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Budget Planning And Execution Tips For Virtual Events One's preparedness with the budget, planning, promotion, and execution can drive your virtual event to a sure-shot victory

By Lalit Mangal

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In the past one year, the event organising industry has evolved enormously. The glitz and the extravaganza of hosting an event had to shift to a virtual platform completely. What seemed futuristic and complicated became the new norm.

Though the industry has come a long way since last year, there are still dynamics of a virtual event that needs to be understood. The nuances of hosting a virtual event involve meticulous planning. You need to be on your toes from the very beginning.

From planning, budgeting to executing, here's all that you need to keep in mind to make your next virtual event a spectacular experience.

Budgeting the right way

Now that your idea of the next virtual event is official and on paper, the first and foremost thing to do is to plan out your budget. There is a set limit of funds that are allocated for every event. Though the stress of handling costs for the venue, accommodation, or F&B may have reduced, there are other factors to consider while distributing the funds. Here's how you can make every penny count:

Choose the appropriate budget template: To have a micro and macro level view of your budget plans and goals, it is crucial to pick up the best suitable budget template for your planning. A designated template will help you list down your expenses and make advancements in your budget planning at any given stage. It also enables you to be prepared for any unexpected add ons.

Pick out things from past experiences: If you've done this before, you certainly have some estimate on what to expect from your funds. Intensely study the past event's budget to understand all that went in, and all that you missed out on the last time you planned a virtual event. Things may not be the same this time, but it will surely help you be more prepared.

Decide on a platform provider: This decision can make or break your event. It is the most vital step in your event planning process. Apart from being cost effective, you need to foresee if the platform opted for will support your vision for the event. Investigate if it's easy to use; a complicated or tenuous forum will discourage participants from joining in. Choose a provider that's easy to use, encourages participation, and has the bandwidth to handle a large gathering.

Allocate cost for speakers and moderators: Assign a specific budget for the speakers and the panellists coming in. They will be the key highlight of your event; make sure that you bring industry experts who align with your agenda. Roping in noteworthy and remarkable people from relevant industries warrants immense participation. Assess the number of speakers and panelists your event requires, study their profiles and the impact their presence will have on your event, and thereby allocate the budget according to it.

Analyse the funds required to assemble a team: To make your event a grandeur one, you need a vigilant event management team. You require various A-grade professionals who can manage your marketing, ideation, execution, crisis management, etc. Designate separate teams for separate functions. Keep a dedicated social media and creative team who can create a buzz about your event on the right platform through the right means. A credible bunch of event organisers will elevate the onscreen and offscreen experience of the event. It is necessary to assign sufficient resources for an efficient team that can provide end-to-end assistance to your event planning.

Set an advertising and marketing budget: Just because it is happening virtually doesn't mean it wouldn't need the publicity. Promoting your event can help you pitch in more sponsors and participants. Figure out how much you would be willing to spend on social media promotions, email-marketing, press releases and other promotional activities.

Keep some budget for goody bags: The event may be virtual, but you can always mail some goodies to create a brand recall and a positive response from the participants. Decide on what you plan to send, and analyse the cost for it.

Once you are through with the budgeting process, it is time to ensure that the event sails smoothly. It is now time to anticipate everything that can go wrong with the live virtual event, and create a plan of action to tackle the situation. Your preparedness for the crisis will spearhead the event to success.

To flawlessly execute your virtual event, you need to follow these basic steps:

Bring together an impeccable planning and marketing team: Planners have the skillset to combat any problem that could arise when the event is live; marketers are skilled to deal with all the tech that goes in to execute a virtual event. Together, they make an excellent recipe for a smashing event.

Do technical reruns and rehearsals: While your team may be well equipped with the platform you are using, the same may not be true for external speakers and moderators. Familiarise them with technicalities, and if required, do a tech rehearsal with them.

Give enough space to your sponsors: A virtual event has the capability to go global, giving sponsors a wider audience reach. Make sure that you provide them with enough time and space in between your agendas. By doing so, you generate loyalty amongst your partners and sponsors.

Make the event engaging & inclusive: A virtual event can witness as much audience participation as an offline live one. Create chat sections, polls, and Q&A sessions in your event to make it more engaging and conversational. Such activities assure greater engagement and participation in the future as well.

Give your audience a networking platform: The opportunity to build and grow one's network lures in a high number of audience participation. Build an open space at your event wherein people get the chance to connect with fellow industry peers.

Your preparedness with the budget, planning, promotion, and execution can drive your virtual event to a sure-shot victory.

Lalit Mangal

CEO and Co-founder, Airmeet

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