So you want to host a virtual summit to exponentially grow your audience (aka your email list), influence and revenue FAST?
You've come to the right place.
This guide will walk you through a multi-step method to host a wildly successful virtual summit so that you can reap the rewards of one of today’s most effective digital lead generation tools.
Take a moment to think about what sets summits apart from other list building methods to grow your online business.
Perhaps you've tried blogging. Or podcasting. Or pouring money into your paid advertising budget.
But at the end of the day, you end up a few measly subscribers ahead of where you started, and not much revenue to show for your effort.
A virtual summit turns all of that on its head.
Don't get me wrong, I've been there.
Five years ago, I was working harder than ever, writing blog posts and recording podcast episodes to get my business off the ground.
I know what it's like to hustle all day (and night!) only to see meagre gains.
Frankly, it sucked.
It wasn't until I focused all my energy on hosting a virtual summit that things turned around (and then they changed A LOT all at once!)
In fact, I can honestly say that it changed my business and live forever... along with the 100's of students I've taught since.
There IS another way, and this guide will show you the exact steps to do it.
Virtual summits are the FASTEST way that I know of to build a list of engaged subscribers who will become buyers.
With this method, I've been able to generate well over $1 million from my online business in a very short time.
And it's not just me...
I've taught this method to hundreds of students in almost every niche imaginable.
It works time and time again.
If you ready to focus your time and effort on hosting an online summit so that you can finally start seeing results in your business, this guide is for you.
Are you ready?
Let's do this!
WHY I CREATED THIS EPIC VIRTUAL SUMMIT GUIDE?
Hosting a virtual summit can bring you massive results, building your email list must faster than traditional list building methods WHILE creating your first product and generating revenue for your business.
And it doesn't end there...
It can also help you gain visibility in your niche so that the big players in your industry reach out to YOU.
The benefits of hosting a virtual summit are clear.... But it's not an easy, straight-forward process.
To make things worse, it's hard to find quality content online about how to set everything up.
There are lot of bits and pieces of information but when you add it all up, you end up with an odd patchwork of "expert" advice that doesn't quite hold together.
I've spent 10,000 hours working behind the scenes on my own and my students virtual summits. After all of this, I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't.
And this guide is the nuts and bolts of what I've learned distilled down into the core components that you need to succeed.
I wish this guide had existed when I was starting out.
It would have saved many nights of researching online and Chrome crashing from tab overload.
Time is more valuable than any other resource that we have. If I can save you hours of research by compiling what I've learned, then it was worth the effort to write.
My goal for this ultimate virtual summit guide is to show you the steps that you need to take in a simple and understandable way. Thorough enough to get you the results that you crave but simple enough for you to take it and run with it.
This guide is truly next level, and I decided to give it away 100% free.
Why would I do this?
1. I ENJOY HELPING PEOPLE.
No one has put out more free on content on creating, promoting and profiting from virtual summits than I have.
The more I give, the more I get back.
2. THIS POSITIONS MYSELF FURTHER AS THE #1 AUTHORITY ON VIRTUAL SUMMITS.
I've been called the "King of Virtual Summits" and this guide helps cement my position as the authority on how to host a virtual summit. It’s definitely going to help my business, but that doesn’t make it any less useful to you.
Actually, the more I help you with this guide, the more benefits I'll see in return. You might even become the next success story for my advanced trainings and programs.
3. I GET TO TELL YOU ABOUT MY ADVANCED VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY IMPLEMENTATION TRAINING PROGRAM.
Guess what my favorite part of my entire business model is?
It's helping my students and clients grow large, engaged email lists of buyers. When I hear back from people who have implemented our proven VSM Summit Method and seen the results they were looking for, it's the best thing ever.
This guide is the best resource available for free on the internet to help you to host a virtual summit. But it you're serious about this, then we should talk right away.
Don’t worry, I’m not holding anything back from you in this guide.
Quite the opposite.
I'm laying everything out in the open so that you can do this for yourself.
But I know that some people work faster and better with a mentor and guide during implementation periods, and those are the types of people I tend to work with.
This guide will give you everything that you need to succeed with hosting a virtual summit, and I want you to use it to grow your business.
And if you are someone who wants some more help along the way, I'm here for you.
If you enjoy it, then do me a favor and share it with your friends or anyone else you think could benefit from it. Use this as a chance to provide value to your own community, just like what I'm doing for mine 🙂
WHO IS THIS ULTIMATE VIRTUAL SUMMIT GUIDE FOR?
This guide is for people who want to grow their audience, authority and revenue quickly by hosting a virtual summit.
It will take you from where you are now -- even if you don’t have a list or product yet -- and give you the exact steps that you need to take to launch your first virtual summit (and a wildly successful one at that!)
It can be a long (but very rewarding) journey, and this guide is your blueprint to show you where to start and how to keep the momentum going, every step of the way.
This guide is for you if:
You’re just starting out. You'd like to start an online business but you don't have a solid idea, email list, product or plan in place just yet.
You're in the early stages of your online business. Maybe you’ve started a blog or a podcast but you haven't seen many results considering your time and effort. You don't yet a big email list or much revenue, and aren't sure where to focus your time to start seeing results.
You have an existing online business that's doing well. You already have a solid email list and product but you'd like to scale a lot faster a lot faster than you are now by growing your email list, influence and revenue.
If you fit into any of those camps, then you’re in the right place.
Before you get started, you need to know that hosting a virtual summit is not easy.
Yes, hosting a virtual summit can lead to MASSIVE results.
When you do it the right way, it will help you to build your audience, make authentic relationships with influencers in your niche, give your brand authority and generate revenue for your business.
But it will only work if YOU put the time and effort.
I say this because I want to be honest with you and help you to get real results.
This ultimate guide is the best method to help you reach your goal of hosting a virtual summit…. But it’s NOT for you if you expect to get results without putting in effort.
With this guide, I promise to help you develop the fundamental skills and critical thinking that you need to host your own virtual summit that is a roaring success.
This is the guide that I would have killed to have when I hosted my first virtual summit. It wouldn’t saved me so much time, money and frustration.
You’re getting the ultimate guide with everything I’ve learned hosting virtual summits for myself and alongside hundreds of my students.
BUT WHO THE HECK AM I TO BE GIVING YOU THIS ADVICE...
Let me introduce myself quickly...
Hi, my name is Navid Moazzez.
I’m Navid Moazzez and best known as the guy behind some of the biggest virtual summits in the online space. I've been named by The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com and Inc. as the “World’s Leading Virtual Summit Expert”.
You might know me as the host of one of my online summits, like List Building School. Or as the creator of my premium training program Virtual Summit Mastery Implementation Program, where I help my students to host WILDLY successful virtual summits.
In the past 12 months alone, me and my students have generated hundreds of thousands of email subscribers and millions of dollars in sales (and it’s growing for every day!)
My mission is to show you what is REALLY working to build, grow and scale your highly profitable online business, wherever you’re starting.
No guesswork, no out-of-date advice, no complicated strategies that take a PhD in statistics to understand…
Just the real scoop, straight from the me and other world-class entrepreneurs and marketing experts who are doing this every day.
My Virtual Summit Mastery students and clients have generated 100,000's of email subscribers and earned millions of dollars in just the past year alone.
Here are what some of them have to say after working with me to host a virtual summit:
HOW THIS ULTIMATE VIRTUAL SUMMIT GUIDE WORKS
This guide is huge (16,000+ words), so you probably won’t be able to read it all in one sitting.
Take breaks, bookmark the guide, and be sure to download the epic cheat sheet with the exact steps I took to host a virtual summit.
I recommend going through the guide in the order it’s written for your first read.
Once you start getting some experience, then you can jump around to whatever section you need help with the most. (Below you'll find a table of contents with everything that’s included in the ultimate guide.)
If you prefer to download the entire guide in .PDF format, you can download it here.
HERE'S THE BREAKDOWN OF THE SECTIONS:
Part 1: Introduction To Virtual Summits
Part 10: Deliver Your Virtual Summit
Part 11: Launch Your Virtual Summit
Part 2: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
WHAT IS A VIRTUAL SUMMIT?
A virtual summit is an online event that brings together the top experts on a given topic.
Video interviews with the speakers are often free for a short period of time, such as 24 to 48 hours. People can opt-in with their email address to register for the event and view for free, and can upgrade to unlimited viewing by purchasing the All-Access Pass.
A virtual summit is:
You bring the top experts in your industry together in one online event (typically 3-7 days long, but can be shorter or longer) and interview them on various topics to deliver the best and most up-to-date information to your audience.
When you launch your summit, people can register to watch ALL of the summit sessions for FREE.
All they need to do is register for the summit with their name and email address so that you can send them the special links each day of the conference (and build your email list!)
Once they’ve opted in, they’ll have the option to buy the All-Access Pass (or Premium Pass as I’d like to call it for my own summits) right away if they want LIFETIME access to everything, including all the bonuses that you’ve put together in an irresistible offer.
If they purchase, they’ll get access to any pre-recorded sessions as soon as they’re ready and the live sessions throughout the summit in the member’s area.
During your summit, a few of the sessions (usually 3-8 per day) will be released every day for people to watch free-to-view within a set period of time (usually 24-48 hours). After that, it’s locked away only for people who have purchased the summit All-Access Pass.
A virtual summit is like a webinar or podcast on steroids.
With the summit model, you provide the value upfront and it’s possible for people to watch the entire online event and implement the advice for free.
If they know they want access to everything or are impressed by the content (and if you do it right, they will be!) they can purchase the All-Access Pass to come back and watch the sessions whenever they want.
Hosting your own virtual summit allows you leverage other people’s success to build your own email list and authority.
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 3: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
WHY YOU SHOULD HOST A VIRTUAL SUMMIT
Here are the top benefits of why you should host your own virtual summit:
Reason #1: Build A Large, Engaged Email List FAST
Virtual summits are the fastest and most reliable way to “get paid” to build a large, highly engaged email list -- even if you’re starting from scratch.
They blow traditional list building methods out of the water.
Take writing a blog or recording a podcast, for example.
These methods can work, but they typically take months (or years) to gain traction and bring in the traffic and email subscribers that you want.
I experienced this myself when I was writing my blog and podcasting for 18 very long months without seeing any real results before I hosted my first summit.
A virtual summit turns the game around because it’s a real event with built-in shareability.
People get excited about the content from expert speakers that they get access to for free… and they WANT to tell others about it.
Even better, because the summit is live during specific dates, people have to share it with their friends NOW - they can’t put it off because it will be too late.
This means that more people share your virtual summit and it has good viral potential.
As a result, you can get thousands of targeted and engaged leads in a matter of weeks.
