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How much should you budget for your virtual event?

Virtual events have exploded in popularity over the past few months and they sure aren’t going away anytime soon. That’s why it’s important to start rethinking event formats and get onboard with the virtual hype.

The beauty of hosting events virtually is that there are no venue or travel costs involved. Which means that they are very likely to be much more cost-effective than physical events.

However, it’s still important to properly budget for your virtual events. You won’t want your plans to be disrupted by unexpected costs at the last minute.

Planning for a virtual event – where do you start?

The first step would be to identify the kind of event that you want to host. This will determine which platform or services you need.

As with physical events, every virtual event is unique. You get to decide how to customize it to exactly what you want and what your budget allows.

Below are just a few examples of different event types and how much they could potentially cost to run:

1) Virtual conferences and summits

Estimated cost: 20,000 – 100,000 USD

As with in-person conferences, virtual conferences and summits allow for live, interactive audio and visual collaboration with an audience.

What’s more, with a virtual conference platform, you can streamline all of your marketing activities. This can be done by integrating your virtual event platform with registration websites, promotional materials and social media channels.

Another benefit that comes with hosting a virtual conference is that attendees can download content that has been presented. Or watch the session on-demand when convenient, in their own time.

In addition, you can create and sell sponsor booths. These offer relevant companies that you invite or wish to be involved to put themselves in front of your audience. They can host live demos, interact with attendees, add marketing material and more.

There are also features to facilitate virtual networking experiences and direct interaction with speakers. This can be done using engagement tools like live polls or Q&As.

An ‘all-in-one’ platform will simplify your virtual event management

If you’re planning to host a virtual conference, you could consider using an ‘all-in-one’ platform combining the above-mentioned elements.

There are several benefits to doing so. From a workflow management perspective, the process becomes a lot more efficient when you engage with a single vendor. Compare this with using different platforms across the virtual event spectrum, for each different functionality. Each will require separate set-ups, and payments and different points of liaison.

What’s more, trying to bring together different technologies from different vendors can be risky. You’d need to be very confident that there will not be any technological integration problems or compatibility issues. And what if one doesn’t work as expected. Who do you talk to? Where do you start?

Furthermore, organizing a virtual conference doesn’t end with the preparatory stage. You’ll need to do a lot more during the event and even after it is finished. This is where having a managed service provider to assist your team becomes a great benefit. Your colleagues can focus on delivering their content and messages and respective roles, without being hampered by distractions.

Pricing of these platforms depends on a range of factors. These include the features you choose, the number of participants you cater for, and whether you require a managed service. Generally speaking, organizers can expect to spend from $20,000 to $100,000 for a virtual conference or summit.

Holding a virtual event? See for yourself just what’s possible

2) Virtual workshops or meetings

Estimated cost: 20,000 – 40,000 USD

Workshops are powerful tools for sharing information, generating new ideas, rallying teams around a plan and influencing key decisions.

The ingredients to deliver a successful in-person workshop still apply in a virtual setting. However, organizers must pay closer attention on how to design activities to keep remote audiences engaged and interested.

Fortunately, with the right suite of digital tools, thorough preparation and tailored facilitation, you can do this! It really is possible to deliver good – if not better – outcomes via a virtual workshop. Both during the event itself and even after it ends.

Typically, a virtual workshop or meeting could cost from $20,000 to $40,000. The final cost will depend on factors such as the duration and number of concurrent sessions.

3) Webinars

Estimated cost: 1,500 – 4,000 USD

Webinars allow organizations to build relationships and have real-time conversations. They are a great way to attract new prospects while keeping an existing customer base engaged.

Because they don’t require sponsors booths or separate ‘rooms’, they are generally more affordable. In general, they cost from $1,500 to $4,000 to run, depending on the size and duration of the webinar.

A key feature to look for in a webinar platform is campaign tracking functionality. This will let you track the source of your registrants and evaluate the best way to reach interested attendees. Do also consider platforms with interactive functions. These provide options for flexibility and creativity so you can engage your attendees in a number of ways.

Additional virtual event costs to consider

If relevant, don’t forget to factor in speaker fees as an expense. And if you’re planning to host multiple speakers, choose speakers with varied viewpoints and versatile profiles. In doing so, you will be able to give attendees a complete experience of the topic of discussion.

There are also marketing and promotional costs to consider. As most event organizers can tell you – these can account for a significant portion of your budget, virtual or not.

Social media platforms are a great marketing channel to promote your event. Once you’ve come up with a distribution strategy, plan your marketing budget accordingly.

Depending on your industry, you may even engage relevant influencers or key opinion leaders for promotions. These should also then be factored in as expenses as need be.

And there you have it! The price ranges for different virtual event types, and the different components that go into a virtual event budget.

If you have any questions or would like to work with us on your next virtual event, get in touch with us today!

About the author

As Content Marketing and Campaigns Manager, Fiona oversees all marketing-related content initiatives within the APAC region. She has over a decade of collective experience in journalism, public relations and marketing communications across tech, finance and real estate industries.

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