Virtual workshops are an easy and effective way to attract clients, become an authority in your field, and connect with people.
In fact, we’ve helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs through virtual events, and one of our students even used a virtual workshop to bring in $26,500 in revenue on his very first try!
Needless to say, we know a thing or two about online workshops — and in this guide, you will learn everything you need to know to hold your own successful virtual workshop.
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What Is A Virtual Workshop?A virtual workshop is an interactive online meeting or training session where participants engage in collaborative activities and discussions.
Workshop organizers use them for a wide range of purposes, including corporate training, educational courses, team-building activities, and workshops on specific topics like software development, creative writing, or professional development.
Unlike in-person workshops where you’re confined to a physical space, a virtual workshop can have far more attendees and come at a much lower cost. Workshop participants don’t need to be in a specific geographic location.
In this article, I focus on organizing online workshops to generate leads for your business, since this is the most common reason people ask us about workshops. However, the advice within still applies if you want to hold a session for something else.
👉 Ready to hold your virtual workshop? Click here to get access to our free Virtual Workshop Checklist.
Types of virtual workshops
There are many types of virtual workshops — which you decide to host depends on your goals and resources.
Here are some things to think about to decide which type of workshop is right for you:
- Free or paid? Decide if you want to charge for your workshop. Free workshops are a great way to grow your influence and get your audience into a funnel that leads to high-ticket sales.
- All day or 90 minutes? We recommend either a 90-minute workshop (3 sessions of 30 minutes each) or an all-day workshop. 90 minutes is perfect for free or low-cost virtual workshops while an all-day workshop can be sold for much more.
- Live or pre-recorded? Live workshops are excellent for building relationships with your attendees as you can directly answer their questions and get feedback. Pre-recorded workshops offer a sustainable way to maximize the value of your past events, enabling ongoing promotion and engagement without the need for additional live sessions.
- Interactive or passive? As you’ll learn throughout this article, attendee interaction is a big part of successful virtual workshops. However, a passive workshop where you teach something the entire time without allowing questions in between sessions is good if you have a lot to teach in a short amount of time.
- Direct or indirect revenue? You can sell tickets to your workshops for $100’s of dollars, especially for an intensive all-day workshop (i.e. direct revenue). Alternatively, you can focus on indirect revenue via free or low-cost ($10-50) workshops aimed at getting attendees on a sales call or into a high-ticket offer.
Hopefully, this gave you some virtual workshop ideas. If you need more help planning your session, be sure to attend our virtual workshop masterclass to learn exactly how it’s done.
What do you need to hold a virtual workshop?
All you really need to hold a virtual workshop is a laptop with a webcam and microphone, an internet connection, and a virtual workshop platform such as Zoom.
However, you will come across as more professional if you have:
- A dedicated microphone (I recommend the Logitech Blue Yeti)
- An upgraded webcam (such as the Elgato Facecam)
- Studio lighting (check out this lighting guide — it’s for YouTube but applies to workshops)
- High-speed internet (upload speeds of 10mbps or higher)
- A visually appealing background, such as a bookshelf or a mural wall
- A workshop checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything
Go watch some of Prince EA’s YouTube videos for some inspiration on backgrounds to use and what a high-quality studio looks and sounds like.
That said, don’t worry about spending a lot of money on equipment. As long as you have a decent image quality and a good microphone, you can host a successful workshop.
How To Host Virtual Workshops In 5 Steps
Now that you know what a virtual workshop is and all the gear you need to hold one, it’s time to plan and launch your own! Here are five steps to throw an engaging workshop:
Step 1: Set your goals and choose a topic
First things first, why do you want to hold a workshop? What is your goal?
Running virtual workshops is an excellent way to grow your audience and expertise and connect with colleagues in your industry. But for me, the main goal usually relates to cash flow or lead generation.
As I said in the intro, one of our students made $26,500 in revenue from their very first workshop. What would an extra $26,500 do for your business?
Now, it’s OK not to aim quite that high from the get-go. They’re the exception, not the rule.
But it’s possible to make an extra $1,000, $3,000, or even $5,000 on your first event, so project a realistic (but ambitious) revenue goal for your workshop.
If you don’t choose revenue as a goal, at least pick something tangible. Something like:
- A specific number of attendees
- An email list growth goal
- A goal to deeply connect with a certain number of people (perhaps quantified by how many engaging conversations you have after the workshop)
Wrote down your goal? Good. Now, let’s decide on a topic.
