INCREASE ONLINE SALES
How to Convert Virtual Summits and Online Events into an Evergreen Funnel
Pol Cousineau, CPA (Quebec)
President of The Digital Navigator
This step-by-step guide shows you how to convert virtual summits and online events into an evergreen sales funnel to generate more sales and profits without the pressure of live events.
If you are in the business of selling online events, training workshops or virtual summits, you're in the right place.
Conducting virtual summits is an incredible way to skyrocket the number of followers and e-mail subscribers you gain by joint venturing with a faculty of speakers. They bring their e-mail list and followers to the table to fill seats to your virtual event.
Additionally, it's a great way to generate profits for your business and quickly boost your exposure to your target audience. Popular monetization methods involves selling lifetime VIP passes to the content and promoting affiliate offerings.
Many business owners who conduct virtual summits desire to convert these one-time summits into a product that can be sold beyond the virtual summit held on a specific date.
The answer to this is to create an evergreen funnel.
What follows is a step-by-step guide on how to convert your virtual summit into an evergreen funnel.
This guide will help you build an evergreen funnel from any form of online training or workshop that you might have hosted in your business.
I'll use an actual case study of converting a virtual summit into an evergreen funnel, because I have a very specific example for this. However, you can take these steps to convert any online training.
Table of Contents
- What are Virtual Summits
- How to Convert A Virtual Summit Into An Evergreen Sales Funnel
- Essential Tool For Your Evergreen Funnel: Deadline Funnel
- Real Case Study Example with Segmentation
- Scheduling Your Evergreen Funnel Content
- Why an Evergreen Funnel
- Ready to Convert Your Virtual Summit Into an Evergreen Funnel?
- Video Transcript
Note: The online summit strategy discussed in this article can be used to map out assets for building out or optimizing a sales funnel for your business. You can download our Sales Funnel Templates Pack to fill in blank to apply this strategy in your business.
What Are Virtual Summits?
Let's take a look at virtual summits from a bird’s eye view.
There are many ways that you can format your online summit.
A standard method is to start with a landing page where people can sign up for your event.
This page is your sales page that entices people into the summit by sharing the speakers, topics that will be covered and any sort of bonus gifts for attending that will be given.
You will mention the dates of the summit and any other relevant information.
The landing page is connected to a registration form, your “opt-in”, that collects the information on your leads in your email marketing system.
How Virtual Summits Are Typically Used
Normally, virtual summits are free. They are used as a way to build your list and make sales on backend products and services to the attendees.
To quickly start generating income from this marketing strategy, once people sign up, most entrepreneurs make an offer for a paid product right from the thank you page.
On this thank you page, they will of course confirm that you are properly registered, and inform you to check your e-mail for your free ticket to the online summit.
They will then invite you to watch an important video announcement or read an important message which promotes a paid offer.
Pro Tip: Make sure your thank you page clearly states that their attendance to the event is confirmed and that they will receive an email within the next 10-15 minutes. Otherwise, people will be concerned that their registration didn’t go through and they won’t pay attention to your sales message.
You can have this mention prominently on the top of the page and/or next to your promotional video. Start your video by stating that they are properly registered.
Converting Free Attendees to Buyers
This sales presentation by video or written sales letter on your Thank You Page is one that usually makes an offer to buy a VIP pass. This all access pass gives you unlimited access to the virtual summit content beyond the days of the summit itself.
A virtual summit can last from time ranges of 1 to 5 days. They are usually not conducted from over a week-long period of time, but there are always exceptions to that rule such as 12 or 21 day summits.
Pro Tip: It is easy to mistake “more” for “better”. When conducting an annual summit we reduced the number of speaker and bonus sessions by 50% without noticing any decrease in our sales conversion rate (the percentage of registrants that buy the VIP pass). Later that year we hosted another regular summit which featured ⅓ of the speaker sessions with similar results.
We found that relevant content and bonuses such as worksheets and actionable handouts were more important than quantity. By reducing the number of speakers we significantly reduced the amount of work required which in turn increased profit margins.
