What Is A Virtual Summit and How Can It Improve Your Business?
You love your business and would do anything to help it succeed, right? You might be surprised to learn that there is an invaluable tool that you’re missing out on that can take your reputation, leads, and sales to a whole new level. What is it? Hosting your won Virtual Summit.
The best part is that it can be done remotely and include experts and participants from all over the world.
- Quickly Build Your Email-List:
- Engage With Your Target Audience In A Non Sales Environment:
- Establish You Or Your Company’s Credibility On A Topic:
- Stand Out From The Crowd:
- Content For Social Media:
- Expanding Your Own Network With People In Authority:
In short, a virtual summit is a highly effective, low cost, and minimal risk technique to gain a large audience to either capture leads or generate sales.
With that being said, let’s jump into what a virtual summit is and why they should be a part of every business’s arsenal, especially in today’s “new normal”.
Virtual summits are quite similar to conferences. Typically speaking, they involve several experts being interviewed by a host on a specific topic.
However, unlike in person conferences or conventions, attendees can participate from anywhere around the world which opens the door for a massive amount of traffic.
Well promoted events can expect anywhere from hundreds to thousands of viewers.
The benefits of these events are ample for everyone involved. The host is given the opportunity to capture a large number of leads, the speakers are given the chance to enhance their authority in a niche, and attendees are able to learn valuable information without having to leave the comfort of their home.
While virtual summits are often used for capturing leads and are free for viewers while they are live, they can become a product themselves.
A good summit with engaging topics will leave viewers wanting more and with enough content the chances of viewers being able to take everything in them that’s available, are slim.
This creates an opportunity for a host to sell recordings to prospective customers that can be viewed whenever is most convenient for them.
These events are extremely valuable for young entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners alike. Truthfully speaking, if you’re not using this tool, your business is missing out on a great opportunity and you don’t want to give your competition a leg up.
If you’re still wondering whether or not a virtual summit would really be that beneficial for your business, take these benefits into consideration.
Quickly Build Your Email List with a virtual summit:
In today’s world, building an email list should be toward the top of every business’s priority list.
Virtual summits make doing so incredibly simple.
In most cases, hosts of virtual events can capture anywhere from several hundred to thousands of fresh email leads.
That means that hosting just one event could lead to thousands of potential customers!
Engage With Your Target Audience In A Non Sales Environment:
People often put their guard up when they know they are in the middle of a sales pitch.
You have probably even tuned out a pushy salesman before.
It’s hard to actually listen to what they are saying without thinking it’s all an attempt to lead you into an unnecessary or overpriced purchase.
Virtual summits offer a platform to communicate with your target audience without giving them that used car salesman feeling.
This will help them be more open to what you are saying so that they can learn valuable information on your topics, and in turn, lead to potential sales in the future.
Establish You Or Your Company’s Credibility On A Topic:
Credibility is single-handedly one of the most important things a company needs to have.
Anyone can make claims or act as an expert and many people have learned this the hard way.
Diving deep into topics related to your niche will not only give valuable advice to your potential clients it will also show you as a reliable, knowledgeable, professional, and trustworthy expert in your field.
Every business owner needs to ask themselves an important question. What separates them from the countless other businesses that have the same goal in mind?
With thousands of other people competing for the same leads, standing out from the crowd is crucial when it comes to the success of your business.
Virtual summits offer the perfect solution for this by allowing hosts and speakers to prove that they are in fact an authority in their niche and the best choice for potential customers to put their trust in.
Social media is used for far more than sharing funny pictures of cats these days. It’s actually become a prime source for lead generation and even sales. However, in order for this to happen, you need content.
Creating content for social media can become time consuming and expensive.
However, it doesn’t have to be. Once your summit has aired, you can then use the content from your topics as social media posts that will capture even more attention and likely generate more leads or sales.
This is just one of the many ways to maximize your return on investment.
