Allow me to give you a glimpse into delivering a virtual summit and see how not following the strategy outlined in this episode ruined one of my own virtual events in 2020.
Once the start day for your virtual summit has come, you’ve got to nail the delivery of the content to your attendees. In this podcast episode, you’ll get a glimpse into the VSM Summit Delivery Strategy to ensure the best experience for your summit attendees.
Today, we are talking about the summit delivery strategy. You will learn what it takes to deliver your summit to your attendees when the time has come to run your event finally.
We will go over:
- The preparation for the summit delivery,
- the delivery process itself,
- how to get the speakers and sponsors involved
- what to do if you have live content on your summit and not just pre-recorded sessions,
- and how to adapt the website during the summit.
I wrap up this episode with some key takeaways that I’ve learned the hard way over the past couple of years and running multiple summits myself.
The Preparation Phase
What do you need to have to have the summit delivery be as smooth as possible and thus have the best experience for your attendees?
First of all, you only deliver your summit via email to reach your attendees. There is no sharing of summit contents in any other place than email. Let me say that again. You are not sharing direct links to your summit sessions anywhere else, except for your emails to the registered attendees.
Those emails need to be the main reason for people to sign up for your event. Think about it, if you would share the summit sessions publicly, why would anybody sign up for your email list? They could use the public links to see the sessions.
You are only sharing the registration page. But, of course, you can share other pages like the Playbook Page, Contact or FAQ, and stuff like that. But don’t share the summit contents anywhere else, except for the emails that go to registered attendees.
You also need to have the daily pages and speaker pages with the embedded sessions ready to deliver your summit. It would help if you also had your email account set up correctly. That means it’s not enough to simply create a new email address for sending those emails.
Ideally, you have a warmed-up email address, and email has been used before. If there is some active communication on that email address, and if you have the SPF and DKIM records set up, you’ll see higher delivery rates.
The Summit Delivery Process
Now onto the summit delivery process itself. How do you tell your attendees that the summit is now alive? And how will they find out that the sessions go live every day throughout the event?
I’ve said it already: This is all happening in email sequences. And I highly recommend that you use a sequence, an automated sequence, that is.
Don’t send those emails yourself every day during your summit because you have more important stuff to do, frankly. So you need to set up an email sequence in your favorite email tool (I recommend Active Campaign) to take that work off your shoulders during your event.
Every day of your summit, you send out emails with direct links to the specific topics and sessions that go live on that day. That email is the one place where your attendees can get the information of which sessions go live on which day and how to access them.
Don’t forget that your attendees are super excited about that event and are happy that it’s finally starting.
I assume that being the event host, you are also very excited on that day that the summit is finally kicking off. The chances are that you have put in months in preparation. Now is your time to shine, right?
You need to make sure that your emails reflect that excitement. In addition, it would help if you made sure that your attendees get the spirit of the event. They need to feel that you’re bringing them together as a community.
You need to write your emails in a very excited and empathetic voice. But then, it would help if you carried that excitement over to your attendees.
The purpose of the daily email is multifold. This email is essential, so let me go over the details here.
First of all, you want to inform your attendees about the sessions that go live on any given day of your event.
Second, You want to foster a sense of engagement and excitement around the sessions. So you could ask the attendees to share their best takeaways, for example. Or have them share their favorite session of any given day.
Thirdly, you also need to remind your attendees how your summit works. You need to explain to them where they can access the schedule for the event and how to access the All-Access Pass page – in case they want to see sessions that have already expired.
And that is what people forget from time to time. It’s not enough to share which sessions have gone live on any given day. You also need to make it very easy for attendees to use the summit website.
How Coaches, Consultants, Experts, and Speakers Are Using
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Virtual conferences are still quite a new concept. And even in the internet marketing field, I constantly get questions about navigating a summit website when running virtual events. So you cannot make a summit website clear enough, and you cannot over-communicate and overshare the links to the most critical pieces of content on your site. That’s the schedule, that’s a daily overview, and that’s the speaker pages. And, of course, the sponsor area and the All-Access Pass page.
What you also need to do in your delivery emails, if you have Deadline Funnel integrated into your summit, is to use their links instead of direct links to the website.
With Deadline Funnel, you have countdowns that cannot be circumvented. You have countdowns that cannot be tricked. So what I use this for is when I have a session expire after 24 hours. So it goes live on a Monday, and then on Tuesday, I want the session not to be available anymore. I can do that with Deadline Funnel or for the one-time offer that I’ve shared in episode four of this podcast (check out vsmpodcast.com/4).
If you want to check that episode out, the summit funnel strategy, we have a one-time offer page that is only available for 15 minutes. That countdown timer is also done with Deadline Funnel.