Choosing a topic is easier if you already have an audience. What are the most common questions your clients ask you? These may make for great workshop topics.
For example, at Entrepreneurs HQ we help businesses get more clients. One of the most common things we’re asked about is how to get more referrals quickly — so we created a workshop called “3 referrals in 3 minutes”.
I demonstrate in 3 minutes how I get 3 referrals for my business. I lay out the steps (sharing my screen on LinkedIn), and then the participants follow my steps (using their own LinkedIn) to replicate the 3 referrals for their own business.
If you don’t have an audience, you can check places where your ideal clients hang out (such as forums or Facebook groups) to see what questions keep popping up.
For example, let’s say you offer SEO services, so you head to Facebook and join some SEO groups. As you scroll through the groups, you keep noticing questions about backlinks:
So you might hold an online workshop about demystifying backlinks in SEO. You could answer all the questions you find in the forums and Facebook groups, and allow attendees to ask further questions.
Come up with a list of 3-5 workshop topic ideas and choose the one that best aligns with your goals and seems to be the most important to your audience.
It can be a good idea to validate your topics before you choose one by asking your social media followers and email subscribers which topic appeals most to them.
Step 2: Prepare your material
Once you’ve set a goal and chosen a topic, it’s time to create your course material.
What are your workshop objectives? What questions will you answer? Will you have the workshop participants do specific tasks, or will it be more lecture-style?
I recommend going back to those same forums and Facebook groups and searching for all the common questions regarding your chosen topic. Write them all down, and use them as material in case participant engagement is low.
Ideally, you want your participants to be asking their own questions since you want to show how you can help them. But in case you get a shy bunch, it’s important to have pre-scripted questions and answers ready so you’re not just sitting there waiting for questions.
Virtual whiteboards like Miro allow you to teach the workshop almost like an in-person classroom, visually displaying what you’re trying to teach as you’re speaking.
Here’s a video explaining this online whiteboard tool:
Step 3: Create a landing page & set your price
To get people to sign up for your workshop, you should create a dedicated landing page that showcases everything they will learn and why it’s valuable to them.
Your landing page should:
- Have a bold, clear call-to-action to join your workshop
- Tell the reader why it’s worth signing up
- If possible, showcase testimonials of past clients
Check out our Virtual Summit Masterclass landing page for an idea of what a good landing page should look like. It uses strong copy (how I generated $50,000 from my first virtual summit with no email list or network), builds trust with testimonials and partner logos, and has multiple calls-to-action to get people to sign up.
At this stage, you also need to decide if this will be a free or paid workshop.
I always recommend charging for your workshops because attendees who invest cash are more likely to show up and be engaged with your content. Plus, if they paid you for a workshop, they are more likely to pay you for your products or services.
Most workshop organizers charge between $27-$97. Choose a price that feels good for you.
Step 4: Market your workshop
Marketing is one of the most important steps in holding an effective virtual workshop. If people don’t know it exists, they won’t sign up.
Another pro to charging for your workshop is that it gives you a little bit of a marketing budget for paid ads. Check out our 3-step Facebook ad funnel if you want to go this route.
But you don’t need to spend any money on marketing. You can use the same forums and Facebook groups to market your workshop. Go back to all those questions you saw around the topic, and start answering them.
Don’t just spam your workshop link. Provide a thorough answer, then mention the workshop as an option if they want to learn more. Engage with the community and become known as someone who’s worth listening to.
Here’s an example of how to do that:
Lastly, if you have an email list or social media following, don’t forget to mention the workshop to them as well.
Step 5: Show up & deliver
The final step is to show up to your workshop on time and deliver on your promises!
Do your best to be as engaging and informative as possible. Avoid droning on, and try to be enthusiastic about your topic.
It’s a good idea to practice your presentation a few times before the big day. Run through everything you’re going to say and consider doing a dry run with friends and family first.
Take time to get familiar with your video conferencing software if you haven’t used it before. It’s best to avoid any technical difficulties if possible.
Lastly, be sure to stop frequently and allow time for your attendees to ask questions — after all, your virtual workshops are for them!
7 Tips To Master Virtual Workshops
Running an effective virtual workshop takes practice and intention. Here are a few tips to help you master the collaborative process and make your workshops as successful as possible:
1. Make it engaging and promote participation
We all know that online meetings can be boring. That’s why it’s important to facilitate active participation with your attendees. Aside from being enthusiastic in your presentation, you should also encourage questions and discussions.
