Stop Wasting Money On Your Events And Start Making More Profit
Businesses depend on virtual events to generate leads, market their products and connect with prospective clients. Event planners like you know that the first step towards a successful event is a well-planned event budget.
The entire planning process depends on the virtual event budget that you create. A sound virtual event budget ensures event ROI and can help you structure your virtual event with the best speakers, swag, and audience experience.
If you don’t have a firm grasp on your virtual event strategy, you may fall behind. As you build your budget from the ground up, you may find yourself overwhelmed with line items, sponsorships, and stakeholders’ expectations.
If you aren’t sure how to begin your virtual event budget, look at how to get started, identify costs, and get the job done!
How To Get Started With Your Virtual Event Budget Plan
Just like with any marketing plan, begin with the event goals and objectives in mind. What is the purpose of your virtual event? What do the stakeholders hope to achieve?
Once you have a clear view of the finish line, you’ll need to figure out how you will plan and track your budget. Your virtual event budget planning process should go hand-in-hand with your event virtual event budget to ensure you can reach the right people with the budget and resources available to you.
A spreadsheet is the most comprehensive and straightforward tool for budgeting because it allows for specific itemization and calculations in one central location.
Consider using Google Sheets rather than classic Excel. You can share it with your entire event planning team and update it in real-time. Multiple team members can access the document at once from any location to allow for easy collaboration. Most importantly, Google Sheets autosaves will be a lifesaver when you feel the event planning crush.
Here is a breakdown of what essential columns you need on your event spreadsheet:
Item Needed: Make a list of all items that will require a portion of your budget. Be specific for an accurate budget, and be sure to always justify why the expense is necessary.
Description: Additionally, include a description of each item to identify why it is a necessity. This information will help you justify the expense to your boss and help keep everyone on the same page when tallying up the final numbers.
Amount: Account for each item needed for the event by listing the quantity you will require. This will allow you to pinpoint expensive areas to cut back if needed.
Estimated Cost: While you may not know the exact cost of every item, research to estimate how much funds will be needed. Round up to give yourself an automatic contingency fund.
Actual Cost: Once you begin spending your budget, input the actual budget amount spent. This data will help with future event planning.
Now that you have your spreadsheet up and running let’s take a look at what expenses you need to track to ensure a return on investment.
Identifying Virtual Event Budget Items
To craft a successful virtual event budget, you need to identify all of the components within the experience that have an associated cost.
With in-person events, you’d have to consider many costs, from venue fees to signage to catering bills. It’s tempting to believe that there will be fewer things to add to your virtual event budget, but you may find alternative expenses you didn’t expect.
As you plan your virtual event budget, ask yourself these questions to ensure you leave no stone unturned when identifying event costs:
Do you need breakout rooms? If you are looking to recreate the feeling of breakout rooms, you will need features on your virtual event platform to facilitate interactions.
Will you be recording and posting the event OnDemand? While it’s a great idea to record your event to generate content and make your event available for attendees who cannot join, you have to consider pricing.
What is your event marketing strategy? It takes a lot of effort to engage audiences before, during, and after your event. Will you run ads or a social media campaign? What will it cost to draw attendees in?
Will speakers need training? There is a great chance that speakers you choose have never presented virtually. What will it cost to train them in addition to existing speaker fees?
Are there staffing needs? Consider staffing costs that will be required to make your virtual event run smoothly.
What is your event time frame? Much like a face-to-face venue, virtual event platforms and tools will vary in cost depending on the length of your virtual event.
What accessibility features will you need? There is a good chance you will need to offer features like closed captioning to make your virtual event accessible to all attendees.
Remember that whatever can go wrong probably will on the big day. Remember to have a contingency fund to be prepared for budget busters.
Consider budgeting in an emergency fund of about 15% of your event budget. Research how much event cancellation will cost you, and consider all the things to keep your event from going as planned. Factor these possibilities into your budget.
Prioritize Technology In Event Budgeting To Prevent Mishaps
Imagine the stress-induced when the wifi goes out during the workday. Now multiply that by ten, and you may be close to how event planners feel when technology fails during their virtual event.
Because technology is most likely going to require the bulk of your event budget, research a virtual event platform that offers features like breakout rooms, event apps, and engagement tools that will enhance your event.
Ensure the platform offers high-quality audio-visual services, live tech support, and fully managed event support and customer service teams. A virtual event platform that offers excellent features and solutions will lead to event success.
5 Virtual Event Budgeting Tips For Event Planners
Budgeting for a virtual event takes time and practice, but the results are well worth the effort. Here are some tips to ensure your virtual event budget is effective and successful for your next event.
1. Make Budgeting #1 On Your To-Do List
While it may not be the most enjoyable part of the event planning process, the faster you do it, the quicker it will be over. Without a budget, you will be unable to move forward in the planning process.
2. Maintain A High Level Of Detail
Event planners can never be too specific when it comes to event budgeting. Keep track of every penny associated with your event budget.
Ignoring a small detail in your virtual event plan can quickly drain your entire budget and leave you scrambling.
3. Seek Out Sponsors
One great way to expand your budget is to lure in sponsors to participate in your event. Attract sponsors by defining your industry, reaching out to the best prospects, and following up accordingly.
4. Be Honest About Your Numbers
Sometimes it’s not easy to look at the cost of a particular item if it requires a large portion of your event budget.
Underpricing an item to make your budget look better will halt your progress. At some point, the oversight will come back to haunt you.
5. Ignore Your Emergency Fund
As your budget starts dwindling, you may want to dip into your emergency fund to cover expenses. Remember that your emergency fund is not for extras; it’s for emergencies.
If you spend your emergency fund on bells and whistles, you may find yourself in the lurch on the event day.
Plan Your Own Event Budget Today
Crafting an intricate virtual event budget will allow you to host a successful corporate event. Without this essential element, you will find yourself unprepared and disappointed with your virtual event’s performance.
As long as you follow these easy steps and keep an eye on all the moving parts within your budget, you will avoid virtual event disasters.
BeaconLive offers fully customizable virtual event features that fit every corporate event budget and size. Our event services team can handle technical production, leaving event professionals like you to focus on event marketing and attendees’ needs.
Contact us today for a consultation on how to take your virtual event to the next level.