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Hosting a Wildly Successful Virtual Summit: The Complete Ultimate Guide to Host a Virtual Summit

Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to host a wildly successful virtual summit. In today’s digital age, hosting a virtual summit has become a popular and effective way to connect with a global audience and share valuable knowledge. Whether you are a seasoned event organizer or someone looking to host their first virtual summit, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan, execute, and measure the success of your event. 

Hosting a virtual summit can be an incredibly powerful way to raise your profile, deliver value to an audience, and generate revenue. By organizing a multi-day online event with top experts from your industry, you can position yourself as an authority and earn income through ticket sales, sponsorships, and promotions.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of creating, marketing, and monetizing a profitable virtual summit from scratch.

Why Host a Virtual Summit?

Here are some of the key benefits:

Establish yourself as an industry leader

Curating top speakers shows you can convene A-list talent. You’ll be seen as an influencer.

Attract new followers and fans

Virtual events draw new visitors through promotion which expands your audience.

Generate revenue through ticket sales

You can earn substantial income through registration and virtual booth fees.

Open up sponsorship opportunities

Sponsors will pay for exposure to your engaged audience during the summit.

Showcase thought leadership

Position yourself as a visionary by hosting panels on cutting-edge industry topics.

Launch or grow a business

Summits provide a platform to promote your company, products, and services.

Collect high-value leads

Capturing attendee contact info creates sales and promotional opportunities.

Cultivate community and conversations

Foster meaningful connections and relationships around shared interests.

A well-run virtual summit serves as a powerful brand builder while also generating profits.

What is a Virtual Summit?

Definition of a Virtual Summit

A virtual summit is an online event that brings together industry experts and thought leaders to share their knowledge and insights on a specific summit topic. It is a virtual conference that provides participants with the opportunity to learn from top speakers, network with like-minded individuals, and gain valuable insights and strategies to grow personally and professionally.

Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Summit

Hosting a virtual summit offers numerous benefits. Firstly, it allows you to reach a global audience, breaking down geographical barriers and expanding your network beyond borders. Additionally, it provides an impactful platform for knowledge exchange, where participants can learn from industry experts and gain valuable insights. Moreover, virtual summits are cost-effective, eliminating the need for travel and accommodation expenses associated with traditional conferences.

Creating an Impactful Virtual Summit Theme

One of the key components of a successful summit is creating a compelling and impactful theme. Your summit theme should align with your target audience’s interests and industry trends. It should be captivating and evoke curiosity, making participants eager to attend. Invest time in brainstorming unique and thought-provoking summit themes that will resonate with your audience and set your event apart from others.

How to Host a Virtual Summit Successfully?

Strategic Steps to Orchestrate a Virtual Summit

To host a virtual summit successfully, you need to follow a strategic approach. First, define your summit goals and objectives. Identify your target audience and craft a summit plan that aligns with their needs and preferences. Next, create an agenda and timeline for your event, outlining key milestones and deliverables. Lastly, establish a strong team of professionals who will help you in planning, designing, and executing your virtual summit.

Choosing the Right Virtual Summit Platform

Selecting the right virtual summit platform is crucial to the success of your event. Consider factors such as ease of use, scalability, reliability, and customization options when evaluating different platforms. Look for features like seamless registration process, interactive networking tools, and robust analytics to ensure you provide the best experience for your participants.

Building a Summit Website and Registration Process

Your virtual summit website will serve as the main hub for all event-related information. Design an attractive and user-friendly website that showcases your summit theme and provides detailed information about the speakers, sessions, and networking opportunities. Ensure a smooth registration process, allowing potential attendees to easily sign up and receive updates about the event.

Key Components of a Virtual Summit

Curating an Expert Lineup of Summit Speakers

The success of your virtual summit heavily relies on the quality of the speakers you invite. Curate an expert lineup of thought leaders and industry experts who can provide valuable insights and engage the participants. Research and reach out to professionals who have a strong presence in your industry and create a comprehensive list of potential speakers to choose from.

