How to Create a Virtual Event in 9 Easy Steps

Astley Cervania

Astley Cervania

Content Contributor, HeySummit

Published on 11th April 2023Updated 22nd February 2024

The global market size of virtual events is predicted to hit $657.64 billion by 2030, according to a report by Grand View Research.  

That’s a pretty hefty number if you ask me…

More businesses than ever have adapted to online events since the COVID-19 pandemic. But even if you’re only just starting out, the virtual conference will be here for years to come. 

In this complete guide, you’ll learn how to create a virtual event that not only offers an exceptional experience for your attendees but also achieves your business goals.

What Is a Virtual Event?

A virtual event is an event that happens entirely online rather than in person. Think of it as a video call on steroids – the difference between a normal video call and a virtual event is that the latter involves a lot more people and organized activities. 

Virtual events take on many forms, such as conferences, summits, and trade shows. These may include activities such as networking and Q&As. Event organizers present to attendees either through live streaming or pre-recorded video, often by using an event management platform such as:

7 Best Practices to Keep in Mind When Hosting Virtual Conferences

7 Best Practices to Keep in Mind When Hosting Virtual Conferences

When creating virtual events, you need to consider some basics before getting into the details of your action plan 

  • Set clear event goals to work towards

  • Do at least one event practice run 

  • Tailor your content to a specific type of attendee

  • Prioritize audience interaction

  • Offer attendee networking opportunities

  • Collect feedback 

  • Send email reminders and follow-ups

How to Create a Virtual Event That Delivers an Exceptional Attendee Experience

Before we talk about the what of hosting a virtual event, let’s talk about the how. 

There are two ways to create a virtual event: by yourself with multiple software tools or with an all-in-one virtual event platform

A virtual events platform becomes your venue. This is where you’ll bring together attendees, set up the stage for your speakers, and carry out all of the logistics, from setting up signs so attendees know where to go to distributing agendas so everyone knows which sessions are on.

Without a virtual event solution, you’ll have to focus on the technical aspects of running an event as opposed to being solely focused on:

  • Building relationships with your speakers

  • Driving attendance

Managing sponsorsHere are a few simple steps for creating a virtual event: 

1. Determine the Event Format 

Here are a some examples of virtual event formats:

  • Live Q&As

  • Fireside chat

  • Webinars

You can also get some more inspiration from this post

The best format depends on your audience’s interests. Refer to your attendee personas and consider what type of event would best meet their needs. 

2. Make a List of the Right Tools  

Think about the tools you’d need your platform to support – from features like enabling audience participation (chat, polls) to having multiple speakers present at once… Hosting an engaging online event requires several tools if you’re going to deliver an immersive experience. 

Method 1: Hunt for Resources 🛠️

Here are some of the tools that are typically needed to create virtual events:

  • Video conferencing: Hosting an online event requires online video calls. Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are popular choices. 

  • Audio and video equipment: Good microphones, webcams, and lighting kits enable you to deliver a high-quality online experience. 

  • Presentation: Using slides or other visual elements during your event may require presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides. 

  • Interactive features: Boost attendee engagement with interactive features such as polls, live chat, and DMs. Popular tools here include Kahoot and Slido. 

  • Ticketing system: Allow guests to purchase tickets and manage payments using software like Stripe or PayPal. 

  • Analytics: Using software like Google Analytics to record data and measure event performance allows you to track your key performance indicators. 

  • Content management: Whether that’s email or social media, you’ll better manage a volume of content using a platform such as Klaviyo and Buffer. 

Method 2: Use HeySummit ⛰️ 

Instead of using a combination of the above tools, you could use an all-in-one solution that intuitively knows how to run a virtual event.  You simply let the tool know the type of event you’re looking to create.