Reason #2: Raise Your Visibility
You know your content is good. Great, even.
...But people aren’t getting value out of what you create if they don’t know it exists.
When you create a virtual summit, you put your business on the map as you reach thousands of new people with your summit content.
A virtual summit naturally attracts people who are genuinely interested in your topic so that you can grow a targeted email list and audience.
It will help you to get your name out there and widely recognized in your niche. You will no longer be a nobody but you will be known as an action-taker who provides true value to your audience.
"Virtual summits are the most underrated marketing tactic at your fingertips…"
Reason #3: Build Rewarding Relationships With Influencers
If there is ONE thing that can grow your business faster than any other strategy that I know of it is this:
It’s the PEOPLE who make a true difference to your success. As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know but WHO you know that counts.
And in online business this holds true as ever.
The awesome thing about hosting virtual summit is that it naturally puts you in the loop with influencers in your niche so that you can continue to grow.
You will build authentic and mutually beneficial relationships as you reach out and connect with experts in your niche.
Your summit sessions also give you the opportunity to talk to industry leaders one-on-one so that you can learn from them and ask them your burning questions.
As you continue to reach out and connect with more and more experts in you niche you will be seen as the person to know who can connect people to others in your niche.
This is a powerful position to be in and comes about naturally through what you do a virtual summit host.
Reason #4: Become An Authority
If you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to prove yourself and your expertise.
By hosting a virtual summit, you position yourself on the same level as other influencers. When you interview and are seen alongside the top players in your industry, people start to see you on an equal playing field with them.
As a result, you can cement your reputation as an industry expert by your association with them.
This helps you to build your brand and become a true authority in your niche. Trust and connection with your audience naturally follows, so that your business can grow to new heights.
Virtual summits are by far the quickest way to build up credible authority in your space.
Reason #5: Get Raving Fans and Lifelong Customers
One of the best things about hosting a virtual summit is the value that you can provide to your entire audience, both your free followers and paid customers.
Releasing valuable summit sessions for free (for a limited time) allows your audience to benefit from what your speakers have to share and you can build a reputation for providing massive value to your followers.
The virtual summit model is also perfect to build up trust with your audience.
The intense, daily communication that is automatically built into the virtual summit system trains your followers to expect to hear from you and TAKE ACTION.
The result? Almost unbreakable trust and authority.
When you overdeliver to your All-Access Pass customers by providing a top notch experience, they will become raving fans and lifelong customers.
Ryan Levesque, Creator of The ASK Method
"Navid is probably the #1 person in the world when it comes to hosting virtual summits."
Reason #6: Multiply Your Income
One of the big challenges of starting an online business is bringing in those crucial early profits to meet your expenses and allow your business the breathing room it needs to grow.
Hosting a virtual summit helps you to push through this barrier because the model allows you to generate a profit WHILE you build your audience, trust and authority.
Unlike other methods, you can start generating income even before you launch. Partnering with established companies in your niche and securing a sponsorship deal is a great way to fund the creation process.
Additionally, you create a product - the summit All-Access Pass - as you build relationships with influencers, learn more about niche and get more authority.
You can start generating significant revenue from All-Access Pass sales as soon as you launch your summit to start getting a return on your investment.
In fact, my students typically generate five figures from All-Access Pass sales alone, and many generate over six figures in revenue.
But the true income multiplier doesn’t come from All-Access Pass sales. It comes from the true asset that your virtual summit helps you to build: your targeted and engaged email list.
The people who sign up for your summit are hungry for knowledge and willing to invest both time and money.
If you do it right, your backend funnel will be the most profitable part of your virtual summit. You can 10X your income by promoting a well-aligned offer that you target audience wants.
Here's what my daily incoming revenue looked like during my List Building School online summit (notice the spike at the end where I introduce the backend offer?)
The best part is that once you’ve got the list, as long as you keep up engagement you can continue to profit as you promote different products or ongoing programs.
Reason #7: Virtual Summit Business Model
A virtual summit isn’t just some tactic. It’s a super valuable marketing strategy that can become your entire business model.
Let’s take just the email list that you build. These people are your ideal customers who have committed to learning more about your summit topic and are engaged with your brand.
You can leverage your email list over and over again to help them achieve their goals and generate more income for your business.
As you grow, you will find that additional revenue streams flow seamlessly to and from your other offerings.
Perhaps your audience finds out about you when they hear about your summit.
They sign up and are blown away by the incredible content that you expert speakers are sharing for free.
A no-brainer offer, they upgrade to the All-Access Pass to get lifetime access and all the bonuses available.
They LOVE the pass and what they’ve been able to achieve as a result of the summit and keep your brand top of mind.
They are ready to respond to any other offers to help them that you send their way.
Hosting virtual summits also gets easier and easier the more you do it.
Once you learn the system, it’s just a matter of repeating the process and growing your strategy each time.
There is no single point of failure and it can still be a success even if you get a lot of things wrong, with momentum building with each subsequent summit.
None of the traditional list building methods like blogging, podcasting, SEO, publicity and paid ads even come close to the speed and effectiveness of a virtual summit.
That’s why some of the biggest names online today like Neil Patel, Michael Hyatt, Stu McLaren, Ray Edwards, Marisa Murgatroyd, Lewis Howes, Ocean Robbins, Nick Ortner, and even companies like Microsoft, Teachable, Thinkific and Drip are utilizing the power of virtual summits.
But you don’t have to be a “big name” to create a profitable summit.
Using the proven Virtual Summit Mastery method, my students generated hundreds of thousands of qualified leads to their email lists and millions of dollars in sales from their virtual summits -- just in the past twelve months alone!
And that number is increasing weekly as more and more VSM students launch their own profitable virtual summits in every niche you can imagine (at any stage of their business).
Ryan Lee, one of the most successful online entrepreneurs today, says:
Ryan Lee, Creator of FREEDYM
"Navid is the MAN when it comes to virtual summits. I rarely endorse anyone or any product, but everyone who asks me if Navid’s Virtual Summit Mastery is worth it, I say ABSOLUTELY. It’s fantastic quality, great instruction, Navid is a natural teacher and he truly cares about his students success . He gets my full endorsement. If anyone don’t have Navid’s Virtual Summit Mastery program yet, they should get in there now. It’s refreshing to see someone who’s teaching really good stuff."
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 4: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
PROOF YOU CAN EXPONENTIALLY GROW YOUR AUDIENCE, INFLUENCE & REVENUE WITH VIRTUAL SUMMITS
I know that a virtual summit can exponentially grow your audience, influence and revenue because my students and I are living proof of it.
When I started out online, I tried everything. I was blogging, podcasting and doing anything I could to see some results but nothing really gave me the results I was looking for.
It wasn't until I focused all my time and energy on creating my first summit that things started to turn around.
For a few months, I worked tirelessly on creating my first summit, The Branding Summit.
At first, I wasn't sure if it would work.
I wondered if anyone would agree to speak. I wasn't sure if people would come. And I had doubts about anyone buying the All-Access Pass.
But when my first sale came through and I got the payment notification, I knew I was onto something.
In the end, my first virtual summit generated:
My new and engaged list was an asset I could use over and over.
Take a look at this graph showing the difference in my business before and after hosting a virtual summit.
4X my email list and double the revenue... not bad for a first effort.
Beyond the numbers, I created rewarding relationships with 80+ people in my niche, who would continue to help me pave the forward as I progressed in my business.
In fact, some of them came on board to speak again at my next summit, List Building School.
This virtual summit was an even bigger success, with 60+ world-class entrepreneurs and email marketing experts.
During the launch for List Building School, I generated 26,070 new email subscribers and sold over 2,135 All-Access Pass sales to generate around $180,000 in revenue.
Not bad for a couple of weeks, huh?
But it doesn't stop there.
The real value was in the backend funnel I had in place for my new and engaged email list.
I introduced them to my premium Virtual Summit Mastery program and promoted a few programs as an affiliate to bring in an additional $700,000+ in revenue.
Virtual Summits Can Be Life Changing
VSM student Jen Taylor who hosted the Play Therapy Summit and generated over $100,000 from just all-access pass sales alone (she didn't have a backend offer or anything like that in place, and she started basically from scratch building up her online audience and email list).
Here's what she shared after her successful summit:
IF YOU IMPLEMENT THIS, YOU WILL:
1. Build a large email list of buyers.
Would you like to have a large email list of buyers?
YES? I thought that would be the case…
And that’s exactly what a virtual summit will do for you and your business.
2. Have Bigger “Backend” Launches & Evergreen Promotions
I’m going to share with you how you can apply this by doing launches online, by having sales videos in place, and by creating a product launch.
I’m also going to show you how to create evergreen campaigns by learning how to pitch in webinars and setting that up so that it runs on its own.
3. Promote Others & Win “Affiliate Launches”
I’m also going to show you how to promote other people and get commissions in return. I’ve won several affiliate contests and finished top 5-10 for some of the most competitive launches out there…
And I was competing with people who have 100,000’s to millions of subscribers….
I still finished ahead of most of them because I have a highly engaged email list of buyers.
4. Become Friends With Top Influencers
Hosting a virtual summit encourages you to get out there are meet new people.
Most importantly, it's not just anyone who you spend your time connecting with, but the top influencers in your niche who will help you to grow even further.
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 5: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
HOW TO HOST A SUCCESSFUL VIRTUAL SUMMIT In 90 DAYS - OVERVIEW
Now it’s time to get down to business with the exact steps that you should take to host your own virtual summit and launch it like a boss.
There are seven key phases to create a virtual summit and we’re going to cover each of them in this ultimate guide.
The first step is to set a solid foundation for your summit. Here we'll talk about how to define your topic and audience so that you can position your summit in a way that attracts the right people to your business. We'll also start creating a plan for the rest of the steps and work out how you will profit from the summit (there's more than one way to do this!)
Next, we'll connect with influencers who can speak on your summit. Even if you're a "nobody" in your industry, we'll cover exactly what you can do to be noticed by the big names and how to get them to say YES to speaking on your summit.
The third step is to create your summit website funnel with all of the pages that you'll need for people to register and purchase your all access pass. We'll break down the tech so that you know exactly what you need to do.
Then we'll dive into how you can prepare and record your summit sessions, including what you should do to make the most of the time you have and how to bring out the best in each speaker.
Next, we'll go through the delivery of your entire summit, from the pre-summit phase to the post-summit phase. The key here is automation to eliminate as much stress from your actual launch as possible.
The sixth step is to launch your summit so that your target audience finds out about it and is able to register for the event. We'll cover promotion to your own audience, social media, publicity, affiliate partnerships and paid advertising for your summit.
