What is a Virtual Summit? [Bonus: Guide]

Summits are an essential part of any organization’s growth strategy. But organizing and hosting an in-person summit can be quite daunting. You have to send invites, book halls, print collateral, and arrange for catering and accommodation. And that’s a lot of money and materials down the drain. 

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 is available for the attendees. Online presentations are leveraged to communicate ideas. Virtual summits are considered very useful for sparking discussions and problem-solving. 

Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Summit

1. Expand Your Reach

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

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

2. 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? Through virtual summits, the 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 make your event more accessible, which means more registrations.  

3. Broaden Your Professional Network 

Additionally, you and your attendees can build strong relationships with industry leaders and experts based around the world. Through virtual summits, you not only get to build your brand and solve real world problems, but also get an opportunity to build influencing networks and global communities.

4. Brand Awareness

If you are looking to sell a product or service, one of the most important aspects is to make sure that your potential customers trust your brand. For this purpose, 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 and may take a long time before they can decide whether to trust you or not. 

what is a virtual summit

Virtual events 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. 

5. 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
  • Solve a real world problem
  • Build relationships with industry experts, prospects, and potential partners
  • Generate sales leads 
  • Grow your email list
  • Build a community

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

For a better understanding of our offerings, browse the vFairs virtual summit.

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 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

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 the 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.

How Long Should a Virtual Summit Be?

The normal duration of a virtual summit can fall somewhere between three and 10 days. This duration helps enhance attendee knowledge on important topics and solve the main problem statement.

But the right duration always depends on the scale of your event. If it’s a small-scale event with 30 to 50 attendees, the summit can span from one to three days. However, if you’re reaching a global audience with more than 10 speakers, the summit may take more than five days to

Virtual Summit Ideas

1. Add gamification

Games such as spin the wheel, trivias, and quizzes excite attendees and keep them engaged. 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. 

2. Q&As

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.

3. 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

4. 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. 

5. Branded virtual booths

Branded booths are a game-changer, be it an online conference, webinar, or summit. Through an immersive virtual booth, exhibitors can boost their visibility. Additionally, vFairs lets 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. 

6. Interactive webinars

You can host live, semi-live, or on-demand 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.

7. 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 has been helping global businesses organize striking virtual summits and conferences over the past few years. They’re fulfilling their marketing, sales, training, and corporate communication needs with the platform.

And the responses have been amazing. Following are some insightful client success stories of virtual summits to help you narrow down your research: 

Want to know how to get your virtual summits right with vFairs? We’ve put together a vFairs online summit tutorial for you.

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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What is a Virtual Summit? [Bonus: Guide]

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