This post was written by Bailey Richert from BaileyRichert.com.com
In 2016, my infopreneur business was facing its first serious plateau. Up until this point, I’d been growing fast, and everything seemed “on track.” Then, it became harder to get email subscribers and turn leads to customers. Everything was feeling kind of, well, stale.
Nothing was wrong; I just had this desire to take my business to the next level…fast. That’s when I decided to host my first virtual summit.
A virtual summit is an online conference. A host brings together experts for interviews which are broadcast for a certain period of time online for attendees to watch and learn from.
In just 90 days I put together my first virtual summit, the Infopreneur Summit, featuring a total of 27 guest speakers presenting on a variety of topics related to launching an infopreneur business.
How hosting a virtual summit will grow your business
I was genuinely SHOCKED and surprised at just how much hosting a virtual summit grew and literally changed my business for the better! I never anticipated such fast, awesome results.
Here are some ways that a virtual summit can grow your business, and specifically, how my first summit impacted my own business:
1. Email Subscribers. I was able to attract 1,170 summit attendees who became a part of my email list.
2. Revenue. Between sales of my Infopreneur Summit All-Access Pass and other products sold to summit attendees, I was able to produce over $4,000 in direct revenue.
3. Online Community Members. By encouraging my registrants t to join my online community, I was able to bring 355 new members into my Facebook group.
4. Relationships with Influencers. My partnership with my guest speakers helped me to build dozens of relationships with influencers in my niche which have blossomed into fruitful business collaborations since my summit.
5. Authority, Visibility and Opportunities. Because of my summit, I have become known as the “go to” coach in the infopreneurship field. I have been invited on dozens of podcasts. I have been asked to be a guest speaker on many other summits. The opportunities keep coming!
Why are virtual summits so effective?
Hosting a virtual summit positively changed and grew my business in both measurable and immeasurable ways in such a short time frame, and here’s the honest truth as to why: Virtual summits are a “win-win-win” scenario. Everyone benefits, and that’s why everyone wants to take part in them.
How Attendees Benefit from a Virtual Summit
The guests who find your summit through your promotion and your guest speakers’ promotion get to watch your interviews for a limited time totally free! They get so much content without having to spend a dime. (That is, unless they purchase the All-Access Pass, which many will want to given how incredible the content you’ve curated is!)
How Influencers Benefit from a Virtual Summit
Influencers love being on virtual summits because it enhances their authority simply by being featured as a guest speaker AND they get to grow their list by offering a freebie to those who watch the interview! Plus, they’ll be receiving affiliate commissions on every sale of the All-Access Pass made through their promotions. Who wouldn’t love that?
How the Host Benefits from a Virtual Summit
As the host of your summit, I’m convinced you benefit the most. Between getting to know and collaborate with influencers you’ve always wanted to befriend, growing your email list incredibly fast because they’re all promoting your event to their lists, getting seen as the go-to person in your field and creating an evergreen product with your summit All-Access Pass, you’d be hard pressed to think of a reason NOT to host a virtual summit!
A virtual summit is all about creating an event where everyone wins – especially you!
Without a doubt, I will be hosting my Infopreneur Summit every year from here on out because I have seen the results that it produces, and I encourage every new infopreneur business owner to host their own as well.
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, I have tried has transformed my business like hosting a virtual summit has – and in such record time.
What is the process for launching a virtual summit?
So, have I convinced you? Are you ready to give your infopreneur business a serious boost? Then keep reading to learn the process I developed for launching your own virtual summit in just 90 days!
PHASE 1: PLANNING
Step 1: Plan your virtual summit logistics.
First and foremost, a virtual summit is an event. Yes, it’s an online, virtual event, but that doesn’t mean that you can just wing it. You have to really have all your details nailed down, and what are some of the most important details of an event? The logistics! Some items here you will need to consider include how long your virtual summit will be, what the dates of your event are, and how you will price your All-Access Pass.
A summit should never be over one week long, and frankly, 7 days is quite an undertaking for a new virtual summit creator. I would aim for around 4-5 days of content.
