Are you in the process of brainstorming a topic for your next summit? Or perhaps you already run one but the results are not what you expected and felt like your effort, time and money go down the drain?
I’ve seen summit failing left and right- from landing page failure, bad copy to technical issues. Running over 15 successful virtual summits in the past 4 years, I understand how tedious and time-consuming it is. With the proliferation of online events nowadays, virtual summits became the next big thing. So, how do you run a successful online summit?
First thing first, let’s understand what a summit is:
Virtual Summit is a collaborative online conference. It is a type of ‘Joint Venture Marketing’ in which two companies combine their marketing strategies to achieve their business goals. In short, a Virtual summit is a form of partnership.
One of the main reasons why a summit fails is not more on the technical side but because of the invited speakers or guests. You can set up an award-winning website design, you can have a persuasive copy and the best team members but if your invited speakers do not fulfill your partnership agreement and requirements, YOUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT CAN FAIL. Hence, it is important to choose and research your speakers wisely.
NO CLEAR GOALS, NO RESULTS
The second reason why summits failed is because of having no clear goals. No, I’m not talking about your goal of “helping people” or “spreading the word” but your business goals.
- WHY do you want to run a summit?
- Is this part of your content strategy?
- Do you want to position yourself as an authority?
- Do you want to generate leads?
Consider an online summit as your LIVE event or conference, but this time it is online. If you are selling ticket events, renting an event place, you need to get your ROI (return on investment). It is the same with virtual summits.
Know your numbers.
– How many sign-ups is your goal?
-How will you reach that goal?
-How do you measure your ROI?
-Do you even have the budget in achieving that goal?
-How much time do you and your team have?
THE PLANNING STAGE
Good news! All of these can be avoided by planning. Aside from having clear goals, the planning stage is one of the most crucial parts of running a successful online summit. Please remember: there are so many ways to run a summit. It depends on your budget, your goals, your team capabilities, and yourself as a host.
Identify if you are planning to launch a mini-summit or a huge summit. A mini-summit is easier to run than the huge one, but the number of signs up is much lower. Nonetheless, a mini-summit can reach your goals the same as the huge one, provided that you have the right speakers and strategy.
A mini-summit run for at least 5 days while the huge summit can run for 15 or more days. The larger the summit, the higher the budget, more team members, and higher goals.
Ask these questions:
- How many speakers are you planning to invite?
- How many days will you run the summit?
2. INTERVIEW FORMAT
The interview format depends on you as a host. Are you comfortable in going off script or stick with Q+A? In my experience, having an open conversation, letting the conversation flow garner more positive feedback as it shows authenticity regardless if it’s pre-recorded or not.
- Recorded or Live
If as a host, you’re not comfortable in going full live, then a prerecorded interview is for you. You can prerecord the interview, set a launch date, and then automate your summit.
Of course, LIVE interview will make it more authentic but be prepared in dealing with technical hitches. If you go LIVE, you’ll also need team members on the day of the event.
- Panel or One-on-one
One on one interview is the most common especially if you want deep conversation and explore the topic extensively.
A panel interview is best for discussions and exchanging ideas.
Let the guest speaker fully take the mic and teach his/her expertise to your audience.
How will you deliver the summit? Is it free or do people need to pay? The answer lies in your overall business goal.
- – FREE
If your goal is to generate leads, a FREE summit is the most ideal for you.
This is a paid summit all throughout. The leads are fewer and most suited if you have big names in the industry.
This is a combination of the two above- a free summit that offers an UPGRADE after the live launch.
THE SECRET SAUCE- CONVERSION MATTERS
One mistake that people forget is tracking their performance DURING the event. Once you start promoting your event, it doesn’t stop there. A good marketer understands his/her conversion rate and adjusts accordingly.
If you are using paid ads, you have to track it’s performance. The same with launching your virtual summit, if the conversion is too low, you might have to check your landing page copy, your video opt-in or you might have to check your speakers if they are indeed promoting. People are busy and so are your speakers, following up on them is one of your main tasks as a host.
Of all the types of lead magnets, a virtual summit is my favorite as it is a bulletproof way to attract high-quality leads. However, it can also be a double-edged sword. Running a virtual summit can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time.
Do not overcomplicate it. A successful virtual summit needs to be planned out for at least 3 months- that is if you want to make it successful. This is a kind of event where you do not rush it.
When the summit fails, it’ll make your business look unprofessional. And the present speakers that you have might not want to be in partnership with you again. As I said above, virtual summit is a form of partnership- you build a relationship with your speakers/guests.
If you wish to interview big names in the industry in the future, having a roster of successful summits in your arsenal will catapult your business.