I created my first virtual summit, The Branding Summit in late 2014, and it skyrocketed my business and brand to a multi 6-figure online business, and since then I've also helped many students and clients get amazing results from their own summits, like Chandler Bolt who earned $370k+ and got almost 30,000 email subscribers from one summit.
But when I started out I didn't have a program like Virtual Summit Mastery, or any free content like this to learn from, so you can bet I've made many mistakes, and I've seen mistakes other people constantly make with their own summits as I developed my proven VSM system.
In this post, I want to share some of those “rookie virtual summit mistakes” with you here, along with some specific tactics to help you seamlessly bypass any unnecessary challenges that might get in the way.
These tactics took me a long time to learn after creating my own summit, and helping my VSM students and high-end clients, but you can take the lessons you discover here now and instantly apply it as you create your own successful and very profitable virtual summit strategy.
Without further ado, let's get into the rookie virtual summit mistakes!
Mistake #1: Unprofessional / Unattractive design
I see way too many summits out there that simply don't look great. Don't make this rookie mistake please.
If you want influencers to say “HELL YES” to be a speaker on your summit, let alone share your summit, having a compelling, professional design and strong positioning is extremely important if you want to stand out from all the other summits.
Everything from the landing page, thank you page, sales page, inner pages, promotional graphics to the membership area for all access pass buyers. Make sure you great a great looking, high converting landing page before you start inviting speakers on board (if you don't know that well them already).
Keep in mind that there are “budget” solutions out there too, but if you go that route, you still have to make your summit look great. It's more important than you think in order to stand out from the crowd.
- Takeaway: If you want to wow your speakers, affiliate partners and summit attendees, make sure you focus on having a great design and making everything look very professional so your summit stands out from the crowd.
Example of summits with a great , professional looking design: Marisa Murgatroyd's Superhero Summit, Authority Super Summit, The Self-Publishing Success Summit, Women's Strength Summit.
Mistake #2: Way too broad / not specific enough
A virtual summit for everyone is really for nobody. Go specific rather than broad and general. Narrow down your niche until it really hurts.
Niching down allows you to target the needs and desires of your audience more specifically. You will also be able to get more opt-ins and sales, and it helps you position yourself as the go-to expert in your industry much faster than if you go more broad.
Your marketing efforts will be more effective and you'll be able to communicate more clearly once you have defined your niche.
For example, instead of creating a more broad and general “online marketing summit”, I would recommend you go even more niche, and create a “Video Marketing Summit” or “Webinar Marketing Summit”. If you're in the health niche, rather than putting together a general “health summit”, you can put together something more specific like “Home Yoga Summit” or like my student Steph did (who were very skeptical about summits and joining VSM at first), she created the Women's Strength Summit, which turned into a big success with almost 20,000 opt-ins and over $50,000 in sales.
- Takeaway: You'll typically be way more successful if you create a virtual summit that focuses on a specific topic, rather than a broad one.
Virtual summits can work in literally any niche, and in Virtual Summit Mastery I have a list of 100 (!) successful summits in different niches that you can model and steal the ideas from.
Mistake #3: Not promoting your summit early enough
Don't start promoting your summit the same week before it all starts. That's a big, big mistake I see quite a lot of people making (and don't start too far in advance either, then the excitement about your summit will cool off as your summit kicks off).
You need to build up some buzz beforehand on social media, and start promoting it to your own list (if you have one) and other relevant promotional methods around 3-4 weeks prior to the event starts.
Around 2 weeks before the summit is about to kick off, get the speakers and other partners/affiliates to start promoting to their email list and on social media so you drive tons of opt-ins and sales for the all access pass (the paid version of the free summit).
- Takeaway: Give yourself enough lead up time so you can start promoting the summit to get the word out there to as many people as possible.
Mistake #4: Not being super clear with the promo schedule to speakers & affiliate partners
Don't say to your speakers and affiliates that they can “promote whenever you want or if you feel like it” or simply give them too many options. That just leads to a lot of confusion, and they will most likely not promote… and that's not good at all.
Remember that they are very busy entrepreneurs, and you need to be very clear from the very beginning what you expect from them, and what they can expect from you.
Create a promotional calendar for your virtual summit. Treat your summit as a “product launch”… not just as some “free event”.
Make it super easy for them to promote the summit to their audience by providing them all the email swipe copy, promotional graphics etc., and letting them know what the ideal dates are to promote.
The key is to have great communication with your speakers and affiliate partners, and don't be afraid to ask them to promote your summit. The worst that can happen is that they say that it's not a good timing.
- Takeaway: Communicate with the speakers and affiliate partners as often as you can without being pushy… you definitely don't want to come across this way. Find a reason to reach out to them and get them excited to share the summit with their audience, for example when you announce a new speaker, or about how many opt-ins and sales they helped you generate so far.
With that being said, I do not recommend that you add in some kind of speaker agreement that they are required to promote like some summit hosts do (I've been invited to quite a few of those, and normally I just say no if I don't know who they are).
If you don't make the rookie virtual summit mistakes I share in this post, and focus on providing epic content on your summit, then the speakers and affiliates will be far more likely to share it with their audience since they would do them a disservice if they don't.
You also need to have a long-term focused mindset…. building authentic, powerful relationships don't happen over night.. yes I know that you want to grow your email list and generate more money in your business, but you don't definitely don't want your summit to feel like a “transactional experience” where you barely know any of the speakers and they just mail for you because you included it in the speaker agreement… The good news is that since you're reading this post, you won't be one of those people.
Mistake #5: Obsessing too much over the wrong things, especially over the name of your summit
While the name of your virtual summit is important, it matters far less than you think. Go with a summit name that is clear so people understand what your summit is all about. Make sure that .com is available, but be aware of trademarks (for example you can't use WordPress, Apple etc. in your name).
You don't necessarily have to include “summit” in the name as long as it's clear that it's an event.
Positioning and crafting a unique hook for your summit is what really matters, and is much more important than the name of your summit itself. With so many podcasts, online courses, webinars and even virtual summits out there, you need to be different in order to stand out from the crowd.
- Takeaway: Position and crafting a unique hook for your summit is far more important than the summit name. You want to make sure your summit really stands out from everything else out there, so you can get your speakers, affiliates and summit attendees excited about what you've created.
Examples of virtual summit names: “The Self-Publishing Success Summit”, “Author Speaker Coach Superhero Summit”, “Women's Strength Summit”, “Impact & Influence Summit”, “AuthorConf”
As you can see with the summit names above, you don't have to complicate things. Brainstorm a little bit, then just pick a name and run with it. The name itself will NOT make or break your summit.
Remember, don't get held up by the rookie virtual summit mistakes I share in this post as you jump into creating your own summit.
You can create a successful virtual summit too, if you just follow a proven, step-by-step system! You got this 🙂
Which one of the rookie mistakes resonate with you THE MOST?
I'd love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below!