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The Surprising Power of Virtual Summits

Julia was eager to host her first virtual summit also known as a digital event. She’d already lined up a list of speakers for it that were experts in their field. She was seeing a steady supply of new subscribers and watching her list grow as the day for the summit drew near.

When she told her business friend about the upcoming event, the other woman advised her to use the recordings to launch her podcast. Since Julia had long wanted to start a podcast, she was intrigued by the idea.

A virtual summit is a great way to kickstart your podcast and create an amazing foundation for future episodes. If you haven’t hosted a virtual summit before, here are just a few of the benefits for your business…

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The Surprising Power of Virtual Summits
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Surprising Power #1: Grow Your  Email List

The first and most obvious benefit of hosting a virtual summit is that it grows your mailing list. With all of the digital noise coming out to consumers these days, many of them are becoming hesitant to give up their email address.

But potential customers look at a virtual summit differently. They see it as far more valuable than the latest collection of worksheets or that eBook opt-in that you’ve been offering as an incentive for the last two years.

A virtual summit is fresh. It’s filled with new information and if you’ve done your planning correctly, it addresses a pain point they have and provides them with plenty of potential solutions they can discover.

Surprising Power #2: Build Your Connections

Besides growing your list, a virtual summit can also grow your network. Your network expands as you make new connections with speakers and leaders within your industry.

You may already know some leaders or speakers that would make an excellent addition to your lineup. But if you don’t, that’s OK too. You can get the word out to your existing network that you’re looking for summit speakers. You might be surprised at how eager others are to hook you up.

Surprising Power  #3: Increase Your Visibility

The wonderful thing about hosting a summit is it gives you more visibility. That’s because as your event is promoted, the awareness around your brand grows too. It’s fun to watch as your platform expands.

You can encourage others to share your summit using affiliate links. Even if your event is free, your affiliates can be “cookied” into your system and will receive future commissions when you release more products or host premium events later on.

Surprising Power #4: Learn More about Your Audience

You can also use a summit to learn more in-depth information about your audience and what they want. When Julia created the registration form for her virtual summit, she made it more detailed than her usual lead magnet. This let her discover her audience’s average age, household income, and their biggest pain point. She can use this information in the future as she creates more podcast episodes and designs her upcoming products.

You can do the same thing Julia did. Because the virtual summit has a higher perceived value, your potential subscribers will be more willing to share information with you. Don’t squander this opportunity! Use it to conduct valuable market research.

Some of the information you might want to collect can include your participants’ job titles, their company, department, or industry. You can also ask for social media information such as their Twitter handle or Facebook profile.

Keep in mind that you may want to customize what you ask for based on the niche you’re in. If you’re hosting a virtual summit for Christian moms, you might ask what denomination they are, what Bible version they use, and even what their biggest faith struggle is. All of this is information you can use later to serve your attendees more effectively.

Surprising Power #5: Easier Than an Offline Summit

With an offline summit, there’s a lot to organize. You have to rent a venue. You have to arrange for seating. You have to find sponsors. You may pay travel expenses for your speakers (as well as a hefty speaking fee). You have to worry about selling enough tickets to cover your costs.

But with an online summit, many of those worries simply fade away. You don’t have to find a venue to rent or worry about seating. You can certainly have sponsors with a virtual summit, but you don’t need them.

You also don’t have to pay travel expenses for your speakers and since your speakers can simply show up only during their hour, you won’t have to pay as much for their time.

This means you’re free to focus on creating and promoting your summit, rather than the myriad of details that offline event organizers have to fret over.

Surprising Power #6: Stay on Top of Industry Trends

When you get well-known speakers and leaders to sign on for your summit, you also have the advantage of staying the loop. Since you’ll be chatting with those who are already creating and reporting on trends, you’ll be in a perfect position to in the know when it comes to the latest news.

Not only does this make you look like an industry leader, but it also gives you insights into what products and services to offer in the future. You’ll be able to anticipate what customers want in the coming weeks and months.

Surprising Power #7: A Bigger Audience

Another benefit of hosting a virtual summit is that you grow your own audience in exciting new ways. Many of your speakers and leaders will most likely be promoting the event on their own social media, websites, and mailing lists. This means even more people will be exposed to your brand.

Of course, with this in mind, you should do an audit of your social media accounts before you launch. Make sure you’re proud of all the content you’ve posted in the past years. Update your bio and profile shots.

Finally, evaluate your website. You may see a sudden surge in traffic and if you don’t have a big enough hosting plan, your website could crash during your event. You may want to consider hosting your site on a private server to ensure it can handle the volume of traffic that will be coming your way.

Surprising Power #8: Kickstart Another Business Goal

Many summit hosts have used their summits to kickstart another business goal. Sarah used her summit to launch her first paid product while Keira used hers to launch her brand-new online academy. With the speakers’ permission, she turned each session into a short module that she paired with a PDF guide and worksheets.

How you choose to use your summit depends on your goals. But given how much time, effort, and expertise goes into yours, you shouldn’t waste this precious opportunity. Think about your upcoming business goals and consider how a summit might help you reach them!

Summits Are Powerful Marketing

You don’t have to wait until you’re a “big name” or earning at a certain income level. The truth is you can host a summit the moment the idea enters your mind. Not only can you do it, you can have fun during it.

Would you like help with your virtual summit?

Check out P.R.I.D.E from Ken Krell. His training will help you create the digital event of your dreams.

The Surprising Power of Virtual Summits
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The Surprising Power of Virtual Summits via @saraharrow
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