Planning Summit Sessions and Presentation Formats

Plan your summit sessions and presentation formats in a way that delivers maximum value to your participants. Consider offering a mix of keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and interactive Q&A sessions. Varying the presentation formats will keep your attendees engaged and provide different learning opportunities.

Maximizing Networking Opportunities for Participants

Networking is a crucial aspect of any virtual summit. Explore different ways to foster meaningful connections among participants. Offer virtual networking lounges, breakout rooms, and chat features where attendees can interact with each other and with the speakers. Additionally, organize virtual networking events such as happy hours or coffee breaks to create a relaxed and informal environment for networking.

Promoting Your Virtual Summit

Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Virtual Summit

Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your virtual summit. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Create engaging and informative posts, share teasers about your speakers and sessions, and use relevant hashtags to increase your reach and engagement.

Tapping into Email Marketing for Summit Success

Email marketing is another effective promotional tool for your virtual summit. Build an email list of potential attendees and create a series of well-crafted emails to generate excitement and drive registrations. Use personalized messaging, compelling subject lines, and clear call-to-action buttons to encourage recipients to sign up for your event.

Using Paid Advertising to Drive Attendees to Your Virtual Summit

Paid advertising can help boost the visibility and reach of your virtual summit. Consider investing in platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn Ads to target your audience and drive traffic to your summit website. Experiment with different ad formats, create compelling ad copy and visuals, and track the performance of your ads to optimize your advertising strategy.

Monetizing Your Virtual Summit

Turning Your Virtual Summit into a Profitable Venture

Monetizing your virtual summit can help you generate revenue and cover the costs associated with hosting the event. Explore different monetization strategies such as charging an entry fee, offering premium access to exclusive content, or providing downloadable resources at an additional cost. Additionally, consider offering sponsorship packages to businesses that align with your summit theme and audience.

Exploring Sponsorship Opportunities for Your Virtual Summit

Sponsorship can significantly contribute to the success of your virtual summit. Research and approach brands or companies that share a similar target audience and values as your event. Offer attractive sponsorship packages that provide visibility and promotional opportunities to the sponsors. Collaborate with sponsors to create engaging content or special sessions that align with their products or services.

Upselling Products or Services during the Summit

During your virtual summit, leverage the opportunity to upsell your products or services. Identify relevant offerings that align with the summit theme and create compelling offers for your attendees. Showcase the benefits and value of your products or services during your sessions or in dedicated promotional materials to encourage attendees to make a purchase.

Measuring the Success of Your Virtual Summit

Tracking Key Performance Metrics of Your Virtual Summit

Measuring the success of your virtual summit is crucial to understand its impact and identify areas for improvement. Track key performance metrics such as registration numbers, attendance rates, engagement levels, and feedback received. Utilize analytics tools provided by your virtual summit platform to gather valuable data and insights about your event.

Gathering Attendee Feedback and Testimonials

Collecting feedback from your attendees is essential to gauge their satisfaction and improve future events. Send post-event surveys to participants to gather their feedback and suggestions. Additionally, request testimonials from satisfied attendees and showcase them on your website or in your promotional materials to build credibility and attract future participants.

Continuing the Summit’s Impact beyond the Event

Your virtual summit’s impact should not end with the event. Consider ways to continue providing value to your audience even after the summit is over. Repurpose summit sessions into blog posts or podcast episodes, create a post-summit resource library, or offer exclusive content to registered attendees to keep the momentum going and maintain engagement.

Virtual Summit Models

Virtual summits can take different forms:

Single-Track Conferences

Follow a single track of speakers focused on one core topic or theme. Mimics an in-person conference schedule.

Multi-Track Conventions

Offer multiple simultaneous presentation tracks with different topics running in parallel. More content variety.

Interview Style

Rather than prepared talks, host a series of interviews with experts. Keeps things conversational.

Panel Discussions

Assemble various authorities for lively moderated panel discussions on key issues.

Workshop/Training

Instructors teach highly tactical skills through hands-on virtual workshops.

Keynote Speeches

Line up big name keynote addresses that anchor the event. Supplement with some smaller sessions.

Determine the format that best matches your vision, abilities, target audience and goals.

