An event budget is key to the success of your virtual event, as without knowing how much you’re spending, how can you make sure you’ve got enough funds to cover everything?
Now you might be thinking, well I’m hosting it online so surely it’s free?
Whilst you don’t have the same expenses as you do with physical events such as venue hire, travel, and catering, there are still costs to take into consideration and these can sometimes be overlooked.
Knowing these costs from the outset will help you to make better strategic decisions so that you don’t overspend.
You need to understand your limitations as this is an essential part of virtual event planning. Otherwise, you might be buying all sorts of goodies without having the necessary budget to justify it!
And we get it. Keeping track of your different expenses and revenue streams can be tricky as there’s a lot that goes into making a virtual event a success. That’s why you must create an event budget before you get carried away.
If you’re wondering where to start with your budget plan, then you’re in the right place! We’re going to take you through the different things you need to consider to make sure you get your event budget right.
What Costs Are Involved in a Virtual Event?
If you’re thinking that virtual events are cheaper than in-person events then you’re not wrong.
After all, in-person events can be very expensive, especially if you’re hosting a large-scale event that requires a big venue. The more people attending your event, the more the cost is going to skyrocket. All of these people need to be fed and watered, and that’s without factoring in the cost of getting people there in the first place!
It’s easy to see how it gets so expensive.
In contrast, virtual event costs can be more hidden. Instead of focusing on venue hire and logistics, the main priority is to create a fantastic virtual experience for attendees who are joining through their laptop or mobile device.
As such, you need to be careful that you don’t cheapen the experience for those attending, as this will not encourage them to sign up in the future. Whilst your content is being delivered online, you still need to allocate the right amount of budget into creating an experience that is immersive and enjoyable.
Only because it’s cheaper, it doesn’t mean your virtual event should be any less engaging than an in-person event.
Typical costs included in a virtual event are:
- Virtual event platform
- Staff time
- Swag bag shipping
As we’ve touched on, you need to put some serious thought into getting these right otherwise your virtual event is going to fall flat.
Understanding your event budget helps you determine how much money is going to be assigned to each part of your virtual event, to ensure you have created something attractive to your audience, and doesn’t leave you spending way too much!
Why is Setting an Event Budget Important?
Event budgeting is a key part of the planning process. What budgeting does is it helps planners monitor their expenses and not overspend when putting together virtual events.
Setting a virtual event budget allows organisers to monitor and evaluate event ROI a lot more effectively too, which happens to be one of the main key performance indicators (KPIs).
KPIs are really helpful in that they can influence future decisions based on findings. This is more than ideal in the case of virtual events where you might run multiple events a year and want to save as much money as possible.
What’s more, budgeting an event – virtual or hybrid – provides a full picture in terms of where the money is going. Knowing where your budget is going will identify the high expenditure areas and potential avenues where you can save money!
To recap, setting an event budget allows you to:
- Curb any overspending habits
- Monitor ROI a lot easier
- Identify potential saving opportunities
How Do I Create a Virtual Event Budget?
Now that we’ve given you a brief overview of the different costs associated with a virtual event, let’s take a look at how you can set a virtual event budget that works.
Whilst this isn’t set in stone and can be adapted for different requirements, it’s good to have a plan of where you’re expecting to allocate the bulk of your spending.
Determine your virtual event goals
Like with any part of event planning, it all starts with understanding your goals.
This is step one, as you need to work out whether or not you have enough budget to achieve your goals, or if you’re being unrealistic. This could alter the entire course of your virtual event.
It’s pointless saying you want to achieve x amount of new leads if you’ve not got enough budget to support it. Your event spend needs to align with what you’re trying to achieve so that you can make sure your event is a success.
This starts by working out:
- Why you are hosting this virtual event in the first place
- Who your virtual event is aimed at
- What you’re hoping to get out of this virtual event
- What attendees get in exchange for participating in this virtual event
- What ROI do you expect
Success will look different for each person, but it’s about knowing what success looks like for you. Once you have nailed this down, you can start working out how you will measure performance to see if you have hit your targets.
When choosing KPIs, make sure you monitor metrics that matter most to your business, and that align with this type of event.
Common metrics include:
- Volume of new leads
- Number of impressions
- Number of registrations
- Number of attendees
- Attendee engagement levels
- Total revenue
- Total profit
- Sponsorship revenue
- Exhibition revenue
As you can see, there’s a whole host of KPIs that you can measure! It’s about working out which ones are most relevant and valuable for you. With the iVent platform, data and analytics are readily available 24/7, 365 days a year so that you see how your virtual event is performing at any stage in its lifecycle.
Work out your expenses
As we’ve touched on before, the costs included in hosting a virtual event might not be as obvious. However, by spending time planning out the different parts of your virtual event, you know how much budget you have to play with from the get-go.
You also won’t need to worry about them getting there from the other side of the world as they can log in from the comfort of their location.
However, back to your expenses. Even in the digital space, you need to figure out the components of your virtual event that have an associated cost.
So what’s the easiest way to do this?
You should start by creating a spreadsheet that outlines all of your expenses. As a minimum, your virtual event budget should detail:
The item – The thing you’re spending money on such as digital marketing or your chosen virtual event platform.