Finally, we'll look a your growth strategy to keep your momentum going after the summit so that you can multiply your business. We'll cover specific strategies for you to delve into after your summit and how you can repurpose your summit content to get an even bigger return on the effort you put in to create the summit.
This section of the guide goes through the core steps that I teach my students in Virtual Summit Mastery so that you can host your own successful virtual summit.
You'll get the specific steps and tools that I recommend, along with real-life examples of how people took action along the way.
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 6: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
Set YOUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT FOUNDATION
Your summit foundation will either make or break your summit. Even if you think you already know the focus of your summit and how to run it, DO NOT skip this step.
Make sure that you spend time choosing the right topic and working out the perfect positioning to attract your ideal customers and get them begging to be able to purchase for you.
When you get the topic and positioning right, launching and selling your summit is a piece of cake.
Define Your Profitable Summit Theme
The success of your summit really hinges on one thing.
Nail it, and the rest of the process will fall into place without much effort.
The key is to choose a profitable topic for your summit and position it in a way that attracts the right people to your summit.
When choosing your topic, think about your:
It’s also important to consider what field you want to be known as the go-to expert in.
A summit can be the perfect medium to establish yourself as an authority in a new field, so it’s best to look towards where you want to go, not where you’ve come from.
7 Criteria For A Great Niche
Once you’ve got a few good ideas, check them against these 7 criteria for a great summit niche to ensure that you have a good, profitable summit topic.
Narrow Down Your Niche Until It Hurts!
Finally, go specific. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is going too broad.
A summit for everyone is really for no one, so my advice is to make it as specific as possible.
This is perfect because you can target very specific needs, wants and pain points and really resonate with your market to increase conversions.
There is also less competition in very niche markets so it’s much easier to become the go-to authority.
Let’s look at some examples of nice specific summit niches.
If you’re thinking about creating the “Online Business Summit” turn it into something more specific like “List Building School” or “European Private Label Summit.”
Rather than the “Parenting Summit” come up with a unique take on it, such as “Positive Parenting Conference” or “Parenting Teens Summit.”
A great example of this is VSM Graduate, Steph Anne.
She liked the idea of online summits but felt like the market in the health niche was already saturated:
She really narrowed down her niche and figured out exactly who she wanted to attract, and who she didn't.
She went ahead and hosted the Women's Strength Summit and got some incredible results. Check out this video case study below:
Research Your Summit Niche
Now that you’ve chosen a good theme for your summit, it’s time to go deeper and research your niche to test your idea and make sure that you are setting yourself up for success.
It’s essential that you do the research to validate your idea FIRST. Research properly NOW, to avoid stress for yourself LATER.
So, how can you research your summit niche to make sure you’re on the right track?
Search Google: “your niche + summit”
Look for clues from other summits about the name, hook, number of speakers, design, language for copy, sponsorships and pricing models.
For the best results, start your search as narrow as possible and get broader if you can’t find anything.
Get Feedback From Real People
Another great way to research your summit niche is to ask real people in your target market if your summit is something they need and would pay money for.
This is easy is you already have an existing audience. Simply create a survey and send them then link to fill it out.
But you can also do this even if you’re starting from scratch and don’t have an audience yet…
Reach out and ask people that you know individually. Send them a text or message them on Facebook -- it doesn’t matter how, the key is to reach out to people who fit into your target audience and ask them whether they’d be interested in signing up for a summit on your chosen topic.
Define Your Ideal Customer Avatar
Think about your ideal customer avatar - who it is that you are appealing to with your summit.
If you can clearly define your audience, it’s much easier to position your summit in a unique way to make it stand out from others in your niche.
You want to get inside the mind of potential summit attendees so that you understand how they think and know their wants, needs, pains and desires. If you recognize how THEY describe the problems then have, you can leverage this in your messaging later on.
If you get the research right, they’ll be thinking:
“WOW, they’re reading my mind. This is EXACTLY what I need.”
Use their language to get your target audience to relate to your message.
Position Your Summit For Success
The way you position your summit makes a big difference for its success.
Your positioning determines how your audience sees your virtual summit and how it is perceived in the marketplace.
Even in a crowded market, your summit will stand out if you have a unique spin or hook. In fact, your hook is usually more important than the name of your summit for drawing your audience it.
When you get your summit positioning right, when you ideal customers land on your page they will think: “This is exactly what I want! I’m going to sign up for the summit and purchase the All-Access Pass because I want lifetime access to everything... it’s a total steal!”
you CAN MAKE YOUR SUMMIT STAND OUT BY:
It’s also essential to have a good website so that your summit looks clean and professional. First impressions go a long way!
Virtual Summit Mastery students get access to the VSM Website Template which has been professional designed by my team. This could cost you $5,000 if you had it done yourself, but I include it for my students so that they can get there summit out there -- and make it look good -- as efficiently as possible.
3 Rookie Positioning Mistakes To Avoid
Here are a few mistakes I’ve seen people make when it comes to positioning your summit:
Too Clever or Cute: Avoid puns or confusing acronyms that might not be understood.
Too Long: The name should be memorable, descriptive and easy to spell. Keep it short.
Already Trademarked: If in doubt, check whether you can legally use certain words in your branding BEFORE you launch your summit.
Create A Plan For Your Summit
Finally, you should create a plan for your summit to decide the details of your summit and work out a timeline for getting everything done.
Once you are clear about what you need to do, it’s much easier to take action and make your summit become a reality.
My Virtual Summit Mastery students get access to the complete VSM Action Plan Checklist with the specific steps that need to be taken and timeframes to get everything done. This takes the risk of failure out of the equation -- if you follow the plan step-by-step you will get everything that needs to be done completed on time.
Plan Your Summit Profit Strategy:
It’s important to think about how you are going to PROFIT from your summit, right from the very start of the planning process.
You can generate revenue before, during and after you launch with:
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 7: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
CONNECT & RECRUIT INFLUENCERS TO SPEAK AT YOUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT
You can’t host a virtual summit without experts in your niche sharing their knowledge with your summit attendees. That’s what makes a summit so valuable for your audience!
Influencers are the most important part of the entire summit model.
WHY INFLUENCERS ARE SO IMPORTANT FOR SUMMIT SUCCESS
But you’re probably wondering something…
Sure, you know that influencers can help you to succeed.
But how are you supposed to get speakers on board for your summit if you’re new and don’t know anyone in your field just yet?
In this section, we’re going to go over the exact steps to build AUTHENTIC relationships with influencers that LAST.
We’ll cover how to find influencers, who you should focus your efforts on, what you can do to help THEM, the best ways to ask them to help YOU and how to continue the relationship long after your summit is over.
There’s a replicable process for this to make it a lot easier on you so that you can reach more people and build better relationships with influencers.
Are you ready for this? Let’s do it!
Identify Potential Influencers In Your Niche
You can start by familiarizing yourself with the people in your niche that you’d like to connect with. Look for people who are already established by checking out:
Brainstorm as many possible people as you can who could be a speaker for your summit - shoot for 50-100 names for your initial list.
I call this my Dream 100 List.
Don’t worry about getting it perfect. This is just to get ideas - you can go back afterwards to categorize them and work out which ones are the best fit for your summit and audience.
I recommend creating a spreadsheet of the influencers that you find so that you can keep track of everyone. Here’s a template that I use when reaching out to influencers:
Choose The RIGHT Speakers And Partners
Influencer outreach is a lot of work and you’ll soon find that it can suck up a lot of your time… if you’re not doing it right.
The trick is to be very specific about who you focus your attentions on. Work out which connections will be the most valuable and give you the best return on investment (ROI).
Not all influencers are created equal.
How can you know which influencers are the “Real Deal”?
There are a few really important things to consider when it comes to evaluating influencers.
First, look at their audience.
What type of people are they attracting?
Do they have a large audience?
How ENGAGED is their audience with them?
How do they respond to their posts?
Next, look at their message.
What image do they portray from their website or social media profiles?
What do they stand for?
Who do they connect and partner with?
Finally, look for alignment.
The best partnerships will be with people who have similar values to you.
Ideally, you should have the same target audience but different product offerings so that you can refer people to each other without competing on the same thing.
Focus on connecting the influencers who are the best fit for YOUR summit.
Go back to your spreadsheet of influencers and start to refine your list based on who is most aligned with your message and will bring you the best ROI.
Connect And Add Value To Influencers
If possible, relationship building should begin ahead of time.
I’d recommend 3-6 months before the launch of your summit, but if you’re planning on launching before then you can still make it work (as the relationship building process can happen as you’re creating your summit).
You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
When trying to build authentic and lasting relationships with the people in your niche, GIVE before you ASK.
There are many things that you can do to provide value to influencers, such as:
Another great way is to catch people at in-person events or conferences.
A nice example of connecting with some of the bigger names on your list is Chandler Bolt, who wanted to get in touch with Michael Hyatt for his Self-Publishing School Success Summit.
He knew that he was planning to be at an upcoming event with him, so reached out to his personal network to see if anyone knew him to introduce him.
Here’s a look at his Facebook post reaching out to his personal network for an introduction so that he could shout him dinner.
It’s so important to go out there and let people know what you are looking for so that they are able to help you.
They can’t help you if you don’t ask!
Make The Ask The Right Way
You’ve worked out who you want to speak on your summit, and you’ve started reaching out and adding value to their work.
Now comes the tricky part...
How can you get them to help you and and say YES to speaking on your summit?
It’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable or even a little scared reaching out to people to ask for something.
Rejection isn’t fun. But in the end, what’s the worst that can happen.
Just like asking that cute girl out in high school, the actual worst-case scenario probably isn’t as bad as you think. They’ll probably just say no.
Luckily, there are plenty of other people that you can ask! 😉
That said, there are a few tricks that you can use to help increase your chances of getting YES responses, even from the big names in your field.
My favourite way to connect with high-level influencers in your niche is to use the proven Ladder Strategy (which I go over in even more detail in my premium flagship program Virtual Summit Mastery).
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Categorize Your Speakers
Categorize each influencer on your Dream 100 List according to how well known they are as either:
It’s best to get a mix of speaker types, with some up-and-comers, some trusted authorities and some A-listers. Trusted authorities often have the most responsive audiences.
Step 2: Start At The Bottom
When you start reaching out to people, go for the low hanging fruit first.
If you know anyone personally, ask them. If you have a connection with them, they are more likely to respond and be willing to help.
If you can get an introduction to an influencer by someone you know, reach out to ask if they’d could bring you two together.
Once you’ve exhausted your personal connections, it’s time to start some cold outreach to people that you don’t know.
With the Ladder Strategy, you start at the bottom - the people with smaller audiences and followings - and work your way up.