How to Create a Virtual Event Without Having to Code (Full Guide)

After filling out the fields provided, you’ll have access to all the tools you need to customize and manage your event in one place: 

Landing page builder 
  • Dynamic components

  • Drag-and-drop model

  • Pre-built themes

  • Custom CSS

Talk management
  • Rich descriptions and linked media

  • Video delivery options (live or pre-recorded video)

  • Automatic replays

  • Optional offers and giveaways

  • Registration stats

Speaker dashboard
  • Update talk details

  • Optional offers and giveaways

  • Auto-created graphics

  • Auto-created affiliate setups

  • Live registration stats

Speaker directory
Attendee registration
  • Custom registration questions

  • Terms and conditions

  • Viral incentives

  • Ticketing management

  • Registration stats

Marketing and Viral Tools 
Ticket and revenue management
  • Local currencies

  • Set countdown timers

  • Content restrictions

  • Day restrictions

  • Ticket expiration

  • Pricing tiers

Reporting and analytics
  • Attendee segmentation

  • Webinar usage reports

  • Analytics dashboard

3. Choose an Event Time and Date

The time and date have an impact on the success of your event. With that in mind, consider the following:

  • Time Zones: Choose a time that works best for your target audience.

  • Days of the week: Consider what day of the week would be most convenient for your audience. 

  • Clashing events: Double-check the calendar to ensure there aren’t any conflicting events or holidays that may affect attendance. 

  • Event duration: Decide on the length of your event that your audience would prefer. 

  • Follow-ups: Schedule the event taking into account how you’re going to follow up with attendees and engage with them post-event, e.g. surveys and scheduling additional meetings.

  • Pre-event marketing: Give yourself enough time to promote the event and build excitement beforehand to increase attendance rates.

4. Create Talk Sessions 

Talk sessions are presentations or discussions that take place during an event. Examples of talk sessions include:

  • Keynote speeches

  • Panel discussions 

  • Workshops

These are covered by speakers who are experts on a particular topic and are the simplest way to engage attendees. 

The purpose is to give value to attendees by sharing insightful information and ideas for their benefit. 

Here are the two ways you can host talk sessions when hosting a virtual event: 

Method 1: Hunt for Resources 🛠️

  • You’ll need to choose a video-hosting platform like Vimeo or YouTube.

  • To set up a live session, you’ll need to choose a live webinar (or live streaming) platform like Zoom or BigMarker.

You could also mix in both types of recordings. A good example of this is adding a live Q&A session right after a talk or an info-heavy presentation to provide context before a panel discussion. 

If you’re using existing content and live-stream videos, you’ll have to use multiple platforms to host your sessions and design a system to operate between these different resources. However, this gets difficult real quick especially when you’re running 10+ sessions a day.  

Aside from that, you’ll also have to find a way to provide speakers behind-the-scenes access so they can update details about their talk sessions and have the option to add giveaways or offers. A few examples of ways to manage this are through:

  • Email communication

  • Using a shared document

  • Scheduling regular calls

Method 2: Use HeySummit ⛰️

When you use a tool that has everything you need for live streaming, you take the hassle out of trying to juggle multiple tools at once. With HeySummit, you have four ways to broadcast your event talks:

  • Live webinar: sync with one of our webinar platform integrations such as Zoom.

  • Custom stream: use an external URL if preferred.

  • Pre-recorded: include a link to the video.

  • No broadcast: send attendees straight to the replays.

We also offer video streaming integrations with WebEx, LiveWebinar, and more. We make the entire process simple so you can seamlessly mix different talk session formats. 

It’s also easy for speakers to update their profile as they’ll have a dedicated space on HeySummit’s speaker dashboard. Instead of leaving them out in the dark and doing constant back-and-forths, your speakers can do the following:

  • Keep on top of swipe copy and promotional materials

  • Track live registration and attendee stats

  • Register as an affiliate (optional)

  • Share relevant links to attendees where they can see their schedules and sessions

Pro recommendation: test out your sessions from an attendee’s POV! We always suggest doing event practice runs before launching the real thing to ensure everything runs smoothly as you intended. 

5. Set Up Ticketing Options 

Much like an in-person event, when you create events online, you need to sell tickets so you can gauge the interest ahead of time. When attendees purchase tickets, it usually involves a unique identifier such as a barcode, QR code, or password to give them access to the event.

How to sell tickets for your virtual events:

Method 1: Hunt for Resources 🛠️

Ticketing involves the use of a third-party ticketing platform or service provider for managing the sales and distribution of tickets. 

Event organizers can sell tickets directly through their own website or through ticketing providers like Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, and StubHub. Through these platforms, you’re able to impose limits, such as providing free tickets for a limited period of time and establishing pricing tiers.