Choosing a Virtual Event Platform

To host your online summit, you’ll need a virtual event platform. Top options include:

Zoom

The most popular and full-featured video conferencing platform. Reliable for live sessions and networking.

Hopin

All-in-one virtual venue including session rooms, expo halls, and networking capabilities.

vFairs

Robust virtual events platform with detailed analytics and monetization options.

Run the World

Browser-based virtual events with strong audience engagement features.

Livestorm

Video conferencing combined with effective webinar capabilities.

Airmeet

Virtual venue builder with interactive spaces like expo lobbies, auditoriums, and networking lounges.

Hubilo

Robust platform for conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions with detailed reporting.

Research the features and pricing of various platforms to select one tailored to your event format, size, and monetization strategy.

Crafting a Compelling Event Concept

Your virtual summit concept needs to be compelling yet focused. Consider these elements:

Catchy Title

Come up with a short, memorable name that immediately conveys the essence of the event.

Clear Theme

Define a specific central focus or theme that ties all the programming together. Don’t be too broad.

Target Audience

Determine the ideal attendee demographic and their shared interests or challenges. Cater content specifically for them.

Relevant Topics

Brainstorm fresh presentation topics that align with the theme while appealing to your audience.

Unique Angle

What makes your summit stand out from the many competing for attention? An fresh perspective? Novel topics? Diverse voices? Set yourself apart.

Benefits List

Detail exactly what attendees will discover, learn, experience and come away with after participating in sessions.

Value Proposition

Summarize the transformational benefits and tangible takeaways that make attending worth the time and money for your target viewers. Address their pain points.

With a concept tailored to an underserved audience and their needs, you’ll drive greater interest when promoting the summit.

Recruiting Impactful Speakers

The key to a successful summit is recruiting renowned industry leaders and experts as presenters.

Create a Wishlist

Make a list of 20+ visionaries you’d love to have speak if budget was no concern. Dream big.

Consider Referrals

Ask trusted colleagues for speaker suggestions they feel would resonate with your audience.

Review Past Events

Research who has presented at similar past summits and conferences in your field.

Look for Rising Stars

Keep an eye out for up-and-coming voices with novel perspectives worth amplifying.

Review Related Books

See who has authored influential books or research on your topic over the past few years.

Send Personalized Invitations

Reach out to potential speakers individually expressing why you’d value their participation. Share your event vision.

Follow Up Persistently

Don’t give up after one try. Keep networking to find contacts who can connect you.

Offer Speaker Perks

Highlight benefits like reaching new fans, promoting products, lead generation, and other perks.

Gather Speaker Info

Have speakers provide headshots, bios, talk titles and abstracts for your website and promo materials.

Top influencers attract paid attendees. With persistence and compelling invitations, you can line up an amazing roster.

Ways to Monetize a Virtual Summit

Summits can generate substantial revenue. Here are some of the top income streams to leverage:

Ticket Sales

Charge attendees a fee to register and access the event presentations live and on-demand.

Sponsorships

Sell tiers of sponsor packages with various promotional benefits like ads and exhibiting.

Virtual Exhibit Booths

Sell exhibitor booth spaces in virtual expo halls where sponsors can engage with attendees.

Digital Downloads

Offer recordings, transcripts, slides, and other event media for purchase after the summit concludes.

Upsells and Cross-sells

Pitch complementary courses, services, tools and memberships related to the topics covered.

Merchandise

Sell branded schwag like t-shirts, mugs, posters and specialized products related to the event.

Dynamic Pricing

Use tiered pricing for early bird, general admission, groups, students etc. to maximize revenue.

Product Launches

Debut your new product or service through presentations and special offers.

With diverse income streams, you can profit handsomely while delivering immense value to your audience.

