for your virtual summit. The sales funnel must be in stages; each call to action must be one step closer to obtaining sales. It’s okay if people want to participate for free, they should have that option. After all, giving the free choice of participation will be a lead magnet within your marketing campaign. You can capture their email addresses, so you can use them to promote other of your products at another time. There is no loss; you will win for the full pass (for all the days of the virtual summit) and for the leads you capture from the people who subscribed for free for one of the days of your virtual summit.
It is recommended that you buy a specific domain only for your virtual summit if you have not already done so. You should also build your sales funnel, which should contain four key pages, these are:
- Opt-in page: this is the landing page. This page should contain the essential elements regarding your event, which has been: the agenda, the list of invited participants, and much more information regarding the host, which is you.
- Sales page: this page will be where you encourage those interested in buying your pass for all the days of the summit.
- Order form: This is the page where participants can buy their tickets for the event of several days.
- Confirmation page: Participants who purchase the full pass receive a successful purchase confirmation on this page.
Step 6) Record your interviews.
You can try steps 5 and 6 at the same time. While building your sales funnel, you can start recording interviews with those who agreed to be invited to your event.
The preparation of the interview is essential before interviewing the influencer. Make sure you have done some prior research on the influencers you are going to interview. You can look for previous interviews that have been done to them, to see how they made a biographical introduction.
You must send every interviewees the questions of the future interview in advance. In this way, the interviewee will be able to prepare much better to give their answers. Keep in mind that the responses of the interviewees must be made organically, never read.
It is also imperative to keep the interview focused on the topic; small talk of other issues with the interviewee is not recommended. You should get to the point as fast as possible and keep a constant flow through the questions you ask. A good interview for a virtual summit should not be longer than 30 minutes.
Step 7) Set up your landing pages for live interviews.
When it’s time to start the virtual summit, you should embed each interviewee’s recorded interviews on separate landing pages.
Stay one step ahead when making landing pages when setting up your sales funnel in step 5. Keep in mind that landing pages should all look the same, the same format, consistent branding, type of fonts, etc.
Make sure you don’t embed the prerecorded videos before it’s time to start your virtual summit. Embed each video based on how the public agenda develops.
Step 8) Configuration of the page for the All-access membership.
For those who buy the full pass or better known as the All-access membership pass, configure a page where they can log in. Access to this page should start the day after the virtual summit ends.
At this stage, you must think about what will be the offer that you are going to make.
- Offer is full access to the site with content.
- The offer is full access if the participant buys the product, service, or training.
As you increase the experience of your virtual summit, it will become apparent to you which offers you can add. This will provide the most value for you and your audience. It is good to mix this kind of thing and try each one of the virtual summits that you do. What you should be clear about is giving only one purchase option to your audience and not multiple options.
There are many platforms to manage online memberships, using login and password. Among them are Clickfunnels, Wishlist Member, Teachable, Thinkific.
Step 9) Ready to start your virtual summit.
Although the sales funnel must be ready two months before your virtual summit, the promotion to it should not start until 3 to 4 weeks before.
Your special guests will want to share and promote the event on their social media profiles and mailing lists. To do this, you can set up an affiliate marketing program within your sales funnel and encourage your special guests to join the affiliate program.
Make sure to provide your affiliates with the promotional material that suits your brand: banners, content, etc.
Step 10) It is time to promote your virtual summit.
You must dedicate the previous month to the promotion of your virtual summit. The success of your marketing campaign will be measured based on the number of new email subscribers that you can capture. You must be clear that it is not just about quantity, but quality, since based on this, you will get sales.
Step 11) Execution.
The week before starting your virtual summit is very exciting. All that hard work that you had for several months will finally be completed. The fundamental key to the success of a virtual live summit is organization and staying on the agenda. Participants are annoyed if you start late or forget.
Be sure to send participants email links to the pages containing the interviews that will be displayed daily before starting. Be sure to support those who don’t receive emails for multiple reasons.
Step 12) Complete the required follow-up tasks.
Congratulations, in this step, you have already completed your virtual summit, but, it does not end here. There are many tasks that you must do after the event to follow up with your clients. Keep in mind that they have the virtual summit experience fresh in their minds. This represents the perfect time to strengthen relationships with them. To achieve this, keep in mind the following:
- Send personalized thank you notes for participating in the event.
For those who opted for free one day participation, you can try selling them access to the membership page. The same one other customers have already purchased (those who chose to buy the all-access membership).
- Do a follow up with the people who bought the all-access pass. Make sure they have received their authentication information: log in and password.
- Take advantage of the moment to make new connections and relationships. Take advantage of your success to be more in contact with special guests, your clients, and the community. Through them, you can be invited to their virtual summits, which will increase your popularity.
- Be sure to start planning for your next virtual summit. This was your first, but it shouldn’t be the last.
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