The advantage of the VIP pass is that most people can actually attend all sessions during the live event. Trying to make every session gets overwhelming because it’s hard to consume all that content in such a short amount time.
This all access pass should be pitched as a way to get access to the summit content beyond the days of the event itself.
Since they likely won't be able to attend all the sessions at the exact time frames that the sessions are being conducted, for a small price they can have an all access pass to all the material to consume anytime they want.
That price point could be $47, $97 and up to $197.
I have seen virtual summit VIP passes sold at lower and higher price points than these, but these are the average price points and a good starting point.
The price for VIP access could be upwards of $1,000 in some professional markets if you have learning objectives for each sessions, have a setup to quiz your participants, issue attendance certificates and are registered to issue continued education credits.
To sell more VIP passes you may also offer additional bonuses.
This could be additional training from the speakers, e-books provided by some of the speakers and other items of value that can be transferred to attendees in exchange for the purchase of a VIP pass.
After a certain period of time, you may say in your sales message that the price of the VIP pass will increase. This creates urgency to purchase the VIP pass sooner than later.
After your virtual summit is over with, and you realize you have all these good training sessions on hand, you may come to the conclusion that you can make even more money from this material.
The ongoing money can be made by converting your virtual summit into an evergreen funnel.
Pro Tip: Convert the content of speaker sessions into action guides which you offer as a bonus to VIP pass holders. This has a high perceived value and will help your customers apply what they learn and ultimately get the results they want.
How to Convert A Virtual Summit Into An Evergreen Sales Funnel
What does it look like to convert your virtual summit into an evergreen funnel?
Let's use the example of what I helped a specific client achieve.
The starting point for this process is to apply changes to your Landing Page.
Instead of the landing page referring to the promotion of virtual summit on a specific date, it would simply promote the speakers and content and materials delivered.
Guidelines For Your Evergreen Landing Page
Since your people can now register and attend your event throughout the year you need to modify a few key areas of your written copy. Goes through these elements and adjust them accordingly:
- Replace the event calendar date with either a day of the week (i.e. Monday) or a mention that the events starts immediately after registering.
- Modify the language of your registration forms, pop-up boxes and notifications.
- In the “How this works” section provide clear information on how and when participants will access the content.
- If you use countdown timers either remove them or set them for the specific day of the week your event starts.
- Review any videos on your page to ensure they are still relevant.
- Update your page Meta Description, which is what will be shown when it is viewed on a search engine or when shared on social media.
Essential Tool For Your Evergreen Funnel: Deadline Funnel
When a person registers for the evergreen funnel, I have used a software called Deadline Funnel to track registrants. This allows us to a variable start and end dates for the event that is unique to each participant.
With Deadline Funnel, you’re able to set a very specific relative period of time for people to access the content after which they can no longer retrieve the materials. Once the deadline expires, people will be redirected to a different page.
How does this work?
Once a person submits the registration form Deadline Funnel begins tracking this person. They will be redirected to your thank you page which in most cases will have a limited time offer.
Deadline Funnel can be used to insert timers inside your sales page as well as the emails you will send with your email marketing system.
After a few minutes, long enough for them to review your offer, an e-mail will be sent to them welcoming them to the event.
In this email you will give them a very specific date in which the summit will start – let's say Monday at 8AM. I personally find it easier to start the event on a Monday as it is easy to remember and it gives sufficient time to promote your other offers throughout the week.
You can also set the software to end the Summit at – let's say Friday at 5PM, for a week-long summit.
Whenever you are sending emails with links to your speaker sessions, agenda and training you will use a URL link provided by Deadline Funnel. This ensures optimal tracking of the participant across multiple devices.
Pro Tip: When I started using Deadline Funnel I was concerned that by using their URL Links it would cause loading issues due to too many redirects. Email marketing systems track clicks by using a redirect. When combined with Deadline Funnel this means a minimum of 2 redirects… and a 3rd one if the person clicking the link is passed the deadline!
I discussed this concern with their technical support team and performed multiple tests. I did not run into issues using the current version of Deadline Funnel and now use their links within my emails. I recommend you use a tracking sheet to document your original URLs with the corresponding Deadline Funnel URL.