Setting Virtual Summit Ticket Pricing

When pricing summit registration, consider:

  • General admission prices for comparable online events
  • The value attendees will receive based on your speaker lineup and topics
  • Any continuing access to presentations after the event concludes
  • Any exclusive extras like downloadable materials, discounts, network access
  • The size and earning potential of your target demographic
  • Strategic pricing tiers like early bird vs general admission pricing
  • The production costs you need to cover through revenue

Typically summit tickets range from:

  • Free Summits – $0 but monetize through sponsors and promotions
  • Base Price – $47 – $97 for small local speakers
  • Established Summits – $197 – $500 for authoritative lineups
  • Mega Summits – $999+ for celebrities and world-famous keynotes

As you build authority and demand, gradually increase prices while adding more value through your content and production quality.

Crafting Sponsorship Packages

Sponsorships substantially boost your event revenue. Craft attractive packages:

Title Sponsor

  • Top billing, prominent logo placement, exhibit booth
  • Speaking opportunity, email blast, social media promotion
  • Highest investment level like $10,000+

Presenting Sponsors

  • Also elevated branding, booth, social media
  • SponsorNaming rights to program tracks or events
  • Investment around $5,000 – $7,500+

Supporting Sponsors

  • Logo presence on website, virtual venue signage
  • Exhibit booth and lead generation capabilities
  • Investment around $2,000 – $4,000

Affiliate Partners

  • Low cost investment like $500 – $1,000
  • Logo presence and links on website
  • Discounts in return for cross-promotion

Offer bundles of complementary promotions like email blasts, social media posts, and banner ads to boost value. Create multiple tiers appropriate for different business sizes and budgets.

Promoting Your Virtual Summit

Robust marketing is required to drive high attendance:

Video Trailer

Create a short video teaser conveying the event value visually.

Email Sequence

Send a series of promotional emails to your list driving registrations.

Social Media Posts

Promote frequently across your social channels. Have speakers share also.

Retargeting Ads

Remind website visitors about the event through retargeting ads.

Submit to Directories

List your event on industry event calendars for added visibility.

Recruit Affiliates

Find partners willing to promote your summit in return for a percentage of sales.

Pitch Media

Reach out to journalists at industry publications that might cover your event.

Advanced Messenger

Communicate event details and value through Facebook Messenger automated sequences.

Free Preview Content

Offer a free sample presentation or bonus content to prospective attendees.

With relentless multi-channel promotion, you can attract registrants in the thousands.

Running a Seamless Virtual Summit

Execution will determine the difference between a good event and an amazing one.

Detailed Run of Show

Map out a complete schedule including timing for sessions, breaks, intros, transitions etc.

Speaker Prep

Send speakers guidelines for setup, audio, video, and presentation tips. Do dry runs.

Redundant Platforms

Have backup tools and platforms ready in case of technical issues.

Engagement Options

Offer live Q&A, polls, chats, networking, contests, downloads and other interactive elements.

Controls and Moderation

Enable chat and video controls to prevent disruptions like muting or removing problematic attendees if necessary.

Expert Emcees

Hire experienced hosts to smoothly transition between sessions and engage the audience.

Technical Support

Closely monitor feeds and provide quick assistance for any speaker or attendee issues.

Recordings

Professionally record all presentations for future sales.

Flawless execution will leave attendees raving, build your brand, and drive future ticket sales.

Continuing the Momentum Post-Summit

After your live event concludes, keep attracting sales:

Sell Recordings & Downloads

Allow attendees who missed sessions to buy access to recordings, transcripts, and slides after the fact.

Share Video Highlights

Edit and share exciting video highlights on social media to keep drawing interest.

Run Mini Series

Turn expanded session content into weekly mini training series to engage your audience.

Upsell Attendees

Offer callers-to-action for your most promising offers, products, or services.

Survey Attendees

Run a satisfaction survey to improve future events.

Automate Social Sharing

Schedule social posts to continue highlighting valuable insights over the coming weeks and months.

Plan the Next Event

Start working on your next summit, conference, workshop or masterclass while your audience is still engaged.

Announce Future Discounts

Incentivize re-registration by offering exclusive discounts for your next event for previous attendees.

Keep your event top of mind through ongoing community cultivation, engagement and promotion. The relationships and authority you build can fuel your business for years to come.

So bring your vision to life! With meticulous planning and promotion, the impact of hosting a successful virtual summit can be immensely profitable.

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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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