With the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the UK and lockdown imposed, the majority of business events have been postponed or cancelled completely.
But it's still important to stay in touch with your customers and find ways to adapt your events calendar by using virtual platforms and tools. Many businesses are therefore moving their events online and looking for creative ways to host virtual meetups. And this isn't the only benefit; holding virtual events can help keep costs down, keep customers informed and often means you've got content that you can share again in the future.
Whether you're looking to hold webinars, meetings, or even tradeshows, there's a wide range of platforms available to help your business. Here are five online event management tools to get you started:
Best for: Virtual networking, meetings and webinars
With the capacity to hold up to 100 panellists and 10,000 attendees per event, Zoom is a great platform for any virtual meeting, networking or conference-style event.
Every event can be recorded, and a transcript can be produced, so it can be shared with those who couldn't attend the event in real-time. Zoom also allows you to monetize your event, with PayPal integrated. You can also sync your event with Eventbrite (covered below) to make it available to the general public.
Cost: £15.99 / per month for the Small & Medium Business package. Other pricing options are available.
Best for: Small scale meetings
Google Hangouts Meet is an ideal platform to hold small meetings between your team or for other key meetings online that you can no longer hold physically.
Built into Gmail, Google Hangouts Meet can be used on either a computer or phone. You can set up link shares or meeting codes so that people can join remotely, or add it directly into their calendar. Attendees don't need to have a Google account to join a Google Hangouts Meet, as only the organiser requires one.
Best for: Informal events and customer contact
Using the live video feature on social platforms like Facebook allows you to broadcast directly to your audience in a more informal setting through your company page.
Facebook Live videos allow you to connect with your audience on a more personal level, so it's a fantastic tool if you're looking for ways to maintain your brand image. With the ability to take real-time questions and answer them directly, Facebook Live is a great platform for engaging with customers during this time.
Best for: Larger events that need public promoting and sign-ups
Eventbrite is an online event management and ticketing website. It's a comprehensive ticketing platform ideal for all industries that are hosting events which are open to members of the public and require registrants.
It has a simple process for setting up your events that allows for a creative way to build your event, add in a ticket price, and manage and track your sales with real-time reporting and analytics. It also has additional features, including embedding a checkout on your own website.
Cost: Free for free events. Prices start from £0.49 + 3.5% per ticket sold, but the price will depend on attendance numbers.
Best For: Large virtual event such as conferences, open days and trade shows
WorkCast allows you to host large physical events remotely, from conferences to trade shows. The platform has capacity for up to 50,000 attendees globally. You'll have access to a variety of cloud-based products to create immersive events that can generate leads and increase ROI.
You'll also be able to measure the success of the event with live data and analysis and can make use of additional features including PowerPoint embedded videos, simulative replays and live video streaming.
Cost: £95 per month for events up to 500 attendees. Other options are also available.