You can also use this software in combination with a segmentation strategy for your subscribers.
Segmenting would allow you to share specific information with your leads and send a more personalized message to them based on information they are interested in learning from your event.
You can do this by inserting a preferred training track on the registration form. Segmentation is a vast topic which goes beyond the context of this article and I encourage you to comment in this article or reach out to us if you want help with this.
Segmentation ultimately helps you send more targeted offers to your subscribers for increased sales.
Real Case Study Example with Segmentation
In the virtual summit that I helped a client put on not too long before I wrote this article, when attendees signed up, we offered various choices to help pinpoint the material they were most interested in learning.
We asked registrants to select their preference by clicking on a radio button on the registration form. For example… are you most interested in:
- Strategies for managing your team and H.R?
- Getting more leads and prospects?
- Or, are you looking at improving your business processes and gaining operational efficiencies?
They would pick one of those 3.
Pro Tip: Make your radio buttons big enough to make it easy for mobile users to select their preference.
Once they sign up they’d go to the Thank You page – which was very similar to their V.I.P. offer Thank You Page that we discussed above.
Now, in this situation, since we have that segmentation information, we’ll confirm that they'll be getting trainings for ‘improving their business efficiencies’ if that was their pick and then the messages will be tailored more around that discipline.
The page also includes a special offer as well as a countdown timer using the Deadline Funnel software previously discussed.
So, if the attendee chooses the material you have concerning operational efficiencies when submitting their registration form, when you e-mail them you can personalize your content by saying, "You’ll want to watch this training concerning operational efficiencies from world expert XYZ. We also have the following trainings that will help you with HR and team building."
This segmentation communication strategy starts off your email with the information they said they were most interested in while also presenting other related topics that you want to share with them.
To accomplish this you will need software that allows you to “tag” and segment your leads as they submit their registration form. The more advanced email marketing software such as ActiveCampaign, Ontraport and Drip have these functionalities built-in.
Pro Tip: Use the 20/80 rule when implementing segmentation and personalization. This can mean adapting a few sentences in your emails, the order of your content, headlines on your pages and perhaps a video. This is generally sufficient to do a strong lift in your revenue.
Scheduling Your Evergreen Funnel Content
With the software we mentioned earlier - Deadline Funnel - you can automatically shut down the availability of the content of your virtual summit based on the time frames that you set. This can be on a specific calendar date such as February 15, 2052 or a relative time such as 5 days after the contact submits the registration form.
Once the timeframe expires for them to view the content for free they will be redirected to a page that sells them on the VIP pass that is available for – let's say $197.
If a free registrant tries to use another device to watch the trainings or click on links in e-mails beyond the free access period, Deadline Funnel will track all of that and add the IP address, so that the material remains inaccessible.
You should use these deadlines to expire limited time offers and increase the pricing for those that missed the boat.
Even if a lead doesn’t buy the higher priced product they will understand that your deadlines are real. When you present them with another limited time offer in the future they will take it more seriously.
Why an Evergreen Funnel
The beautiful thing about doing an evergreen funnel for your virtual summit or online event is that you don't have to worry about being live and worry about glitches that can happen - speakers not showing up to the event, attendees not hearing sessions, etc.
You don’t have to worry about glitches happening during your event.
You can create great content in your own time and then just set the entire summit up to function like a live event for certain periods of time.
You can also host your summit live, leading to it with a big launch, and ultimately convert it into an evergreen system that continues to generate new leads and sales.
You’ll also be able to make a lot more revenue by being able to offer the entire summit as a continual product available year-round.
Pro Tip: Consider how you can repurpose your one-time online event into an evergreen clockwork format. It will make it easier to make the pivot once you are past the big date while further monetizing your assets.
Ready to Convert Your Virtual Summit Into an Evergreen Funnel?
It’s time to get in the game!
There are several great steps you can take now to work on your business and success.
First, if you need to build out a step by step inbound lead generating and sales conversion funnel, you should download my free SALES FUNNEL TEMPLATES PACK.
