In today's modern business world, there are so many things you can do with virtual event technology. But when your virtual event ideas are limited in some way, expanding your knowledge in this area will help you discover new possibilities or use cases.
For some people in your target audience, the ability to connect, network, laugh and celebrate business milestones can only happen through offline events. However, advancements in technology now make it possible for people to get the same value-added experience through an event platform.
Besides, the convergence of in-person and hybrid events unfolds new opportunities for marketers and businesses of all sizes to build new bonds where it doesn't exist before.
Through this detailed guide, you'll find some interesting ways you can take advantage of these online event ideas to grow your business. Whether you are specifically looking for virtual corporate event ideas or leaning towards social events, you'll find some great options that suit your current goals. And the best part is that some of these ideas will not cost much money to engage different virtual audience segments.
Benefits of hosting virtual events
Global audience engagement
Virtual events break down geographical barriers, allowing you to reach a global audience. Participants can join from anywhere with an internet connection, eliminating the need for travel. This expanded reach can increase event attendance and diversify your audience. As part of your event marketing strategy, you can leverage virtual video content to engage attendees and people who didn't attend your live events.
Virtual networking events are typically more cost-effective than in-person ones. You save on expenses related to venue rentals, travel, accommodation, catering, and printed materials. This cost savings can be significant, making virtual events an appealing option for organizations on a budget. In other words, it is more affordable to engage virtual attendees than organizing offline events for your business.
If you are an event planner and you're looking for the best ways to make your next gig more profitable, consider exploring the options and ideas shared in this post.
Flexibility and Convenience
Virtual events offer flexibility for both organizers and attendees. Participants can access content and engage with the event at their convenience, reducing scheduling conflicts. On-demand access to recorded sessions also means attendees can revisit your themed content as needed. Organizers can adapt and change schedules or keynote content more easily than in-person events. However, the corporate swag in offline events is usually more appealing.
Data and analytics
Webinars and online events featuring experienced experts provide valuable data and analytics that can help organizers make data-driven decisions. You can track attendee engagement, session popularity, and other metrics to assess the event's success. This data can inform your next event planning and marketing efforts. With the webinar survey features of the best platforms like Cloudpresenter, you'll be able to discover the most interesting hot topics and new ways to keep employees engaged.
Enhanced virtual business networking opportunities
Virtual online events offer unique networking opportunities. They often include features like chat rooms, discussion forums, and one-on-one video meetings. These tools can facilitate meaningful connections between participants, often more efficiently than traditional in-person events.
Reduced environmental impact
Hosting online events is more environmentally friendly, as it reduces the carbon footprint associated with travel and on-site resource consumption. And that reduction aligns with sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals, making this type of event an eco-friendly option.
Fun virtual event ideas for beginners
If you are just starting, picking the right virtual event idea might not be that easy. But through this post, we have shared lots of proven virtual social event ideas you can use to bring people together for mutually beneficial engagements. Especially for businesses taking advantage of remote work, you'll find new ways to engage your team members regardless of their location. In some specific offline contexts, you may decide to stream your event as well.
1: Existing customer education webinar
Creating educational content for your existing customers is one proven way to build strong brand loyalty, retention rate, and customer lifetime value (LTV). And that's one of the best things you can do with event software.
In most cases, this can take the form of a webinar, product training workshop, corporate events, or other type of virtual meetings. Another interesting part is that the webinar and event content you create once for a particular audience or customer segment delivers value to attendees of your future events.
Take a look into some recent customer retention statistics, and you'll see how retention impacts profitability and overall enterprise value. That's one good reason to leverage educational webinars to retain existing customers of your business.
2: Lead generation webinars
A lead generation webinar is an online seminar or presentation specifically designed to attract and capture potential customer or client information, such as email addresses, in exchange for valuable information or insights. These webinars aim to generate leads by offering educational content, product demonstrations, or expert insights and are a common marketing strategy to build a database of prospective customers for further engagement and conversion into sales or business relationships.
The webinar, in this context, is another type of event with proven ways to engage potential customers before they are ready to make a purchase or become clients. Depending on your chosen platform, you can turn every team member into a host for this type of webinar.
For more useful insights, check this guide on how to create a lead generation webinar funnel. Even with a free trial of top-rated event software, you can get started today.
3: Virtual conferences
Virtual conferences use web-based platforms to host presentations, panel discussions, and networking sessions. Attendees access these events via the internet from anywhere. Speakers deliver presentations through live video streaming, and interactive features like chat rooms and Q&A sessions engage the audience. Even when the event is over, interested persons can revisit recorded content on-demand, extending the event's impact.
In the human resource industry, for example, you can also use the recorded content for team-building activities.
