If you are a thriving business you have had many summits in a single year alone right? Because you know how essential they are for your business. But on the other hand, organizing and hosting a physical and in-person summit can be quite daunting for example: sending out invites, arranging food and accommodation and even transportation can drain your budget and time. Because all summits involve some type of travel for both you and your attendees. 

These costs and geographical limitations have encouraged organizers to up-skill their summits through a virtual environment not only to increase networking opportunities but also to bring people together irrespective of their physical location – hence forming virtual summits. 

What is a Virtual Summit?

A virtual summit brings together industry experts, business leaders, and speakers together online. All these experts talk on or discuss a specific topic. Attendees also register online to attend these summits. The main difference between physical and virtual summits is that physical events use an actual auditorium whereas in virtual summits a virtual auditorium. Online presentations are leveraged to communicate ideas. Virtual summits are considered very useful for attracting prospects. 

Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Summit

Expand Your Reach for Lead Generation

Looking to attract customers without geographical limitations? One of the easiest and most effective ways to generate leads is through virtual events. 

Potential leads are always spread around the globe, and it becomes challenging to reach every one of them. 

Keep Your Event Cost in Check 

In-person events cost twice as much as virtual events – well if you can avail yourself of the same benefits or more within the budget how can you refuse? That’s right, you can not. Through virtual events/ summits overhead costs are drastically reduced. As a result you don’t need to charge high registration fees or ticket prices to break even. Lower prices are one of the many reasons that enable individuals to attend, who otherwise wouldn’t even have considered attending in the first place. 

Broaden Your Professional Network 

Additionally, you and your attendees can build strong relationships with industry leaders which as a result open doors of endless opportunities for potential future partnerships, and affiliate programs. Therefore, virtual events alone are enough to excite your prospects and eventually have them turn into your full-time customers. Through virtual summits, you not only get to build your brand but also get an opportunity to build influencing networks.

Brand Awareness

If you are looking to sell a product or service, then one of the most important aspects is to make sure that your potential customers trust your brand and for that, you may want to speed up your brand awareness activities. Because if people haven’t heard about you or your brand, chances are they may not buy from you instantly and may take a long time before they can decide whether to trust you or not. And businesses, especially those that are small do not have enough time to lose. 

what is a virtual summit

Virtual events, on the other hand, give you a chance to make some noise about your offerings. And when the noise is combined with word of mouth from industry experts – the success is immediate. Moreover, a virtual summit organized around your brand and the problem that it is solving can help you position yourself as a market leader in the industry and that too on a budget. 

Increase Your ROI

Virtual summit hosting platforms come with many in-built features and one of those features is the ability to make sales during the event through exhibit booths. For example, vFairs offer cart options with the custom booth environment, through which organizers can close sales faster by processing orders right through the virtual summit. These shopping carts help you see an instant ROI.

How Do I Create an Online Summit?

If you are looking to host a successful summit online, and excited about it, then you should know some of the basic yet important steps about how it works. 

Step 1: Identify Your Goals

The first thing you need to do is identify your goals.  why are you hosting a virtual summit? What do you intend to get out of it? Maybe you are looking to generate more email subscribers or secure leads – it can be anything. But at the end of the day, you have to be clear about what you are looking to achieve. You should be able to answer the what and the why. Some common goals of virtual summits are:

  • Build company reputation in the industry
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Build relationships with industry experts, prospects, and potential partners
  • Generate sales leads 
  • Grow your email list

Step 2: Plan Your Virtual Summit

You need to make sure that your plan aligns with your event purpose and goals. Some important things to consider while planning is:

  • What is your event budget?
  • What will be the date of the virtual summit?
  • How long will it be available on demand after the live days? 
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is the problem that you will be addressing?
  • How many guest speakers will be invited?

Step 3: Choose Your Virtual Summit Hosting Platform 

Anyone can arrange a zoom meeting or a webinar and call it a day, but hosting a virtual event that looks and feels like a physical event is the real deal. In order to ensure high engagement rates, you require a hosting platform that offers all the features you need to stand out. Look for a platform that offers the following features:

  • 3D interfaces to enhance customer experience
  • Live, semi-live and pre-recorded webinar sessions, 
  • On-demand availability even after the event has concluded, 
  • Easy platform set up for organizers,
  • In-built event marketing options, 
  • Networking features such as audio and video meetings

Just make sure to choose a platform that fits your budget and your event goals.

virtual summit

Step 4: Decide Your Virtual Summit Format

Now that you have decided on the virtual event hosting platform and familiarized yourself with the features that it offers – planning your summit’s format becomes a lot easier. In this step you will decide if you want to run a sole virtual event or a mix of both – live and virtual also known as a hybrid. Do you want to go with live event sessions or pre-recorded? If you choose to go with live events, your attendees can network with other industry professionals and experts in real-time through live Q&A but if you decide to go with pre-recorded on-demand sessions, catering to different time zones becomes a lot easier. The choice is yours!

