Phase 1: Planning (First 30 Days)
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.
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, but don’t let that scare you!
Much of the tech required to run a summit is similar to that required to produce an online course.
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 run my entire virtual summits with the Clickfunnels full suite, which I love because it’s an all-in-one solution.
However, that’s not the only way to construct the technical back-end of a virtual summit.
In my course, Ultimate Summit School, I provide a thorough overview of all technology options and break down the virtual summit funnel process so you can launch your own virtual summit no matter which technology you choose to use.
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.4.
Phase 2: Creating (Second 30 Days)
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:
- 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.
- Upsell Page: This page is where the registrants are encouraged to purchase the All-Access Pass.
- Order Page: This page is where attendees can order the All-Access Pass.
- 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.
I like to record my interviews with zoom.us, which is free when only two people are on the call.
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 there are other options.5.
Phase 3: Launching (Third 30 Days)
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 viral giveaway of your All-Access pass to a random attendee who has already registered in order to gain more traction for your event on social media.
I did this using the free Gleam.io application, and I show you how to do this in the Ultimate Summit School.
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!