Web summit best practices: how to lead an online summit

This year has been challenging for everybody. In 2020, many conferences have turned into online summits. To be honest, most events were moved onto the internet - even such a massive undertaking as a Web summit. Last year the video conference market was worth $3.85 bn, and this year we are sure that the number will be even greater. Wherever you look more webinars are flooding the internet, which is perhaps unsurprising given that a single one can generate over 1000 leads. If you are still not convinced, here are 50 video conferencing statistics that you might find very interesting. Organizing such an event is not easy these days because the competition is so fierce, so in this text you will find some best practices to help you arrange a web summit.

Web summit best practices: how to lead an online summit

Set your goals

When planning an online summit, you first need to identify its purpose. What is the main reason that you want to organize this event, and why should the invited people participate? Think about the answers carefully. Is your goal to share knowledge, spread the topic, or focus on your own benefits? Are you counting on increased traffic to a website or more newsletter subscriptions? Once you have established an online summit's primary purpose, you can then arrange the details such as the list of speakers, when it will take place, and the tools with which you will organize it.

It is not a good idea to set a very near date because you will not manage to organize everything on time. There is no need to hurry. It is also worth not aiming for dates close to Christmas dates or other major holidays because people are usually focused on preparing for them rather than participating in your web summit.

It will also be beneficial to analyze a calendar of similar events. Most importantly they should not overlap, and if possible they should not take place on consecutive days. Audiences will just get tired of the topic, so it makes little sense if avoidable.

Get along with the speakers

Suppose you have decided who will be the best speakers at your web summit. Start conversations with your chosen ones. Tell them what your vision is and ask if they have any suggestions. If you come to an agreement, that’s great! You can start talking about the finer details. So, what issues should you raise with the speaker, and what can you do to ensure your online summit takes place without any problems?

  • Send presentation templates based upon which the speaker should make their presentation. This way, all presentations will appear consistent, aesthetically pleasing, and coherent.
  • Set the time frame and the order of speeches. You should also allow a buffer time in case of additional questions or technical problems, for example.
  • Prepare initiation questions. You should inform speakers that there will be some, how many there will be, and that it would be best to have answers ready. In this way, the speakers will be able to prepare themselves - not that they won't have the knowledge to answer on the spot, but to avoid unnecessary stress during the presentation. Therefore, it is better for the speakers to know about some inquiries in advance so their answers can be more extensive and illustrated with examples.

Create an event on social media

People need to know about your online summit. The best way to do this is to create an event on social media. Social media is the best way to reach the largest possible audience. Creating an event on Facebook or LinkedIn is a fantastic idea that will be reflected in its attendance.

By creating such an event, it will be much easier for you to inform everyone that your web summit is taking place and explain how to sign up for it. It is also a good idea to present the list of invited speakers and the agenda here. If you plan contests related to your online summit, for example, then an event on social media will help you to conduct them and determine the winner.

It is also a place where you can post about any modifications that might occur while planning the event. For example, changing the speakers or schedule.

Web summit best practices: how to lead an online summit

Choose the best tools or software

This year, webinar tools are experiencing a real boom - they have never been as essential as they are now. If you decide to lead an online summit, this step is a must. How to choose the right tool? One that has many useful features is LiveWebinar. There are many integrations to choose from that can be very convenient when organizing a web summit, such as Zapier, MailChimp, and HubSpot. These will allow you to save some time for sure. What is also beneficial is the ability to broadcast content to external sources like Facebook or YouTube. Furthermore, there is the possibility to customize your domain - add your logo and preferred colours! This is a great idea because the more personalized elements there are, the more professional the event will seem. Here is a guide on how to use LiveWebinar like a pro!

Collaboration with partners

Organizing an event such as an online summit sometimes requires partners. To be honest, it is very often claimed that partners make some aspects much more manageable. First of all is the financial factor, since they may contribute to the costs and sponsor rewards for competition winners. Secondly is prestige - the more well known your partner is, the more publicity your web summit will get. Things are always a bit easier when you have somebody on your side.

How to reach your partners? Conduct proper research and draw up a list of dream partners. Ask yourself some questions. Which of these partners would you like the most? Which of them will most likely agree, and which of them will require some persuading? Prepare a plan that will convince them. Show that you care and that your event is an initiative worth supporting. The more committal you are the better. You have to show that your web summit has potential, and that the money a partner invests will not be poured down the drain.

When making a proposal, you need to be a professional. Send a reasonable offer via a customized email. Don't copy and paste, because your potential partners may know each other (which is very likely). It will be off putting if both of them notice that they were sent identical emails.

Web summit best practices: how to lead an online summit

Promotion of your web summit

In addition to an event on social media, you also need to promote your web summit. Social media ads can be a crucial success point for your online summit. Consider on which social media platforms you will find most of your potential participants, and target them accordingly. Online advertising shouldn't hit your budget very hard, and it will bring you a lot of traffic.

Send emails invitations. If this is not your first online event, you will most likely already have a database of email addresses of people who may be potentially interested in your event - so use it. Send an email describing your online summit and invite them to participate. Inform about the price of tickets and provide a link where they can be purchased. You should also include information to groups or communities that have formed around your web summit, so that everyone can be part of them.

What about affiliate marketing? This is another low-cost way to generate some buzz. Make a deal with some influencers/affiliates from the industry and let the magic happen.

To wrap up

Online events are synonymous with the year 2020. By organizing them you can gain many new followers, and they are also an excellent opportunity for your speakers. They can show off their extensive knowledge to a wider audience. For the whole event to be successful, analyze our tips and think about whether you have taken care of every detail. It is hard work to stand out from the competition, but definitely worth trying to do so. Once you have created and ran your first, you will gain some valuable insights for future events.

Want to read more? Check this article about common mistakes made when preparing and leading a webinar, plus more useful information.


Ola Czmut
Ola Czmut

Happily combines a love of writing and new technology as a copywriter, and enjoys the puzzle of putting together a good article. In her spare time she likes to catch up on the latest, greatest books, bake chocolate chip cookies and ponder her next travel destination.

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