How To Budget Like a Pro For Your Virtual Event

A virtual event is a great way to connect with your customers, partners and other stakeholders without going through the hassle of travel, physical setup, and in-person event arrangements. However, no matter how much money you allott to your event, costs can add up quickly. You still need to plan out your spending efficiently. 

No company has a limitless supply of resources and money for their events, and yours is no different. So, you should have a properly planned budget in your hands, and share it with the relevant stakeholders. This will allow you to host the best event possible without having to face financial issues at the time. 

Why Do You Need a Budget For Your Virtual Event?

event lobby

A virtual event budget helps you plan your activities and expenses accordingly so you never overspend. It acts as a guiding light in designing agendas, inviting the right speakers, and acquiring the right software. Here is why you should have one before you start putting your event together. 

Set Expectations

First of all, you can set expectations for yourself and your exhibitors. If you have a smaller budget, you know that you shouldn’t go all out with your event features. However, if you have loads of money to spare, then you can host a phenomenal event worth talking about for ages. 

Track Expenses

A thought-out budget will also help you track expenses. You won’t have to scramble around after the event to figure out where you spent what. This will help you keep things organized and work out whether the returns you got were worth the cost. In addition, you get a complete cost breakdown for accounting and corroboration purposes as well. 

Here are a few key expenses you must account for in your virtual or hybrid event budget.

  • Event software
  • Mobile event app
  • Email marketing
  • Outreach marketing campaigns
  • Exhibitor invitation & onboarding 
  • Personnel costs
  • Speaker costs

There are also a few auxiliary expenditures that you can spend your budget on.

Create Marketing Plans

When you have a fixed budget, you have an idea of how much you can spend on event marketing as well. Of course, if you have a limited pool of resources, you’ll market in a very targeted and concise manner. However, if you’re willing to splurge, then you can go all out and run massive marketing campaigns for your virtual events. 

Evaluate Returns on Investment

It might be tempting to put everything you can into your virtual event. However, spending money willy-nilly often results in wasted resources. A pre-planned budget will let you spend just the right amount in each area of the event. This way, you’ll get high returns on your virtual event, depending on the goals you have set. 

When evaluating your ROI, also consider your cash inflow sources. The main sources at most virtual and hybrid events are:

  • Sponsors
  • Tickets
  • Event & marketing budget 

So, a professionally made budget will help you evaluate how successful your event went as well. Then, you can reorient your strategies accordingly.

Now that you know why you need a virtual event budget, you should try your hand at creating your own. Of course, you need to follow the right methodology to make this budget for the best results. 

How To Budget For Your Virtual Event

event budget

Making your own budget for your virtual event is not that difficult. You just have to follow a few simple steps, and you’re good to go!

1. Consider Your Event Goals

First of all, evaluate your event goals. What are you trying to achieve with your virtual event? Is it ticket sales? Is it lead generation? Or do you simply want to spread awareness about a topic? Not all events have profit generation as their goal, so you need to figure this out in advance. Then plan your sponsorship and ticketing strategies accordingly. 

2. Map Budget to Priorities

Figure out where you want to spend the most based on your goals. What features or aspects of the event are worth a splurge and what you can live without. This will help you decide what to allocate your resources towards and prevent any sort of excess spending or underspending. 

3. Choose Measurable Metrics

Now that you know your goals, you need to quantify them. Be realistic and set target numbers for your goals. In addition, also keep track of ticket sales, revenue generated, leads generated, and visitor footfall. The vFairs platform even lets you track booth interactions and other relevant data, so you should go over all these metrics, and have methods to measure them numerically. 

4. Create a Budget Spreadsheet 

Next, create a detailed spreadsheet with a complete budget and planning breakdown. You can use a virtual event marketing template as well, to make your life easier. Use spreadsheets for your plans and budgeting, so that you have everything in an easy and organized format. 

5. Research Event Tools & Solutions

Once you have your costs planned out, you can look for relevant tools and solutions. With your budget, you can figure out which tools you can afford, and what packages you should go for. Various event planning solutions have different pricing tiers, with features offered accordingly. With vFairs, you can get a completely personalized pricing and feature plan. Therefore, you’ll find just what you want without having to alter your budget. 

6. Separate Event & Marketing Budgets

This is something you need to keep in mind from the initial stage. Don’t let the event marketing and actual event hosting plans blend into one another. Otherwise, you might face issues in both processes. Keep a certain amount aside for marketing activities, and break these down thoroughly by medium, campaign, or whatever you prefer. 

7. Plan Revenue Streams

How will you earn from the event? If you’re planning to have a ticketed event, consider what your industry is like. Is it a specialized one with high-end training programmes? If it is, then you can keep your prices relatively high. However, if you’re hosting something like a virtual career fair, you need to keep prices low so that your target audience can make it to the event. 

In addition, you need to consider your exhibitor and sponsorship package pricing as well. Create sponsorship tiers to appeal to all types of partners and their budgets. If you’re offering different types of booths, price them differently according to their features. In addition, do your research into your industry standards, and then set your price lists. 

8. Map Your Budget Sources

You should also keep track of your financial sources. Whether you’re using company resources, utilizing donations, or spending sponsorship money, you need to map it properly. This will help you figure out if you’re spending your budget efficiently and get an approximate number for your expected returns. 

For each industry, your budget will come from a different source. This will define how much money you’ll have at your disposal.
  1. Corporate employee events: human resources budget
  2. Conferences/trade shows: tickets and/or sponsors
  3. School events: donations and/or sponsors
  4. NGO events: donations

9. Plan for Unexpected Eventualities

Keep in mind that things don’t always run smoothly. Do not create such restrictive budgetary limits that nothing can be reallocated when the time comes. Plan for unexpected issues and eventualities, and have a buffer in place. This amount doesn’t have to be too large, but you still need to have some breathing space in your event budget for unexpected situations. 

10. Keep All Stakeholders in the Loop

Make sure all the relevant stakeholders are on the same page with your plans. Whether it’s your company higher-ups, your finance team, or your sponsors, they all need to be in the loop. This will help things run smoothly. 

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, you need to create a proper budgeting plan for your virtual event. This should help you stay organized and utilize your resources efficiently. In addition, a budget will also let you keep track of your event returns, and learn how to improve things in future events. 

How To Budget Like a Pro For Your Virtual Event

Shanzay Asim Haider

Shanzay Asim Haider is a content writer with over 5 years of experience. She loves to learn and writes for vFairs because of the exciting potential of the virtual and hybrid event industry. Her hobbies include reading (of course), jigsaw puzzles, and playing overly convoluted board games.

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