Whatever you decide, you’ll need to set this up alongside a registration form. You’ll also need to facilitate payments as tickets (unfortunately) can’t sell themselves. 

Here’s what we’d suggest reviewing in a ticketing and payment platform:

  • Security

  • Reliability

  • Ease of use

  • Currency conversions

  • Ticket handling fees

Method 2: Use HeySummit ⛰️

Whether your event tickets are going to be free, paid, or a mixture of both, the easiest way is to set up ticketing is to use  HeySummit. The tool allows you to:

  • Offer coupon codes

  • Include ticket restrictions

  • Share offers

  • Share giveaways

  • Manage affiliate payouts

  • Manage sponsorship 

You’ll also have a full record of all event attendees who purchased tickets.

Having all the information and settings in one place is a real lifesaver, especially when attendees want to make changes to their ticket type or when you want to find out which type of ticket is selling the most. 

Pro recommendation: have multiple tiers with ticket pricing (including free options). Everyone loves free events and discounted tickets, including sponsors, because they attract higher attendance numbers. 

6. Build an Event Landing Page

An event landing page is a standalone web page created specifically for advertising your event. It’s where someone ‘lands’ when they enter your event URL or when they click on the link promoted through your ads or marketing copy. 

Showcase both your brand and the essential event details. This is key for making a solid first impression and setting up your event for success.

Method 1: Hunt for Resources 🛠️

Here are a few key f details your event landing page should include:

  • Event title

  • Unique value proposition

  • Dates of the event

  • The event host (your name/company name)

  • Speaker or talk session details

  • Taster videos

  • Customer testimonials

If you’re creating your event landing pages manually, you’ll need to  use a landing page builder or a CMS like WordPress or hire a website designer to do the work for you. 

Method 2: Use HeySummit ⛰️

After following the step-by-step process and entering your event details into HeySummit, a landing page is created that you can customize for your brand. 

In other words, generate your landing pages automatically simply by entering your event details. 

It’s also equally straightforward to edit your landing page thanks to the drag-and-drop model with pre-built components:

  • Make tweaks to your landing page design by adding text, images, logos, and banners so that it reflects your brand’s style and tone (our platform includes guidance on image optimization, so there’s no need for guesswork)

  • Implement changes instantly to your landing page whenever you update event content

  • Move content around the landing page based on both your preferences and your ideal attendee’s preferences  

  • Include a countdown timer after adding your first talk to optimize your event landing page for higher conversions

  • Get access to HeySummit’s built-in rich schema markup so that Google makes your content on search results stand out

No coding skills are required. HeySummit has a simple layout, as shown below.

How to Create a Virtual Event Without Having to Code (Full Guide)

7. Have a Plan for Email Marketing

You’ve got the speakers on board and a list of attendees who signed up. Now, it’s crucial to keep the momentum going by building brand awareness and a buzz leading up to the event. This is a huge part of driving a highly engaged audience to your sessions, which is where email marketing comes in. 

Managing emails is essential for: 

  • Event planning and execution 

  • Streamlining communication 

  • Maximizing marketing efforts

Overall, email helps event hosts communicate effectively, stay organized, promote the event, and reinforce branding. 

Method 1: Hunt for Resources 🛠️

You’ll often collect attendee emails from the signup form on your landing page. So, import the email list into a platform like Mailchimp then start sending personalized email sequences. 

An email marketing platform would be useful thanks to features like:

This also helps to ensure you and your team are all on the same page. 

Another method is to communicate with your audience through social media or to add attendees to a private community page. But, most event organizers go the email route because people are more likely to read information sent to them personally via email rather than information that’s posted on a public page. 

Method 2: Use HeySummit ⛰️

All HeySummit accounts come with pre-written customizable email templates. Plus, you’ll be able to schedule emails so that they’re sent to attendees automatically instead of having to send each email yourself. 

You’ll get a range of email templates, such as:

  • Welcome message

  • Daily agenda

  • Event reminders with session details and how to access them (with links)

  • Showcase of event highlights

  • Wrap up message

  • And more…

On your email dashboard, you’ll also see bounce rates and complaint rates, as shown below. 

How to Create a Virtual Event Without Having to Code (Full Guide)

In short, you’ll get access to the main features that you would normally see in email marketing software, except it’s embedded within HeySummit.