Go back to the list of people and how you categorized them.
The up-and-comers and trusted authorities are usually easier to get YES’s from because they are focused on growth and want more publicity.
Start with these people to get a few names and then you can use these as social proof when you ask more people.
Step 3: Work Your Way Up
Once you’ve got some confirmed speakers, other people will be more likely to want to take part in your summit too.
You can name drop the people who have already said yes as a way to increase credibility and get more YES responses from other influencers in your niche.
Keep working your way up the ladder until you get your dream line up and the opportunity to interview some of the biggest names in your niche for your summit.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE ASK
BONUS: If you really want to stand out, record a personalized video invitation with details about the event and why you’d like THEM to be involved, upload it to YouTube and send them the link with your invitation!
The key to getting speakers to say YES is to position the offer in a way that benefits them.
Make sure that you understand their business, audience and needs, so that you can show them how being a part of your summit will help them!
Here’s an email that I sent when I invited someone to speak at List Building School:
The summit speaker relationship should be a win-win-win situation for everyone - the speaker, the audience and you.
Here are some ways that speakers can benefit you might like to include in your invitation:
One of my Virtual Summit Mastery students, Caitlin Pyle, did an AMAZING job of rewarding her speakers and making it a real win for them.
She had a goal to help her speakers to grow THEIR lists (at the same time as growing her own!) and it's safe to say that it was a massive success:
Here's what a few of her speakers and partners said about her Work At Home School summit:
She got 60,000 new email subscribers for her Work-At-Home School Summit in just two weeks, largely because she focused on making it a MASSIVE WIN for her speakers and partners to participate in the summit.
This is a great example of a beneficial partnership that helps both sides.
It can be scary, but the only way you’ll get an answer is to ask!
You can watch Caitlin's VSM Case Study below:
Follow Up With Speakers
Your influencer outreach doesn’t end with asking them to speaker on your summit.
In fact, you’re still missing the most important part: FOLLOW UP.
As you start reaching out to people, you’ll notice varied responses.
Whatever their response is, you should make sure to have a solid follow up strategy to get the most value out of each connection.
Here’s what you should do in each situation.
If they say YES, you should:
Follow up with more details about your summit and arrange to have a pre-call to go over the details before the actual interview.
This is a great opportunity to connect with them, see if they are really a good fit for your summit and discuss topics for their interview.
You’ll then need to schedule a time for a call. From experience, I know that this can get messy, especially if you have a lot of speakers (I had 88 speakers for my first virtual summit!)
If they say no, you should:
Remember that it’s not a personal thing… most likely it’s just bad timing.
Most importantly, it’s a no for NOW and not forever.
So make sure you end things on a positive note: thank them for their response, keep adding value, and leave the line of communication open.
Influencer outreach and relationship building is a marathon, not a sprint.
If they don’t respond, you should:
Follow up with them until you get a response - either yes or no!
Sometimes people are busy and they just don’t have time to respond.
But remind them, and you might just get a yes. Either way, you’ll never know unless you follow up.
There are some great tools to help you with this such as Boomerang, FollowUp and Rebump.
Each of these allow you to automatically schedule follow up emails if you don’t get a response after a certain timeframe (I usually allow about a week for people to get back to me before sending a reminder)
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 8: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
SET UP YOUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT FUNNEL & WEBSITE
Now it’s time to get into the tech side of things and create the website for your summit.
This can be daunting for a lot of people, especially if you don’t think of yourself as a “techie” person.
But rest assured, it’s not as hard as it looks. And I’m going to walk you through it step-by-step so that anyone can do it.
The VSM Summit Funnel
Firstly, you should make sure that you are 100% clear about what your summit funnel looks like - that is, the journey that your summit attendees will make from the moment they hear about your online summit to the time they sign up and decide to purchase lifetime access.
The VSM Summit Funnel I’ve developed over the last few years looks like this in a nutshell:
The Summit Phase
When creating your summit website, it’s important to think about which pages you need to create to get everything working smoothly.
In particular, you need to make sure all the pages needed to opt in and lead people into buying the All-Access Pass are ready to go.
Here’s a look at what the customer journey will look like when they land on your website:
They land on your summit registration page and decide to opt in to get free access to all of the speaker sessions.
After they opt in, they are redirected to your offer page, which welcomes them to the summit and gives them a limited-time offer on the All-Access Pass.
If they decide not to purchase just yet, they will still have an opportunity to upgrade on the normal sales page throughout the summit.
All of the other pages on your website will have one goal in addition to providing value to your audience: to direct people back to your sales page and convert them into paying customers.
You will need to create all of the pages to set up your high converting VSM Summit Funnel before you can start promoting the event and getting people to sign up.
When you’re ready to launch, you’ll also need to have the sessions page and a page for each speaker session ready to go live.
This can be daunting for a lot of people but it’s not too bad if you have a solid plan in place and know exactly what you need to create.
In my premium implementation program, Virtual Summit Mastery, we give you exact templates for all the pages so that you just need to tweak the copy and branding to create your summit website in the quickest way possible, without sacrificing on quality design (and you’ll save a lot of money as well).
When reaching cold audiences, branding and design is incredibly important.
People make a decision about whether they can trust you or not is a split second, and design plays a huge role in that.
So make sure you prioritize the look of your summit website to make sure it's all cohesive and well-branded.
How To Create Your Summit Registration Page
Your summit registration is the main point of entry for your summit. It’s most likely the page that will see the most traffic and will make or break the success of you summit depending on how well it converts.
The #1 aim of your summit registration page is to convert website visitors into email subscribers by getting them to register for your summit.
How can you increase the conversion rate of your summit registration page?
Here’s what you should include on the page:
Here's a look at the registration page that I used for List Building School:
And here are some examples of VSM graduates who saw some great results and opt in rates for their registration page with their summits:
VSM Graduate Steph Gaudreau hosted the Women’s Strength Summit with this high-converting landing page:
Here is the landing page for the European Private Label Summit by VSM Graduate, Augustus Kligys:
How To Create Your Summit Playbook Page
Your summit registration page isn’t the only entry point to your virtual summit funnel.
In fact, you’d be missing out on potential traffic and conversion opportunities if you left it at just that.
Another important part of the VSM Summit Funnel is the Playbook page.
This is an alternative opt in for the summit that promotes a PDF download that accompanies your summit.
The download can be anything you like that would appeal to your target audience and fits the summit theme.
The most effective thing that works across most niches is a Playbook that covers the summit sessions and the biggest action points.
Your summit playbook page should include:
Here's a peek into what the playbook page of the VSM website template looks like:
How To Create Your Summit Opt In Forms
Once you’ve got your summit registration and playbook pages ready to go, you’ll need to add in opt in form so that people can actually opt in (and be added to your email list) when they click the button to sign up.
What should you include on the opt in form. I’d recommend:
If you’re using WordPress, I recommend using ThriveLeads or OptinMonster to create high-converting opt in forms that allow you to easily test things to keep improving your conversion rate.
Here’s an example of the opt in form for the registration page included in the VSM Website Template for my Virtual Summit Mastery Students:
And here’s what the opt in form for the playbook page looks like:
Advanced Tip: If you want to segment your audience into groups so that you can target your messaging specifically to them and increase your conversion rates, you can do this on your opt-in forms. For example, you might segment people into groups based on targeted interests or the experience level of your audience. Once you have this information, you can use it to send them targeted offers that they might be interested in 😉
Your Summit Offer Page and Sales Page
The offer page and sales page of your summit are the most important pages in the entire VSM Website Funnel when it comes to generating revenue from your summit.
The goal of these pages is to communicate the value of the All-Access Pass so that people will want to upgrade and become a paid customer.
The main difference between the offer page and the sales page is the special discount on the offer page that people can only access once after they first register.
This works with a tool called Deadline Funnel, which tracks the email address AND IP address of each visitor so that people can only access the offer once (even if they try to sign up again with another email address!)
You can read my in-depth Deadline Funnel review here.
This creates real urgency for people to upgrade on the offer page, which drives up the conversion rate quite a lot. (I’ve seen this work time and time again when VSM students add it to their page!)
Your offer and sales pages should include:
Here’s a peek at the top of the sales page included in the VSM Summit Website Template:
VSM Graduate Steph Gaudreau hosted the Women’s Strength Summit with this high-converting sales page:
Your Checkout Page
Finally, you’ll need to create a checkout page so that people have a way to purchase the All-Access Pass and become a customer.
I’d recommend using a shopping cart to do this as it makes the whole process way smoother and easier for you. My favorite platform to create checkout forms is ThriveCart because it’s insanely user friendly - it literally only takes about 10 minutes to set up a new product and checkout page.
Here’s an example of the checkout page for List Building School that we built with ThriveCart:
It’s got all the elements it needs to keep your conversion rate high:
What other pages will you need?
Those are the most important pages that you’ll need to create to set up your Summit Funnel to start bringing in leads and making sales, but there are still some more pages that you’ll need to create.
These include your:
How To Set Up A Members Site For Your All-Access Pass Customers
The final piece of your summit website is creating your member’s area so that your All-Access Pass customer can access all of the sessions and the bonuses included in your offer.
There are lots of ways to set this up, depending on what you want to do - the best option for you might be different if you have other products you’d like to upsell people to, for example.
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 9: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
RECORD YOUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT EXPERT SESSIONS
Next, it’s time to record the interviews with your speakers to create the content for your summit.
You’ve already set the foundation by connecting with influencers in your niche in Step 2 and got them to say YES.
Now it’s time to record the sessions and get your speakers to give as much value as possible to your audience.
In this step, we’ll go over everything that you need to record your summit sessions, including how to prepare for the sessions, set up your home recording studio, do epic interviews, edit the videos and upload them to your website.
Prepare For Your Summit Sessions
Before you can record, you should research your speaker to understand who they are and what they stand for so that you can target your questions to bring out the best answers.
This is an incredibly important step to make the most of the time that you have with each speaker and give the most value to your audience.
Also, speakers really appreciate it when you take time to research them, and will be more likely to share your summit with their audience when you get to launch time! 😉
So what should you do to prepare?
I typically spend 30 minutes to 4 hours researching each speaker for my summits, depending on how well I know them already. I recommend that you:
As you do this, you’ll start to get a good idea of who they are, what they stand for and what sort of topics or questions they would answer well.
For each session, come up with a clear goal of what you want your audience to achieve. Sharing this with your speaker can go a long way to stay on track and make the session more valuable too.
The final step to prepare for your interviews is to create an outline of what you want to cover, including the topics that you want to touch on and some specific questions.
In my Virtual Summit Mastery program, I provide students with a fill-in-the-blank “cheat sheet” template that they can edit for each speaker.