Networking is extremely important for any business owner, especially when it comes to networking with authority figures in their niche. A virtual summit is the perfect opportunity to add industry leaders to your contact list. Your event will help them gain more exposure, capture leads, and enhance their authority. On the other hand, it will do the same for you as well. It’s a winning situation for everyone involved that will likely lead to a new business relationship with someone that has the potential to skyrocket the success of your company.
Summit vs. Conference vs. Webinar – Is There Really A Difference?
Online events are becoming more and more popular amongst business owners.
There are several different types with the most popular being virtual summits, online conferences, and webinars.
You might find yourself wondering whether or not there is a difference between them, and which would be most effective for your business strategy.
In this post I will use several different terms for virtual summits, but it’s important that you know that there are slight differences between each.
The main difference would be that virtual summits are commonly reserved for experts in a field and can typically have anywhere from six to thirty speakers conducting live interviews over several days. The number of speakers and topics being covered gives viewers an interactive experience unlike any other allowing them to put their focus on what meets their needs best.
On the other hand, webinars, conferences, and other online events usually have less speakers, are not as interactive, and typically only last for one day and sometimes only for a couple of hours.
Each can be highly effective when it comes to capturing leads, establishing authority, and generating sales.
However, hosting a virtual summit is undoubtedly your best course of action when it comes to the biggest bang for your buck.
How To Host A Virtual Event For Lead Generation And Sales
Planning for a successful event takes a lot of planning and a fair amount of time. The important thing to remember is that the results are more than worth the effort.
Here are some questions to consider when planning your summit.
- Will your event be live or pre-recorded?
- What topics should be covered in your online conference?
- The best date and time for your event.
- Will your summit be a paid event or available for free?
- Your speakers and how you will get them to participate.
- How will you promote your online summit?
Once you answer these questions it’s time to start developing a thorough game plan and put all of the pieces together.
Not sure where to start?
Don’t worry because the following tips will help you make choices that are catered towards your best interests.
Live Vs. Pre-Recorded
Both live events and pre-recorded virtual summits can be extremely beneficial for a business. However, there are some things you should know before making your decision.
Live Event Pros:
- More interactive.
- Features such as polls and live Q&A.
- Requires less time for editing.
Live Event Cons:
- Host is unable to make edits to audio/video.
- Requires a larger team.
- More expensive to host.
- Higher chance for technical difficulties (Poor internet connection, issues with screen sharing, certain browsers not being compatible with the stream, etc.).
- Speakers can cancel at the last minute. This actually happens a lot more than you might think.
Pre-Recorded Event Pros:
- Smaller team needed for quality assurance.
- Recordings offer the ability to edit talks and remove mistakes.
- Pre-recorded events allow hosts to ensure the best video and audio quality.
- Software needed for recording and editing sessions is inexpensive.
- Content can be reviewed for relevancy and quality before being broadcasted.
- Less chance for technical issues during your summit.
- Speakers can spend more time creating top-notch quality presentations.
- The risk of speakers cancelling their sessions at the last minute is eliminated.
Pre-Recorded Event Cons:
- The possibility for less engagement from attendees. (This issue can be solved by broadcasting pre-recorded sessions that are followed by live polls or Q&A sessions with the speaker).
- It can be a challenging to get speakers to record their sessions in a timely manner.
- Editing recoded content can be time consuming.
Truthfully speaking, pre-recorded sessions are usually the best way to go. One of the major parts of hosting a successful summit is displaying expertise, professionalism, and knowledge in your field.
The last thing you need to worry about after all your planning is poor internet connections. Low quality audio, issues can kill a great presentation. A recorded event gives you the time to fix such errors. A speaker backing out on you at the last minute can be a disaster for your event. Again pre-recorded events do not have this issue.
You want to make sure your content is on point, the highest quality, and engaging. Pre-recording your events allows you to do all of this, and more.
In some cases, going live will be required. However, if being live isn’t essential for your presentations, pre-recording is recommended as there is much less risk involved.
Planning Your Topics
When planning your topics, you will want to keep things engaging, informative, and most importantly, relevant to your ultimate goals for your business.
