Today we begin a brand new series that’s all about hosting a virtual summit! I hosted my first virtual summit on May 22nd and 23rd of 2024 for Christian Virtual Assistants. I learned a great deal in the process and I wanted to share what I learned so you can benefit from my experience. That’s what we’ll be talking about over the next four weeks. Today, we’ll focus on the purpose of hosting a virtual summit.

Hosting a Virtual Summit

I have been a virtual assistant for 16 years and have always wanted to have a summit or some kind of online event to attend that was specifically for Christian virtual assistants. The events that I found and attended were not faith-based. I REALLY wanted an event that was designed for virtual assistants with the topics presented through the lens of Christian faith. Nothing like that existed, so I decided to create it myself.

The Purpose of Hosting a Virtual Summit

If you’ve never attended a virtual event or summit like this before, basically what it does is brings together industry experts and leaders to share ideas, solve problems, and exchange information or research. One HUGE pro of hosting a virtual summit is that you’re not restricted by location. If you are like me, it takes a great deal to go to live events. I struggle with this for a number of reason but the main ones are the cost and time. Living in a rural area, for me, means it takes 2 hours just to get to the airport. Then, I have to plan around family and all their many things.

I do really love in person events but I haven’t been able to attend one since February of 2020. I have plans to attend one later this year in August. But virtual summits are a wonderful way for you to get what you can from home. You can still network with other people and learn from other people. There are many wins to hosting and even just attending a virtual summit.

Most will be organized presentations on a virtual stage. This includes slide presentations, documents, and videos for the attendees and oftentimes it’ll also include a resource center or a video vault. For example, my summit had several of those elements and I’ll get into that in a moment.

Identify Your Purpose for Hosting a Virtual Summit

Virtual summits can be paid or free and that depends upon the goal that you have as a host. You’ll have to determine what your goal is as a host. Identifying your purpose is the very first step because it’ll help you make decisions in the planning process.

Possible goals could be:

  1. Growing your list
  2. Make an income
  3. Enlarge your sphere of influence

Identifying your virtual summit purpose all depends on where you are in your business and where you want to take it.

The Purpose of a Virtual Summit over In-Person

Lower Cost

Other Benefits to hosting a virtual summit is that it does have a lower cost. Obviously, when hosting a live event you have to think about location, food, and providing all the physical aspects of a live event. Venues can be expensive, coordinating food for attendees can be pricey and complicated, and you have to consider paying your speakers to reimburse travel expenses.

Higher ROI

Higher ROI is the second benefit to virtual. You won’t invest so much on the front in so you’ll have a higher return on your investment on the backend.

More Comfortable

You can literally attend a virtual summit in your pajamas if you wanted to so you can dress however you like. You’re also not getting lost in between sessions trying to find where you’re supposed to be because you’re in your own home clicking a link. So you’re familiar with your physical environment.

Easy Setup

As a host, it makes it easier on you for setup too. You’re not having to prepare a physical space to welcome people and speakers into.

Flexible Structure

You can organize your summit anyway you want. You can make the entire event free and have it so everyone has to attend at a certain date and time to be a part of the presentations. That’s what I did, but I also had a VIP pass which I made $27 and they received access to all the recordings of the summit and an additional resource pack where the speakers donated another product of theirs with a value of at least $27 each so that the VIP pass would be a real value. I had 9 speakers, 10 including myself, and we did about 40 minute presentations with Q&A afterwards. It went from 8:30AM to around 2:00PM. There was time in between each speaker to have a bathroom break and I allowed a 45 minute lunch hour. I also gave my speakers an opportunity to promote something of theirs. They could choose to do it at the end of their talk or they could do it within a free resource they offered the attendees.

Easy to Sell Sponsorships & Promote Sponsors

I had sponsorships that I sold in advance at different levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each level gave the sponsor different levels of promotional visibility throughout the summit and leading up to the summit. It included social media posts, the summit website, mentions during the summit, and pages in the VIP workbook. These sponsors helped to make the summit free for attendees.

Grow Your Email List

One of the main benefits to me as a host was that I was able to do those things without it costing me a lot of money out of pocket and I was able to grow my list and expand my reach to a group of people that I might not have been able to before. Each of those different speakers had an email list, even if it was a small list, that I was able to send emails to and invite them to sign up for the event. But then they got to know about me when maybe they hadn’t heard of me in the past. We promoted the summit, people signed up, and people got the VIP pass. Some came and listened to the speakers including myself and I was able to reach a new audience that I otherwise might not have been able to reach.

The Rewards are Worth the Effort

One of the main things to remember is that this is a HUGE undertaking but it also has a great return. I would definitely do it again, in fact, I hope to make my summit and annual event. I encourage you to consider hosting your own virtual summit.

Hosting a Virtual Summit

Questions? Join the Group!

If you have specific questions about hosting an virtual summit, I’d love to get those because that would help me to make sure that I’m covering everything that you’re interested in knowing during this series on the podcast. You can submit your questions inside The Christian Business Advantage Facebook group. I look forward to seeing you there!

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