I recommend new summit hosts aim for about 30 speakers over 3 days: 10 per day.
Step 2: Map out the content you would like to cover.
As the virtual summit host, it is your job to take creative direction of the summit. That means you are responsible for everything from the summit name, to the summit branding, to the overall topic or theme, and what specific topics the guest speakers will be interviewed on. In general, we call this the summit content.
It is advised that you name your summit with 2 words: "Something Summit". Make it clear your event is a summit, not a course or something else!
When deciding on your summit name, branding and topics, make sure you keep your ideal customer in mind at all times. It is your goal as the summit host to get as many of your ideal customers to register as attendees as possible!
Step 3: Decide on your technological systems.
Running a virtual summit requires a certain number of software and hardware systems.
For hardware, you'll need a good microphone, webcam, and computer with access to fast, reliable internet.
Step 4: Invite and onboard your guest speakers.
Now it's time to start reaching out to your guest speakers. These are influencers who can talk about the topics which you have decided you would like to have in your summit.
To really reap the benefits of a virtual summit, you have to have a decent number of speakers. Simply having 4 or 5 won't do. You ought to aim for about 30. That is a good number for your first summit. Any more than that may be difficult to handle unless you are very, very well-organized and have the time to record all those interviews.
When approaching potential guest speakers, make sure you appear as more of a colleague than a raving fan of their work (even if you are), and help them understand why their participation in this event will benefit them.
Phase 2: Creating
Step 5: Record and prepare your interview content.
While you are still reaching out to other influencers to join your event, you can begin recording interviews with those influencers who have already committed. I recommend using Zoom.
There is a lot that goes into recording a good interview with an influencer. You need to get their biography ahead of time to read on the interview as you introduce them. You should provide them some sample questions you intend to ask before the interview is conducted.
A good virtual summit interview lasts around 30 minutes and gets straight to questions the attendees really want answered.
Step 6: Build your virtual summit sales funnel.
Your second task during Phase 2 is to build your virtual summit funnel. This will require that you purchase your summit domain, if you haven't already.
The purpose of the virtual summit funnel is two-fold: to both collect the information (e.g. email addresses) of the leads registering for your summit, and sell to them the products in your funnel (e.g. All-Access Pass, upsells).
It’s recommended you invest in a sales funnel software capable of hosting your funnel. I use ClickFunnels to build my virtual summit sales funnels. Click here to read more about why.
Step 7: Set up your All-Access Pass membership site.
The All-Access Pass is the typical first offer made in a virtual summit funnel. It consists of lifetime (or unlimited) access to the summit interviews plus any bonus content. (Remember: the leads who register for your free summit but don’t upgrade will only get limited-time access to the interviews during your actual summit event.)
You can host your membership site for your All-Access Pass anywhere that is password protected since only buyers should be able to access it. I use the membership site feature of ClickFunnels, but there are other options. The important thing to remember is that buyers should get instant access to the membership area, so you’ll want to make sure you choose a membership site program that integrates with your sales funnel software so you can automate this delivery process upon purchase.
Step 8: Create your affiliate program.
Though your virtual summit funnel will be created nearly 2 months before your summit begins, you won't really start promoting your summit publicly until 3-4 weeks before.
Before you encourage your guest speakers to share the summit with their email lists, set up your affiliate program which integrates with your chosen sales funnel system and get your guest speakers registered so they each have their own affiliate link to use when promoting.
It is through this affiliate link that your guest speakers’ referral sales and commissions earned will be tracked.
Then, make it as easy as possible for your gues speakers and other affiliate partners to promote. Provide them email swipe copy and custom promotional graphics.
Phase 3: Launching
Step 9: Prepare for your launch.
While most people don't use the phrase "virtual summit launch", that's exactly what it is. Just like a book launch or course launch, a virtual summit is a live launch that requires preparation on the part of the host.
Many virtual summit hosts begin to tire at this step, wanting to leave the guest speakers up to their own devices to promote the summit. Nothing could be more detrimental to your results!
As the host, you need to be the one leading the charge to promote your summit (which starts in Step 10), and to do so effectively, you'll need to spend time preparing and planning out the promotional period, otherwise known as the launch.
Some questions you might ask yourself as you prepare are:
► what will your social media posting / live video schedule look like?
► how often will you communicate with speakers, and how will you track their success as affiliates?
► did you test your entire system before promotions begin? Did you have others test it?
Step 10: Promote your virtual summit.
The entire month before your virtual summit begins you should dedicate to its promotion. The promotion of your summit is directly responsible for how many new email subscribers and how much revenue you will generate.
In addition to emailing your list about your summit, you should do everything in your power to encourage your speakers to promote to their audiences, especially their email lists. This is your number one source of traffic during your virtual summit launch. Make sure you’re communicating with your speakers weekly to remind them about the summit launch and help them in any way you can by providing anything they might need to succeed!
Step 11: Execute your virtual summit.
The week of your virtual summit is very exciting. All this work you've done is finally coming to fruition! But it's also very exhausting. You have to always be on time by posting your guest speaker interviews at the time you said they would be according to the summit's public agenda. People will be upset if you are late or forget!
You also need to email your attendees daily with the links they will need to watch the interviews. You'll be fielding emails all week saying "I never got the links" or "The videos aren't playing for me!" Be prepared to handle these customer service issues quickly!
Step 12: Complete necessary follow-up tasks.
Once your virtual summit is over, it's not really over. There are a lot of tasks that you need to follow up on.
Make sure you send a thank you note to all guest speakers for their participation and hard work in promoting your event. I recommend giving every guest speaker a free All-Access Pass as a “thank you” for participating, even if they didn't make any sales.
You’ll also need to pay your affiliates their commissions after the refund period has ended.
And don’t forget to start looking for ways to leverage your new relationships with influencers for guest posts, podcast interviews, and more!
I look forward to seeing what you create with the help of this free guide. If you'd like to learn more about launching your own virtual summit to grow your email list, authority, revenue and more, click here to register for my free masterclass!