This helps to make sure that all the important points are in one place and you can refer to it when you record the session to stay on track.
Set Up Your Professional Recording Studio
Now is also the time to think about the tools that you’ll use to record the sessions. Which software, camera, audio and lighting will you use?
In my premium flagship program, Virtual Summit Mastery program, I have three levels of recommendations for your recording studio setup, depending on where you’re at in your business.
Because I don't think you really need top-of-the-line equipment to succeed for your first summit - you just need decent quality (beyond your laptop camera and mic!) to get started and you can work your way up as you grow.
This is how I did it when I was starting out. Check out how my set up has changed from the beginning to now:
My Set Up First Starting Out
Current Set Up
Rest assured, you don’t have to break the bank.
In fact, for your first summit (where most of my VSM students start out) this is what I would recommend:
This Logitech webcam will make a huge difference to your video quality (any of these models will be fine). It's such a step up from the built-in webcam on your laptop, Whatever you do PLEASE do not use the built-in webcam on your laptop... it's so bad in comparison, and your quality will not be as good as it could have been.
This is a great microphone to record good quality virtual summit sessions. It’s pleasure to use, increases your sound quality to make your videos seem a lot more professional, and is great value for money at the beginner level. This was what I used when I started and I still use it from time to time.
Without some "decent" lighting your video interviews won't look very good. (I'm speaking from experience here, as I learned this over time... but at least you don't have to make the same mistakes I made.) Once again, there are more professional lighting sets that you can upgrade to later but at the very least get started with a dimmable LED desk lamp like this one.
Then you can use Zoom, YouTube Live (Google Hangouts On Air) or Skype + Ecamm Call Recorder (Mac only) to record the interviews with influencers for your summit sessions.
Keep it simple and don't overcomplicate the tech!
Level 2 and level 3 (available inside my VSM Implementation Program) take it up a notch for a higher quality recording.
We also give you step-by-step over-the-shoulder tutorials on how to set all your tech up, so don’t worry if you don’t know how this works right now (it’s really easy, and it’s very affordable with a level 1 setup).
Conduct Summit Sessions With Your Speakers
The actual interview is probably the easiest part if you’ve done your preparation and research well.
You just need to get on the call with your speakers and have fun bringing out the best in your guest.
Both you and your guest might be a bit nervous, so spend a few minutes on the call before you start recording to have a “Pre-Interview Chat”, as I call it inside my Virtual Summit Mastery program.
You could do a bit of small talk, give them any extra details about the summit or session, check that you have their name and bio right, check the internet and audio is working well, answer any questions that they have, and hit record!
TOP TIPS FOR EPIC INTERVIEWS
In the end, sometime you just need to DO it.
Check out these wins from VSM Graduates who broke through the anxiety to record epic interviews for their summits (and got great feedback!):
Finally, be prepared for speakers to reschedule - these things happen and the best thing that you can do is to be flexible and set up backup times when needed.
Edit Your Session Videos
After the interview, you may want to tweak a few things to make the final session look a little more professional. This also helps to take the pressure off during the interview, because you know that you can cut parts that didn’t turn out well.
Both of these options are very easy to use to edit videos yourself, or you can outsource this if video editing isn’t your thing and hire someone on Fiverr or Upwork to do this, even on a pretty tight budget.
Remember, there’s no need to “over-edit”... sometimes simple is best!
You can also add “bumpers” - short intros and outros before and after the video - to brand the videos and make it look more professional.
It’s possible to do this with the video editors I mentioned above but even faster with a service like Splasheo or Video Bumper Factory.
Upload Your Session Videos
The final stage is taking the edited session and uploading it so that you can embed the videos on the summit pages that you created in Step 3.
I recommend using Vimeo Pro to host all of the videos for your summit.
While it’s possible to set it up on YouTube for free, Vimeo allows you to easily restrict the privacy of the videos so that people can only view the videos on your summit website. You also get access to some cool stats to help you improve your summit in the future!
Once you’ve uploaded the videos to Vimeo, all you need to do is choose the right privacy settings (domain level privacy) and grab the link to embed it onto your summit pages (the speaker page for the live summit and in the All-Access Pass members area).
This is very easy to do if you are using a page builder like Thrive Architect. You just need to grab the video code and enter it into the URL source when you add a video element and it does it all for you!
Here’s what this looks like in the member’s area of my List Building School Summit:
Note. If you’re using a course platform to host your All-Access Pass like Teachable or Thinkific, you can upload directly to the platform without needing Vimeo (although you’ll still need to host your free videos on Vimeo or YouTube.)
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 10: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
DELIVER YOUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT
You’ve already done most of hard work to create your summit - now you just need to pull all the pieces together to deliver a brilliant experience to your audience.
You will need to work out how you will communicate with your summit attendees and write out all of the emails ahead of time and schedule them to be sent each day.
You can also schedule social media posts in advance - you’ll be focused on other things during the actual launch!
Read my in-depth ConvertKit review here.
I personally use ActiveCampaign for my business and love it, but ConvertKit is a good option for people just starting out as well because it’s so simple to use. I recommend signing up for a free trial of both to see which one suits you best.
In my premium flagship program, Virtual Summit Mastery, we give you the entire email automation in ActiveCampaign so you can import it to your account with one click of a button. And if you plan to use ConvertKit, we have a step-by-step walkthrough of how to set it up and import it to your account as well.
Your VSM Summit Email Funnel
The VSM Summit Funnel that we looked at in Step 3 to create your summit website comes into play once again here. I’ve developed this over the last few years after my experience helping hundreds of VSM students host successful virtual summits.
Here’s what it looks like in a nutshell:
The Summit Phase
This time the focus is on the communication your audience for your summit throughout the three key phases of the funnel:
Pre-Summit Phase: Emails to your audience to promote the summit and to your summit attendees before the event starts.
Summit Phase: The emails that you send to your summit attendees during the event.
Post Summit Phase: The emails that you send to your new and engaged email list after your summit.
We’ll take closer look at each of the three phases - and what you need to do to deliver your summit with ease - now.
The Pre-Summit Phase
Before your summit, the first thing to think about is how people will find your summit. We’ll go deeper into the promotion of your summit in the next step (launch time!) but I want touch on this here.
There are many ways that people can find out about your summit including:
As far as promoting to your own audience, it’s very effective to post email updates to your audience and keep them involved throughout the whole process.
Email your list before the summit to create excitement and build momentum before you launch.You can send:
The idea is to make them feel involved in the process and to build up excitement about the event.
Here’s an email that I wrote to my audience a few months before launching List Building School, when I was still in the middle of the creation process:
Pre-Launch Email Sequence + Push For All-Access Pass (Upgrade)
Next, you’ll need to set up an automated email sequence that is delivered whenever anyone registers for your virtual summit, what I call the “Pre-Launch Email Sequence”.
This is important because it confirms their registration and welcomes them to your summit, but also because it is the perfect opportunity to tell them more about how they can upgrade to the All-Access Pass.
I’d recommend writing 3-5 emails for your pre-launch email sequence to welcome them, give them a quick win, establish trust and a push to upgrade.
This sequence is a great opportunity to build rapport and engagement and, ultimately, convert new email subscribers into paid customers.
Live Kickoff Hangout Reminder Emails
If you are doing a Live Kick Off at the start of your summit (and I recommend you do -- it’s a great tool to boost engagement and conversions!), you’ll also need to set up a reminder email sequence so that people know when it’s happening.
This only needs to be 2-3 emails a few days before and the day of the event to get people involved.
The most important email is the reminder 15 minutes before the event asking people to join you now!
The Summit Phase
During your summit launch and promotion, you will most likely be communicating with your audience a lot more often that you usually do.
And that’s okay! There’s a lot going on with new content being released every day, so they need to hear from your frequently.
At the very least, once a day, but it might be more often if you have live sessions throughout your summit or have price increase or expiring bonuses for your All-Access Pass offer.
In my premium Virtual Summit Mastery Implementation program, we provide students with automation templates that they can import directly into their ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign account with one click.
Here's what the beginning of the automation for a 5-day summit looks like:
This automation makes it insanely easy for you. Here's what one VSM student had to say about it when they started to use it for their summit:
The daily emails are probably the easiest to write because they naturally have value by providing the links to the summit sessions.
The most important thing is to introduce each speaker and topic in a way that gets people out of their email inbox and onto your summit website.
This is also a great chance to include testimonials about the summit as social proof, especially as people start commenting on particular sessions.
Remember to test different subject lines to see what works best for YOUR audience.
Dropping the big names in the email subject or focusing on topic of the most actionable session might be most effective. Test and tweak!
The Post-Summit Phase
The final post-summit phase of communication in the VSM Summit Funnel has three main functions:
Give people a final push to upgrade to your All-Access Pass
Ask people to give you feedback via a survey
Push people into your backend funnel to sell other products
Let’s start with the post-summit strategy that always helps to bring in extra All-Access Pass sales… your Encore.
Your Summit Encore
Here’s how a summit encore works:
At the end of the summit, after all the sessions have closed you reopen the entire summit (ALL of the sessions) for a limited time, usually 24-48 hours.
During this time, people can catch up on any sessions that they missed, and also upgrade to the All-Access Pass before the cart closes.
It’s the final opportunity for people to jump in and get the pass if they loved what they saw.
The post-summit email sequence for your encore period is pretty simple.
You’ll probably need to send out 3-5 emails to let people know that the conference is back open, how to access the sessions and how they can get the All-Access Pass.
This is really the final sales push for the conference, with natural urgency built-in.
Get Feedback On Your Summit
Once you’ve finished your summit, it’s really important to review everything that you’ve done and get feedback from your audience.
The insights that you get from this are super valuable because they can help you to tweak your messaging to help make more sales in the future, especially if you turn your summit evergreen… We’ll cover more about this later on this guide 😉
It can also help you to understand more about your new audience and what direction to take next in your business.
The easiest way to get feedback from your summit attendees is to send them an email with a link to a survey. This is simple and an effective way to get a lot of feedback.
When you do this, it’s helpful to create two separate surveys, one for buyers and one for non-buyers. This way, you can tweak the questions a bit for each group and get the answers that you need.
For example, you can ask non-buyers why they didn’t upgrade, but that wouldn’t make sense for your paid customers. Instead, you might ask them what was the tipping point that made them decide to upgrade.
Engage New Customers With A Nurture Sequence
One of the best parts of hosting a virtual summit is the new and engaged subscribers who become paid customers of your business… once they’ve got their credit card out one time, they’re more likely to do it again in the future 😉
A customer nurture sequence is a great way to use that initial step and introduce your new customers to warm them up to your brand with a series of emails to build trust.
