Virtual summits are one of the top business strategies for online or brick and mortar businesses when it comes to getting more leads, authority and profits.

Virtual summits aren’t really a new tool; they have actually been around for about a decade. There just has not been very many of them done. (We guess less than 2,500 a year).

The problem that held back so many considering running a summit is in the past they were very time consuming, tech heavy, and difficult to run. Luckily thanks to the new Virtual Summits Software and other advances in technology and online tools running a virtual summit has never been easier!

That’s good because these are amazing opportunities. Running a summit has many benefits, such as:

1. Networking with important & successful people speaking on your summit.

2. Positioning yourself as the expert in your niche/industry.

3. Quickly generating thousands or even 10’s of thousands of new leads.

4. Generating immediately new profits from running the summit.

5. More profit opportunities, such as upselling another product, evergreen sales, and even flash sales, and subscriptions.

6. You now have a great stand-alone product. (Your summit)

7. You also have many opportunities to create a business or other products directly from your summit.

But what is a summit exactly? How do you run one, and what should you expect.

**First off a summit is essentially an online conference BUT it is primarily pre- RECORDED sessions. **There could be nothing worse to put a damper in your summit than if some tech glitch or a speaker no-show during a live summit.

So most summits are all pre-recorded sessions. You can add some “live” publicity at the beginning to generate excitement about the upcoming summit. You can also do a live Q&A breakdown at the end of the summit. However, those shouldn’t be “Pre-Announced”. Keeps you safe that way.

Most summits are run on consecutive days for anywhere from 3 – 10 days. Most summits are run 3 – 4 days long.

**Typical summits have anywhere from 10 – 80 speakers; 25 – 30 speakers being the most common number. **Most speakers will provide a bonus of some sort that will be used as a “Summit Bonus” to attract attendees to the summit, but also to upgrade during the summit.

The speakers are spread out over the course of the summit with a morning and afternoon session. **You would typically have anywhere from 6 – 10+ speakers a day during the summit. You divide those into two sessions, morning and afternoon. **Those would then be the Speaker Agenda, or outline for the summit. You would like to put some great ones at the beginning and end.

One myth is that you need all big name speakers on your summit. Although that would be great, you really only need 1 “Big Fish” or really stellar/famous speaker. Then about 1/3 of the other speakers should be “A-List” or well-known speakers. The rest of the summit speakers are going to be less known but have a good presentation or topic to present. Or maybe they are an up and coming speaker.

**The summit sessions are typically done as an interview between the host and the speaker. However, some are done as presentations provided by the speaker. **This has higher perceived value and satisfaction by the attendees, however can cause fewer speakers to agree to speak due to their increase in workload.

So now that we have covered the overview of a Virtual Summit, what are some of the specifics?

There are two types of summits. Most common is a “FREE” to attend summit. This is where anyone can attend the summit for free, by simply entering in his or her contact information. (Name, email, etc.). This is called “Lead Generation”, and is super beneficial. From those leads you can create a relationship and then hopefully a paying customer. These types of summits are particularly beneficial in creating a new or bigger list of leads.

The other type of summit is a “PREMIUM” or paid summit. This is where anyone who attends the summit must first pay a fee to get access to the content. This is less common of a summit, but very beneficial. This is more commonly done to a list of current leads/contacts that already know/like/trust you and would be willing to pay for your content.

For now let’s focus on a Free summit. The process starts with you first coming up with an idea/theme. Creating a few categories to fall under that theme. Then beginning to research for speakers.

Once you compile the speakers, you start with the presentations/interviews. Collect those and you now are on your way to a Virtual Summit.

Now you start the promotions aspect of the summit. You would create some images and flyers to advertise the summit. Give those to all your speakers asking them to help promote it as well.

Most commonly you would run some ads (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc.) to generate awareness and interest.** Best time to run ads and promotions are 2-4 weeks before the summit.** More than 4 weeks out there really is not much urgency and will increase your cost per lead. Less than 2 weeks is the highest converting time to run ads due to increased urgency and is typically where you will see the most opt-ins occur.

Then those who are interested would opt in to your summit giving you their contact information, which is called becoming a ‘lead’. At this point they are sent information on the particulars of the Virtual Summit. What to expect, when it starts, and any details they need to enter the summit.

Once the summit starts the first session is unlocked and all the attendees are directed to go watch the presentations. Once that session ends it is locked, and the next session is unlocked.

This happens for the whole summit until the end. The goal or hope of the summit is to drive attendees to upgrade to a higher/paid membership level. This is where most of the profits are generated from the summit.

Most commonly there are 3 membership levels. The Free, Paid, & Paid Plus. Or VIP, PRO, ELITE. You can call them anything you want, but the first one is a free level, the last one is the highest or largest amount paid, and the middle level is somewhere in between. An example could be: VIP – Free, PRO – $99, ELITE – $199. Or Silver – Free, Gold – $29, Platinum $49. You get to set the price based on your audiences buying habits.

**The memberships will all include bonuses that you have created, and the bonuses collected from the speakers. **These could be resource guides, chapters of a book, cheat sheets, Flowcharts, etc. Anything that ads value to the attendee.

These bonuses are split across the three membership levels. The Highest one having the best bonuses, while the lowest membership would have the least. Each subsequent level contains new bonuses, plus the levels before it. So the ELITE bonus would have all of the bonuses from the PRO & VIP levels as well.

However, the biggest draw to upgrading the membership is the PRO & ELITE will contain an “All Access Pass” or Lifetime Access. This means that if someone upgrades their membership they will be able to go back and watch any & all presentations that they missed or want to re-watch. This is the #1 reason why most attendees pay to upgrade.

They missed a presentation and want to go watch it. However all presentations are locked at the end of their session (and the whole summit is locked at the end of the summit schedule). So if anyone missed a session and wants to re-watch it they must upgrade access to get it.

You can provide additional bonuses as you see fit. Get creative and make it fun and interesting. You can add Transcriptions, MP3 audio, a private group/forum with the speakers, etc. Just make it enticing enough that your attendees will want to fork over their credit card and pay money for it.

That is essentially the overview of a summit. Of course we could go into many more details and specifics on it. We still have the topic of what to do after the summit ends, and how do you now make money with it.

For that you should join us over at our Free Virtual Summit Strategy Facebook group where we do ongoing tips and training on running a successful summit. \ \ Of course if you have any questions I am happy to answer them there. Now get out there and start your legacy.

You are just ONE Summit away from creating the life of your dreams!!

Mark Wade

Founder of Virtual Summits Software

“Hosting a virtual summit has never been easier”.

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