Unlike conventional webinars, virtual conferences usually involve multiple hosts, moderators and a relatively large number of attendees. In this case, a technically stable platform and scalability are paramount to hosting successful virtual conferences. That's why you should endeavour to choose a platform that supports multiple hosts, virtual team-wide accounts and recurring events. These are some of the core features you'll find on Cloudpresenter.
4: Virtual panel discussion
If you have ever attended an in-person panel discussion or fireside chat, almost the same thing applies here. The major difference is that everything happens on a virtual technology platform.
A virtual panel discussion is an online event in which a group of experts, often located in different geographical locations, engage in a live discussion or conversation on a specific topic or subject. These discussions are typically conducted through video conferencing technology, allowing participants and the audience to interact and exchange ideas without the need for physical presence, making it a flexible and accessible way to share insights and expertise. For this type of discussion, you can use a platform like Cloudpresenter to hold a virtual event with great features to enhance audience participation.
Below are some practical tips for hosting a virtual event for your business.
Preparation: Choose knowledgeable panellists, define the topic, and set clear objectives.
Technology: Ensure reliable internet and provide guidelines for audio and video setup to engage your online attendees.
Moderation: Appoint a skilled moderator to facilitate and time-manage the discussion.
Engagement: Use interactive features like Q&A, chat, breakout rooms, and polls to involve the audience. Using these features will enable you to create events that appeal to a wider audience across the globe while engaging them to chat about their favorite topics.
Content: Keep discussions concise, focused, and relevant to the audience's interests. And that's the best way to give attendees great reasons to attend your events even when it seems like they are busy.
Practice: Hold a tech rehearsal and brief panellists on the format and key discussion points.
Promotion: Market the event effectively through various channels to maximize attendance. Consider running A/B tests to discover the best way to reach the audience members who could become paying customers tomorrow.
Recording: Record the discussion for on-demand access and wider reach.
Feedback: Collect feedback from attendees for continuous improvement. And that will give you some valuable insights for hosting any kind of virtual event in the future.
5: Virtual book club
Hosting a virtual book club offers numerous advantages. It expands accessibility, allowing participants from diverse geographic locations to join discussions without the need for physical meetings. This type of club is also more flexible, accommodating various schedules and time zones, making it easier for members to engage.
Additionally, virtual platforms provide a convenient space for book discussions and can be supplemented with interactive features like video calls and online forums, enhancing the reading experience and fostering a sense of community among members.
This type of visual social club also encourages a broader range of perspectives and participation, as they can attract members from different backgrounds and experiences. This diversity can enrich discussions and lead to deeper insights into the books being read. Furthermore, virtual clubs are cost-effective, as they eliminate the need for venue rentals and refreshments, making them an affordable option for both organizers and participants. Overall, this type of club offers a convenient, inclusive, and cost-efficient way to share the joy of reading and foster intellectual engagement.
6: Virtual fitness and wellness classes
A virtual fitness class is an exercise session conducted online, allowing participants to join remotely from their homes or any location with an internet connection. These virtual wellness classes are led by fitness instructors or trainers and cover a wide range of activities, from yoga and cardio workouts to strength training and dance routines.
Participants can follow the instructor's guidance through video streaming, often in real-time, and may also have the option to interact, ask questions, or provide feedback during the class. Virtual fitness classes offer flexibility, accessibility, and convenience, making it easier for individuals to engage in physical activity and stay healthy from the comfort of their own space.
Exploring virtual fitness classes offers a multitude of wellness benefits, making them an appealing choice for individuals seeking to maintain or improve their physical well-being. These classes provide accessibility and convenience, allowing people to engage in exercise from the comfort of their homes. Moreover, it eliminates the need for travel and the constraints of busy schedules. Virtual classes also offer a wide variety of workout options that promote wellness while catering to different fitness levels and preferences, from yoga and HIIT to dance and strength training.
7: Virtual cooking classes
Virtual cooking classes work by bringing culinary instruction into participants' homes through online platforms. Typically, a professional chef or cooking expert conducts these classes via live video streaming. Participants receive a list of ingredients and necessary equipment before the session and follow along with the instructor as they prepare the dish. Interactive features like real-time Q&A and chat functions often enable participants to ask questions and receive guidance during the class or breakout sessions. These virtual classes offer a dynamic, engaging, and hands-on cooking experience, fostering culinary skills and creativity from the convenience of one's kitchen.
If you are the owner of a catering school, for example, you should consider the following points on why you should host online cooking classes.
- Increased accessibility
- Greater flexibility
- Wider geographic reach
- Cost savings
- Enhanced safety
- Integration of technology
- Diverse culinary experiences
- Improved sustainability
8: Online fund raising event
A virtual fundraising event is an online gathering or campaign organized to raise funds for a cause, charity, or organization. These events leverage various digital platforms and tools to engage donors and supporters in a virtual setting. They can encompass activities such as virtual galas, charity auctions, peer-to-peer fundraising, webinars, or virtual runs. Such events are crucial because they expand an organization's reach, allowing them to connect with a global audience.
