Virtual events are having a moment right now. Spurred by necessity or the desire to try something new, a wide range of companies are experimenting with taking their conferences online.
Some events are perfect for an online format, and attendees may prefer virtual events to their offline counterparts. As a result, more businesses utilize them to stay in touch with their customers and build their brands. Some virtual event management platforms offer a complete range of online event planning & audience engagement tools, built-in live streaming, measurable sponsorship opportunities, and advanced analytics. Additionally, it makes it easy to design the right experience for your in-person and virtual attendees without having to build out two separate events. This allows you to host hybrid events
Five Types of Events
These five types of events are some of the best to move online and offer major benefits for both customers and the companies that host them.
1. Interactive Workshops
If you have expertise to share, your customers may appreciate an online interactive workshop. These are events or skillshares in which an expert will lead a brief course on a given topic.
Attendees walk away with a usable skill or some extra knowledge. The business hosting the event has an opportunity to build trust and connect with its customer base.
As with other online events, you can host an interactive workshop from just about anywhere, so long as you have a decent internet connection and the necessary streaming equipment.
2. Webinar or Online Conference
If you’re willing to invest more time and energy into a virtual event, webinars and online conferences are another great option. An online forum is just like an offline one — a series of talks, events, panels and workshops held for one or more days.
Often, event runners will invite guest speakers and experts to give talks or lead workshops, providing attendees with a valuable opportunity to learn more on a given subject or topic.
Online conferences are a great way for companies to share knowledge and build brand awareness. Hosting guests can also be a great way to make professional connections — people often remember who has given them a platform in the past.
3. Virtual Charity Auction
Charity auctions suit themselves well to the online event format. Virtual silent auctions work just like they do offline — but with the added benefit of greater accessibility. Anyone can attend the auction without needing to buy a ticket or travel to the physical event location — meaning that, in many cases, you may get more attention and bids than you would otherwise.
You’ll also be able to cut out some common auction expenses — like the cost of the auction hall or event space.
One great example of a virtual auction in practice was “Bidding “Fore” Good,” a 2020 charity auction held by the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA. By hosting the event online, the charity runners were able to secure $20,000 more than their revenue goal.
4. Live Product or Event Launch
A livestreamed launch can be a great way to build excitement while raising awareness about a new offering.
More often, companies are using launch-day livestreams to advertise and connect with their customers. Launch parties can be a great way to build community or give customers access to exclusive, launch-day deals.
Like other online events, these launches are highly accessible, can be fun for customers and give businesses an opportunity to build awareness of their brand or offerings.
5. Interviews or Influencer Events
Some companies also team up with influencers for promotions. Sometimes, this may be in the form of an interview or other event, sometimes hosted by the influencer.
These are a great way to get in touch with your community while building brand awareness. They also help spread the word about your business and allow you to communicate with the audience your influencer of choice has cultivated.
The Best Events to Hold Online
Almost any event can work well online with the right planning and prep. Some of them do lend themselves better to the online format — like webinars, charity auctions and product launches.
Hosting one of these events can be good for both a business and its customers. Typically, companies benefit from the extra exposure and opportunity to build a deeper relationship with their customer base. At the same time, customers get access to useful knowledge or the chance to take advantage of exclusive deals.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.