How to Host a Virtual Summit in 60 days – The Complete Guide
Intro & highlights of our first virtual summit
In marketing industry, we see emerging trends & tactics which aid in boosting the lead generation, customer engagement, brand awareness, better visibility and much more. But most of the time the implementation of such strategies, cost a good amount of money, due to which most of the organizations are not able to adapt it to their operations structure. But when my team saw this new concept, we knew that this was going to be the next big thing in our marketing strategy, as it has been rolling out & espoused by several other industry marketers and everyone has experienced positive results, this new trending and intriguing concept is termed as a Virtual Summit.
Virtual summit helps in creating the brand awareness, lead generation, revenue generation and much more. No matter which type of organization it is, a startup or a well established one, anyone can launch a virtual summit. The main idea behind it is to attract lots of new prospects at zero cost, educate them and create an effective impact on the target audience, which would eventually turn them into your business promoters.
For the first time launching the virtual summit, that too in 60 days was a crazy idea, but we were fanatic about it. So, we began the journey of our first Virtual Summit – “BETTER 2018: School Operations Development Virtual Summit”.
Before sharing the planning & strategies to host a successful virtual summit, let’s first dive into the “BETTER 2018: School Operations Development Virtual Summit” analytics:
Highlights of our first Virtual Summit:
|Number of visitors||Conversions||Conversion rate|
I have taken the above-mentioned screenshot from our Instapage account. Let’s have a look at the speaker landing page analytics as well, i.e. Chetan Bhagat’s Interview page:
Next chart is about the survey, which was performed during the recording of the interview for the virtual summit. In this survey, the client speakers have shared their ratings on the Fedena’s USP:
|Institute Name||Fedena Features||Training / Support||User – Friendly||Report management||Value for money||Recommendation (to friends to colleague)|
|Al Manara Pvt School||7||9||8||7||8||9|
|Zuwena International School||6||8||7||8||8||8|
|QuickStep School Limited||8||9||10||10||8||10|
|The AB’s Rowland School||8||8||9||6||8||10|
|Gandhi Institute for Education & Technology||9||9||10||10||8||10|
|Raja Ram Mohan Roy School||9||10||10||8||10||9|
|Zaka Public School||9||7||9||9||7||9|
Steps to host a successful virtual summit
1. Goal of the summit
This can be either brand awareness, lead generation or revenue generation which varies from company to company. In our case, we were launching the summit for the first time, so we decided to keep our goal as brand awareness and lead generation because we’re not in event management sector so we were aware of the possibility of mistakes therefore to avoid them we kept our goal which was easily achievable, measurable and manageable.
2. Topic & Theme of the summit
While deciding on topic and theme for the summit, it is crucial to understand the existing problem (in your industry) you are hoping to solve through this summit; what you wish to teach your attendees and how launching the summit would help you in accomplishing the business goals. Along with this, instead of choosing a generic topic such as the importance of education or software for school management, it is beneficial to consider a niche topic in your industry so that only refined targeted audience will attend the summit.
After finalizing the topic, you will get an idea about the potential speakers and partners.
For our summit, we kept the theme “school operations management” because it is relatable to our product and the content was totally focused on school operations, such a summit has not yet been launched by any other organisations in the similar domain.
3. Live or Recorded
Deciding on whether the launch of the summit should be live or recorded is a crucial thing to consider when you are in the initial stages of event planning. It is obvious that conducting the summit live, imparts greater engagement opportunity and better real-time interaction with the attendees but it also involves considerable risk, such as losing internet connectivity in the middle of the interview session which causing a negative impact on the 2-3 months planning and may also affect the brand’s reputation. But with the recorded interviews, you just have to focus on the actual recording of the interview and release it on the day of the summit.
4. Tech Tools
Listed below are the tools we used during our summit:
5. Deciding the date
While deciding the date of the summit it is crucial to ensure that the teams have adequate bandwidth to complete the tasks, and to make sure the launching would not clash with any other events.
6. Asset require to promote a summit
At this point, you may have an idea how to start with your virtual summit plan. Now the next step is to promote and widely spread the event among your target audience and build the awareness. The assets which can be used to promote the event can be either or inclusive of the landing page, email campaign, social media post, engaging content, and promotional material etc.
1. List building of speakers
Create a list of potential speakers and reason out why they should be the part of your virtual summit. The speaker categories for our event was divided into two parts one comprised of eminent and motivational speakers (Chetan Bhagat and Sandeep Dutt) in the education industry and the other was our existing clients. You might be thinking why existing clients? They act as a catalyst for other institutes as they showcase how they benefited from the technology and the impact it had on their institute’s growth and productivity.
2. Screening process
After listing out 50 to 100 names, next step is the screening process. In this process, sort out the most qualified speaker who fits best for your summit. As our event was launched for the global audience, so to bring the diversity, we shelled out the speakers from each geography. But onboarding eminent speakers from outside the country was a no-win, as mostly their time costs quite an amount of money, so to bring melange in our summit we onboard the existing clients as the speakers. After creating a list we screen out the speakers according to our target attendees. But the major hurdle was to onboard the education leaders as speakers on the platform.