They are important for diversifying fundraising strategies, reducing costs associated with physical events, and maintaining engagement during circumstances that limit offline gatherings, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual events also enable organizations to collect and analyze valuable data, enhancing donor relationships and fostering long-term support for their causes.
9: Virtual art exhibitions
Traditionally, art exhibitions had always been an offline, in-person event. But today, technology is changing how such exhibitions work.
Virtual art exhibitions replicate the experience of visiting a physical art gallery or museum through digital platforms. Typically, these exhibitions are hosted on dedicated websites or virtual reality environments. Visitors can navigate through a curated collection of artwork, which may include paintings, sculptures, photographs, or digital art.
High-resolution images or 3D renderings of the artwork are often available for closer inspection. Descriptions, artist bios, and even audio or video commentary may accompany the pieces. Interactivity may be integrated, allowing visitors to leave comments, share their thoughts, or participate in virtual opening events. Virtual art exhibitions enable a global audience to explore and appreciate art from the comfort of their own homes, providing artists with broader exposure and promoting the democratization of art appreciation.
These exhibitions work by combining technology and creativity to provide an immersive and accessible art experience. While they can vary in complexity, many virtual art exhibitions use web-based platforms to simulate the gallery atmosphere. Such simulations typically involve metaverse style 360-degree panoramic views of the exhibition space and interactive features for navigation. The exhibitions are often time-limited, mimicking the temporary nature of physical exhibitions, which can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.
10: Virtual job fairs
Hosting a virtual job fair offers numerous advantages for companies seeking to attract top talent and streamline their hiring process. First and foremost, virtual job fairs provide a wider reach and accessibility, allowing companies to connect with potential candidates from various geographic locations. This expanded reach can attract a more diverse pool of talent, fostering inclusion and diversity within the organization.
Moreover, virtual job fairs are cost-effective as they eliminate expenses associated with renting physical venues, travel, and printed materials. Cost reduction in this context makes them an attractive option for businesses looking to optimize their recruitment budgets.
Virtual job fairs also promote efficiency and convenience for both employers and job seekers. Companies can conduct interviews, share company information, and screen candidates all in one online platform. Job seekers can explore opportunities without the constraints of location or time, often without the need to take time off from their current jobs. Additionally, virtual job fairs provide valuable data and analytics to assess the success of the event and the quality of candidate interactions. This data-driven approach enables companies to make more informed hiring decisions and refine their recruitment strategies for future events, ultimately saving time and resources in the long run.
11: Virtual hackathons
For some people, hackathons happen mostly offline within a particular event location. And for these types of people, geographic distance and expensive transportation often prove to be real participation barriers for them. With this in mind, you can deliver great value through creating virtual hackathons.
Depending on your business model and target audience, you can leverage this new trend to tap into new customer segments or geographic markets. The beautiful thing is that worldwide accessibility of online events like hackathons provides an opportunity to attract and engage potential customers where your company is not physically present.
Below are some practical tips on how to host successful hackathons on a virtual event platform.
Define clear objectives: Determine the goals and objectives of the hackathon, such as solving specific problems, developing new features, or fostering innovation.
Select the right platform: Choose a suitable online platform or software for hosting the event, ensuring it supports collaboration, communication, and project management.
Set a date and duration: Pick dates and times that accommodate participants' schedules and consider time zone differences. Decide whether the hackathon will be held over a few hours, a full day, or even a few days/weeks.
Create engaging challenges: Develop interesting, relevant, and challenging problem statements or themes to inspire participants and encourage creative solutions.
Assemble a diverse jury: Select judges or evaluators with expertise in the relevant field who can fairly assess the projects and provide constructive feedback.
Offer prizes and incentives: Motivate participants with enticing prizes, awards, or recognition for their efforts and achievements.
Provide mentorship: Consider having mentors or subject matter experts available to assist participants with technical or domain-specific questions.
Clear communication channels: Establish clear and reliable communication channels, such as chat rooms, forums, or video conferencing, for participants to interact, ask questions, and seek assistance.
Test the technology: Ensure all technical tools, software, and platforms are tested and working well before the event to minimize disruptions.
Create detailed rules: Develop and communicate a comprehensive set of rules and guidelines regarding project submission, judging criteria, and code of conduct.
12: Virtual trade shows
A virtual trade show is an online event that replicates the experience of a traditional trade show, allowing businesses to showcase their products and services to a global audience without the need for physical presence.
These events are hosted on virtual platforms or websites where exhibitors set up digital booths, display their offerings through multimedia content, and engage with attendees through live chat, video conferencing, webinars, and other interactive features. Virtual trade shows offer several advantages, such as cost savings, accessibility, and the ability to reach a broader and diverse audience. They are particularly relevant in today's digital age, where companies can connect with potential customers, partners, and industry professionals, all while minimizing the constraints of geographical boundaries and physical limitations.
