Sponsorships are the lifeblood of events. They allow organizations to create events with expo floors, in-demand keynote speakers, multiple tracks and sessions, and networking opportunities. Events cannot exist without sponsors.
Virtual events have taken the place of live events in our “new normal”. The great news is that virtual events deliver all the benefits of live events and more. But, sponsors have little or no experience with virtual events. Event teams must now overcome several new obstacles to secure sponsorships, including explaining the value of virtual event sponsorships.
With years of virtual event production experience, our team has helped brands present to prospective sponsors and overcome common concerns.
Below are our top tips to educate, excite, and secure sponsors for your virtual event.
Define the event visually and detail specific deliverables early on. Use samples, recorded demos, screenshots, and case studies to present a high-level picture of how virtual events engage audiences.
Develop Creative Offerings
Virtual event sponsorship offerings will typically be at a lower cost than live events. We suggest that you price sponsorship levels accordingly to allow your sponsors to see a satisfactory ROI. Some key points to consider for your pricing model:
- Model your exhibit packages similar to a live event – make it a tangible experience for sponsors
- Tiered participation – small, medium, and large booth sizes
- Tiered pricing or supplemental options for premium interactive and display features
- Premium speaking sessions for strategic sponsors to engage at an elite level and create a broader presence for their brand
- Ad inventory
- Sell roll-in video from sponsors that can to play between virtual sessions
- A professional prospectus to reflect the production value of the event
- Limit the number of booths and speaking engagements offered
- Engagement with senior leadership as a premium incentive
Overcome Negative Perceptions
Virtual events are often mistakenly equated with Webex presentations or Zoom meetings. Assume at the outset of the sales process that you will have to define your event against negative perceptions. Some tools to employ:
- Create a virtual experience that is mindful of sponsor objectives
- Establish time for meaningful engagement at your event
- Illustrate the detailed analytics that all your features have to offer
- Include a virtual environment to elevate the user experience above webinars
- Include games, interaction, and engagement as part of your offering
- Consider incentives to motivate attendees to visit virtual booths
- Hold a raffle as part of your offering – this event staple works great in virtual environments
- Gamify the experience for attendees with leaderboards and Easter egg hunts
A polished and organized virtual event strategy that keeps your sponsors’ objectives in mind is an attractive proposition. Confidence and enthusiasm for new services are contagious. Be a good educator and a great partner, and sponsors will come. Executing an exceptional virtual event will strengthen and expand your professional partnerships with sponsors.