If you feel like you’d like to chat one-on-one about your project or campaign, you can schedule a free and no-obligation 30-minute consultation to build a personalized game-plan for your digital product, online training or coaching services.
We can discuss topics that range from sales campaigns, improving existing campaigns or marketing assets, and/or building out your marketing and learning platform. Schedule your Consultation now.
Finally, if you want help building out your perfect sales funnel, learn more and apply for our Predictable Sales Funnel Program here.
Pol Cousineau, CPA (Quebec)
President, The Digital Navigator firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the Video transcript of How to Convert Virtual Summits into an Evergreen Funnel by Pol Cousineau
As a business owner that sells online events, workshops training or virtual summits you might be wondering, how can I take this one-time event or summit and convert that into an event that brings in revenue and profit to my business year round?
Well the answer is by creating an evergreen funnel. I'm Pol Cousineau, the president of The Digital Navigator and you can find this resource as well as other complementary resources on our website thedigitalnavigator.com.
Now in this session what I want to cover is how to convert a virtual summit into an evergreen funnel? This applies to any form of online event training or workshop that you might be hosting in your business.
I'll use the example of virtual summits, because I have a very concrete and specific example but please take note that you can apply those steps to those other types of online training.
So let's back out a little bit, and take a look at what is a virtual summit because that will be our example. Well in the virtual summits and there's many ways that you can do it, a standard template or format for that is where you would have a landing page that people can sign up for your virtual summit and it will speak about what is the topic, who are the speakers, when that's going to take place and normally that is a free event in exchange for people's name and emails.
From that event, once people sign up, most businesses will make an offer on the thank you page. They’ll confirm that you're properly registered, check out your email for your free ticket to the online summit and then they will invite you to watch this video with an important message.
On that video you're making an offer to buy a V.I.P. pass which will give you unlimited access to the summit content beyond the days of the summit itself, now a virtual summit could be one day generally it's somewhere between two to five days and it's over a one week period obviously there's always exceptions to that rule.
So the advantage of the V.I.P. pass is that most people can't actually attend all the sessions during the live events and it gets overwhelming as well you can apply the have to take tons of notes so you made that are available for a small price. That could be up $197, $97, those are difficult races but I've seen a higher and lower than that.
With the V.I.P. pass people also get bonuses, where we deal on software that might be additional services it can be additional trainings from the different speakers, can be other training programs that your business has to offer. Anything to really sweetened the pot and there is a timing to get that special offer. After a certain period of time so that as when the summit start or when the summit ends the price for that V.I.P. pass will go up and you can see that all of this is based around a very specific moment in time, let's say the 1st week of September.
There is a lot of word that can go into creating an online summit so that as a business owner what you want to do is be able to leverage your time and resources to meet a maximum impact on your business while reaching as many people as possible.
The appeal of having that specific time period when the first week of September, is it creates a deadline, it creates an urgency. People have to buy that the VIP pass before the price goes up, now how could you be able to accomplish this year around without having to recreate new summits every single week? Well the answer is converting the virtual summits in to evergreen funnel or evergreen summit.
Now how would that look like? Using an example of how we did this get a very specific client, you will be able to take those steps now and implement that in your business, again this would also apply for selling out or online events or workshops. Let's look at that different assets, the 1st one is your landing page.
Your landing page now can't make mention of that specific date like a first week of September but it could still mention a starting day. So what I recommend is that you will say the online summit starts next Monday and then people have certain expectations about that. Then you're going to capture their registration information and we use a tool it's a software called deadline funnel.
With Deadline funnel you're able to set a very specific period of time from which or after which. People will be redirected to a different page. I'll give you an example so it doesn't get too confusing. So anyway, what's they sign up then that will create your deadline funnel. You're going to send them an email and then welcome, tell them the summit will be starting this coming Monday it's going to be let's say 5 days only, now you may want to have additional segmentation here. What segmentation does is allow you to feel like specific information about your leads so that you can provide a more personalized message to them and ultimately get more sales.
