If you're thinking of organizing a virtual summit or digital online event, one of the first things to consider is the best virtual summit software and how to choose the right one for you. No matter how good your speakers are, if you can't create the right experience for your audience, then the virtual summit won't grow your list, boost engagement or increase revenue.
As you may already know, there are a lot of moving parts to virtual summits and you need good organizational skills, so you don't get lost or have a breakdown. The right Virtual Summit Software makes your life far easier and reduces the potential stress involved with all the logistics.
Areas you have to cover when planning a virtual summit include:
- Recruiting speakers
- Onboarding speakers and attendees
- Marketing the summit
- Uploading the content – speaker pages, attendee content and so on
- Managing attendee registration
- Looking at the monetizing angle
And a whole heap of other activities (download our Virtual Summit Planner at the end of the post to help you).
Whilst virtual summit software may seem like a luxury, it saves you hours of VA time and gives you back your sanity.
The Best Virtual Summit Software
HeySummit was first built for in-house use and was then released to the rest of the world. With a speaker onboarding system to help you get the best from your speakers, HeySummit makes it easy for you to deliver your summit. Using HeySummit you can have live videos or pre-recorded videos. They'll even show you how to deliver your virtual summit as if it was live.
HeySummit also contains its own referral system for viral marketing. You'll get to showcase your speakers, display featured talks and use their landing page builder. Not only do you save a lot of time with HeySummit, but you'll save money on the additional tools that are needed to make it happen.
CEO Mark Wade created the Virtual Summits software because he loves virtual summits. Complete with landing page builder, Virtual Summits will help you get your summit up swiftly. What makes Virtual Summits stand out is the built-in membership area where you can have different levels of access for your attendees. This is beneficial if you are planning to have a VIP level summit experience.
Virtual Summits best claim to fame is that you can get your virtual summit up and running within 60 minutes! Virtual Summits are so confident that you'll love their software, there's a free trial to get you started.
If you want lots of networking at your virtual summit, then Hopin is your go-to virtual summit tool. As well as the virtual summit aspect, Hopin also has the virtual backstage where your attendees network with your speakers!
As with Virtual Summits and Heysummit you can add your own branding.
Webinar Software That Can Be Use For Virtual Summits
If you can deliver a series of webinars, then you have a virtual summit!
Demio has the ability to take payments for webinars (great if you're doing a paid summit) and you can schedule your webinars to take place at certain times. Using Demio's in-built emails you can create the reminders in advance.
You will have to create your own speaker pages, and onboard them, but if you're on a tight budget Demio can help.
As with Demio, you have the ability to schedule a series of webinars and emails. You can have hybrid webinars where you deliver a recording but you and your speaker can answer questions in the comments.
Again, as with Demio, you can add pre-recorded videos and run your summit as if it is live.
Zoom isn't strictly webinar software, and it isn't summit software, it's somewhere in between. But you can still use it to deliver a summit. Check the Zoom account levels carefully, because not all levels will integrate with your email provider. Unlike the webinar options above, you will have to create an email sequence to promote your summit.
Virtual Summit Tools
The main tools you will need to deliver the best quality virtual summits are
- Video editing software
Research shows that people will put up with fuzzy visuals, but they will not put up with imperfect audio.
This means you need to get the best possible microphone you can afford. It's true that you can use the ‘wires' that come with your phone, but that's so 2019! You don't want your viewer distracted by what's happening with the wires, so get a good microphone.
BlueMic has their famous Yeti and their famous Snowball mic (for when you're on a tight budget). Both of these will give you great audio. There are other options, but you will replace them more frequently than you would the BlueMic products, so it's a false economy.
Most built-in webcams give a low-quality image, and you want to look your best on camera!
Luckily, that doesn't have to involve a fancy digital camera. You can just get a good webcam and attach it to your monitor, plugging it into a USB port on your computer (or laptop).
Our favorite is the Logitech C920. It's not the newest, but it still remains one of the best out there. Just be sure to shop around, since some sellers inflate the price far more than they should.
Video Editing Software
Even if your speakers decide to edit their videos (most don't), there are things like sound balancing and deleting bloopers that you may want to do. Camtasia is a great tool for editing your virtual summit video content. You even have the ability to add captions, overlays, and Intros and Outros for the professional branded summit feel.
Transcribing / Captions
Not everyone attending your summit will have the ability to hear what's being said. Captions are an important usability issue for many within your audience. You'll be surprised to know that people actually lip-read between 30-45% of spoken words. If someone turns their head, your viewers can't “hear” what's being said. Captions are how you overcome this.
We've used a lot of software for captions and transcriptions with our Bright Sparks series of interviews. We used Rev, Otter.ai and we finally settled with Happy Scribe. With Happy Scribe you can select your accents (we usually go with various English rather than US English) and then edit in the dashboard, before finally exporting the text into a Word document and then turning it into a blog post.
Final words of advice…
As you can see, there are lots of moving parts to virtual summits, so you will need the right tools to help you. The value that you bring to your audience and the growth in your email list will make it all worthwhile.
Want to download your own Virtual Summit Planner and ensure that your virtual summit is the best it can possibly be?
Click on the link below and add your contact info. We’ll send it right over.
Want to learn more and teach others about how to host their first online event?
Check out our brandable, ready-to-teach course:
You can quickly put together your own online course, live workshop, or coaching program on Virtual Summit Success, where you'll teach your audience how to host their first online event, step-by-step.
When you purchase a license to any of our ready-to-go course kits, you get the rights to edit it any way you want (or leave as-is) and add your own name and branding.
Then use your new course to:
- Attract new clients and customers (such as with a free training, webinar, or eCourse)
- Add a new stream of income (such as with a paid course or workshop)
- Keep your current customers successful and coming back for more (such as with bonus webinars, videos, and other learning resources).