- Item description – An overview of what the item is and how it will work.
- Project total – The amount of money you’re expecting the item to cost.
- Actual total – The amount of money you ended up spending on the item. (Fill this section out on the run-up to an event to ensure that you’re not over-budget). This will help you better plan for future events).
- Difference – This is the amount of money between the projected total and actual total as it helps you to identify any areas where you have under/overestimated.
This not only helps you identify what percentage of your budget will occupy which area, but it also keeps your team in the loop too.
Set a price
Before your virtual event can start making money and being profitable you need to know what to charge (unless your event is free to attend, that is). This applies to several different people including exhibitors, attendees, and sponsors who will usually have to pay to be involved.
Aside from making money through ticket sales, there are a number of other revenue streams including exhibitor fees, merchandise sales, exclusive experiences, and sponsorship opportunities.
Working out how much to charge for each of these offers, will give you an idea of how much profit you’re going to make.
If you’re struggling to work out how much to charge sponsors, then we’ve already written a great blog post about that!
You might also be wondering how much to charge attendees. After all, profit is important but you need your virtual event to be attractive to your target audience. Therefore it needs to make sense and be priced correctly.
To get an idea of what other industry events are charging attendees you need to do some research. This at least gives you a baseline of what attendees will be expecting to pay when it comes to this type of virtual event. You don’t want to be snubbed by one of your competitors because you’re charging a ridiculously high price!
Remember unexpected costs
There are always some costs that event organisers seem to forget about when it comes to event planning.
However, it’s important not to overlook these costs as they could dramatically alter the event budget that you have already set. You don’t want to waste time working everything out just to realise you’ve not accounted for something significant.
Costs which can sometimes be overlooked include:
- Gifts for speakers
- Pre and post-event marketing
- Speaker coaching
- Video editing
- Event registration tool
- Hidden costs with your platform provider
Hidden costs could include having to pay more to customise certain features. Or having to pay more due to an increase in the number of attendees.
Make sure that you have run through these different costs before putting your event budget together to ensure nothing has been missed.
There’s nothing worse than nasty surprises!
At iVent, we’re 100% transparent with all of our clients when it comes to cost.
We know how easy it is for people to be enticed into a cheaper deal, only to incur additional costs at a later stage. However, when you choose to use our platform, we detail all of the costs upfront so that you know exactly what you’re committing to.
Get started on your events.
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Always set aside a budget for marketing
Virtual events won’t sell themselves.
They often require an additional push to spread the word to garner interest, which is why you should be allocating some of your events budget towards marketing.
Sharing content on social media, or distributing press releases are free ways to promote your virtual events, but you’ll more than likely need to put money behind your efforts to gain as much traction as possible.
Marketing is how you build hype around virtual events, to encourage people to attend and share it with others in hope that they do the same. So try to market your events on the channels your target audience uses for maximum effectiveness.
Choose the right virtual event platform
Choosing the right virtual event platform is critical to creating an event budget. You need to know exactly what you’re getting, and for how much.
The success of your event relies heavily on having the right platform in place to deliver a fantastic user experience. Without it, attendees are just sitting in front of a computer screen listening to someone talk.
Already this sounds dull!
You need to choose a platform that is jam-packed with all of the features and functionality that you need to bring your content to life. From gamification, to live video chat, to instant meetings, it needs to be capable of delivering your event in a captivating way.
In terms of budget, having the right virtual platform also enables you to measure your return on investment. By having access to analytics and reports you can see just how effective your event was, and you can make tweaks for even better events in the future!
Your chosen platform is the foundation of your event from start to finish. At iVent, our virtual platform allows you to build an event that is tailored to your exact needs. From keeping your attendees engaged to providing your sponsors with endless amounts of brand exposure, you’re sure to have people coming back for more.
Our team of experts can also work with you to create an event budget that works for your project requirements. Perhaps you’re dubious about your budget and are unsure whether or not you can afford to run a virtual event. By working with our team, we can help you plan out and execute a virtual event that works, without breaking the bank.
For more information, get in touch with a member of our friendly team.
Key Considerations When Setting Your Virtual Event Budget
Creating an event budget is a key part of your event planning as it helps you to stay on track and prevents any impulse purchases!
For your event to be successful, you need to know how much money you can afford to spend, and most importantly, where this money will be assigned to. Unlike a physical event, a virtual event does mitigate lots of the costs that would usually be involved such as travel and hospitality.
However, for a successful virtual event, you don’t want to scrimp and scrape on the experience you’re delivering to attendees. You want to make sure that you have allocated enough budget to different areas of the event to make it a success.
It’s also important to know all of the costs from the start. This comes back down to choosing the right virtual event platform as you don’t want to be hoodwinked into something which sounds cheap and attractive, only to experience increased costs later down the line.
By partnering with iVent we can assure you that all of our costs are detailed before you have committed to anything. We want to be honest and transparent with you as we know just how important understanding the budget is, especially if you’re new to virtual events and unsure about what’s involved. Our team will guide you through the process, answering any questions that you might have so that you can deliver your virtual event with confidence.
All that’s left for you to do is get in touch!