Launching a Profitable Virtual Summit: Tips and StrategiesLaunching a Profitable Virtual Summit: Tips and Strategies
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Launching a Profitable Virtual Summit: Tips and Strategies

Virtual summits represent an increasingly popular online event format that allows hosts to share their message and monetize through sponsorships, ticket sales and evergreen conversions.

If done well, virtual summits position organizers as thought leaders in their niche while generating both income and brand exposure.

This comprehensive guide covers tips and strategies for hosting profitable, high-impact virtual summits from start to finish. Follow these steps to create widely-attended events that boost authority.

Why Host a Virtual Summit?

Here are the key benefits of virtual summits for hosts:

Establish Thought Leadership

Position yourself as an authority by uniting other highly-regarded experts around a shared topic. You become the host and facilitator of elevated industry dialogue.

Expand Audience Reach

Leverage speaker fanbases to expose your brand, content and calls-to-action to new audiences totaling tens or hundreds of thousands.

Generate Revenue

Virtual summits monetize through ticket sales, evergreen access fees, sponsorships, product launches and more. Profit metrics can reach well into five figures.

Cultivate Influencer Relationships

Directly connect with respected industry figures by recruiting them as speakers. Foster win-win partnerships and collaborations.

Gain Data Insights

Collect contact info from registrations to build email lists. Analytics reveal content interests and purchasing behavior. Data enables better marketing.

Achieve Credibility and Influence

High profile events position you as a community leader people look to for insights. Become the go-to hub for your niche.

If your goal is to profitably build your authority, virtual summits can deliver – if executed strategically.

Step 1: Pick Your Profitable Niche Topic

A focused, on-trend topic that intrigues your audience is foundational. Consider these factors:

Knowledge and Passions

Build your event around expertise you can speak on substantively. Passion for the subject brings energy.

Audience Interests

Research target audience needs and pain points around niche issues they’d value expert insights on. Feature resonate topics.

Trending Issues

Analyze search volume and accelerating discussions around emerging niche issues ripe for an event. Ride new waves.

Unique Perspectives

Avoid over-covered generic topics by taking novel slants leveraging your unconventional expertise or access to rare speakers.

Monetization Fit

Ensure your niche and audience have revenue potential through ticket sales, promotions, sponsors, and follow-on offers. Don’t leave money on the table.

Refine angle possibilities combining different facets above to identify your summit concept with profit potential.

Step 2: Setting Your Event Goals

Beyond generic brand exposure, define tangible goals to steer your summit priorities:

Ticket Sales Targets

Project realistic revenue targets based on expected participants. This could start at $5,000 for smaller events or up to $100,000+ for large productions.

Email List Growth

Set list growth goals like 10X current size, or minimum 10,000 new names. These contacts become hot leads for future conversion.

Thought Leadership

Measure PR impressions, backlinks and social media reach as indicators of elevating authority and influence.

Sponsorship Revenue

Determine minimum sponsorship targets. Typically aim for at least $10,000 – $30,000+ from aligned brands.

Product Sales Conversions

If launching a new product, set sales projections for summit promotion. Conversions of 5-20% of live viewers are possible.

Quantifying goals gives direction for planning and metrics to assess performance. Identify the 1-3 non-negotiable outcomes most critical for you.

Step 3: Assembling a World-Class Speaker Lineup

The biggest driver of virtual summit success is a star-studded speaker roster. Top talent options:

Recruit Well-Known Industry Figures

Having respected authorities and celebrities lends instant credibility. Even one household name speaker draws crowds.

Request Favors From Personal Connections

Tap friends, colleagues and existing network relationships to contribute sessions for mutual benefit.

Compensate Influencers

Paying $500-$5000+ to headline speakers may be worthwhile to attract names that convert registrations.

Barter Deals with Peers

Offer trade deals to have compatible industry peers speak at each others’ summits for free cross-promotion.

Book Upcoming Authors

Authors with launches 6-12 months out often welcome events to pre-launch their book’s core ideas.

Crowdsource Recommendations

Survey your audience on most-requested potential speakers. Follow their guidance to deliver exactly who fans want.

A strong speaker lineup piques interest, books big crowds and elevates the perception of your event. Devote time to recruiting A-players.

Step 4: Driving Registrations Through Promotion

Robust promotion is required to drive the thousands of sign-ups virtual summits require. Use these tactics:

Create Urgency With Giveaways

Offer lead magnetGiveaways like free E-books for early registrants only. Scarcity incentivizes sign ups.

Network With Partners

Ask peers with similar audiences to co-promote through email swaps, website banners, social media posts. Cross-promotion expands reach.

Buy ads on niche websites, newsletters, podcasts etc. frequented by your target attendees. Paid acquisition converts.

Make Social Media Shareable

Post intriguing speaker announcements, agenda highlights, and teasers on social that followers will reshare. Fan buzz draws FOMO.

Send Direct Mails

Email lists you own and rented lists relevant to your event topic drive immediate sign-ups. Segment and personalize outreach for higher conversions.

Run Retargeting Ads

Remarket to past website visitors through banner ads across platforms. Repeated brand impressions wear down resistance.

A strategic media mix combining organic, paid and partnership marketing delivers registrations. Cover all angles.

Step 5: Selecting Your Virtual Event Platform

The virtual event platform enables streaming presentations, communication and logistics seamlessly. Top options:

Zoom

The popular video meeting platform also works for hosting large interactive virtual events. Reliable A/V quality.

Crowdcast

All-in-one browser-based hosting platform with integrated audience Q&A, chat, polls and speaker video.

Hubspot

Marketing platform Hubspot recently launched robust built-in virtual event technology. Seamless integration if already a HubSpot user.