At the very least, you send one automated email to welcome buyers with information on how to access the paid summit content... but you can do so much more to reap more benefits!
A good nurture sequence turns buyers into lifetime customers.
What you put in your customer nurture sequence really depends on your business and the next steps that you want people to take.
WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR CUSTOMER NURTURE SEQUENCE
Deliver Your Summit
So what about during your summit? What will you be doing then?
Each day, you’ll also need to check that the right sessions were released and remove any expired sessions (which can be done automatically once it’s set up so you don’t have to worry about it during the summit).
Make sure you’re prepared for some support requests as well - the huge boost in traffic that your summit brings also carries lots of questions that you (or someone on your team) will need to answer.
How To Deliver Your All-Access Pass
If people are going to buy your All-Access Pass, you’ll need to set up something to process payments and give them lifetime access to the sessions and bonuses.
As far as giving access to the content, the simplest option is a course platform such as Teachable or Thinkific. This will allow you to get up and running a lot faster than if you tried to do it all yourself or hire a custom developer.
While these platforms have their own integrated shopping carts, I recommend using a dedicated shopping cart like ThriveCart to sell your All-Access Pass and accept payments, no matter which platform you want to use.
Why? It’s simple, you can sell all your products on it in the future (think beyond the summit!) and it’s got MUCH better functionality if you want to get affiliates on board to promote your summit.
Once you’ve added the content to your members area and set up a product in your shopping cart, it’s as simple as connect the two together so that they get access when they complete payment.
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 11: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
LAUNCH YOUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT
Now that you’ve got all of the moving pieces together, it’s time to bring people to your summit so that they can benefit from the information that your speakers are going to share!
Treat your summit launch like you would any other launch to build excitement and buzz in the lead up to the event.
Provide real value to your audience to get even more anticipation for the event - you can use a playbook, checklist or videos to help you do this.
Your Summit Launch Plan
One of the hardest things about runs a great launch is know what to do and when.
There are some many different ways to promote a summit and what works for one summit might not do as well for another one in a different market.
The key is to know your audience and where they are likely to hang out online so that you can go to them.
Focus all your time and energy on a few channels REALLY well, instead of trying to do everything all at once.
Choosing your focus and dominating in the space will make your promotion stand out.
The other tricky thing is timing. You need enough time to gain traction and get momentum building, but if the launch goes on too long you might run out of steam and the attendees that you have will lose interest.
Here’s a rough timeline of what I’ve found works best and it's what I recommend to my Virtual Summit Mastery students.
Around 3-4 weeks before your summit kickoff, you should start promoting the event yourself. This could be things like emailing your current audience, starting paid advertising, posing on social media, publishing guest posts or podcasts and being active in online communities.
About 2 weeks before the event, your affiliates can start promoting. This allows you to start building up momentum first, but still gives them enough time to promote on their schedule.
Remember that you don’t have to do everything… In fact, it’s best NOT to!
The 80:20 rule applies here, which means that 80% of the results come from 20% of your efforts.
So focus on the 20% of activities that are really going to make a difference... doing a select few things really well will get the best results!
Take VSM Graduate, Jared Decamp, who hosted the Learn Microsoft One Note Conference.
He knew his audience tended to hang out on Twitter, so that's where he focused is marketing efforts.
Twitter probably wouldn't be the best place to promote for most virtual summits but Jared got more traction there because he knew his audience and where he would get the best response.
Promote To Your Own Audience
As I mentioned in the timeline, promotion to your own audience should start about 3-4 weeks before your summit kicks off.
Even if you don’t think you have an audience yet, I can almost guarantee you do... If you know someone who would be interested in your summit personally, that’s enough.
Your personal network can be more valuable than you think!
Start by asking people you know in person to register manually. Sending a few messages could get you your first 100+ summit attendees, especially if they share the event with their friends too!
If you do have an email list already, use this. You can send out update emails throughout the entire creation process, but once you get closer to the summit the real promotion starts and you can send them the link to register for the summit.
You can also:
Wherever and whenever you have contact with your target audience, bring the summit into the conversation!
There is a lot you can do on social media to get your summit seen and heard by your target audience. You can share on:
For starters, make sure that your cover images are all updated to promote your summit -- this includes your personal page, your fan page and any groups you manage. Add a link to your summit in the comments of each image, and to your about bio too.
Here’s what VSM Graduate, Steph Gaudreau’s personal page looked like during her launch of the Women’s Strength Summit.
No one could miss what she was working on!
Post about your summit. You should have AT LEAST on post about the summit for each profile. If you don’t share it, people won’t see it!
Here's a couple of posts that I used to share my List Building School virtual summit on social media:
But it doesn’t have to be complicated!
Just a simple post like this one the VSM Graduate Mitch Asser shared for his Healthy Gut Experts Summit can work wonders:
Video posts are also super effective right now.
Mitch did a ton of video posts to promote the Detox Dialogues Summit, which helped to increase the visibility of the summit.
There’s a lot to think about and the posting schedule can quickly get overwhelming. There are a few tools that can help you to schedule everything out and keep it all organized and stress-free.
For example, you could use the native scheduler on Facebook, or a social media scheduling tool like Buffer, Hootsuite or MeetEdgar.
Finally, make sure that you include buttons to share your summit on your website so that it is EASY for people to share it!
Rock Your Virtual Summit Affiliate Launch
A virtual summit is positioned perfect for an epic affiliate launch.
You already have contact with influencers in your niche who have helped you to create the content as speakers, and they can share the summit with their audience. You can also ask non-speaker partners to participate as affiliates too.
Affiliate partners (your speakers and non-speaker affiliates) should start promoting around 2 weeks before the summit starts.
Make sure that you are super clear in your communication with affiliates. Get in touch with them early so they know what to do, and keep them engaged throughout the launch.
A good way to increase the promotion done by your speakers and partners is to make it super EASY for them. You can give them:
You can create individual images for each speaker so that they can promote their session to their audience, too.
Here’s an example of the promo image my team created for Selena Soo for List Building School:
Also, keep in contact with them throughout the launch to encourage them as they start to get the word out and sales come in. Sometimes they just need a simple reminder! 😉
With these tactics, I got some of the biggest names in my industry to share List Building School summit when it launched so that thousands of people heard about my event.
Here's an email the ConvertKit sent out to their entire list about List Building School:
The founder of ConvertKit, Nathan Barry, also shared the summit with his personal email list and the online course platform, Thinkific, shared it with their entire audience, too.
I also had some other really big players in the online marketing niche share List Building School, too. Both Melyssa Griffen and Ryan Levesque share the summit with their audiences, which was well over 100,000 people just between the two of them!
Get Publicity For Your Summit
A great way to get noticed so that people in your industry are all talking about your event is to get featured on blogs, podcasts and other publications in your industry.
Step 1: Find and research places your want to be featured.
You summit could be featured on blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, and other publications in your industry.
Start by making a list of places that you’d love to be featured in and then begin to go through your list to read their content and get familiar with their style and structure. This will help you to understand what type of content they publish so you can tailor your pitch to them.
Step 2: Identify a contact and send your pitch.
You can often find the editor, producer, owner or who is in charge of finding content for a publication on the About Us or Contact page of their website.
If you have time, try to build a genuine relationship with them in the lead up to your summit - offer THEM value if you can - so that they are more likely to accept when you send them your offer.
Then ask! It helps to have a unique take on why your summit is newsworthy and why their audience would find it helpful. Be clear on this and communicate it when you reach out.
Step 3: Follow up and arrange the details.
Make sure you follow up with them until you get a response - either yes or no - similar to your influencer outreach.
When they do get back to you, you can give them more details and work out the particulars of the arrangement so that it suits both of you.
A great example of publicity done right is the Appreneur Summit, hosted by VSM Graduate Charlyn Keating.
Paid Advertising For Your Virtual Summit
When people think paid advertising, they tend to think of Facebook Ads and Google Adwords straight away… but there are many more options for paid advertising.
You can use ads on Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more. Once again, think about where YOUR audience is and allocate your budget there.
The cool thing about these online advertising platforms is the initial cost is very low - you can start with a few ads at $10 a day and see how they go and build from there.
Here's a couple of Facebook Ad examples that I used to promote my virtual summit, List Building School:
I’m not going to go into all the details of paid advertising here -- that could be an ultimate guide on its own!) but I’ll give you a few quick tips to help you get the most bang for your buck.
- Set up pixels on your website to track conversions so you can target the right people
- Create several versions of text and graphics to split test what works best.
- Have only ONE specific call to action for each ad.
- Start with a small budget and build up your ad spend as you see results.
The real key to advertisements that convert is to TEST.
Try a few different ads and audience and watch what happens. Test, test, test.
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 12: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
TURN YOUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT SUCCESS INTO MASSIVE BUSINESS GROWTH
After all that work you put in to create and deliver your summit, the first thing that you should do is take a moment to relax and enjoy your success and of course personally thank your speakers and partners who participated…
But soon it’ll be time to use your momentum to keep growing beyond your summit!
Overdeliver To Your All-Access Pass Customers
If you treat them right, your new paid customers have the potential to become lifelong customers of your business.
In fact, this should be your eventual aim… you virtual summit is a tool to fuel more business growth!
Think about some of the best experiences you have had as a customer and try to replicate that in the way you deliver the All-Access Pass.
Go for the WOW and surprise people by giving them extra bonuses that they weren’t expecting.
WAYS TO OVERDELIVER TO YOUR COMMUNITY
Set Up A Powerful Backend Funnel
All-Access Pass sales are great… but the real money is made in your backend funnel.
Make the most of the engaged subscribers that you picked up during the summit and introduce them to other offers on the backend.
If you already have other products that are related to your summit, you can promote these on the backend.
If you don’t have any of your own products yet, consider launching a pilot version of a new course, coaching program or membership site to your summit attendees.
Another great strategy is to promote an affiliate product that is well-aligned with your summit.
It’s also a good idea ask for feedback from your summit attendees soon after the event.
Turn Your Summit Into An Evergreen Lead and Revenue Generating Machine
Next, think about how you can turn the work you’ve already done into a passive source of income for your business.
One option is to turn your summit evergreen.
Done right, this can turn your summit into an automatic lead and revenue generating machine that works continuously -- even as you turn your attention to new projects in the future!
That's exactly what VSM student Stephen Esketzis who is the host of the Sales Funnel Success Summit did:
Students of my premium Virtual Summit Mastery Implementation Program get access to the VSM Evergreen Method, which walks them through the process to turn a successful “live” summit into an evergreen version step-by-step (we even provide you with the entire email automation in ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit completely done-for-you so you can import it with one click of a button).