In the example that we have from our client, once they sign up, we offer few choices- are you interested in managing your tools for managing your team and H.R? Are you looking at getting more leads? and prospects? Or are you looking at improving your business processes and gaining operational efficiencies? They would pick one of those 3. Once you sign up the thank you page is very similar to their V.I.P. offer that it talked about previously.
Now in this situation because we have that segmentation information, we’ll be confirming that they'll be getting trainings for improving their business efficiencies if that was their pick and then the message is a little bit more tailor around that, we've made changes using headlines we can change a few bullet points, the guy might hear is due about 20 percent personalization and this step is fully optional.
You don't have to do to the 1st two round and that we will offer him the opportunity to get that V.I.P. pass that all the bonuses and all the trainings for a special offer that will be a limited time.
Again in this example that limited time will be end of the summer that will be starting on the next Monday that will be running for one week. Send them the welcome email, let them know when that's going to start and then on the Monday they're going to be sending out an e-mail to everyone that signed out and what we get is we create a special training tracks based on their preference out of those 3 choices.
If it picks operational efficiencies then we're going to say here are your 5 trainings for today, we recommend that you start with this because the address specifically the operational efficiencies and then we have complimentary training I will help you with H.R. human resources and your team building and we've got some that will help which everything.
So we still present the other tracks but we don't put as much emphasis on and then we remind them that they can get that if the VIP during a limited time. When they click on the links, you can watch the videos and you can also decide to agree.
Now the deadline funnel tool that I mentioned earlier will be used to track that Monday and start that deadline and let's see we're running the summit for Monday through Friday, there are going to be timers that are embedded at the email as well as on the different pages to show that that will expire at the end of that Friday.
So they are going to send that e-mail straight that week, might be like we did Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with that offer and then when people click to agree to the V.I.P. that will also be connected to the deadline funnels tool. What'll happen is at the end of that week if people have not taken you the offer, when they click back on those links one is the trainings will not be available, so people can’t just consume that forever.
The 2nd thing is their offer will redirected to another page and will say ‘hey’ you're past that deadline is expired, now the VIP pass is available for $197. Before that you would have the offer for $97, so he can still get it and we see people purchase it and although it's not really as many as significant sales compared to people that are buying within the deadline period.
It is because now the miss this week’s deal so they really have to like your comment or training if you’re going to pay that premium line, when it does happen and then they get made that purchase.
Now if he uses other devices to try to watch the trainings, click on the email, deadline funnel will track all of that and will add the IP, add the device suddenly creepy but actually effective and we're not stealing personal information.
There is no integrity risks, actually I would see that you're and higher integrity because when you say you have a special deal and it's for a specific period of time you honor that and after this you really increase the price so not lying like some other unscrupulous businesses and competitors might be doing and with that for that reason alone you're going to build good will with your audience even if doesn’t decide to buy.
Now let's see that they go back to your landing page or 1st sign up page for the free summit, if they want to go through it again the next week instead of all your V.I.P. pass.
The deadline funnel will recognize that and you can redirect them to page informing them that the summit is over and then they still can buy V.I.P pass in the correct market rate.
Any people that are not associated with that e-mail account those devices and any of those accounts will be able to go through your summit as normal because the tracking of those deadlines is individual to each person. So that means that you can promote your summit, your online events, your workshops year round.
You can have Google ads, you could have Facebook ads, SEO organic traffic and you could even have different types of funnel that lead people into your offer.
They not have to worry about keeping track of those calendar periods like the 1st week and send them a September as we start off our example and through doing this, you can actually lever your time because you don't have to continually reinvent the wheel and you can also leverage your offering so that you can keep promoting it and selling it and maximizing the profit in the revenue that I'll bring into your business while continuing to make it available year around.
If you found this information useful I invite you to reach out to our team, you can go to a website thedigitalnavigator.com and then at the top there's going to be articles you can contact us and then send us a personal message.
I’ll be more than happy to meet with you and discuss some of the projects and the strategies for your business so we can help you increase your revenue and profitability of your digital product online training or coaching business. I'm Pol Cousineau, with The Digital Navigator.
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