Step 2: Plan 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.
For software, you’ll need an email autoresponder, landing pages, sales funnel / checkout system, payment processor, and membership site. I ran my entire virtual summit with the Clickfunnels full suite, which I show students how to use in my Virtual Summit School course, but we also teach how to use SamCart as well.
Step 4: Get your guest speakers on board.
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 25-30. That is a good number for your first summit. Anymore 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: Set up your virtual summit sales funnel.
Your first task during Phase 2 is to set up your virtual summit funnel. This will require that you purchase your summit domain, if you haven’t already. The ideal virtual summit sales funnel includes 4 major pages:
1. Optin Page: This page lists the key information about the summit: speakers being featured, agenda for the event, information about the host. This is where visitors are encouraged to register for the event for free.
2. Upsell Page: This page is where the registrants are encouraged to purchase the All-Access Pass.
3. Order Page: This page is where attendees can order the All-Access Pass.
4. Confirmation Page: This page is where the attendees’ purchases of the All-Access Pass are confirmed.
Step 6: Record your interviews.
While you are setting up your sales funnel and still reaching out to other influencers to join your event, you can begin recording interviews with those influencers who have already committed.
Some virtual summit creators I know enjoy using Zoom to do this, but I prefer Google Hangouts, which is free.
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 7: Set up your virtual summit live interview landing pages.
When your virtual summit is being held, you will embed the recorded interviews with your influencers on separate landing pages.
You can get a head start on this by creating and designing the landing pages during Phase 2. The landing pages should all look the same so the attendee experiences visual consistency.
Remember, don’t embed the videos you recorded onto the landing pages yet. These will be embedded according to the agenda you set for your summit.
Step 8: Set up your All-Access Pass membership site.
Those who purchase your All-Access Pass before the summit begins will simply be told upon purchase that they will receive their membership site login details the day after the summit. This allows you to continue recording interviews all the way up until the summit begins (although, of course, it should be your goal to get them done a month in advance, that doesn’t always happen).
You can host your membership site for your All-Access Pass anywhere that is password protected. I use the membership site feature of Clickfunnels, but you may wish to choose a less expensive option like Wishlist Member (integrates with SamCart), Teachable or Thinkific.
PHASE 3: LAUNCHING
Step 9: Prepare your affiliate program and affiliates for success.
Though your virtual summit funnel will be up and available for nearly 2 months before your summit begins, you won’t really start promoting it to your audience until 3-4 weeks before.
Before you encourage your guest speakers to share the summit with their email lists, set up your affiliate program inside your chosen sales funnel system, and encourage your guest speakers to sign up as affiliates.
Then, make it as easy as possible for them to promote. Provide them email swipe copy and custom promotional graphics.
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 can also run Facebook or other social media ads. You can share it in groups you are a part of online. You can check in with your guest speakers to make sure they really did email their lists.
You can also host a giveaway. I recommend having 2 giveaways of your All-Access pass to random attendees who have already registered. I did this using the free Gleam.io application, and I show you how to do this in the Virtual Summit School. Hosting these giveaways also grew my social shares.
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 putting your guest speaker interviews live 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 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.
First, make sure you send a thank you note to all guest speakers for their participation and hard work in promoting your event. Personally, I gave every guest speaker a free All-Access Pass as part of their thank you for participating, even if they didn’t make any sales.
Then, you need to follow up with your All-Access Pass buyers and make sure they get their login information to watch the summit interviews. This is crucial!
Next, start looking for ways to leverage your new relationships with influencers for guest posts, podcast interviews, and more!
Want more knowledge bombs to hep you plan, launch and promote your virtual summit? Grab a free copy of Bailey’s Virtual Summit Set, which includes worksheets + 3-day email course + eBook!
I look forward to seeing what virtual summit you create with the help of this 12-step guide. If you’d like to learn more about launching your own virtual summit to grow your email list, authority, revenue and more, please visit VirtualSummitSchool.com.