It’s no secret that virtual events are growing in popularity. According to a study by Live Events Media Group, 78% of organizations believe that virtual events are important to their marketing mix. And with good reason! Virtual events offer many advantages over traditional live events, such as lower costs and the ability to reach a larger audience. So if you’re thinking about hosting your next event online, what are your options? Read on for a list of the most popular types of virtual events.
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Virtual networking events
Virtual networking events are a great way for companies to build relationships with clients and potential leads. They’re also a wonderful opportunity for marketers who work remotely to connect with each other on a more personal level, as opposed to being connected only through social media platforms .
Networking events tend to be held monthly or quarterly. Participants usually have access to free snacks and beverages during the event. In order to encourage participation, organizers often broadcast the event live on Twitter and use hashtags such as #VNEchat.
Virtual conferences & summits
Virtual conferences and summits simulate traditional live events, but they’re easier to set up and can be much cheaper. Many virtual conference hosts offer 24 Hour Virtual Conferences, which begin at a specific time but allow you to join the event at any point during the day.
Summits tend to be more specialized and cover a specific area of interest. They’re also a popular choice for eLearning marketers, as they allow a large number of participants to access the summit at any time from anywhere in the world.
Virtual meetings are similar to virtual conferences, but they tend to have a longer duration. Virtual meetings combine the convenience of being able to attend from anywhere with the added structure that tends to come with face-to-face business meetings.
To hold virtual meetings, you need to have access to high-speed Internet and screen sharing technology.
Webinars are online seminars that provide real value for participants – usually in the form of tips and strategies on how to achieve a particular goal. As webinars require more preparation than other types of virtual events, they’re usually free or charge a nominal amount (such as $20) for entry. For this reason, webinars also tend to attract non-profit and charity marketers.
Most companies host webinars to promote an upcoming paid event or product launch.
Virtual training seminars
Like webinars, virtual training seminars require a lot of preparation and subject matter expertise. Therefore, they’re usually hosted by individuals and companies that specialize in a particular area.
The best virtual training events provide participants with actionable takeaways that can be applied to their current business initiatives. Virtual training seminars are similar to traditional live events in terms of structure and length (most last around 2 hours).
Online Trade Shows & Exhibitions
Online trade shows and exhibitions are digital versions of traditional events that focus on marketing products, services, or businesses. They’re also one of the most popular types of virtual events.
Several free online solutions (like Elumynt) allow event hosts to build their own exhibition website with ease, while paid web platforms provide additional features such as custom branding and pre-building exhibitor profiles.
Virtual Onboarding Fairs
Virtual Onboarding Fairs are another preferred choice for eLearning marketers. They provide a space to connect with new talent, while giving candidates the chance to learn more about companies’ training programs and career opportunities.
To host virtual onboarding fairs, event organizers typically set up an online exhibition (similar to trade shows) where recruiters can create exhibitor profiles and promote their company’s culture, salary ranges, benefits packages, job openings, and any other important information that helps attract candidates
The best virtual hiring events emulate traditional recruitment events by offering candidates face-to-face interactions with recruiters via webcams . This allows them to build relationships in real time.
Team building activities
Virtual team building activities are common in knowledge work jobs. They’re usually hosted by an HR manager or using a third-party online platform. Virtual team building events are especially useful for companies with employees who work remotely or travel often, as many participants can join the event from different locations around the world.
Some virtual team building events simulate real-life adventures (such as visiting parks, experiencing famous landmarks, etc.), while others involve playing games in a virtual environment.
Virtual expos are large-scale events that typically last several hours. The best virtual expos focus on gathering feedback from participants who attend the event remotely to learn more about what they think of existing products and services, as well as new ones. They’re usually hosted by companies that already have an established product or service.
Participation is usually free, but most expos require attendees to register in advance to receive updates and reminders. Most virtual expos take place over a period of several weeks or months with several sessions taking place each week.
To build hype for their upcoming event, organizers often create teasers, launch fun contests/promotions, and invite employees to share the news with their networks .
Round-tables are virtual events that host discussions on a particular topic. The structure of round-table events is flexible, with participants able to ask questions or make comments at any point throughout the event. Due to the informal nature of virtual round-table events, they tend to be popular among marketing professionals who are passionate about their industry.
Although most webinars are free to attend, many organizations charge for entry into their virtual round-table events in order to cover costs and generate revenue.
Live Q&A sessions
During live Q&A sessions, experts answer questions in real time via webinar/video conference technology. Live Q&A sessions may be free or charge a fee to access premium content. They’re usually hosted to promote upcoming paid eLearning courses or events.
One of the main challenges with live Q&A sessions is finding the right experts to host them. Event organizers usually request suggestions from employees or reach out to content marketing agencies for help finding hosts who have extensive subject matter expertise in their industry.
Health and well-being sessions
Virtual health and wellbeing sessions are one of the most popular types of virtual events. This format allows people to connect with industry peers or online experts who share their passion for a particular topic, which in this case is healthy living.
While virtual wellness programs are usually free to attend, many sponsors or hosts charge money for entry into their live event. The revenue generated from these events often goes towards charities that promote healthy living. Virtual health and wellbeing events can last anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
Virtual events are an excellent way to reach your target audience at scale. They can be hosted by large corporations or small businesses. They’re also suitable for all types of industries, from retail to technology and beyond. Some organizations use virtual events in conjunction with eLearning courses that teach their employees how to market themselves better, while others host virtual seminars or webinars where they offer free advice on topics related to their industry.