Livestorm

Full-service virtual conference platform focused on engagement features like networking, Q&As, surveys and private chats between attendees.

Hopin

A full production platform innovating unique engagement opportunities like expo areas and breakout sessions along with standard webinar features.

Whova

Whova specializes in creating mobile app experiences accompanying virtual events – schedules, speaker profiles, networking, live polls, 1:1 video meetings and more.

Evaluate options based on number of attendees, branding capabilities, moderation options, attendee engagement tools, technical support, and budget. Select technology tailored to your event vision.

Step 6: Crafting a Compelling Event Agenda

The session content itself must inform and inspire attendees. Follow these practices:

Curate Speakers Strategically

Organize speakers into coherent themes across days to build momentum. Group complementary talks together for consistent energy.

Schedule for Time Zones

When hosting global events, alternate peak hours across time zones so everyone gets live sessions at ideal times.

Include Relevant Branding

Schdule short company update talks from you/sponsors related to the event topic – not just pure pitches. Infuse your brand purpose tastefully.

Keep Formats Fresh

Move between panels, interviews, case studies, debates, keynotes, Q&As and workshops. This dynamic mix sustains engagement better than just speeches.

Add Engagement Elements

Schedule live polls, Q&As, chat breaks, crowd sharing time and hands-on virtual exercises to make sessions interactive.

Build in Breaks

Respect attendee stamina and focus. Allow natural transitions between topics along with periodic breaks of at least 15 minutes.

Step 7: Monetizing Your Event Through Multiple Revenue Streams

Don’t leave potential revenue untapped. Maximize income through:

Charge $47-$297+ for general admission depending on event scope, speaker fame and attendee disposable income.

VIP Upgrades

Offer premium priced tickets like $1000 “backstage passes” with perks like access to speaker lounge discussions. High-end options attract whales willing to spend more.

Sponsorships

Sell sponsor packages like custom sessions, exhibit booths, attendee giveaways, event sponsor branding and shoutouts. Popular add-ons that sell.

Product Launches

Promote your own educational products/services or coordinate speaker product launches during the event. Bonus affiliate commissions on other sales.

Merchandise Sales

Sell swag like shirts, mugs and hoodies branded with your event logo and themes. Great follow-on income even post-event.

Repackaged Content

Edit and resell recordings from your summit as exclusive evergreen offers. Continues monetizing the content through backends sales long after.

Virtual events can realistically generate 6-7+ figures in revenue through these diversified income streams. Do the math.

Step 8: Capturing Evergreen Leads and Sales

The benefits of hosting a virtual event last far beyond the live sessions. Continue monetizing your audience through:

Gated Content Libraries

Gate summit replays and materials behind opt-in forms to continue building your email list. New leads can access content anytime.

Automated Post-Event Emails

Set up sequences promoting your own educational offers, replayed sessions, exclusive Q&As, surveys and community access.

Backend Offer Cascade

After attendees purchase an initial low-priced offer like replays, promote a cascade of related mid-priced and high-priced products over email.

Community Forum Launch

Use momentum post-event to launch exclusive mastermind groups or forums for year-round discussion on the topic. Charge monthly or annual membership fees.

Q&A Packages

Sell packages of post-event expert Q&A calls on popular topics that emerged during the summit.

Recurring Events

Host a summit series annually or quarterly to continually reengage your audience through new events year-round.

Smart post-event execution converts one-time attendees into high-lifetime-value community members eager to buy any offer you release.

Conclusion

Virtual summits provide immense opportunities to profit through visibility, authority building, lead generation and back-end sales. But realizing the model’s full potential requires strategic planning and execution.

Follow the blueprint covered here to craft memorable events featuring compelling themes, world-class speakers, seamless logistics and diverse revenue streams.

With robust promotion and purposeful post-event followup, your summits can engage audiences worldwide while scaling your education business to new heights. Time to take the virtual stage!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the benefits of hosting a virtual summit?
Hosting a virtual summit offers several benefits, including establishing thought leadership, expanding audience reach, generating revenue through ticket sales and sponsorships, cultivating influencer relationships, gaining valuable data insights, and achieving credibility and influence in your niche. Virtual summits position organizers as authorities while providing opportunities for income and brand exposure.

2. How do I pick a profitable niche topic for my virtual summit?
Selecting a profitable niche topic for your virtual summit involves considering factors such as your knowledge and passions, audience interests, trending issues, unique perspectives, and monetization potential. By identifying a focused, on-trend topic that intrigues your audience and aligns with revenue opportunities, you can lay the foundation for a successful event.

3. What are some effective strategies for driving registrations to my virtual summit?
Driving registrations to your virtual summit requires robust promotion using tactics such as creating urgency with giveaways, networking with partners for cross-promotion, advertising on related sites, making social media content shareable, sending direct mails to targeted lists, and running retargeting ads to past website visitors. By implementing a strategic media mix combining organic, paid, and partnership marketing, you can attract thousands of sign-ups.

4. How do I monetize my virtual summit through multiple revenue streams?
Monetizing your virtual summit involves leveraging multiple revenue streams, including paid ticket sales, VIP upgrades, sponsorships, product launches, merchandise sales, repackaged content, and more. By offering a variety of ticket options, sponsorship packages, and related products/services, you can maximize income potential and create a profitable event.

5. What are some ways to capture evergreen leads and sales after the virtual summit?
Capturing evergreen leads and sales after the virtual summit can be done through gated content libraries, automated post-event emails promoting offers and replays, backend offer cascades, community forum launches, Q&A packages, recurring events, and more. By continuing to engage your audience with valuable content and offers post-event, you can convert one-time attendees into long-term community members and customers.

Feel free to explore these strategies further and adapt them to your specific virtual summit goals and audience. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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