The event industry’s shift to embrace virtual events came with a lot of change for planners and corporations. One of the major concerns many had was how do we capture sponsors for virtual events? Will we be able to hit our revenue goals with this new model? Many event planners and companies are still scurrying to revamp their virtual event sponsorship options to make sense in a new online world. While creating a virtual event sponsorship package isn’t going to look the same as in-person event sponsorship packages, and we know it isn’t easy, it can absolutely be done and add to your bottom line!
If you think about it in terms of virtual event reach, Event Manager Blog reported that one company surveyed increased their attendance by nearly 1,200% without the limitations of a physical in-person event—and this isn’t uncommon. Think about how valuable that reach is for your sponsors and leverage it! This is just one way you can pivot and shift your mindset and you’ll see success with virtual event sponsorships. I also want to share with you my tried-and-true tips to get sponsors for your next virtual event!
Ready for it?
Choose the Right Platform to Leverage with Potential Event Sponsors
There is an overwhelming amount of virtual event platforms out there right now. I can be so easy to just throw in the towel and pick Zoom because it’s the one you’ve heard of most frequently.
But that isn’t going to help you gain sponsors.
While you may not realize it matters initially, selecting the right platform will give you access to tools and features you can use to sell your sponsorships—or on the other hand, inhibit your ability to sell them.
When searching for a virtual event platform that will help you gain sponsor interest, consider looking for the following capabilities to leverage:
- Ability to use attendee analytics to schedule one-on-one discussions with hot leads
- Opportunity to create an interactive sponsor booth that can be branded and brought to life exactly as it would appear on the conference floor
- A fully customizable portal to leverage branding opportunities for things like sessions, app landing pages, or registration
- Metrics, metrics, metrics—companies are hungry for real numbers to show ROI and you must be able to provide them with concrete engagement and reach metrics after the event—you can even use them to upsell future virtual event sponsorships after seeing success the first time around
After thinking about what you want to offer sponsors, then and only then should you create your sponsorship package! Think about it… what happens when you sell your one premier sponsorship option for your virtual event, only to realize you can’t offer them 4 out of the 10 sponsorship benefits because the platform you choose doesn’t have the right capabilities? You lose a sponsor and have to totally revamp the sponsorship package that has already gone out to other sponsorship leads.
Let’s avoid that potential virtual sponsorship disaster, shall we? If you need help figuring out which platform is right for your event to engage sponsors, take our virtual event platform finder quiz to avoid the platform search overwhelm.
Remember One Size Doesn’t Fit All for Virtual Event Sponsorship Packages
I know you’ve seen an ad before for one size fits all shirts and thought to yourself “Well, how the heck does that work?” The answer is… it doesn’t! Just as every person is different, every company is different—different goals, visions, and budgets.
So how do you expect to sell sponsorships if you’re only offering one standard sponsorship package with no customization options or tiered pricing options?
I’m going to let you in on a little hard truth here… you won’t.
Sponsors are giving you their company’s hard-earned dollars in hopes that they’ll get something in return. How are you going to help them realize that value at your virtual event?
The best way to do this is to make your sponsorship package easily customizable. Whether that means totally a la carte, tiered sponsorship levels with add-ons, or even co-collaborating with your sponsors to create a sponsorship opportunity just for them.
Think about your sponsors the way you think about your customers or clients.
What do they want? How can you provide that for them?
Think about these two questions when designing your virtual event sponsorship package. Or, even better, sit with your sponsors and literally ask them point blank, and this is where you’re going to make the big bucks!
Creativity is Key
Events are inherently creative and virtual events are no exception. In fact, many argue that you need to be more creative with online events!
Here are a couple creative virtual sponsorship ideas that we love:
- VIP Micro Experiences – Virtual micro experiences are a perfect way to add value to those sponsors looking to access your C-Suite attendees. Think about a virtual tour of the city and factory where the sponsor’s product is made with scents and tastes boxed up and sent to homes before the event to make it more immersive.
- Virtual Games & Entertainment Breaks – Virtual event attendees don’t want to feel like they’re watching a webinar. They want to be involved and active! Allowing sponsors to create scavenger hunts, trivia sessions, or bring in a local band to play, is a great way to get their brand out there and engage attendees simultaneously.
- Roundtable Virtual Panel – Allowing sponsors to participate in a virtual roundtable panel discussion is the perfect way to add value for attendees, while also enabling sponsors to share their expertise, raise brand awareness, and interact with potential attendee leads.
We could go on for days here, but at the end of the day, it comes down to custom experiences that cultivate value – so think outside the box!
Ask for Help Securing Virtual Event Sponsors
When all else fails, it never hurts to ask for help. In fact, it could help you increase your sponsorship dollars tenfold having an expert manage event sponsorship for you… we’ve seen it happen! Sometimes spending hours upon hours trying to crack the online event sponsorship code takes valuable time away from your team during the event planning process.
If you’re struggling with virtual event sponsorship, let’s schedule a free strategy session about how we can take some of that stress away and secure you some sponsorship dollars!