Virtual summits are supposed to be cheap.
And I mean that from my heart since I come from in-person events that need an actual space to hold the attendees, decorations, yummy food and the whole she-bang.
So it pains me deeply when someone drops so much money doing a virtual summit that makes an in-person event look cheap!
Here’s the top 3 virtual summit mistakes that you definitely need to avoid to save some moolahs:
1. Not building a SOLID event foundation
Having a solid event foundation may seem unnecessary.
After all it’s just a couple of documents that you might never refer back to again once the virtual summit ends. But if it’s your first time hosting a virtual summit, these exact things will be your lighthouse for your mighty ship.
A solid event foundation goes beyond the names of the speakers or even summit ideas, it details everything that you plan to do with your time, money and manpower.
It’s your event budget that projects the profits & expenses you are going to make, so you don’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on unnecessary stuff
It’s your 3-month timeline that details everything you need to get done so that you don’t bite off more than you can chew and then having to postpone your summit because you didn’t calculate the time right
It’s your consolidated speakers' contacts documents, so when it's time to look for speakers, all you need to focus on is getting a YES, instead of spending time to research for their email address all over again
Basically, having these documents ready prevent future problems. Trust me.
2. Having ZERO understanding of your event platform
Even if you are non-tech savvy, it helps to have a super basic understanding of your event platform. Like knowing where to go to send an email and edit the event page.
If you are hiring someone to help you with this aspect, I recommend asking for a short tour of the platform or asking them to teach you some basic functions or features.
Why is it so important?
Because virtual summit is a time sensitive project.
Imagine having to rely on someone else to make even the minor tweaks like a spelling error on the event page. Instead of spending 5 minutes to log on and fix it, you spend the 5 minutes crafting an email to your IT person and then wait for a few hours for a response while hundreds of potential attendees have already viewed your live website.
The REAL problem comes in when it's a few days to your virtual summit and you are completely dependent on your external IT staff.
What if your IT staff is down with a fever and is suddenly unresponsive?
What if the usual response time is within 12 hours but you need to fix it in an hour?
What if your IT staff charges a fee for every website changes OR charges an extra express fee for any urgent changes?
Can you really say no when your event is in a few days? And will you have the time to source for a new IT support staff?
This might sound like paranoia but there are cases of exorbitant invoices and irresponsible vendors that having ZERO control of your platform might cost you so much more than you think.
3. Copy & pasting other people's virtual summit strategies
It’s perfectly fine to copy a gorgeous event landing page’s aesthetic, get inspiration & event ideas and use the attendee reminder emails as your templates.
The real problem starts when:
A solopreneur copies virtual summit strategies that take a 5-man team to create
A business owner with $500 budget copies a virtual summit that has a $5,000 budget
A summit hosts that only has 5 hours per WEEK to work on it copies a virtual summit that takes 8 hours DAILY to create
And I see this so many times!!
It’s like a newbie business owner copying a million-dollar coaching business that has 5 employees.
Or a new coach who doesn’t have the budget to get on Facebook pays advertising for $10K sales, which is the exact strategy the million-dollar coaching business uses to get the same amount of profit.
Or a business owner who has a 10,000 email list versus another who is only starting to get 100 subscribers.
Both can STILL hit the sales target but it takes different strategies based on what resources they have.
This is the same for events.
Copying other event strategies will only lead to super excessive costs and expenditure that you don’t need plus the overwhelm and stress. (And yes, you can do a massively successful virtual summit all on your own - check out this blog post on how I did mine alone with a $300 budget).
If you are confused on how to start planning one, a great way to start is to decide how you can create a virtual summit with X budget, X manpower and X time to hit your XYZ business objectives.