How to Make Money with a Virtual Summit

Wondering how to make money with a virtual summit? Let’s break down 4 ways to monetize your free online event along with details on which is my favorite.

One of the top questions I get from first-time virtual summit hosts is how to effectively monetize.

There are endless options for how to make money through a summit, but today we'll cover the most common and widely effective ways.

We'll also cover:

  • How to make money through a free virtual summit
  • The most common ways to monetize
  • My top recommendations for making the most money from your summit

How do you make money from a free virtual summit? 

The most common summit-hosting model is referred to as "freemium".

What that means is that there's a two-step process for attendees to get access to everything. Here's what it looks like:

  1. First, they register for the event for free. This gives them access to most or all of the presentations, usually for 24 or 48 hours.
  2. Then, if they want ongoing access and additional bonuses, they can upgrade to another offer.


Why is the freemium model better?

I won't say that the freemium virtual summit model is better for every niche out there, but it is better for most.

That's because it is so much easier to 10x (or way more) your number of leads for a free event. Those leads qualify themselves when they register, and from there you can sell to them.

People are far less likely to sign up for a paid summit, even if the ticket is priced as low as $19 (even I won't usually sign up for a paid summit and I love them!) and your speakers are less likely to promote.

Check out this interview with Cara Harvey who ran two paid summits, switched to the freemium model, and saw incredible results!

And check out more based on my own experience here.

Top ways to make money with a virtual summit

Now that you know that money comes in after someone has registered for your free event, let's talk about a few of the most common offers to present afterward.

All-Access Pass

The most popular upsell option is selling an all-access pass.

Like we covered earlier, most summits allow a limited amount of time to view each presentation. This time can vary but is usually 24-48 hours. After that, the presentation goes away. 

Then, if attendees want further access to the presentations, they can purchase the all-access pass to get longer access. This extended access can be anywhere from a month to a "lifetime".

I also recommend that an all-access pass includes more than just presentations. The industry-standard conversion rate for an all-access pass is 2-4%, but those following our systems to get 10%+ due to specific positioning, the specific all-access pass offer, and the way we present it.

Sell Your Own Product or Service

Another upsell option is to sell your signature product or service, which should be highly related to the topic of the summit.

Throughout the summit, you'll gently build awareness of the offer so that, once you launch, you can present it as a natural next step.

The catch here is that you want it to be an offer that is proven before the summit. I don't want you going through the work of hosting a summit just to find out that something is off with your offer!

To learn more, based on the specific type of offer you have, check out your business model's curated Summit Host Hangout playlist

And if you're ready to go all-in with reaching your biggest course, membership, or group program launch yet through a virtual summit, check out the Launch with a Summit Accelerator


The last option we'll cover for how to make money through a virtual summit is having sponsors.

With this option, the sponsoring company pays you to be featured in front of your summit's audience, which generates new leads or sales for them.

For this to work well and for you to land a good sponsor, it has to be a very specialized fit.

For example, I've seen Deadline Funnel sponsor events for digital product creators while I've seen Dubsado sponsor a summit for service-based business owners.

Personally, I prefer to offer sponsorship spots to peers who are spending money on ads to get in front of my summit audience.

The "best" way to monetize

The truth is, the "best" way to monetize your summit is whatever combination of those options feels best and doable to you right now.

I've hosted summits that have had...

  • just an all-access pass (bringing in up to $121,000)
  • an all-access pass and sponsorships
  • an all-access pass and course launch
  • an all-access pass and high-ticket program launch
  • all 3

Choose the Option That's Right for You

While I just told you about my preferred method of making money through a virtual summit, it's important that you choose the option that's best for you.

Here are some resources to help you dive in which whatever option(s) you choose:



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Wondering how to make money with a virtual summit? Let’s break down 4 ways to monetize your free online event along with details on which is my favorite.Wondering how to make money with a virtual summit? Let’s break down 4 ways to monetize your free online event along with details on which is my favorite.

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