The 7 Questions You Should Ask Your Virtual Summit Agency Before Hiring
Hosting a virtual summit should save money and effort and boost your business's reputation with prospective clients unless you hire the wrong “experts” to help you!
The FIRST step to a successful online summit is to partner with a professional service provider who won’t leave you in the lurch when you're about to go live. Or a company that built your summit but can’t support you.
Let’s look at what that means and the red and green flags you should look for.
We have all been there. Putting our business in the hands of outsourced service providers who claim to have the expertise you need to justify their expense as an investment. Pulling off a successful online summit takes expert knowledge and experience, and few businesses have the in-house know-how to create, market, and build your own virtual summit platform. Plus, you want someone who will always be available through your scheduled event, so if something goes wrong (and it always does), they are available to fix it.
Take the trial and error gamble out of finding the right virtual summit support partner by asking these 7 Burning Questions!
1. Do they understand your business privacy needs?
Data security is as important as securing your bank account information. It serves as important information that must be secured to avoid financial insecurity, your personal security, and that of your customers. Confidential information for the payment process, client information, and even bank account information to personal files and documents must be safely stored. This information, once fallen into the hands of a person with no authorization, is a potential danger to a person and business security.
2. What do you want your virtual platform to do?
The main difference between virtual event platforms and video conference tools is that event platforms are Event Management Solutions (EMS) designed to handle large audiences while providing a great user experience. On the other hand, video conference tools are primarily designed for hosting meetings and lack audience engagement features. When selecting your virtual summit agency, consider if the platform they use can handle the following:
- Sale of sponsorships
- Virtual booths
- Hybrid event capabilities
- Email automation
- Event agendas and scheduling
- Landing page builders
- Dry-run capabilities
And… importantly – can the system on which they host your live event cancel it because they don't like the topic?
3. Can they handle a live event?
There are more upsides to running an event live and more risks. You need good internet to run it live, so make sure your bandwidth can handle the event. Plus, you need excellent technical support to avoid ending with pie on your face.
Live events also offer more opportunities for engagement, with users being able to ask questions and have them answered in real-time. This is important because there is a strong correlation between engagement and sales. There are some extra challenges with running a live event, specifically when it comes to coordinating all the moving parts of the event and the partners you are working with, but the extra engagement is more than worth it.
4. What support do they offer during the event and what is their response time?
This point is so important that I’m mentioning it twice! Even if you tested and retested everything, some tech issue is bound to turn up during the live event. You want someone to fix any tech issues that pop up, interact with attendees, answer questions, be available to speakers, etc. Whether it’s live or pre-recorded, you should monitor your emails for the inevitable issues. Some people may have trouble logging in or registering last minute (it always happens).
5. Does your agency or platform only host the event and leave everything up to you?
You want flawless operation throughout the entire product lifecycle! The best technical marketing specialists plan, develop, create, and execute your online summit with both marketing and technical support so you can:
- Cut through the marketing noise,
- Deliver an exciting and engaging message to your audience
- Approach influencers with ease,
- Attract more qualified leads, and
- Showcase your company as an expert in the industry.
6. What marketing and messaging modalities and processes do the team follow?
At this point, you will also have to figure out the assets you need to create to help promote the event. This could include interesting content, landing pages, e-books, promotional products, email marketing campaigns, and any additional copy that speakers and promotional partners could use.
Before the event/Initial announcement
If your promotional period begins two or three weeks ahead, someone could register the first day they hear about the summit and then completely forget about the event by the time it begins! How would your agency keep attendees excited and engaged before and during the event?
A beneficial strategy is to have multiple entry points through which people can get into your summit. This means multiple landing pages, email outreach campaigns, lead magnets, and other deliverables.
During the event, does your agency:
- Boost participation with live Q&A, polls, feedback surveys, and breakout rooms?
- Upload informational documents, videos, and presentations to a resource vault?
- Let your attendees save these resources to a virtual briefcase to download and view at their convenience?
After the event
Even though the summit is over, there are a whole bunch of things left for the summit host to do.
Here’s a quick checklist to start:
- Redirect any pages you don’t want people to be able to access anymore, for example, changing the registration page to a waitlist page.
- Decide whether to archive your Facebook group or turn it into an ongoing community for your business.
- Send wrap-up emails to attendees, including a last-chance email about the All-Access Pass and a request for feedback.
- Send wrap-up emails to your speakers thanking them for their time and including any portion of the email list you’ve promised them, affiliate payouts, etc.
7. Do they do post-event data and metrics tracking?
Does your tech marketing partner:
- Evaluate your event’s performance through in-depth insights, including real-time and post-event metrics, from registrations and logins to virtual ‘footfall’ and document downloads?
- Track real-time data such as logins, chats, webinar views and document downloads?
- Use the data to measure ROI, deliver value to event partners and improve future online summits?
All in all, selecting the right virtual event partner involves many decisions, such as your budget, the functionality of your event, and the size of your audience, to name a few.
But the most important question is this: Do my support people have the technical know-how and experience to pull this off successfully?
If you want to discuss your business needs, why not book a call with me? Let’s discuss whether a virtual summit is the right marketing tool!