The concept is simple: you, as the organizer, present a series of video interviews – either live or pre-recorded – and make them available to people, who can watch them while sitting comfortably at home.
For attendees, virtual summits are a great event, for the fact that it's incredibly easy to join and watch the sessions without the need to spend money for traveling to an offline conference.
For the hosts, online conferences are an excellent way to grow an email list, position themselves as authorities, connect with influencers and make money.
In this post, I'm going to show you how organizing a virtual summit can literally change your business and life. I'll do so by telling you the story of my friend Navid Moazzez.
How I met Navid
(Navid provides top-notch content, so I recommend you check out his site and listen to his show).
I was lucky enough to meet Navid (online) a few months before his life and business completely changed, so I was able to really see him grow and establish himself as a go-to expert.
Fast-forwarding to today – just a couple of months later – Navid is now traveling the world and is seen as an authority. The reason? The Branding Summit.
The Branding Summit:
From November 17th to December 14th of last year, Navid hosted the virtual summit the Branding Summit. In this online event, he presented a series of pre-recorded interviews with more than 80 world-leading online entrepreneurs, who revealed their biggest personal branding secrets to help attendees make more impact in business and life.
The list of A-Listers who spoke at Navid's virtual summit included John Lee Dumas, Neil Patel, Natalie Sisson, Rand Fishkin, Rebekah Radice and Chris Ducker (whose session as the closing keynote was broadcasted live).
Getting access to the virtual summit was free and only required attendees to sign up (to Navid's newsletter) by leaving their email address.
That was it.
Access to video sessions with 80+ of the world's top online entrepreneurs for free.
Each day, Navid would email attendees the links to three sessions, which would be available for 48 hours.
For those who would miss a session, or who simply wanted to be able to access the videos at their own pace, there was also the opportunity to purchase the virtual pass for $97 (the price subsequently increased, and I'm going to discuss how Navid nailed it, in terms of pricing and creating urgency later on).
By purchasing the pass to the virtual summit, attendees would also get access to almost $9,000 worth of bonuses:
- Lifetime access to 80+ video (valued at $997) and audio interviews (valued at $497)
- 16 Q&A calls with speakers (each call valued $197)
- Private Facebook group ($37/month)
- A Free Ticket for two people for Marisa Murgatroyd’s Message to Money Live in Los Angeles, January 2015 ($1000 Value)
- A Free Ticket for two people for Casey Zeman’s Live LaunchStream Event in Los Angeles, Spring of 2015 ($3000 Value)
- Virtual Summit Training (60min live training and Q&A with Navid, valued at $297)
You do the math. Almost $9,000 worth of bonuses for just $97!
In terms of marketing the virtual summit, Navid did an incredibly smart decision. Not only, he leveraged his email list, podcast and social media to direct people to the Branding Summit, but he also had over 80 A-Listers promote their sessions to their audience.
Navid even gave ALL attendees the opportunity to promote the virtual summit as affiliates using Eventbrite (in this episode of the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast Starve the Doubts co-host and Podcast Movement co-founder Jared Easley talked about how everybody who is organizing an event could easily create an affiliate program using Eventbrite).
This meant that everyone who had signed up for the Branding Summit – either for free, or by purchasing the virtual pass – had the incentive to promote the virtual summit, as they could make money as affiliates.
Who wouldn't be reaching out to their email list and social media following to recommend this value-packed and free event (using their affiliate link, duh!)?
Navid's Pricing Strategy
Ok, a few paragraphs ago I told you we'd be talking about Navid's pricing of the Branding Summit. The virtual pass, which gave lifetime access to all the sessions and a bundle of exclusive bonuses, was first priced at $97.
[Quick note: if you're about to price your digital product and want to learn more about how to price and offer bonuses, I recommend you take a look at this post by Derek Halpern of Social Triggers].
On day 10 of the Branding Summit (on November 28th), Navid emailed attendees informing that, with Black Friday approaching, he would offer a Black Friday special: all the aforementioned bonuses plus a 30-minute complementary call for the first 10 action takers.
As you can see, in the same email, he also let people know that the price of the virtual pass would increase from $97 to $147 on December 1st.
Navid created urgency by creating a deadline and an exclusive Black Friday offer.
It's not difficult to know what happen…
(Yes, people took action! 🙂 ).
On day 25 (December 11th) of the Branding Summit, Navid informed that – soon – the price would increase from $147 to $197. He sent another reminder on day 27.
Currently, the price for accessing all the Branding Summit sessions and bonuses is $197.
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What Happened After the Branding Summit?
So what about our friend Navid? How is he doing now?
Well, see for yourself!
Since the Branding Summit, he has been hanging out with dolphins and crocodiles (!), has had the opportunity to travel – he's currently living for a while in California, after having traveled to Thailand and Mexico – and to meet longtime fans, mentors and his idols in person.
Did you just say WOW!? 😀
I know you did, I heard you!
Well, guess what. That's just the beginning!
Navid has now positioned himself as a virtual summit expert (he's currently working on his training Virtual Summit Mastery and has been working with high-end clients), has spoken at Podcast San Diego, has been interviewed by blogs and podcast, as well as the prestigious Business Insider (site that gets over 55 million unique readers per month!).
I had the pleasure to interview him for the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast a few weeks ago, the interview is coming soon!
A couple of days ago, Navid published his first Epic Business & Lifestyle Review (for the first quarter of 2015), you can get more detailed information about how he's doing and the projects his working on here.
Let's Recap (and Why You Should Host a Virtual Summit!)
So, by hosting the Branding Summit Navid:
- made over $70K in January-March of this year (he managed to quit his job and is now living and running his business from around the world!)
- grew his email list to about 4,000 subscribers (3,000 of which came through the virtual summit)
- successfully became the #1 affiliate to Ramit Sethi's Zero to Launch training (earning the grand prize of $7,500)
- is often being featured and interviewed by bloggers and podcasters – so he has gone from interviewer to interviewee
- connected with over 80 of the world's top entrepreneurs and thought-leaders (and, combined with the grow of his email list, is successfully making money by being an affiliate to some of their trainings and products)
- has positioned himself as an authority and has been working with high-end clients, who want to master virtual summits
Navid's story is simply incredible, and I'm so happy to have become his friend and to have seen him go from living in his flat in Stockholm to him quitting his job, becoming an authority, and traveling (and running his business from different corners of) the world!
Hosting the Branding Summit surely changed his life.
There's a but though…
Navid didn't wake up one morning and organized a virtual summit. He had been working hard – by blogging, building relationships and doing interviews for his podcast – for quite some time.
I'm telling you this, NOT to discourage you, but to make you aware that it if you work hard and believe in what you do (to put the summit together, Navid worked even 18 hours per day!), GREAT things will happen to you.
I hope that this case-study will motivate you into organizing your first virtual summit (I'm planning mine as we speak). Presenting an online event is a great way to grow your email list, connect with influencers, build authority and make money.
By the way, if you want to see a online event in action, there's the Movement Marketing Summit taking place until April 20th.
There's plenty of ways to grow your business and audience, position yourself as an expert and make money. Virtual summits are without doubts one of the most powerful ones!