How to Repurpose Summit Video Content
You can also repurpose your summit content (also called the VSM Multiplier Method).
You can release part of the summit content to grow your business and brand even more.
You could repurpose the content into:
The options are limitless!
This is such as valuable strategy, I created a complete training on this for my Virtual Summit Mastery students, called the VSM Content Multiplier Method.
This step-by-step process takes you through each of the steps that need to be taken to convert one summit session in into multiple different content forms, amplifying the impact that it has.
The best part that if you build a solid team it requires very little direction from you.
Ongoing Partnerships With Influencers
The relationships you form when creating a summit are extremely valuable, so make sure you continue to build them and look for opportunities for growth.
As a bare minimum, send personalized thank you notes to your speakers but there are many other ways that you can offer more value to influencers such as:
Once you have a strong network of influencers, you just need to keep an eye out for opportunities that you can make the most of.
The best partnerships will benefit you, your partners AND your audience.
A nice example of this is a workshop I did with Regina Anaejionu of ByRegina.com a while after she spoke on my first virtual summit.
She had a big and engaged audience and I had a unique skillset that her audience would find useful - it was a good opportunity for both of us.
Here's the email conversation from when I reached out about the workshop:
And after a bit more back and forth, we put together an amazing free workshop for her audience, which looked like this:
Relaunch Your Summit
Your first summit launch is a learning curve, but you don’t have to start again from scratch.
Relaunching a summit allows you to make the most of the LIVE energy and momentum.
For your next launch, you can also reach out to more speakers to record additional sessions. This works really well because it:
You could even bring on new sponsors for your next launch if you didn't focus on this revenue stream for your initial summit launch.
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 13: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
BONUS: 10 WAYS TO PROFIT FROM A VIRTUAL SUMMIT
Hosting a virtual summit is an incredible tool to grow your email list quickly but the benefits are two-fold.
Unlike many other list building methods, it can also be very profitable WHILE you build your list.
This is a game changer when you're starting out because you don't need a lot of capital to get started and you can quickly make back what you invest to make it happen.
In this section, we're going to go over TEN different ways that you can generate profit from a virtual summit.
That's right. TEN.
(And it's not even all of them!)
1. All-Access Pass Sales
Let’s start with the most obvious way that you can make a profit from your virtual summit, selling All-Access Passes.
This is the product that forms naturally during the summit creation process. It’s simply a package of all the summit interview in one place, along with some bonuses you might like to include to sweeten the deal.
This can bring in a lot of revenue, as my students and I have seen. Here’s an update from my List Building School summit and we had over 6-figures in sales before the online event even kicked off!
Another great way to bring in some revenue is to ask for sponsorship from established brands in your industry.
This can be very beneficial for them as they get exposure to 1,000's of attendees who are engaged
VSM Graduate Blair Green set up an interactive Exhibition Hall for her Elevate Pharmacy Summit to highlight her sponsors, since they were a core part of her virtual summit business model.
It turned out pretty well - here's what it looked like:
Another great example of sponsorships for a summit done very well is Eric Z Yang, who hosted to the Crypto Summit.
He was able to secure a $50K sponsorship deal for the summit before it started, which meant that he started out in front (and also had some budget to play with to promote the summit with Facebook Ads and other avenues.)
Check out this inspiring video interview with Eric Yang here:
3. Your Backend Products
If you have other products already that are well aligned with your audience, a few weeks after your summit wraps up is the perfect time to promote them.
This is what I typically do after my summits. I strategically choose summit topics that are well aligned with my premium program that I'd like to upsell people to on the backend. my Virtual Summit Mastery Implementation program.
After the summit finishes, I recommend spending a few weeks to educate and build up trust with your new audience before opening up the doors or doing a hard sales push.
Another good example of this is Chandler Bolt, the host of the Self Publishing School virtual summit. His summit attracts thousands of highly targeted leads for his products, from a starter kit to high end coaching.
4. Affiliate Commissions
One of the most common ways for people to generate income on the backend of their summit, particularly if you don't have a signature product of your own yet, is to promote other products as an affiliate.
This is what I did after my first summit to generate an additional $40K and many VSM graduate have had similar success with this.
Here's what Virtual Summit Mastery Graduate Marie Grace Berg posted after a particularly successful affiliate launch at the end of her first virtual summit.
There are so many different kinds of affiliate products that you could promote - the main thing that you need to get right is aligning the offer with the audience that your summit attracts.
A nice strategy that I've found works well is to promote software as an affiliate. The cool thing about this is that you can earn recurring commissions for as long as your referrals continue to be customers of the product.
5. Pre-Sell A Pilot Product
Another option if you don't have a signature product ready immediately after your first virtual summit is to pre-sell a pilot product.
What this means is that you basically sell the idea that you have to your audience to validate that it is something that they actually want and would pay for.
Once you have a few paying customers, you know that it's worth spending time on and can work on creating the actual product for your initial customers.
This is actually how Virtual Summit Mastery began. After my first summit, a lot of the attendees reached out to say they were impressed with the event and would love to learn how to do it themselves.
So I did a small launch of the pilot product and came up with the first version of VSM.
(We've come a LONG way since then, with the 3.0 version of the program now available and hundreds of successful students!)
6. Write A Book
One of the best things about a summit is that you naturally end up with a ton of content from the experts in your field, which you can use in any way that you'd like.
A neat way to make the most of this is to repurpose the content from the video interviews into a book format.
Just transcribe the interviews, do a bit of editing, present it nicely and it's ready to go!
This is what VSM Graduate, Charlyn Keating did after The Appreneur Summit.
Essentially, she repurposed the content that her speakers shared during the summit into a book format so that her target audience could learn in an easily digestible format.
The book is still available on Amazon today and Charlyn continues to generate profit from it, even YEARS after the summit is over!
7. Create A Membership Site
Once again, you can use the content that you have already created from your summit in lots of different ways. Another clever strategy is to use it as a base for a membership site so that you can earn recurring income.
This is perfect because you've already got 20+ videos (plus PDF action guides!) to offer new members from the beginning, and you can slowly add to it.
It's even possible to use virtual summits as your entire business model and include access to all summit under one members area. If you run summits often, this is a great way to keep retention rates high for your membership site.
Several VSM graduates have created a membership site using their summit as a base. Brian Appleton, the host of the Insurance Agent Summit did this. Check out his video case study below:
8. Market Software
An interesting (and very smart) trend that I've noticed lately is software companies creating summits to showcase users of their product and get a ton of exposure at the same time.
For example, Teachable is an online course and membership platform that recently held a summit on (surprise!) how to launch your profitable online course and business.
Rather than promoting the All-Access Pass the main aim of the summit was to introduce people to their product and the video recordings were added into the bonus package when people started a new Teachable plan during the summit.
9. Paid Speaking Gigs
As we know, a virtual summit can quickly position you as a leader in your industry.
Once you've hosted a successful virtual summit, you'll be surprised at how people approach YOU with opportunities because they know who you are now.
Here's what Karen Dimmick had to say about this after hosting her first summit:
After VSM graduate Shade Adu hosted her Build It. Brand It. Bank It. virtual summit she was immediately seen an an authority in her industry and people approached her to speak at their live events.
In fact, she got two paid speaking gigs shortly after her first summit! Check out this video where she explains how it all happened:
10. Sell Live Event Tickets
Another cool way to profit from your virtual summit is to sell tickets to a live event.
VSM Graduate Jesse Krieger did this with Bestseller Summit Live, which was positioned as the premiere author experience of the year.
You can check out this video case study with Jesse Krieger right here:
So there you go!
We've just covered 10 different ways that you can profit from a virtual summit... and that's not even all of them!
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 14: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
BONUS: VIRTUAL SUMMIT SOFTWARE, TOOLS & RESOURCES
If you are going to host a virtual summit, you will need a solid toolkit to pull all the pieces together and make it all happen.
The good thing is that it doesn't have to be complicated.
Below I've compiled a list of the most popular tools for you so that you'll have everything you need.
Note: This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and benefited from personally. Thank you for your support!
Table of Contents
Website Hosting For Your WordPress Site
WP Engine is great for handling high levels of traffic during your summit launch and has reliably fast loading times, awesome support, easy site test environments, and more. If you’re ready to upgrade your site, this is where to host it.
Website, Landing Page Builders & List Building Tools
Thrive Themes is the fastest and best WordPress-friendly website builder I know of with a drag & drop interface. It allows you to make custom landing pages, content pages, and sales pages and is the builder that the VSM Website Template is built on.
The VSM Website Template is a set of professionally designed templates and funnels that my Virtual Summit Mastery Implementation students get access to. If you want to save yourself hundreds of hours and make sure your first summit is the best it can be, then VSM and the templates included are for you.
Marketing & Summit Funnel Automation
Deadline Funnel is the best tool for urgency and countdown timers, which you need to create the one-time offer for your summit. It's also essential if you decide to turn your summit evergreen. You can try it for 30 days by using my link (new users only). Ready my in-depth Deadline Funnel review here.
In my premium flagship program, Virtual Summit Mastery, we make it as easy as possible for you for you to implement everything for your summit. You will get done-for-you email automation templates that you can use for the pre-summit, summit and post-summit phase to communicate with your audience. They work seamlessly with ActiveCampaign so that you can import them with a few clicks, and simply tweak the copy to get them working for you. This is a game-changer for email marketing - you get the copy and tech automations all-in-one.
Best Course Platform / Student Members Area (for hosting All-Access Pass)
This is one of the best platforms for hosting your summit All-Access Pass and online courses, which I've used personally. It’s affordable, has great templates, is easy to use and integrates directly with the best shopping cart, ThriveCart (see below). You can get your first month of the Professional plan for free with the link below ($99 value).
If you create your member's area on WordPress and you want to create a specific flow to your member pages, then LearnDash is a great way to order your pass or course content. (I use this in combination with Memberium now.)
This is the WordPress theme that I use for my members and for my summit all access passes and courses. It works well with LearnDash and allows you to cross-promote offers, downsell, etc.
Best Shopping Cart & Affiliate Platform (aka how to take payments online)
Record & Editing Your Summit Interviews
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XRL Microphone
Sound quality is important when recording sessions, and my go-to mic is the ATR2100. Your voice will sound rich and will last you for years.
This is a great, affordable option for recording sessions in HD quality (so much better than just your built-in laptop webcam). It’s also super portable since it just plugs directly into your computer — if you’re just starting out, I’d start here.
Note: This is the exact set up recording gear I used for my multiple 6-figure summit, List Building School and what most of my successful VSM students tend to use as well. I’ve since updated my own setup to up the quality 100 times at least, and as that’s more advanced and cost a few $1,000 I won’t go into it here (I do cover the exact tools and setup I use now in my premium flagship program Virtual Summit Mastery though).