8. Promote Your Event 

Without promoting your event, not as many people are going to show up. 

A winning event marketing strategy generates awareness and interest, which leads to attendance and ticket sales. You’ll want to find creative ways to get the word out about your event. Here are some ideas:

Method 1: Hunt for Resources or Execute Your Strategy Manually 🛠️

On top of email marketing (which is pretty much essential for promoting a virtual event), here are a few other strategies you might implement:

  • Schedule regular social media posts using a platform like Buffer

  • Use paid ads to reach a specific demographic

  • Set up an affiliate program using affiliate marketing software

  • Give incentives to attendees to help spread the word

  • Do giveaways 

  • Offer early bird discounts

  • Partner up with influencers in your niche

Your speaker, existing customers, and affiliates are some of your biggest marketing assets. People are more likely to trust and buy from a brand that’s recommended by someone they know or resonate with.

So, consider doubling down on word-of-mouth marketing because it tends to lead to more sales and influence compared to all other forms of advertising!  

Method 2: Use HeySummit ⛰️

All the marketing tools and features that you need for your event are built-in with HeySummit, such as:

  • Affiliate programs

  • Email management

  • Sponsorship marketing

  • Promotional banners

  • Viral incentives

  • Swipe copy

  • Testimonial marketing

Again, this is a step-by-step process. Or some of the above is automatically generated for you, e.g., speaker and talk promo banners.

Here’s a sample process for setting up viral incentives using HeySummit:

1. Head over to the “content tab”.

How to Create a Virtual Event Without Having to Code (Full Guide)

2. Fill in the form provided as shown below.

How to Create a Virtual Event Without Having to Code (Full Guide)

3. Press “save" and you're all done! 

9. Have Tech Support Ready

There’s always going to be a possibility of technical issues arising during an event, even when you’ve done a few practice runs beforehand. 

Method 1: Learn How to Resolve the Technical Issues Yourself or Hire an Experienced Professional  🛠️ 

Test run your event before launching it live. Next, research the potential technical errors that could arise and how to overcome them. 

Since you’re operating alone or with a small team without external support, make yourselves familiar with the ins and outs of each software that you’re using so you can fix any errors that might come up.

Another option is to hire an experienced professional. Then again, this can sometimes be even more costly compared to using a platform like HeySummit. 

Method 2: Use HeySummit ⛰️

Things are 10 times easier when you get step-by-step guidance and support from a team that lives and breathes online events. And in many cases, it eliminates the need to hire someone with design and coding experience.

At HeySummit, we guide you through the entire process from start to finish. 

We tell you what details to plug in, where it goes, and what to take into account so that you can put together a winning virtual event. 

Here’s what one of our users, Larry, had to say about our team:

“They are incredibly responsive and thoughtful and really care about my questions and technical needs! This is huge for me, and it has been a great confirmation that I chose the best possible platform for my events. I can count on the team at HeySummit to be so responsive and to care so much for all of the small details that ultimately help me produce a successful virtual summit.”

Get started now with HeySummit by signing up here for a free 14-day trial

What About Zoom and Google Meet, Can’t You Create a Virtual Event There?

Zoom and Google Meet are designed as video conference platforms, so they may not be sufficient for hosting large virtual events because:

  • Limited customization options to deliver a fully branded online experience

  • Offers no features or dashboards for managing keynote speakers and getting sponsors engaged

  • Plans don’t include ticketing features or tools to optimize for higher sales revenue

  • Limited technical support

Although Zoom has some useful features, like creating breakout sessions, it’s not optimized for building a virtual environment.

I mean, you could run a webinar or a small online event, but it’s a different story when it comes to putting together large virtual events involving third-party speakers, sponsors, and affiliates. 


Now, you know how to create a virtual event by yourself and by using an all-in-one tool like HeySummit.

Although it’s completely doable to go at it on your own, it is going to cost a lot more time and effort, which can ultimately impact your bottom line. By using an affordable online platform like HeySummit, to deliver your next virtual event,  not only will it make your life easier, but your audience will be impressed by the ease with which they can register, attend, and engage with your event. It’s never been simpler to be a crowd-pleaser! 

See for yourself and start a free 14-day trial here.

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