Virtual trade shows find utility in various business contexts. Firstly, they are invaluable for businesses seeking to expand their reach and customer base.
Companies in industries like technology, healthcare, and manufacturing use virtual trade shows to introduce new products or services, reach global markets, and build brand awareness. Additionally, virtual trade shows serve as a cost-effective platform for startups and small businesses with limited budgets to access a large audience and establish their presence in the market.
Regardless of your industry or geographic location, we have highlighted the major types of businesses that can benefit from hosting virtual trade shows. Assuming you have attended an industry trade show before, you can begin to imagine some possibilities or use cases from that perspective.
Technology companies: Tech firms can showcase their latest products, software, and innovations to a global audience, attracting potential customers and partners.
Healthcare and medical equipment providers: Virtual trade shows offer a platform for healthcare companies to present new medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare solutions to professionals and buyers worldwide.
Manufacturers: Manufacturers can display machinery, equipment, and industrial solutions, reaching a wide audience of potential clients and distributors.
Startups and small businesses: Virtual trade shows provide cost-effective opportunities for startups and small businesses to gain exposure and establish their brand presence in the market.
B2B service providers: Businesses offering services in finance, marketing, logistics, and consulting can network and forge partnerships with potential clients and collaborators.
Educational institutions: Universities and online learning platforms can use virtual trade shows to attract students, share course offerings, and engage with academic professionals.
Travel and tourism industry: Companies in this sector can promote destinations, accommodations, and travel experiences to a global audience, attracting tourists and travel enthusiasts.
Event organizers: Event planning companies can pivot to virtual trade shows to help clients host events while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
13: Video game challenge
Virtual game challenges typically involve setting specific objectives, obstacles, or tasks within a game, which players must complete to achieve a goal or win a prize. These challenges can be built into the game's design or introduced as part of in-game events or competitions. Some virtual events platforms have games and challenges built in for easy set-up, others provide managed services to design bespoke games for your brand or organisation, integrating seamlessly with the overall virtual events experience.
The challenges often become progressively difficult, requiring players to showcase their skills, problem-solving abilities, and strategic thinking to overcome each level. Players may earn rewards, recognition, or gaming items for completing challenges, and in some cases, the virtual team can also compete against other players to determine who can accomplish the goals faster or with greater efficiency. Leaderboards can be used to drive competition and build excitement throughout your event.
How to choose an event platform
Define your event goals: Start by clearly defining your event objectives, such as lead generation, engagement, or education. Through the event planning process, clarity in this regard will guide your selection of the most suitable platform.
Consider your audience: Understand your target audience's preferences and technical proficiency to choose a platform that suits their needs and comfort levels.
Evaluate features: Assess the platform's features, such as interactive tools, live streaming capabilities, networking options, and analytics, to ensure they align with your event goals.
Scalability: Ensure the platform can handle the number of participants you expect and accommodate potential growth in attendees.
User-friendly interface: Opt for a platform with an intuitive and user-friendly interface to enhance the attendee experience and reduce the learning curve.
Customization: Look for platforms that allow you to brand and customize the event to match your organization's identity and theme.
Tech support and training: Choose a platform that offers technical support and training to help both organizers and attendees navigate any issues.
Data security: Prioritize data security and privacy compliance to protect the information of your attendees and participants.
Cost and ROI: Compare pricing structures and assess the platform's return on investment in terms of the value it offers relative to the cost.
Integration: Check if the platform can integrate with your existing tools and systems, such as CRM software, marketing automation, or registration platforms.
Mobile-friendly: Ensure the platform is mobile-responsive, as many attendees may access your event from smartphones or tablets.
Trial period: If possible, sign up for a platform that offers a trial period or demo so you can test its functionality before committing.
Feedback and reviews: Research and read reviews from other event organizers who have used the platform to gain insights into its performance and reliability.
Whether you have been hosting all your business events in person or not, many interesting benefits await you when you begin to explore the potential of virtual events.
Unlike physical offline events, the level of immersive engagement makes it attractive to varying audience segments. And if you think it's just a trend meant for tech-savvy millennials only, think again, individuals of all ages are now discovering great value in virtual events as hosts or attendees. Having said that, for many organisers a hybrid approach works best, mixing a blend of virtual and in person events as part of their events communications strategy.
Besides the ideas shared in this post, you may also want to explore the possibilities of hosting a virtual scavenger hunt, mixology, virtual trivia night or virtual concert. In most cases, your business model will determine the type of event that will deliver the most value to the target audience while serving your core objectives.
Just follow the tips shared in this post to select the best event software, and you are good to go. Remember, you can always sign up for CloudPresenter's 100% free plan to explore what is possible for your business or next virtual event.
Have a great event!