Your topics are an extremely important part of your summit.
They demonstrate your level of expertise in a field, build networking relationships, and cause people to see you as an authority, which ultimately generates leads as well as sales.
Date and Time
Things can get a little tricky when it comes to picking a date and time for live events, especially when they will be global.
Try to follow these general rules.
- Avoid scheduling your conference during holidays or other large-scale events.
- Pick a time that will bring in attendees from several different time zones.
- Do some research to see when your preferred audience is typically online.
- Consider doing a poll to determine which times and dates work best for the highest volume of attendees.
Paid or Free?
Without a doubt, free events will bring in a much larger audience.
In most cases, the best course of action for the largest number of leads is a free-to-attend event with an all-access pass upsell that can be purchased after the event has ended.
Getting Speakers on Board
Experts are constantly looking for a way to gain more authority in their niche and your summit will provide them with the perfect outlet to make it happen. A fair payment plus exposure is commonly enough incentive on its own to get them to participate.
Great places to start your search would include:
- Experts from your existing network.
- Professionals from your business.
- Hosts of relevant podcasts.
- Skilled keynote speakers in your niche.
Now, on to the final piece of the puzzle, your promotion strategy.
It should be no secret that this is one of the most important steps for a successful event, but how should you go about it?
Consider using the following methods for maximum exposure:
- Spread the word through your network.
- Send out emails to your existing email list.
- Post information, updates, and other promotional material on social media platforms.
- Run ads if your budget permits.
- Ask your speakers to promote the event to their followers.
Promote your summit on podcasts.
Choosing The Right Online Conference Platforms
Now it’s time to make an important decision. Which platform will you host your virtual conference on?
With the growing popularity of online conferences has come a wide selection of platforms, each with their own benefits and downfalls. Some are better than others while some are hardly even worth your time.
So, how do you know which is the best for your needs?
I personally recommend HeySummit for the following reasons.
- Landing Page Builder
- HeySummit’s landing page builder puts the power in your hands. Being simple to use, customizable, and effective, this tool is a lifesaver for business owners.
- Attendee Registration
- Receive detailed reports on who is registering for your events and what they are most interested in. This feature also allows hosts to track where registrations are coming from.
- Ensure your events are making the greatest impact with HeySummit’s reporting feature. Effortlessly keep track of your online conference with feedback questions and more.
- Talk Management
- With this platform, talk management couldn’t be simpler. Set your talks up with just a few clicks and a title then invite your speaker to fill in their details.
- Speaker Dashboard
- The speaker dashboard is an amazing feature that saves hosts time by allowing speakers to fill in their own bios, add headshots, and more.
- Online conferences have never been simpler thanks to HeySummit’s integration options across a wide variety of platforms. Seamlessly combine your virtual conference with other platforms using native integration, optimized IDs, custom embed codes, direct links, and more.
How To Define Your Target Audience For Maximum ROI
All of your efforts will provide little results, if any, without having the right target audience. You need to make sure that your online event reaches the right people, but how do you do that?
You’ll want to start by asking yourself some important questions.
- What niche am I in and who could benefit from it?
- What is the common need I can solve with this audience?
- How can I make my online conference worthwhile for this target audience?
Once these questions have been answered it’s time to put some serious thought into an even bigger question.
How are you going to benefit from your online conference?
The truth is that it doesn’t matter how successful your event is or how many leads you capture if you don’t keep the bigger picture in mind.
Make sure you have a clear plan of exactly how you are going to put your leads, exposure, and newfound authority to good use.
Otherwise, your virtual conference can end up being nothing more than a waste of time.
Designing The Most Effective Virtual Summit Template
Ensuring that your summit has an outline that will convert is crucial for a successful event. This stage of planning is likely one of the most difficult.
Throwing a bunch of speakers and topics into a jumbled mess is a surefire way to turn months of planning into a huge disappointment.
Here are some important things to keep in mind while building your template.
- The types of offers you have.
