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6 Mistakes To Avoid When Hosting a Virtual Summit, From Someone Who Ran One

Posted by Joakim Jonsson on Nov 14, 2018 10:00:00 AM

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The fierce competition for attention in today’s virtual world makes it all the more important for businesses to scout out fresh ideas that will help them engage with their prospective clients. Many have picked up on the new valuable fad of hosting virtual summits, an educational, webinar-like event growing in popularity among organizations.

What is a Virtual Summit?

If you are not on the bandwagon yet, virtual summits help businesses gain authority in an industry, subsequently creating a space where ROI for demand generation can explode. The reasons to run a virtual summit have already been exhausted so it’s time to learn just how you can get started setting up your own.

Hosting these online conferences can seem daunting, but when you have others to learn from and the right support, you’ll learn that it’s easier than you think!

How to Host a Virtual Summit: Mistakes to Avoid Making

We will outline what to avoid when hosting a virtual summit, from someone who actually ran one herself! Kara Widdison, Marketing Manager at Snapapp, sat down with us in our own virtual theatre to go over lessons learned through her experience running a virtual summit. To get in on the virtual action from this post, see this debrief in 6Connex’s virtual event platform here, or continue reading to skim through the takeaways!

 

1. Don’t Leave Everything Until the Last Minute

In our meeting, Kate shares that “timing is everything” and that you should plan for a virtual summit well in advance. She recommends planning 2-3 months before a summit so that you can have plenty of time to get everything in order.

There is much to think about when planning a virtual summit so make sure to give yourself enough wiggle room for anything you might have missed or for any problems that might come up. Kate recommends having everything set up a week before the actual summit.

Not only will you thank yourself later for organizing everything ahead of time, but so will your partners and sponsors for the extra time they will have to get their presentations ready. 

 

2. Don’t Make Sessions Too Long

People’s attention spans seem to be getting shorter by the second, I mean this quite literally! If you want participants to stick until the end of a session and be engaged throughout the entire conference, cap session durations at 20 minutes max. Attendees generally stay in sessions between 10 and 20 minutes so try not to push this limit. 

If speakers are worried about getting enough information in, they can always add resources to complement their sessions in the virtual platform!

 

3. Don’t Choose Sponsors That Offer the Same Services

Kara pointed out the importance of finding sponsors that complement each other rather than compete with each other. You don’t want sponsors pitted against one another during your conference so make sure you find ones that offer different kinds of services.

You should be strategic with the sponsors you will bring on. Think about any partners you currently have or integrations you have with different products and leverage those in your summit to reach out to an audience you “already know matches your ideal lead”.

 

4. Don’t Pitch Your Virtual Audience

There is nothing more awkward than hearing an unwanted pitch during what you thought was a no-strings-attached session. Although speakers might want to highlight their own services, the general rule is to avoid pitching your audience during a session. There is a time and a place for everything and you should use the different capabilities in a virtual platform to pitch to attendees when appropriate.

Luckily, in 6Connex’s virtual platform, you can do just this by offering prospect sections and customer-focused sections in different spaces in your online summit.

 

5. Don’t Forget About The Value of Current Customers

An additional tip Kara mentioned in our virtual meeting was not to forget the value of current customers in demand generation. Virtual summits offer the perfect place to keep engaging with customers by offering them more resources and value in a convenient way. Make sure your virtual platform has the tools that make this convenience possible.

 

6. Don’t Choose The Wrong Virtual Platform

Many businesses make the mistake of choosing a virtual platform that doesn’t fit their needs. That is why it is important to evaluate different virtual platform providers and choose one that checks all the right boxes to help you deliver an online summit that exceeds everyone’s expectations.

Kara mentioned the importance of choosing a platform that can support a business in every stage of the virtual summit process. From tech training done before the summit, to live support on the day of the event, Kara praised 6Connex for helping her get through the entire event fully equipped.

Another thing to look out for from a virtual platform provider is to see how intuitive their tracking tools are so that you can monitor where people’s attention is going. This helps you qualify who is a hot lead and disqualify ones that you shouldn’t be putting through your sales funnel. Luckily, 6Connex offers these tracking capabilities for you!

 

On Your Way to Virtual Summit Success! 

Finding innovative and integrated ways to provide value to content consumers is how businesses can succeed in attaining and maintaining a prospective client’s valuable attention. This is how Snap App helps marketers qualify leads, which is why they chose to run a virtual summit for their own audience using 6Connex’s virtual platform. 

If you would like to jump on the train to lead generation, learn how 6Connex can help you run a virtual summit by requesting a demo with us here.

Topics: Virtual Summits