Suppose you want to track sales with Deadline Funnel to keep your data consistent. In that case, you need to use specific links that Deadline Funnel generates. Instead of linking directly to the summit sessions, you’re using the campaign links generated inside Deadline Funnel.
That is how the circle closes. If you have Deadline Funnel, you need to use their links to link to the specific speaker pages, daily overview pages, and other relevant pages. Take advantage of the countdown, automated content expiration, and sales tracking.
Getting Speakers And Sponsors Involved
Of course, if you have speakers and sponsors involved in your delivery, which you always should.
You need to have them share your event, at least on the day their session goes live. And ideally, even the day before and a couple of days before that. So the idea, what scenario is that speakers and sponsors promote your event to their audience at least three times. If they can’t do it three times, the minimum should be a promotion on the day their session goes live.
They should be sharing it with the email list and on social media. So you need to give them the swipe copy, of course, so that their life is made as easy as possible. You can create images for them as well. If you don’t have a design team, I highly recommend deerdesigner.com for creating those graphics.
Tiago is a good friend of mine, the founder, and he’s done a fantastic job. I’m using them myself. I highly highly recommend them and if you test them, tell them that I’ve sent you so that they know where you’re coming from. Maybe you get a bonus, who knows?
What do you also want to do is subscribe to your speakers’ newsletters.
And ideally, you’ve done that in the preparation phase because this allows you to track who is promoting your event and who isn’t.
When you’re rerunning the event, you know whom to invite back and who not to invite back because obviously, you don’t want speakers who don’t share your event.
Speaker promotion is, after all, the primary traffic source for your summit.
Incorporating Live Content
If you have live content on your event, you want to promote that in dedicated emails. Think about live training from a sponsor, an opening keynote, or the closing keynote; you want to promote those webinars or live panels or keynotes in dedicated emails. Additionally, to those daily overview emails.
So you would mention those life events in those daily overview emails, but you also want to send reminders at least one hour before you’re going live. And if applicable, you can also send recap emails for those live events where you summarize what has happened and where people can catch the replay.
Handling The Website During The Summit
There’s also something that you have to do. So this is already overwhelming. I’m sorry, but I have to talk about the website here as the last point. I know that I’m rushing through this. Still, this episode is meant to give you a good overview of the summit delivery strategy.
On the website, you need to expire the sessions as your summit progresses. That means that each day should only be available for a limited amount of time.
Usually, this is between 24 and 48 hours. You need to create enough urgency for your attendees to spend time on your summit website and attend the sessions. I’ve used myself as a crash-test dummy, and in one of my summits, I did not expire the sessions. It ran from Monday to Sunday. The entire week that summit was in 2020 during the pandemic.
I thought that with all the madness in the world, I would give attendees the flexibility to see the sessions at their convenience. What ended up happening is that attendees did not show up. And I assume that is because there was no urgency for them to show up.
There was no urgency to catch the sessions they signed up for, even though they signed up for the event. Attendees told me how excited they were when the time came and the events started, yet, there was no immediate urgency to watch the session before it expired.
And then they just put it off and off and off. And some people even told me they wanted to see a session that went live on Monday directly. But then they thought, well, I can see it on Wednesday, or I can see it on Thursday. And as you know, life happens, and they never got around to seeing the session because they didn’t block the time.
So you need to expire your content. And I’ve already said that I’m using Deadline Funnel to do this. You could use the simple WordPress publishing or private publishing method as well. Simply unpublish expired pages and redirect them to an “Expired” page. And on that Expired page, you are essentially saying something like,
Hey, I’m sorry, but you want to watch a session that has already expired. Still, you can grab lifetime access to the session and all the other sessions and get XYZ bonuses if you upgrade to the All-Access Pass.
And then you have a call to action button that says, learn more about the Alexis pass, or even linked directly to the card if it’s on a small price.
So this is what you need to do on the website. You need to expire the sessions. This is super, super important.
Inside Virtual Summit Mastery, we teach you how to do this properly with various tools.
There are three takeaways I want you to get out of this podcast.
Number one, the only place you share direct links to the summit sessions is in your emails. Otherwise, you’re losing the reason for attendees to sign up, and you’re not building your email list.
As simple as that.
Second, you need to be consistent with your emails every single day. Tell your attendees which sessions are going live, how to navigate the website, and pitch your All-Access Pass to attendees who didn’t buy yet.
You need to be proactive to increase your odds of the emails getting into the inbox of your attendees rather than going to spam.
So you need to set up your email account correctly and need to warm it up properly.
And lastly, you need to use automated email sequences to save yourself time.
Automating the emails will also give you the freedom to write those emails ahead of time, so you are sure that the emails convey excitement and give all the information.
That is what it’s all about. Thank you so much for listening and going through these show notes.
If you want free training to host virtual summits, you can check out summitmasterclass.com.
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