Step 5: Invite Guest Speakers

No virtual summit or event is complete without speakers. That is why speaker outreach should be a top priority for you.. Invite influencers and industry experts that best fit the goal of your virtual summit. You can also utilize LinkedIn to  connect with industry leaders, build relationships and invite speakers to your summit. Remember to highlight the benefits of the mutual collaboration such as more exposure, high authority in the market, and more email list subscribers.

Step 6: Content Creation for Your Summit

The last step before launching your event is to create exciting and meaningful content. Pro-tip is to plan and design content way ahead of time to avoid missing out on anything and avoid delays. You would need:

  • Announcement/press release 
  • Blog posts
  • Email marketing to build curiosity 
  • Social media promotion 
  • Beautiful landing pages

virtual summit with vFairs

How Long Should a Virtual Summit Be?

The normal duration of a virtual summit can fall somewhere between 3-10 days. This is a basic duration for enhancing attendee knowledge on the important topics and to solve one of the target audience’s main problems. But it depends directly on the scale of your event. If it’s a small-scale event with attendees between 30-50, the summit can span 1 to3 days. However, if you are reaching a global audience with more than 10 speakers, the summit may take more than 5 days to conclude. 

How Much Does it Cost to Host a Virtual Summit?

To host a successful summit, you need a service provider to help and guide you throughout the process. The service provider in your case is the virtual event hosting platform – The pricing of your event depends on the kind of features you need, the numbers of attendees, and level of service. For example hosting a simple webinar with few attendees and chat options will cost much less than one with the 3D interface, gamification features,  and dedicated support. But generally speaking, you can expect to spend somewhere around $10,000 to up to $50,000 or more.

Virtual Summit Ideas

Add gamification – Fun and games such as spin the wheel, or trivia and quizzes can help your event attendees stay engaged throughout the event. Speaking of, vFairs offers amazing opportunities to enhance attendee interest and spark curiosity throughout the event through activities like leaderboards, scavenger hunts and trivia to incite a little competition among your event attendees within your virtual event. 

Q & A – Give your attendees a chance to understand your brand even better through two-way communication during a Q&A session and offer an interactive summit experience through live polls.

1:1 chat options – Give a chance to your sponsor and exhibitors to network with attendees through one-on-one chat options using video, audio, or text chat features. Allow attendees to schedule meetings with sponsors and exhibitors during the summit through meeting schedulers to reserve their spots. 

chat rooms

Landing pages – Your virtual summit needs an enticing event page with eye-catching and engaging images. Plus, it should have all the essential details to create pre-event hype such as information on your speakers, your event agenda and list of sponsors.  Among other things, vFairs also designs attention-grabbing event landing pages to drive sign-ups. 

Branded virtual booths – Branded booths are a game-changer, be it an online conference, webinar, or a summit. Through an immersive virtual booth, exhibitors can boost their visibility. Additionally, vFairs let exhibitors insert their videos and upload all their content including marketing collateral to the booth for maximum reach., attendees can download the content into their virtual briefcase and email it to themselves for future reference. 

Interactive webinars – You can host live, semi-live or pre-recorded webinars with live Q&As. This will give your speakers more flexibility. You can also make the webinars available on demand after the live event days.

Integrate social media – The impact of social media is huge when used the right way. Plus, social media is considered crucial for marketing and running promotional campaigns. Therefore, consider adding a social media integration to your event to boost audience engagement. 

Some Virtual Summit Examples from vFairs 

vFairs have been helping global businesses to organize striking virtual summits and conferences over the course of the past few years. The client responses have been magnificent and really satisfying. Companies around the world are utilizing vFairs virtual event services to fulfill their marketing, sales enablement, training and corporate communication needs. Through vFairs virtual event hosting platform, they are offering valuable content and ample networking opportunities to their prospects in exchange for ROI. Following are some of insightful client success stories (are not limited to) of virtual summits to help you narrow down your research: 

Read more about vFairs’ client success stories through this link.

Virtual Summit Checklist 

  • Set your goals
  • Choose your topic
  • Decide on the summit’s date
  • Make a list of potential speakers
  • Create a speaker checklist 
  • Book interview ties with them
  • If you want to do pre-recorded sessions, record an interview with them,
  • Create content such as graphics and banners for social media
  • Create a striking branded landing page with Summit’s name and dates, speaker profiles, explainer videos, summit agenda, FAQs, and sign up for registration
  • Promote your event through PPC, and other social platforms 
  • Launch the event 
  • Send thank-you notes to each of your speakers

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