November 12, 2018
One of the first concerns I had when contemplating hosting our first virtual summits was – how exactly will this benefit everyone involved? How exactly do you make money from hosting a virtual summit? How do you grow your email list? Do you pay Speakers? How do Attendees attend?
And if you’re making money from Hosting an online summit, then doesn’t that mean that someone’s not getting a fair shake? Well, here’s what we’ve discovered after hosting three successful online conferences:
Everyone wins. Especially those who are the most invested in helping the greater audience and industry! Ready for some specifics? Here’s how the Host, Speakers and Attendees all benefit from participating in online conferences.
As a Host, you’ll typically want to budget for at least $1,000 in expenses (not including Affiliate payouts, which are only directly related with how many sales you get, so that’s an easily covered cost!), around three months of planning (though we can significantly help to shorten this time!) and one completely exhausting (yet amazingly exhilarating!) 40+ hour launch week.
That said, the payoffs can be truly amazing, both for business growth as well as emotional and personal growth.
You can read more about specifically how the Host benefits from hosting an online conference in our blog post, “5+ Reasons to Host Your Own Online Conference“, but here’s a quick synopsis of a couple of the main benefits:
The Host typically gets the most email sign ups. For our summits, we tend to gain around 2,000-3,000 email sign ups, even with a tiny email list (our email list when we started was a VERY cold 300ish subscribers). Our (much larger) client, Think Creative Collective gathered 11,000+ sign ups on their first online conference using our framework!
The Host receives around 50-100% of All-Access Pass sales (the smaller amount when Affiliates are involved). This typically comes out to around $12,000 – $18,000 for us, per summit.
Whether or not you utilize the email sign ups (oops, I tend to be horrible at marketing to our list!), the engagement of the Attendees and being able to meet and get to know your Speakers during the summit is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. We’ve made such incredible friends from our summits and they’ve turned into lifelong networking partners, we’ve exchanged sales and referrals with each other and have been there for moral and accountability support.
Most presenters should expect to put in a couple hours of work – mainly for their presentation (our Keynote Presentations are around 1 hour long) and also for pushing some promotional content (we provide TONS of swipe copy for easy marketing) and for showing up during their presentation (not required, but amazingly beneficial to them and to the Attendees!).
In exchange, they receive:
Our goal for our Speakers’ email sign ups tends to bee right around 300-400 very warm leads. The reason why we don’t give away ALL of the Attendees’ email addresses is threefold:
Speakers get between 30-50% affiliate commissions of the All-Access Passes. What’s amazing (and totally unintuitive) about this is that we’ve had Speakers with VERY small audiences bring in the MOST affiliate dollars. Some of our top selling Speakers have earned around $700+ with relatively minimal promotions and relatively small audiences.
Just as the Host has access to Attendee and Speaker networking and relationship opportunities, so do the Speakers! We see some INCREDIBLE engagement when Speakers show up to their presentations during their scheduled presentation time and bonus for when they show up throughout the entire summit. The more often you’re engaging and hanging with the crew during the summit week, the more that it feels like leaving summer camp at the end of the week – everyone exchanges contact info and hates logging off for the last time! We truly make some incredible connections in the chat.
Being promoted as a Speaker alongside some of the industry’s top influencers is incredible for some of our lesser known Speakers! We’ve had reviews saying that our Speakers still keep in touch and are still booking clients from the Attendees of their presentations over a year ago.
For the bigger named Speakers, the same thing happens – just because they’re some of the main attractions, doesn’t mean they don’t also gain credibility! Being featured alongside *other* influencers both amplifies their position as industry leaders as well as reiterates to their audiences who exactly they’re associated with.
As the Host, we push our Speakers as much as possible to our audience through Instagram, our newsletter our Facebook Group and more. We know just how amazing they are and we want the world to know it too! The summit launch and live weeks aren’t the only times that we promote them, either – we’re continuously promoting how wonderful our speakers are even year(s) later.
Speakers get the All-Access Pass either heavily discounted or for free. This includes all of the additional VIP content that’s included in the All-Access Pass as well as access to the Massive Giveaway! We also treat our Keynote Speakers to a snail mail gift, as an extra personal thank you for being such an integral part of the collaboration.
Attendees have one of the most obvious benefits, which is that they get to attend the conference for free! The “con” to being an Attendee is that they have the opportunity to purchase the VIP/All-Access Pass if they’d like to watch the presentations for longer than the free air time.
Attendees (and Speakers) access to each presentation for a full 24 hours. The quality of the content is highly vetted and curated so that they’re gaining a truly educational and actionable content – we have small pitch opportunities for the speakers, but Attendees know that they won’t have a 15 minute educational session with a 30 minute upsell at the end!
A lot of the audience comes to the summit because of one or two speakers who they follow and/or because of the topics that are being presented on. What’s wonderful is how many additional Speakers they walk away knowing, loving and trusting! Suddenly, not only do they have access to the couple people who they originally knew about, they now have a whole slew of people who they can now stalk on Instagram, blogs, podcasts and more.
Attendees are more than welcome to be affiliates and are able to pocket 30% of the All-Access Pass sales that they generate! We have TONS of swipe copy and photos for them to be able to use in order to invite their own audiences to the summit to watch alongside themselves. We figure – if you as an Attendee are going to benefit from the conference, then surely your audience will benefit too. And it’s FREE (with the opportunity for people to upgrade to the All-Access Pass).
Just like the Host and Speakers, Attendees also benefit from community growth and networking potential! Attendees connect with each other in the chat and, just like we mentioned in the Attendee commissions section, they also are encouraged to bring their own audience along with them. This is a wonderful opportunity for their own already-existing audience to chat with THEM in real life and to experience the conference alongside of them.
And the best part is that these benefits only just touch the surface!
The Modern Conference was founded to help to revolutionize the Virtual Summit scene to become a more valuable asset to creative and small businesses. We're here to offer tools, insight and education on how to create an event that's truly worth attending, creates real value and encourages community.