The simplest way to do this is by stopping between slides and asking if anyone has any questions. It’s also a good idea to set a specific time at the end for people to ask any open-ended questions they have about the topic at large.
Use interactive tools like polls or quizzes to encourage active participation. Visuals and multimedia also help.
Consider planning activities that require participants to actively engage in real-time, such as group discussions, brainstorming sessions, or hands-on exercises.
2. Avoid the hard sale
It’s not a good idea to have a “hard sale” in your workshop. You’re there to help your participants, not to sell to them.
But a soft promotion of your brand or services is totally ok!
Here’s what I mean by that:
Rather than holding a workshop and pitching a high-ticket item at the end, focus on giving your attendees value and telling them how you can help them. Chances are, your attendees don’t know you or your brand that well yet, and they need to feel like you’re worth their time before they start throwing money at you.
It’s better to offer a free consulting call or a downloadable worksheet at the end than pitch a big offer.
3. Plan breaks
Part of keeping attendees engaged is giving them regular small breaks. While our most popular workshops are only 90 minutes long, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever.
A good rule of thumb is to give people 3-5 minutes every 30 minutes or so. Enough time to finish off any exercises and grab a drink or use the bathroom if needed, but not so long that they get distracted with something else. We usually recommend virtual workshops to be 3x 30-minute sessions.
4. Use breakout rooms
Breakout rooms are an excellent way to get your participants to have small group discussions. Basically, breakout rooms are mini meeting rooms where 2-10 people can have a separate room to talk to each other without all the other participants.
Depending on your virtual event platform, breakout rooms can be created using a button in the software during the online session. For example, Zoom allows you to create them during your meeting with a button at the bottom of the screen.
Make sure you give your attendees something to do or discuss in the breakout room. Don’t just put them in the rooms and leave them to figure out what to talk about.
Question prompts are always an easy way to get them talking:
- How did you get into [industry]?
- What was your biggest win with [topic] in the last six months?
- What is your biggest challenge with [topic]?
For example, I might assign a breakout room and tell my participants to share their biggest win and biggest struggle while building links for SEO.
You can also give them a specific problem to work on that relates to your topic and helps the learning process.
I might give my attendees the task of writing an outreach email to get a guest post on a well-known blog based on the tips I gave in the workshop, then review the emails and what was good or could be improved about them during the rest of the workshop.
5. Send out reminders
People are forgetful. I always send out at least one, if not two or three email reminders about my workshops to whoever signed up.
I usually send email reminders one week before, three days before, the day before, and on the day of.
These can be as simple as:
Just a reminder that the [topic] workshop will be at [time] on [date]. It’s going to be full of really helpful information, and you’re going to learn [what they will learn]!
You can join the virtual workshop using this link: [link]
I look forward to seeing you there.
In your reminder, it’s also a good idea to mention anything they might want to bring, such as a pen and paper or access to a particular software.
Post these reminders on your social platforms, as well! Not only will it help remind your attendees, but it can further promote the workshop.
6. Have great instructors
While you can hold a workshop by yourself, it’s worthwhile to collaborate with other industry professionals and influencers to increase your reach as well as the workshop’s value.
Reach out to any colleagues, mentors, or teachers you know who might be interested in collaborating on the workshop with you. You get the benefit of promoting to their audience and having help delivering the content.
Even if you don’t know someone personally, but think they would have a lot to add to your workshop, reach out anyway! We’ve had some amazing speakers at our virtual events that I didn’t know well beforehand, like Neil Patel and Michael Hyatt.
7. End with something valuable
Last but not least, leave your attendees with an action step at the end of the workshop.
This could be booking a call with you to learn more about your services, downloading a free PDF to continue working on the topic, or purchasing a low-cost item or service from you.
Either way, you want it to be a very low-commitment action.
Embracing virtual workshops can help you grow your business, increase your brand awareness, and connect you with colleagues and professionals in your niche.
In short: virtual workshops work!
To recap, here are the most important considerations for running a successful virtual workshop:
- Have a clear goal for your workshop. Know what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Embrace virtual collaboration. Encourage engagement among all the participants.
- Rehearse your virtual workshops ahead of time. Practice makes perfect!
- Familiarize yourself with your virtual event platform and any collaboration tools.
- Show up to your virtual workshops on time and be enthusiastic in your presentation.
You now have everything you need to run virtual workshops that impact your bottom line.
Want virtual workshop ideas or help preparing? Click here to sign up for our free virtual workshop masterclass and learn how to earn big from your very first workshop.