There are dozens and dozens of strategies to create influence and increase your sales. Blogging, Podcasting, Social Media, SEO, etc. If you have tried these you may have found that growing your audience, sales and influence in the marketplace, can be a slow and difficult process.
And it’s only going to get harder in the years to come. All that may have been very VERY effective in 2007 but in 2017, the cat’s out of the bag, and EVERYONE is doing it. However, if you’re an entrepreneur and have ever wished that there was a business strategy you could quickly implement to increase your sales and make you an influencer in your market, without spending years to do it, you may have just found it.
Enter Virtual Summits.
A virtual summit is one of the fastest, if not THE fastest way to grow your audience and your influence, while building relationships with influencers in your industry.
Essentially, a virtual summit is just like a conference, or convention, but since it’s hosted virtually all boundaries are quickly erased.
All the guests and speakers can be in any location as long as they have an internet connection. The boundaries of expensive accommodations are no longer needed. Everyone stays home or in their office to participate and watch the presenters. Most boundaries of interaction are over too, because anyone can interact and ask questions in social media groups, comment and become part of the event just like they can in person.
What’s more is that you don’t even need a huge following to plan, organize and host your first profitable virtual summit online. It is, actually, a fairly straightforward and simple process. Of course, there are a few steps that you’ll need to go through to ensure success. Let’s get right to it.
Define Your Niche
- Who do you want to serve? – Your first job is to figure out who you want to serve. What problem are you looking to solve? Defining that is a first is an important part to ensuring that you like doing what you choose to do long term.
- Match Your Skills to Their Needs – Once you’ve picked the audience, you can now match your skills to the needs of that audience. It doesn’t matter if you plan to make a physical product, an information product, or provide a service or something else entirely. Find that intersection of your skills with the audience’s needs and you’ll have a winning combo.
- Create a Plan of Action – Once you know what you’re doing and who you want to do it for, then you have a niche and it’s time to create a plan of action. Since your plan is to host virtual summits, you can choose to have other products or make the summit your product.
Develop a Topic for Your Summit
Here’s where you can get more creative with your virtual summits than you can with your own products. Using the information, you have gathered about your audience, you’ll want to develop a focused topic for the summit rather than a broad one.
Using the audience “Business Coaches” as an example, you might consider making a list of needs any business coach may have. You already know they need what you offer, marketing funnel training – right? Now you need to make a list of things they need that other people can offer to teach them at your summit.
Coaches may need training in:
- Creating a Business Plan
- Sales & Marketing
- List Building
- Traffic Generation
- and more…
They need all of this, plus very focused subsets of training in each category. You can host a summit that is all encompassing for business coaches covering all these areas, but I recommend you can choose to focus on a subset. For example, only on sales and marketing and have each speaker speak about a different area of marketing, such as social media marketing, advertising on Facebook and so forth.
It’s up to you but you need to be able to do is give your summit a name, along with branding so there is no mistake about who the virtual summit is for. You’ll need this for two reasons.
- To attract the right guests
- To attract the right speakers
But first things first. You’ll need speakers or presenters who also serve this niche in the broad topic you’ve chosen. Thankfully, there are great ways to choose speakers that not only help you market your event but also provide your audience what they need.
How to Choose the Right Summit Speakers
Now that you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to find speakers or presenters. It’s important that you don’t fill the spots with just anyone. You need to find just the right speakers who will present about topics that your audience cares about.
In addition, you want presenters who know how to engage the audience, tell a good story, be vulnerable and even humorous if the occasion calls for it – all while delivering their message without sounding like an infomercial. The point of the talk should not be to make a sale, but to give valuable information to the attendees. If you want these types of speakers, you’ll need to tailor the information when you do a call for speakers toward that type of speaker.
There are a lot of places you can find speakers:
- Speaker’s Bureau
- Popular Podcasters
- Podcast Guests
- Awesome Bloggers
- Popular Google Plus Members
- Large Facebook Group Leaders
- People Who Say They Are Speakers
- People You’ve Seen Speak
- People Who Speak at Live Events
You can find all of these types of people within your niche by doing a simple Google Search. You can also search on various platforms. For example, you can go to iTunes and find podcasts in your niche and listen to some. From each area, make a list of potential speakers. Don’t worry right now if they’ll be interested or not. Make a list in order of desirability with the most wanted at the top and the ones that will be acceptable at the bottom. Try to find at least two to three times the number of speakers you think you’ll need.
Group them together in terms of followers, audience engagement and talent. This means you must watch them for a while and listen to them speak in order to know whether or not they can do it. As you order them on your list, that’s the order you’ll invite them. You already should know how many speakers you need, and what topics need to be covered so that you don’t have repeating and competing guests. You won’t invite them all at once. You’re going to take your time to fill the spots and have alternates on standby.
Launching Your Virtual Summit
Now that you have everything worked out, you’ll need to launch your summit. Today, most online launches consist of a soft launch and a hard launch.
A soft launch is a very subtle way to start creating buzz about your event. You can do this by talking about the organization and planning of the event. For example, if you nab an awesome speaker, you can send out a Tweet “Awesome, just got so and so to speak at my next event!” You can then link to the speaker’s page, which will give everyone information about the event.
This is the time you start running ads on Facebook. Your sales page is done, you’ve tested a couple of ideas with smaller audiences, all your speakers are lined up and the event is about six weeks away. This is now the time that you want all your speakers, your affiliates and everyone to start talking about your event in a big way.
Using both methods to promote your virtual summit will help you in so many ways. A soft launch can help identify problems with your technology before your hard launch. Once your hard launch happens, it’s do or die.
Traffic Generating Tactics
Both your soft and hard launch tactics can help you generate traffic. But, so can these other methods.
- Facebook Ads – Honestly, if you cannot find your audience on Facebook, you probably will never find an audience anyplace. Facebook ads are an inexpensive way to generate traffic fast right to your event.
- Social Media – You can also generate traffic through social media postings, groups, and more. If you’ve built up relationships over time and people already trust you. Chances are when you mention your event they’ll all click through and sign up on the spot.
- Email Lists – If you already have an active email list full of your targeted audience, be sure to start your soft launch about your virtual summit to them. After all, they can help you name your event, choose a topic for your event, and even find speakers.
- Create an Amazing Event Page – Create a page that clearly states who your summit is for and what end result your event will deliver. If you’re not sure how to create a great page that gets results, find someone to do it for you. It is THAT important.
- Blog About It – Start blogging about your virtual summit the moment you start planning it. This is a form of soft launch that will get people excited about it and want to attend or speak. You can also have a Facebook pixel installed on your blog and retarget those visitors using Facebook ads.
- Do Mini Webinars – You can do free webinars to promote your virtual summit easily using Google Hangouts or Zoom. These events can simply be small precursor events that talk about what you’re going to talk about and even give a little sneak peek about what you can deliver.
Treat your virtual summit like you would any product you have created and want to sell. Promote it in every single way you can from paid ads to online marketing via search engine optimization and earned traffic.
If you want to get started with your virtual summit, it’s time. To figure out what your topic should be about, why not try going to your current audience and asking them about what type of information they’d like in a virtual summit online? After all, what will make you the most profit of all is offering your audience exactly what they already want, and what’s the best way to find out? Ask them.
There’s no better way to accelerate the growth of your audience, establish yourself as an influencer in your field, and create a product your customers will love by hosting your own virtual summit.