Virtual events have exploded on the internet over the past decade. The number of online events accelerated dramatically in 2020-2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered all live in-person events. With an uncertain future about when live events can be safely held, people are looking for ways to replicate live conferences online. Virtual speaker summits stand out as a winner for lots of reasons. In this article, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might want to consider hosting your own virtual speaker summit.
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Accessibility And Ease Of Attending
Ease For Audience
Audiences love attending speaker summits since they’re so easy to get to. Anyone with an internet connection can listen to the speakers share their wisdom–whether the sessions are live-streamed or recordings are released daily.
Many of these events are free or low-cost, which audiences love. By definition, there’s no travel expense or travel time involved. These events can be gamified with prizes, the ultimate catnip for attendees. And when your summit speakers generously offer free gifts to attendees, your audience members find even more value, making your summit truly irresistible.
Some virtual speaker summits include community participation sessions during the days of the event. This gives participants a chance to meet the speakers and network with other participants.
If you offer recordings for an extended period of time (whether free or purchased), your audience loves being given the option to listen live or later. They can decide if they want to upgrade for extended listening time or make the time commitment to tune in live.
Ease For You
As the host, you have a lot of moving parts producing an online summit. It’s a whole lot easier to do that from your home base as compared to taking your show on the road. Your expenses can be kept minimal for a virtual speaker summit, too. This makes turning a profit easier for this type of event.
Hosting a virtual speaker summit may be the easiest way to attract a global audience. No one is flying to meet up. There are no hotel expenses for you or the audience. No arrangements for the kids or pets back home. There’s no guilt at being gone for days. Most of the objections are removed by virtue of the online meeting location.
As long as there is internet access, your audience can participate from anywhere in the world. Time zone differences aside, you can always make replays available for a set amount of time, so everyone can have access if your live event happens at 2 am their time.
Audience Growth-List Builder
Hosting virtual speaker summits is a great list builder for you as well as your speakers. Even if your event is entirely free, like any good giveaway, you’ll want to require an email address for participation.
Here’s the cool news–because this is a multi-speaker event, you’ll be in front of many more eyes. As the host, you have the power to leverage each speaker’s list. In essence, you get to borrow all the speakers’ lists to grow your list. Virtual speaker summits are an opportunity to add hundreds or even thousands of new names to your mailing list–all future potential clients.
Accelerate Your Authority
When you produce and host a virtual event, you’re viewed as a leader. That’s because you ARE a leader. Leaders are seen as authority figures and more trustworthy. Hosting your virtual summit can exponentially accelerate your know-like-trust factor with your audience.
As the host of a virtual speaker summit, you are seen as the expert on the topic taught at your summit. Even if you’re relatively new to your niche, simply by surrounding yourself with experts, you’ll gain instant expert status. You can leverage your new authority status to gain future speaking engagements. Opportunities will open for you for podcast interviews and speaking from the stage. Invitations to speak for future speaker summits and online events will come your way more naturally. Guest blogging requests may also increase as your opinion in your niche is the one sought out.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been online for a while, hosting a virtual speaker summit gives you an opportunity to increase your brand exposure. If you decide to repeat your summit annually or semi-annually, you and your brand are recognized and associated with the event. There are few better ways to grow your brand exposure so easily and so quickly over the few days of your summit.
Boost Your Bottom line
Virtual summits can create a cash infusion for your business and boost your bottom line. Even a free summit has the power to add to your bottom line through sales of the optional recordings. People understand that they can’t always attend each session live and will want the option to listen or watch recordings at their convenience.
For extended or lifetime access to the material, state the regular price (say $97) and offer a substantial early-bird discount only good before the summit starts ($27 price). When the summit begins, there is still a discount, but less than the early bird (now costs $67). The price for the recordings becomes regular-priced as soon as the summit ends ($97). You can increase the value of your upgrades by offering additional perks, such as transcripts, worksheets, or a future Q and A group call with you.
Gathering affiliate links from the speakers can also yield more from “back end” sales for a long time to come after the summit ends. Always ask your speakers if they have an affiliate program, so you can tap into the power of future affiliate sales from the summit attendees who opt into their lists.
Don’t forget about the earning potential you’ll have to market to new subscribers to your list. Think of each of these new subscribers on your list as potential customers and clients. Treat them with respect and nurture the relationship to convert them into future buyers.
Sponsorship is another consideration to further increase your profit from a virtual speaker summit. You can sell sponsorships in return for advertising a service or product related to the summit topic. Think outside the box for potential sponsorships–sometimes that might look like virtual swag bag contents! And remember this about asking companies or people to sponsor your virtual speaker summit–if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
Connections + Collaborations
You can never know what connections and collaborations will come from saying yes to hosting a summit. While you might not have a lot of connections now, the guests you invite to participate in your summit will likely become long-term partners and friends. You’ll be able to reach out again and again with new product launches, JV opportunities, and other business-building fun. These partners will think of you first when they host a similar event in the future. They’ll even recommend you to others, growing your network wider and wider for a long time to come.
If you have a charity or cause that’s close to your heart, a virtual summit is a perfect opportunity to give back to it as well as increase awareness of the charity. Consider donating all the proceeds from your event. Even donating a percentage of profits will help the charity continue its mission. It’s a great way to help others while growing your own business.
Pulling It All Together
As you can see, there are 7 great reasons to host a virtual speaker summit. These are best remembered with the ABCs:
- Accessibility and ease of attending
- Audience growth/list builder
- Acceleration of your Authority–be seen as the expert
- Boost your bottom line and make money
- Brand Recognition
- Connections and Collaborations for future endeavors
- Charitable giving
Virtual speaker summits are here to stay. They really are an excellent way to grow your business for very little investment and big potential for profit. While they can be a lot of work to plan and execute, the benefits far outweigh the downsides.
Have you ever hosted a virtual speaker summit? Which one of the 7 benefits on this list would make you say yes to a summit? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And let me know what topic you’d choose for your online summit! Maybe I’ll attend!!
Hi Melissa. I have never done a virtual summit (lots of Zoom meetings though, lol). I think if I were to do one, making connections and getting those possible affiliate links would be the most likely to make me say yes. Really appreciate the great list, and it’s something to think about.
Thanks, Samantha! You definitely can do a virtual summit if you’ve done Zoom meetings!
I held my first Virtual Summit in fall 2020 and recorded the interview sessions in Zoom ahead of time. Didn’t want to take any tech chances that things would not work if I tried to interview live. It was lots of work but so much fun and so worth it.
Thanks for another great post, Melissa. Definitely something else I need to keep in mind for when I plan to add services to my blog
Love the ABCs way of remembering the benefits
Oh thank you so much, Vidya. Definitely do keep the options open for a speaker summit in your future. There are so many ways you could pull together speakers for your blog theme. Maybe an author’s round table summit, children’s authors, or aspiring authors even. So much to choose from.
As always, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.😍
Thank you for this information. I’m not adding a summit to my list of “what I am planning to get back to in March” – but for people who might be interested – go for it!! I’ll keep it on my back burner maybe for 2022 🙂
Thanks for your comment, Lynn. I, too, have a list of ‘what I am planning to get back to in March’! The Ultimate Blog Challenge has taken up a lot of time in February but so worth it.
Ah Melissa, you know how I feel about having an audience, so I don’t see summits in my future. But…I won’t say never because I have been known to step outside my comfort zone from time to time 🙂
Thank you, Katie. So glad to hear you say ‘never say never!’ Maybe start with being a guest on a summit and go from there!
Thanks for stopping by!