Have you ever thought about hosting your own summit online, only to be confused or overwhelmed with the process? The good news is, just like with any launch strategy, you can easily learn and implement how to host a virtual summit that skyrockets your business.
But before you dive right into the virtual summit planning process, let’s go through some of the crucial things you need to know. These tips will come in handy as you are making key decisions with your own virtual event.
You will learn:
- How a single virtual summit can change everything in your coaching business
- The ideal amount of time to prepare to pull off a successful event
- How to choose the right speakers
- How to deal with feedback or criticism of your virtual summit
- The one thing that doesn’t determine your revenue
- The ideal length of your speaker sessions
- How to keep your summit attendees engaged
- The step-by-step system to designing your profitable summit
How a virtual summit can change everything
After hosting the world’s first telesummit, the Coaching Telesummit of 2005, I can tell you that this strategy was really game-changing and it transformed my business and my life in ways that I never imagined.
From being relatively unknown in the coaching industry to suddenly having thousands of coaches joining my list, asking about my services, publishing a best-selling book, and building a seven figure business, hosting my telesummit was the best decision I’ve made.
So if you know that you have a message that you really want to share with your perfect clients, the time is now.
How to host a virtual summit: 7 things you need to know
There are several reasons why you should host a virtual summit, but before you get the ball rolling, here are my top tips.
1. Timing is everything.
As the saying goes “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
The same goes true with summits, because honestly summits are a lot of work but totally worth it. This is why you simply can’t rush your virtual summit planning.
Ideally, you need at least 90 days to prepare in order to launch a successful and profitable virtual event.
You need to give yourself enough wiggle room in case anything comes up.
As a matter of fact, when my team and I planned my latest virtual summit called “Group Coaching Experience”, our planning process started months earlier.
And I have to say, we couldn’t have pulled off a very successful event if not for the planning that we did way ahead of time.
We crossed off several tasks on our virtual summit checklist and completed about 90% of it a month before we even started launching.
So if you’re wondering how to host a virtual summit successfully, timing is your friend.
You will thank yourself later for organizing everything in advance, so you won’t have to deal with the last-minute stress.
2. You can launch a summit as a beginner.
One of the questions I get asked when it comes to hosting your own virtual summit is, “Can I launch a summit even though I’m a beginner?”
The answer is a resounding YES!
A virtual summit allows you to make a splash in your market and help you jumpstart your business.
Many summit leaders experience fast growth following their event, and they are able to leverage all the publicity, relationships, and content for years after the summit is over.
3. Find the right speakers.
So we have established that you need to dedicate enough time to prepare for your virtual summit.
But even with all the planning that you do months in advance, sadly your event might not turn out the way you expected it to be if you have chosen the wrong speakers.
Finding the right speakers is crucial when you’re planning how to host a virtual summit that’s not only going to benefit your business, but everyone involved (that includes your audience, sponsors, and of course, your speaker lineup).
So if you are thinking of inviting the big names in your industry, or the experts with the most number of social media followers, I would like you to pause and just take a step back.
The type of speakers you would need for a successful virtual summit are the ones who will not only inspire your audience, but will give clear, actionable points on their topic.
As a result, you will meet your summit attendees’ expectations or even exceed them.
With all that being said, it’s important to do your research first to see if they would be a good fit.
Here’s a mini-checklist you can use when making your ideal speaker list:
- Watch their videos, and see how they present themselves.
- Are they engaging?
- What is their style of speaking?
- Have they spoken at an event before?
- Would they be suitable for your virtual summit?
- Are they serving the same niche market?
- Will their audience be a good fit for the topic of your summit?
4. Be open to criticism.
Planning your virtual summit takes a lot of work, patience, and determination.
When you have put your heart and soul into planning the absolute best event, and end up with not-so-positive feedback from your audience (or complaints), just know that this is a learning experience.
Oversights could happen or technology could fail at the last minute.
If you have a team working with you on your summit, trust that they have your back and will find a workaround or troubleshoot any issues.
Your attendees might complain about not receiving an email after purchasing the All-Access Pass. Or they might complain about how there’s just way too many sessions to attend.
Unfortunately, attendees don’t usually know how much work goes into planning a virtual summit, and that’s understandable.
So embrace the feedback because it helps you improve and do better next time.
5. Your list size doesn’t determine your revenue.
Worried that you can’t launch a profitable virtual summit simply because you don’t have a big mailing list?
How do you even plan how to host a virtual summit for the first time with a small list?
The answer is, well it’s not a problem and it shouldn’t hold you back from hosting your own virtual event.
So just put that self-doubt aside because the size of your mailing list doesn’t determine your revenue.
With your speakers promoting your virtual summit to their own audience, and other attendees spreading the word to their colleagues, you will grow your email list faster, and have an engaged audience ready to buy your offers.
6. Don’t make your speaker sessions too long.
Wondering how to plan a virtual summit session that makes attendees want to stick until the end? As much as possible, make sure to limit each session to a maximum of 30-40 minutes.
Most people’s attention span these days is getting shorter, so in order to keep your audience engaged and be conscious of the time, do the following:
- Keep the introduction short and sweet.
- Avoid casual chats or small talk.
- Stick with the topic.
- Ask your speaker to share actionable steps.
- Ask your speaker to offer resources that would complement their session.
7. Pitch at the appropriate time, but keep it light.
As much as a virtual summit is a great program launch strategy, keep in mind that people signed up to learn about the different topics covered in your event.
You might be tempted to promote your program or service, but keep it light.
Avoid pitching to your audience during sessions, as they are not there to listen to a sales pitch.
When I was running my summits, I knew that I wanted to create visibility and interest in my coaching software, Coaching Genie. I had to choose several strategic spots during my summit to mention it before actually sharing with people how it works.
There is a right time and place for promoting your coaching program, service, or offer (for example, at the end of your very own session, or a follow-up webinar).
Design Your Own Virtual Summit in 5 Days!
There are thousands of virtual summits in different niches out there, but many people do them wrong and end up leaving a lot of money on the table.
If you’re ready to revolutionize your business, then join me for a 5-day challenge where I’ll be revealing my “summit success system” and taking you step-by-step through designing your own summit.
This strategy is the ONLY one that can accomplish 20+ goals for a business owner in a matter of weeks, then last for years to come.
Milana is an entrepreneur, business strategist, and marketing mentor to coaches, authors, and speakers. She is the author of two books, “Coaching Millions” and “Simplicity Entrepreneurship”, the creator of telesummit. She is also the creator of Coaching Genie, an online platform for designing and delivering coaching programs with ease. She came from Soviet Ukraine almost three decades ago as a classical musician with zero knowledge of the business world and has since built multiple six and seven-figure businesses. Today she’s passionate about showing entrepreneurs how to use simplicity as a growth strategy. Goodbye complexity and overwhelm. Hello, simplicity, profits, and ease.