- Possible campaign strategies.
- What needs to happen for each campaign to be successful?
- How can you make each one unique?
You’ll want to slowly build your audience up to a selling point. In most cases, this is done by starting with interesting and engaging talks from a subject matter expert.
Basically, you will want to begin grabbing the attention of your viewers by introducing them to something new, exciting and useful for them. Discuss techniques, strategies, and tactics that can be used within their niche.
Making sure that your viewers stay engaged is incredibly important. I highly recommend that you commonly ask feedback questions throughout your conference.
The user experience is the largest factor that separates an amazing event from a bust. Take note of your feedback responses and make changes to your strategy when necessary.
As time goes on, your speakers can begin diving into more complex subjects with your target audience. Examples such as case studies, and more importantly, specific information on how your product or service can solve their needs.
Creating Virtual Convention Landing Pages For Maximum Results
Your virtual convention landing page can do one of two things.
It will either entice prospective customers to register for your online event, or it will drive them away.
Of course, the latter should always be avoided. Luckily, there are a few guidelines you can follow to create landing pages that convert.
For starters, you will want to create a visually appealing landing page that will catch the viewer’s eye.
Aside from being visually appealing, your virtual convention landing page should also include these important factors.
- A header with information about your virtual convention. (Title, Date, and Call To Action or CTA)
- An informational section that includes benefits of attending the convention.
- A section for the speakers in your convention with important information such as their name, position, bio, and social media links.
- The schedule including when each talk will take place as well as which speaker will be covering the topic.
- Finally, your registration section.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you promote a virtual summit?
Promoting a virtual event can be done in many ways. Typically speaking, networking, emails, social media posts, and podcasts are all common tools used. Paid ads are another great avenue for generating traffic for an online event but can become costly rather quickly. For maximum exposure, consider encouraging your speakers to promote the virtual summit as well.
What equipment do I need for a virtual summit?
If you’re thinking about hosting a virtual summit, there are a few pieces of equipment you will need before getting started. #1. A computer or mobile device with a reliable internet connection. #2. The correct virtual summit software/platform for you needs. I recommend HeySummit. #3. Webcams are also important for the host as well as all of the virtual conference speakers. #4. A professional quality headset. Wireless headphones with a mic are typically the best option. #5. Proper lighting is always a plus. Try to make sure the room you are in is well lit from several different angles. Make sure to check your lighting before hosting your webinar. #6. Recording and editing software for online events that will be pre-recorded.
What are the benefits of holding online conferences?
Here are the top 10 reasons every business should make online conferences part of their strategy. · Higher attendance and global reach. · Saves a great deal of time and money for business owners. · Quick lead generation with a lower customer acquisition cost. · The ability to charge for virtual summits after they have been completed. · Live Q&A sessions that keep attendees engaged throughout the online event. · More flexibility for influencers, keynote speakers, and subject matter experts. · A fast and reliable way to raise your authority in a niche. · Stats at your fingertips. · The potential to capture an enormous number of targeted leads that are interested in your industry or niche. · A way to take advantage of the world’s “new normal” and allow potential customers to learn about your services from the comfort and safety of their home.
How do you have a successful virtual conference?
The last thing you want is your virtual conference becoming a waste of time. Follow these tips for the highest ROI. · Create a strategic and detailed plan. · Choose a time and date that will bring in the most attendees. (Avoiding holidays and dates when other large virtual conferences are taking place is highly recommended.) · Promote your event as much as possible. I strongly recommend group promotion. · Ensure you have a plan to resolve possible technical issues during your online summit. · Make your virtual event as inclusive as possible. · Always encourage engagement from your conference attendees.
How do you keep attendees engaged during virtual events?
Engagement is easily the most important part of a successful virtual event. Maintaining engagement from attendees can be done in several ways. However, the most popular and effective methods are typically exciting content, passionate speakers, live Q&A sessions, polls, sticking to topics that are relevant to your attendee’s interests, and requesting feedback from your participants before and after they have viewed a session.