Virtual Event Handbook

A step-by-step guide to hosting your first online experience

Getting Started ›

Getting Started

Selecting Your Event Style

A virtual event is simply an online version of an in-person event. While virtual events burst into popularity due to the pandemic, we can expect to see more virtual and hybrid events moving forward. 
As a small business, deciding to bring your offerings online opens your business up to new opportunities. The first step in launching a virtual event is to identify what type of event fits your business goals.  

Types of Virtual Events:

Webinar: A webinar allows an organization to share presentations, videos and/or other content virtually with a large audience.


Benefit: Webinars are great if you are looking to position yourself or your business as an expert within your field. Focusing on a topic that your customer base finds valuable will provide you the opportunity to not only educate your audience base but generate leads through registrations. 

Workshop: Workshops are informational events typically designed for smaller audiences. In these interactive events, participants follow along with the instructor and walk away with some sort of finished project. 


Benefits: If you are looking to generate revenue from the event itself, virtual workshops might be the way to go. Customers who register for your virtual workshop will expect to walk away with a new skill. This is also a good opportunity to use your workshop as an opportunity to sell your products or services. 

Meetup: Online meetups are a great way to connect a group of people who share a common goal or interest. Meetups are great for building community among your patrons.


Benefits: If your business relies on a sense of community a virtual meetup is a great way to keep that community connected. The best part about a virtual meetup is that it provides an opportunity for you to grow that community outside of your typical geological reach. 

Livestream:  A livestream is easy to host on a budget since it can easily be hosted on social media, like Instagram or Facebook as well as other livestreaming platforms.


Benefits: Livestreams are great for generating sales or launching new products. In addition, they can be highly interactive providing you the opportunity to interact directly with your audience.

Conference: A virtual conference is typically a larger event consisting of multiple presentations and speakers around a common topic or theme.


Benefits: While virtual conferences are a lot of work, they can be very beneficial in expanding your audience, positing yourself as an industry expert and generating leads. Hosting a virtual conference also provides the opportunity to partner with other industry professionals as co-sponsors or featured speakers. 


Setting SMART Goals for Event Success

Be as clear as possible with what you want to achieve with your event. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to identify the steps to achieve it.
Ask Yourself:
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What do I wish to accomplish?
  • Why do I want to achieve this goal?
It is important to have goals that are measurable so that you are able to gauge how your event performs and have a baseline for your next event.
Ask Yourself:
  • How many new leads do I want?
  • How many sessions will people attend?
  • How many attendees will share on social?
Ensure that your goal is actually attainable. Don’t set lofty goals that aren’t achievable with your current resources, budget or time frame.
Ask Yourself:
  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • Do I have the resources to achieve this goal?
  • If not, what am I missing?
Does your event align with your broader business objectives? You want to ensure that your goals are in-step with your company’s values and long-term goals.
Ask Yourself:
  • Is this worthwhile?
  • Does this match our other efforts to grow the business?
  • How does this event fit within our border business plan?
Every event has an Event Day; set deadlines to ensure you are prepared for your event the day it goes live.
Ask Yourself:
  • When is my event?
  • What deadlines need to be set during the planning process?
  • What can I be doing today to achieve my goals?
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Getting Started

Developing Your Event Plan

Now that you've set your event goals, it's time to start planning. Virtual events have a lot of moving parts, no matter the size. Begin by answering some basic questions.

How will I stream my Event?

There are a variety of live streaming options available for events, big and small. Some options include Facebook or Instagram, Periscope or IBM Video. For Thryv users, Zoom is a great option for webinars and video conferencing. Plus, it can be found on the Thryv App Market.

Who will host my event?

Depending on the type of event, you may want to consider hiring a moderator or you could turn to a charismatic staff member.

Who will have access to my event?

Is your event a value add for current clients? Or, are you hoping to entice new customers with your virtual event? If you wish for your event to be more exclusive, you can provide attendees a personalized passcode or event access in their client portal. Alternatively, you can provide a link to the event to anyone who fills out a form fill on your website.

What is my budget?

Budgeting for an event is all about identifying your event costs compared to what revenue you expect to pull in. Depending on the goal of your event you may or may not be expecting to make a profit from your event. Setting a budget should be done early in the event planning process but revisited and updated as you move through the planning process.

Want us to walk you through it?

Download our 3-month checklist to plan your first virtual event from start to finish.