Sponsorship is key for many events, but it can be challenging to tackle it when it comes to the virtual world. Whilst virtual events might not offer the opportunities we’re used to, there are still ways to leverage online tools and offer packages that will delight sponsors, attendees and project managers alike.
Now we see a glimmer of hope that live event activity is on the horizon, so hybrid events (mixing live and virtual elements) will by default, become the “next normal”. With hybrid events, the value of both live and virtual attendees to sponsors means that they will be interested in both aspects. So, it’s worth exploring virtual opportunities for sponsors, not to mention the large amount of data they provide for event planners.
Increasing sponsorship ROI from a virtual event
There are plenty of ways to monetise a virtual event effectively. Yes, you can use traditional digital sponsorship approaches you’ve already used at live events – but other options might take a bit more thought. So, without physical spaces to brand or the opportunity to hand out information or goody bags, what are your options, and more importantly, what do your sponsors want?
- To increase brand profile
- To provide thought leadership
- To showcase products and services
- To develop and deepen relationships with leads, clients and industry partners
So how can you help them?
There are plenty of ways to monetise a virtual event effectively. Yes, you can use traditional digital sponsorship approaches you’ve already used at live events – but other options might take a bit more thought.
1. HOW TO HELP SPONSORS BOOST THEIR BRAND PROFILE
Ask sponsors to host and promote virtual meetups before the event such as information sessions about their business.
Satellite events with branded giveaways
Facilitate online workshops or e-learning sessions as fringe activities and send branded complementary giveaways as a valued finishing touch.
Physical goody bags
Prepare sponsor-branded items such as headsets or earbuds, break beverages/snacks, journals, pens, face masks, hand sanitizers or work-from-home supplies.
Promote sponsored experiences – such as virtual receptions – by email to attendees in the run-up to the event.
Virtual venues offer branding opportunities similar to those in physical venues, giving sponsors various options to show their brand in a highly visual way.
Show sponsors’ logos or ads on the holding screen between sessions.
Sponsored keynote or session
Invite your sponsors to introduce speakers or moderate audience Q&A sessions.
Social media promotions
Run ads in a digital ‘show daily’ newsletter during a multi-day event.
Sponsor-hosted breaks or receptions
Virtual attendees need time-out too, so give sponsors the chance to put their name to breakout sessios or coffee breaks.
2. HOW TO HELP SPONSORS PROVIDE THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Pre- and post-event sponsored content
Before an event, invite sponsors to develop and distribute sponsored content relating to event topics, such as blog posts, tip sheets, checklists, reports and so on. Afterwards, build on the conference content and momentum with a sponsored deep-dive webinar series and further content.
Give sponsors the opportunity to host deep-dive sessions in a branded private room, allowing them to host, present or moderate. Collaborate to develop a quality expert or speaker based session of real value which will add value to the event overall
Encourage sponsors to personally host break activities in a meeting room. Alternatively, make breaktime video slots available to sponsors to showcase their latest product developments.
3. HOW TO HELP SPONSORS SHOWCASE THEIR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Talks and demos
Consider scheduling a series of sponsor talks and/or product demos so attendees can watch as part of a group and have the option to ask questions or arrange a 1-to-1 chat afterwards. This way, they feel less
pressured than they would ‘walking’ alone to a stand.
Create a microsite
Microsite branding is a fantastic opportunity for sponsors that’s valuable to attendees; they are a great way to share clear, concise information about your virtual and live event activities, helping attendees to stay organised through features such as registration links, session descriptions and speaker profiles.
They can also market additional services with links to other websites and landing pages. Reducing friction for attendees while increasing brand exposure goes a long way towards achieving good ROI.
4. HOW TO HELP SPONSORS DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS WITH LEADS, CLIENTS & INDUSTRY PARTNERS
The more you let your sponsors offer, the more you help them to get the max out of the event.
At a virtual event, there’s plenty to keep sponsors happy.
All in all, this is a new era, so there’s a fair bit of uncertainty. But we’re always here to help.