Running in-person events is costly. But what if there is an alternative that allows you to invest only a little money and still run a conference that would make you hundreds of thousands of dollars?
Virtual conferences are a cost-effective way to gather participants and have them access live onsite meetings even if they are halfway across the world.
But unlike in-person conferences, online events do not incur a lot of cost on your part. You do not have to worry about paying for hotel accommodations and food, which by themselves already add up to thousands of dollars.
Still, it does not mean that it is entirely free. Check out the usual expenses you have to factor in before running your virtual conference:
Webcam & Microphone
Assuming that you already have a laptop and a strong internet connection, two of the essential hardware pieces you need are a decent webcam and external microphone.
A webcam records your interviews with your invited influencers and resource speakers. Though your laptop probably has a built-in webcam, it is still best to buy an external camera to record high-quality videos and pick up a great picture even in low lighting.
You will find a variety of external webcams online as low as $50. But if you want to invest in a durable and high-quality webcam, check out the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 recommended by many virtual summit hosts, priced at $79.99.
Aside from good video, you also need to invest in excellent audio to help your attendees understand what you are saying and keep them engaged. Though you can find microphones starting at $30, it’s best to invest in a gooseneck microphone like Shure CVG18, which costs $99.
Video Recording, Editing, and Hosting Software
Most of these software and apps can be purchased on a one-time or subscription basis. That is why it works well for any kind of budget.
Virtual conferences rely on video, so you need to invest in reliable video recording and hosting services. At times, you may also need to edit your videos to make them more presentable.
Thankfully, these services can be purchased on a subscription basis, so it does not hurt your pockets. You can simply pay your monthly dues until your virtual summit ends.
For video recording, you can avail of Zoom’s free service if you are doing one-on-one interviews. It has a time limit of 40 minutes for panel interviews, but that’s ample time already for a series of online discussions.
If you want to invest in it, you can get a Zoom Pro plan for as low as $14.99 a month.
You also need a place to house your videos so that you can embed them onto your landing pages, and that is the job of a video hosting software.
Vimeo is one of the most popular video hosting platforms that you can get for free. It is best for casual users who do not need to upload a ton of videos every week. But since you are running a virtual conference, you can avail of Vimeo’s lowest plan at $7 a month, billed annually.
As for video editing, Mac users have the free iMovie software to make their videos professional-looking. Windows and other OS users can subscribe to Filmora, which costs $39.99 a year.
Sales Funnel and Landing Page Builders
A sales funnel allows you to convert a lead into a customer seamlessly. You will need this if you eventually plan to monetize your virtual summit by offering free tickets first, and then pitching them to buy an All-Access Pass.
Many sales funnel builders already allow you to create landing pages where you can broadcast your videos to your attendees.
To get attendees, you need to promote your virtual conference and encourage people to register. The easiest way to do that is by sending emails through email autoresponders.
Many email marketing services allow you to get a free account when you are just getting started and onboarding a few subscribers. But once you reach a certain number of subscribers, you may already need to start paying for their services.
Plans start as low as $9 per month, billed annually.
Graphic Design Software
You do not have to be a graphic design pro to create your promotional graphics and images.
Sites like Canva allow you to create professional graphics even if you have no prior knowledge in the field. Its free version already gives you a ton of templates to choose from, but if you want to get the Pro version, you have to pay $12.95 per month.
Payment Processing Software
If you are monetizing your virtual conference, you will need a payment processor that integrates with your sales funnel to collect your payments effortlessly.
Payment processors usually charge for every amount you get. For PayPal – one of the most popular payment processing platforms – you get charged 2.7% per transaction.
Membership Program Software
Attendees who avail of an All-Access Pass can be placed in a membership site, where they can access the content they bought from you.
Since membership sites are usually long-term investments, you can get an annual plan from MemberPress at $149 a year.
Based on these numbers, you can already run a decent virtual conference using budget-friendly tools for less than $500. Considering that the average price of All-Access Passes is $250, that means you only need two participants to break even.
Just imagine how much revenue you can get with such a low overhead cost!