Audio & File Hosting
Calendly is great for avoiding all the back and forth that happens when trying to book speakers. They can just pick up a time and Calendly will send automatic reminders of the meeting as well.
Creating Promo Graphics & Images
Chat Support / Help Desk / Customer Engagement
If you’re working with a team on your summit, then Slack is a great way to keep communications fun and efficient. You can create different channels for different topics and even integrate it with Zapier to ping you when certain events or actions take place.
Process Documentation (SOPs)
Check out the EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 15: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
VIRTUAL SUMMIT MYTHS & STICKING POINTS: CONCERNS YOU MIGHT STILL HAVE
Even though the benefits of hosting a virtual summit are pretty clear, there might still something holding you back from going all in.
Right now, we're going to go through some of the most common places people get stuck when thinking about hosting their own virtual summits.
This will help you to push through where others get stuck in a rut.
I don't have an email list (or it's very small).
I've got good news for you... this is one of the main benefits of hosting a virtual summit!
You can leverage relationships with high-level affiliates and partners for your summit to help build an email list FAST.
My students find that summits can add 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 or even 30,000+ qualified subscribers in a matter of weeks.
I don't have an existing product.
You don't need an existing product to profit from your summit!
Your summit All-Access Pass is a product on its own you can profit from.
As you go through the summit creation process, your speakers are essentially create all the valuable content for your first product.
But that's not all. You could also sell a membership site based on the summit content, promote other products as an affiliate or create a pilot program, group coaching program or course after your summit.
Summits lets you figure out EXACTLY what your audience wants from your first (or next product). You build your audience FIRST and THEN solve their problems with your product offerings.
I'm not an expert.
Technically, an expert is someone who has special skill or knowledge. If you know a little bit more than someone else, you're an expert in their eyes.
You don't need to be an expert to host a successful virtual summit.
Hosting an online summit in your industry can help MAKE you an expert and go-to authority almost overnight.
Nobody knows who I am.
This is a big one. So many of my students have a fear of reaching out to influencers when they join the program because they feel like they are insignificant.
Mindset around this is something we work on a lot because it IS mainly your mindset that's holding you back. Time and time again my students realize that the big names are real people and actually respond when they reach out.
And the best part?
You will get a huge visibility boost from creating a quality summit. You'll establish a positive relationship with industry leaders AND your target market.
You will be associated with influencers through your summit and others will start to see YOU as an influencer.
Summits won't work in my market.
Summits work in virtually EVERY market. I know this because I've seen them work in the most obscure niches: health & fitness, harp music, playing the guitar, adoption, vertical farming, personal development, traveling, trading, insurance, real-estate, tennis, pharmacy, diabetes, and even in small niches, like scrapbooking and calligraphy... you name it, there's a summit on it.
I would say this though… as long as there’s an online audience for your niche, a virtual summit can work very well, which means it can work for pretty much everything as long as you plan to build something online.
Being the first to create a summit in your market gives you instant visibility.
Take VSM Graduate, Diana Rowan. She hosted the Virtual Harp Summit, the first online summit for harpists.
She knew there was an audience and she knew it was hard for harpists to travel with their instruments, making a virtual summit the perfect thing.
You can watch her video case study here:
It won't work for MY business.
You might think your business is different but, let me tell you, the underlying principles of what makes it work isn't so unique.
No matter what your business model is, you can make virtual summits. We've seen the virtual summit strategy work successfully for:
Regardless of whether you’re in the early stages of building your business or you’re looking to grow and scale your further, virtual summits can help you exponentially grow your audience, influence and revenue faster than you ever could imagine.
It's too much work without a huge team.
Summits can be very complex, but they can also be very simple. It all depends on what you want and how you make it.
You can choose to do most (if not all) of the work yourself.
Quite a few VSM students go this route for their first summit to learn the ropes. They might just hire a freelance video editor or graphic designer for a couple of specific tasks, or DIY everything.
If you want more help, you can refer to the VSM contractors list for approved freelancers.
It's too technical for me to figure out.
Can you write an email? Can you record a video? If you can do that, you can host a virtual summit.
It can sound difficult, but it's really not that hard when you get down to it. We provided a list of the platforms, software and tools you'll need in this guide.
And if you decide to join the Virtual Summit Mastery Implementation Program, you get the professionally design done-for-you VSM Website Template which includes all the summit pages you need to host your summit (it’s proven to convert very well, and it works for WordPress with Thrive Architect and we have a ClickFunnels version too if you’d rather prefer to use that).
We also have The VSM Tech Library with “over-the-shoulder” video tutorials, as well as done-for-you email automation templates.
Finally, if there are some thing you just don't understand or don't want to learn how to do, you can outsource it.
We’ve had several non-techy students successfully host a virtual summit, simply because they are willing to learn and have an open mind!
Virtual summits are dead.
Virtual summits are FAR from dead. As I've proven throughout this guide, my students and I have had incredibly success with the virtual summit model, generating thousands of new email subscribers and revenue.
My VSM students keep getting incredible results as you've read about in this epic guide.
And that's not all - there's a good reason that some of the biggest names in the online space are hosting summits for the businesses. People like Neil Patel, Michael Hyatt, Ray Edwards, Marisa Murgatroyd, Chandler Bolt, Caitlin Pyle, Ocean Robbins, Nick Ortner, Sean Croxton, Lewis Howes, Microsoft, Google, Teachable, Thinkific, Drip, and many more!
It's because they work! 😉
It's too expensive.
Honestly, a virtual summit is actually very budget-effective when you think about the return on investment (ROI) you get on it.
Unlike other list building methods, it get you results very fast and you usually end out in front, meaning you get PAID to paid an audience!
And we've had VSM students opt for very low-cost setups for their first summit and they are still successful. You can realistically put a summit together with a budget of a few hundred dollars, but you can also decide to invest more by hiring a designer and other contractors etc.
That's your decision but as long as you are offering value to an audience, you can experience huge success.
I need to pay influencers to be speakers on my summit.
So many people that reach out to me are concerned about paying for speakers.
But you don't need to pay for your speakers if you follow the proven Ladder Strategy from the Virtual Summit Mastery Method that I outlined in this guide. They will even be excited to speak for free!
It's all about positioning your offer in a way that makes it beneficial for them to participate. Just scroll back up to the section on connecting with influencers if you're struggling with this!
I tried a summit before and it didn't work.
Hosting a virtual summit is quite complex. When you try to do it all on your own, it can get overwhelming or you don't know what to focus on.
That's why you need to use a proven system.
When you know exactly what steps that you need to follow to get the results, you can focus on what's important and finally see the end goal that you want.
Plus, one online summit is never enough... Each successive summit can be bigger and better! Some people even build their business (or business calendar) around an annual or biannual summit.
Summits are just for established businesses.
Nuh-uh! Summits are a great way to kickstart your business.
Why? It allows you to test your niche and idea quickly so that you can see if it's an area that you want to continue putting time and effort into.
It also helps you to build the perfect based in a new niche and establish yourself as an authority right from the beginning. In fact, I'd start ANY new business venture I wanted to do with a virtual summit.
Summits are just for new businesses.
On the other hand, existing businesses can use summits to ramp up their email list and scale.
It has to be said that it is easier to get speakers and partners on board if you already have an established business.
An online summit can re-energize stagnant product sales and help you level up from five to six figures, or six to seven figures. You've just got to knuckle down and focus!
I'm a non-native English speaker or I don't live in the US.
I'm originally from Sweden, so was worried about this myself when I was planning my first summit. But as I and many of my VSM students have proven, this fear was unfounded.
Summits can be run successful no matter where in the world you are.
We’ve had numerous non-native English speakers create summits, as well as for international audiences. VSM students have hosted summits in Asia, Europe, North and South America, Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and more.
Here’s what VSM Graduate Sami had to say who hosted a health summit for the Finnish market in his native language:
Sometimes being a non-native English speaker can even work in your favor because it makes you stand out.
Check out this video testimonial with Augustas Kligys to see what I mean:
I'm not a good interviewer or too nervous to be on camera.
Practice makes perfect! 🙂
I'm a believer that anyone can do a good interview and present well on camera if they practice up and put the effort in.
That said, if you're really against the idea of being on video you could use slides rather than a direct camera or ask speakers to do a presentation rather than be interviewed.
Alternatively, you could "run" the summit and get someone else to actually host the summit.
Get a headstart on your email list building with this EPIC FREE VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY CHEAT SHEET PDF HERE
Part 16: The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Wildly Successful Virtual Summit
YOUR NEXT STEPS:
ARE YOU READY TO HOST YOUR FIRST VIRTUAL SUMMIT?
There is more than one way to build your business and each decision is completely yours to make.
But there's no denying that hosting a virtual summit is one of the best ways to propel your business forward while growing your audience, influence and revenue.
I'm the first to admit that the whole process can seem a little daunting but I'd like to encourage you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
When you push yourself that little but further, that is where great things start happening.
What got you here, won't get you there.
Are you ready to host your first virtual summit?
As you might have picked up from the length of this guide (it's about 20K words!), hosting a virtual summit does take a ton of effort to create.
But the good news is that your effort translates into results. It's one of the highest ROI activities that I know of. In short, it's worth it.
So if you are a smart, driven, and passionate entrepreneur who is prepared to put in the hard work now to create a wildly successful virtual summit, then you should check out my Virtual Summit Cheat Sheet PDF.
Join over 40,000 others and change your business forever.
And that brings us to the end of this ULTIMATE guide on hosting a wildly successful virtual summit.
We covered almost everything that you could ever need to know about hosting a virtual summit,
In Part 1, I introduced you to this ultimate virtual summit guide, why I wrote it and who it's for.
Finally, in each part, you also saw stories of my Virtual Summit Mastery students who hosted virtual summits in many different niches to grow their audience, revenue and influence.
I hope this ultimate guide inspires you to get started hosting your own virtual summit so that you too can experience exponential growth in your business.
I give away tons of free material about hosting virtual summits because it's my passion and what I love to do.
I even have a full premium implementation program called Virtual Summit Mastery that takes you step-by-step through the process of hosting your own wildly successful virtual summit.
The program is closed now, but if you want to get a heads up when it opens again, enter your email below.
Join the waitlist, and in the meantime I’ll send you a special free cheat sheet with all the 7 proven steps me and my students have taken to generate hundreds of thousands of email subscribers and millions of dollars in revenue from our virtual summits in just the past year alone.
And be sure to let me know in the comments below where you are at in your business and how a virtual summit would help you to grow.