I recently sat down with Eric Z. Yang, host of the Virtual Summit Launch Secrets, to understand the power of virtual summits. He has helped launch over 20+ virtual summits, gathering over 45,000+ attendees.
Here are his major takeaways on why entrepreneurs should seriously consider hosting virtual summits during these challenging times for business owners in 2020.
1. VIRTUAL SUMMITS ARE HOT & TRENDY
Yang believes the trend of virtual summits is not going away any time soon. As dozens of in-person conferences continue to be canceled in 2020,he believes the only way to insure against an epidemic is to transfer the value online.
Although some business owners fail to realize this, Yang believes they have all the tools needed for success. They have the audience, they have the speakers, and even sponsors but lack a platform or innovative mind to host them.
He believes that creating a virtual space during this interim to conduct business could be the defining difference between those who save their business and those who get acquired post-quarantine.
He advises business owners to meet customers where they are and offer a large amount of value during the economic downturn. Yang believes innovation needs to happen in this new world that is being created due to the current pandemic and he’s committed himself to help.
2. VIRTUAL SUMMITS GROW YOUR AUTHORITY
Yang believes one of the great benefits of hosting a virtual summit is positioning yourself among notable names in your field. Even though you might not be the leading expert of your summit, you are the one that brings those amazing names under one roof. Your roof.
Even if attendees don’t know who you are, you will be the person they trust the most by the end of the summit.
As the host, you benefit the most from this association because attendees will automatically think you are equally, if not more influential than your summit speakers.
Yang’s advice is to secure what he calls an Anchor Speaker: a famous or respected personality that will attract other speakers and attendees to be part of the summit.
3. VIRTUAL SUMMITS GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST
Yang believes virtual summits are the best way to capture cheap leads. He believes that podcasts and YouTube channels don’t offer the same functionality because their primary goals are audience retention. He says “E-books, webinars, or free blueprints aren’t effective lead magnets anymore.”
He says that virtual summits are a powerful tool for creating hype by giving up to 30 plus hours of content for free in exchange for an email.
Virtual summits have become even more relevant because although social media can be a great platform to share content and reach new audiences, major platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, and Instagram increasingly limit organic reach.
Yang believes that having a platform where you can exchange an email for a free ticket for your conference is a no-brainer offer for your target audience and one every entrepreneur should consider.
4. VIRTUAL SUMMITS GET YOU SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES
Yang advises positioning yourself next to experts who regularly get invited to speak so that even after your summit you will get invited by others to speak on their physical & virtual stages as well.
After Yang hosted his first virtual summit, he received 13 speaking invitations and several of them came from France, England, and Malaysia. One of those opportunities transformed into a 6-figure partnership for a future business deal.
He simply believes that if you want to get more speaking opportunities you need to show up on the open market so that the world will want to see you speak more.
5. VIRTUAL SUMMIT GROW YOUR NETWORK
One crucial point of advice Yang emphasizes is how hosting a virtual conference will give you leverage to interview literally anyone in the world, just like a podcast. He adds that in order to secure these top-level speakers and bring them into your network, you simply have to share the value of being featured on a summit that brings their ideal audience their footsteps.
Yang believes no speaker is impossible to secure and that anyone can interview big A-type speakers if the timing is right. He recommends doing research and seeing if that person has a launch such as a book or a program that will coincide with your conference. Since they might be looking for an additional platform to share their message the close will be easier.
In their eyes, you are doing most of the heavy lifting by gathering an audience to watch them share what matters most to them.
They will also speak for free due to this, which is proven through Yang’s model as none of his 200+ virtual summit speakers paid the speakers.
Asked how he does this, his response is “it’s all about being able to understand what the speakers want & how you can help bridge that gap.”
This mentality has also allowed him to get industry leaders to say “YES” from 1 cold email he sends.
6. VIRTUAL SUMMIT GROW YOUR INCOME
Finally, when asked to break down what exactly a virtual summit is in his own words, Yang says “Virtual summits are fundamentally an improved version of a webinar, live event and podcast combined in one platform.”
He likens it to a podcast but where you have dozens of pre-recorded interviews back to back around 1 theme saying:
“It’s like a live-event, except you have attendees who have access to content for a limited time to teach them how to get from point A, where they are now, to point Z, where they want to be”
Also similar to a webinar, you can up-sell products & courses after educating your audience on what they need to overcome their problems.
Yang believes that where virtual summits outperform the 3 platforms mentioned above is due to one thing: perceived value. When you have 30 experts on 1 niche topic and you get cost-effective clicks to your site as compared to webinars and you can build trust and authority from sharing your information with a targeted audience you’ve won.
In summary, Yang believes there are 3 ways virtual platforms provide superior value:
- They can be marketed to in perpetuity, unlike with live-event.
- You can monetize the information & content, unlike with podcasts.
- You can build omnipresence and trust by collaborating with 30 experts putting you at the center of those influencers, unlike with webinars.
In terms of the monetary gain, he emphasizes that each day of a virtual summit should only be viewable for 24 hours for free but after the recordings and bonuses can be sold to your audience. He encourages up-sells as well as masterminds, services, and products at this point as well.
When asked to summarize the biggest reason to host a virtual summit Yang keeps it short but sweet. He says “Even if attendees don’t buy on the virtual summit, you still have access to them via the email list or FB community. You are literally getting paid to build a system & platform to grow your email list and authority in less than 90 days.”
Connect with Eric
You can learn more about his process in his free virtual summit on how to launch a virtual summit