Virtual Summit Tech Platforms with Jaime Slutzky

guest expert tech Nov 21, 2019

Stuck trying to figure out which tech platform to use for your virtual summit? We have guest tech expert, Jaime Slutzky here to make it simple!

In this post, Jaime will cover:

  • The biggest virtual summit tech mistake she sees
  • Steps to choose the right platform for you
  • The tech stack she recommends using for a successful virtual summit.

One thing I love about Jaime's approach is that she doesn't believe in a one-size-fits-all method. Instead, she believes in finding and implementing the best tool for the task at hand that will continue to support you and your summit now and in the future.

Let's dive in and hear what she has to say!

Biggest mistake in choosing a virtual summit tech platform

The biggest mistake you can make in choosing a tech platform for your virtual summit is getting stuck in analysis paralysis.

There are so many robust tools out there. Pretty much anything that you pick, especially if they have "summits" in their lingo, will work. Really, unless something says, "This doesn't work for summits", you can probably make it work.

So instead of getting stuck trying to find the perfect tech platform, spend your time focusing on your content, audience, and other important aspects of your summit. Easier said than done, right?

What to Consider When Choosing a Virtual Summit Tech Platform

There are three things to consider when choosing a virtual summit tech platform:

  1. Can you have a sign-up form that integrates with your email marketing system? You're going to send a ton of emails out and need to be able to reliably collect email addresses of those who try to register. It needs to be a reliable and seamless system.
  2. Can your presentation pages go live when you want them to go live? If you have to manually make presentation pages live, that's a red flag. You don't want to have to do anything manual other than talk to your guests and audience during your event. So if you can't schedule your pages to publish at a certain time, it's a red flag.
  3. Do you feel comfortable with it? It's important that you feel comfortable with whatever tech platform you use.

Things not mentioned in this list are aspects like taking payments, selling a product, or having affiliates and this is because they aren't required to have a successful summit. Are the an added bonus? Absolutely. But not required.

At the granular level, all you need is to be able to email people who sign up and get your presentation pages out there.

Recommended Tech Platforms

Truthfully, there is no tech platform that is the best choice for all summit hosts out there, but let's talk about platforms that do and don't work well for virtual summits.

Tech Platforms That Don't Work Well for Virtual Summits

All-in-one platforms

This might seem totally backwards, but I don't love all-in-one website platforms for hosting summits. This includes platforms like Kajabi, ClickFunnels, Simplero, etc.

Krista and I are both in the WordPress camp and have been there for a long time because of the flexibility. The flexibility of WordPress far outpaces anything that you might be able to do in any all-in-one platform.

That's not to say that those all-in-ones aren't good for some people, but you're going to be working inside someone else's box and that's not the box that was designed for a summit. That's the difference.

However, there are all-in-one platforms designed specifically for virtual summits such as Virtual Summit Software and HeySummit. If you're going to use an all-in-one, those are the types of things you should be looking at. But keep in mind that you'll still be working within someone's box. It's just a better box than the non-summit platforms.

The Best Tech Platforms for Hosting a Virtual Summit

Website platform

WordPress is my go-to website platform because it is so robust and flexible. However, it's not the right choice for everyone, which we'll get to shortly.

Email marketing platform

ActiveCampaign is the best email marketing system option for your summit's email sequences.

This may be deeper than most people are expecting to go, but with ActiveCampaign, I can segment my pre-summit automation based on the date someone signs up.

For example, if someone signs up on the first day of registration, they're going to get all of your pre-summit emails. But, if they sign up three days before your summit, what emails are you sending to them? You don't want them to get email number one, email number two, and then go into the live event because you haven't warmed them properly.

Cart software

I use ThriveCart for my affiliate management and payment processing and it's what I recommend for all-access passes. It's a one-time fee and integrates with just about anything.

All-access pass hosting

To host an all-access pass, I've used both Thinkific and MemberVault and like them. I use both of those. I really like them over most of the other options out there.

If you'll be hosting your summit on WordPress, you can use a membership site plugin, like LearnDash, but keep in mind there's overhead with anything extra you do on WordPress with needing to keep it updated and pay separate fees. If you host other products on a website using LearnDash or plan to in the future, that small bit of extra overhead won't be a big deal.

How to choose your virtual summit tech platform

Next, let's touch on how to choose the right virtual summit tech platform for you.

Step 1: Look at what you already have

The first step is always to look at what you already have. Can we make that work and reduce your workload by a ton?

If it's not going to work, then what do we choose instead? What are we trying to accomplish that we weren't able to accomplish? Make your choice based on that.

Step 2: Look at what you can remove

If you end up needing to add a new piece of tech, look at what you can remove as a result.

Yes, looking into this and making the needed changes adds a little extra work to your process, but it helps with keeping your tech stack as small as possible moving forward. There's no use in having multiple platforms that can do the same thing, especially if one is clearly better than the other.

For example, if you currently use MailChimp as your email marketing platform and decide that ActiveCampaign will be better for your summit, take the time to move everything over to ActiveCampaign and get off of MailChimp completely. You don't need two email marketing platforms and the same goes for everything else.

Keep your summit tech simple

Your summit tech does not have to be complicated. There are so many good tools out there. This is not the place to reinvent the wheel. Instead, focus on the pieces of your summit planning that will really move you and your audience forward.

My Tech Impact Workbook will help you look at what you're paying for and what you're actually using. From there, you can see if your money is being well-spent and if you're using your tools to the best of their abilities.

Resources

About Jamie

Jaime Slutzky is the host of the Tech of Business podcast and works as a virtual technology officer for entrepreneurs and small businesses. She doesn’t believe in the one size fits all method, nor all-in-one products but in finding and implementing the best tool for the task at hand that will continue to support the client or product into the future. Jaime specializes in making online technology do its job so that her clients can spend more time in their zone of genius and trust that the tech is going to support their business dreams.

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