3. Outreach & communication
The most effective way to communicate with the speakers is via sending a personalised email on which you can include the basic details about the event such as the aim of the summit, benefits, reasons to attend the event, who is the target audience, date of the event and much more.
In our summit, the response we got from the existing client speakers was great but after reaching out to EdTech orators we faced some disappointment as the speakers we were hoping to onboard to our summit were charging a high speaking fee, which was quite expected. After 3-4 weeks of outreach emails and calls, we hit the most enthusiastic speakers in EdTech industry.
1. Landing page & Content Planning
Once you are ready with the finalized speakers the next step is to create a great content for an attractive landing page, to gather maximum visitors and potential sign-ups. Key elements to consider while creating a page are:
- Compelling Headline: Concise, descriptive and attention-grabbing headline which clearly explain what an attendee expects from the event.
- Effective Media: Such as event promotion video, a collage of speakers which act as a magnet to attract the potential audience.
- Strong CTA: Clear and compelling call-to-action button. Which showcases they would get a full access to attend the summit after they click a particular button.
- Lead Capture Form: Form where visitors submit their basic information, but the length of the form should be short just the include the necessary details.
- Speakers: Headshot of every single speaker along with their name and topic about which they talk about in the summit.
- Event Details: Nitty-gritty details of the event such as why attend this summit, what would you learn, agenda of the summit, what are the other thing stored in the summit apart from speakers videos.
Below have the screenshot of our virtual summit final landing page:
2. Promotion on all digital channel
The achievement of an event’s goal relies on the promotion method. As it not only helps in widening the reach and creating a brand awareness for an event but also helps in the lead generation process.
There are various channels through which the event can be promoted such as:
- Paid promotion
- Social Media channels
- Event promotion website
- To gain wider reach of the event and make the post ubiquitous, you can also leverage the Speaker’s digital platform
3. Lead Magnet
The lead magnet can be used to attract the customers and retain their interest in attending the summit. For our summit as a lead magnet, we used the idea of Masterclass of our product and shared the Future plans of Fedena.
4. No Live interviews, then record the interview
Recording an interviews is a time consuming process therefore after finalizing the speakers, the first step to do is schedule a meeting with the speakers, choose a topic for the interview, prepare the interviews questions, share it with the interviewees so they can prepare themselves, record the interview and finally edit it to make it look more professional.
1. Promote & Execute the summit
Finally comes the event launch week.
One to two week before an event launch, continuously promote the event and send the event joining link through newsletters so that on the day of an event they will not feel hassled and bewildered. When we launched out summit we had some trouble communicating the process of joining the summit, due to which we received several phone calls about how to join the event. But finally we overcome such problems and everything went smoothly thereafter. Hence, as a rule, continuous interaction with your attendees is very crucial.
You can also educate your attendees by doing regular posts on social media, blog posting, publishing posts on speaker’s digital platform and newsletter about the agenda. Make them feel engaged and excited by maintaining proper communication during the event.
1. Follow up
After 1 -2 weeks of an event, send thank you note to your attendees. Our keynote speakers were existing clients so to appreciate their contribution, time and hard work we honoured them with a “Certificate of Appreciation”.
Benefits of Virtual Summit
Sometimes it becomes very challenging to create a brand awareness for the product for which there are several competitors in the market who are doing the same efforts. But with the help of virtual summit, putting your brand on everybody’s lips become easy, that too at a zero cost expenditure. When recognised & renowned public figures share their opinions then it automatically attracts thousands of people towards your website which helps people start recognizing your brand and this impact remains for a longer time.
Every day marketers perform several kinds of marketing tactics with an aim to generate more and more leads. But generating leads is not always easy and sometimes it costs a good amount of money. But what if you could do the same without spending bucket loads of money to generate important leads. Yes, with the help of virtual summit lead generation become easy and effortless, as the speakers & partners also become the promoters helping by attracting their followers.
Generally, conversion from prospect to leads and leads to the paid customer takes a lot of steps, but with the effective & impactful interviews of renowned speakers on interesting topics in virtual summit attract lots of qualified leads. As, when the well-known speakers & existing clients share their experience in a form of interviews, it captures the trust of the target audience and eventually increases the chance of conversion.
What is coming next?
I wouldn’t say that our first virtual summit was an astounding success but, it was a great experience and we learned a lot from our mistakes. Therefore, to turn our fruitless journey to fruition, in the coming months we are again coming with another exciting event.
BETTER 2018: EdTech Summit & EXPO – The confluence of education and innovative technology
The main aim of this summit is to bring together school’s decision makers and EdTech leaders, so the institutes can grasp the significance of technology and also envision how can the technological transformations aid towards leading and shaping the future of education system.
Follow the link to know more: https://fedena.com/erp/edtech-summit-expo-better-2018
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