Because of the social changes and disruption of COVID-19, virtual events have never been more prominent. And while meeting and event planners have found phenomenal ways to showcase their skills and creativity through these unprecedented times, securing and selling sponsorship is more challenging than ever before.
So, how can you generate interest from potential attendees and sell sponsorships to make the most of your virtual event or conference? Here are five tips to succeed in the new pandemic world.
1. Pre-event sponsor exposure
It might not seem that virtual events could replicate the abundance of sponsorship opportunities available for in-person events. However, it’s all about determining how your sponsors can best complement the main event.
Some of the most optimal sponsorship opportunities are available to you before your virtual event even begins. For example, distinctly featuring your sponsor’s logo or links to their content on your event’s registration page or pre-event email is a good way to kick things off. You could send out branded promotional items to attendees before the live event and set up a sponsored demo or orientation prior to the gathering.
Messages from sponsors can have an enormous impact when sent prior to your event, especially when delivered in creative and engaging ways. This provides your sponsor with a chance to become better connected with the event and to make an early, positive impression on the audience.
2. Sponsored gift-giving
Who doesn’t love getting gifts? Attendees for your event definitely do. And even though you won’t be able to hand out branded T-shirts in-person, which might be a relief to attendees who already have more than enough, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo physical branding altogether. Swag bags are one of the best and most popular ways for event planners to accomplish this goal.
Virtual or physical swag bags can be sent to your e-attendees by companies that are now providing both options. If you choose to have your attendees receive a virtual bag of goodies, you can give your sponsors the opportunity to curate what is included, such as coupons, vouchers or free trials. The bag would then be distributed directly to your attendees via e-mail, social media or your event app before, during or after your event.
Virtual swag bags also provide beneficial reporting data on how many people accessed them and how they interacted with the items included. You can later share this information with sponsors to help advise on which materials attendees found most valuable. Sponsors understand that engagement with their brand is one of the most valuable things you can offer, and there aren’t many vehicles that better facilitate brand engagement than gift-giving.
3. Banner and pop-up ad space
Banner and pop-up ads have always been a great way to incorporate additional branding opportunities for sponsors, and virtual events are no different. They are best displayed during an event’s live stream, so you will need a platform that allows for it if you plan on using this method.
You may elect to have banners appear on the screen during presentations to highlight a particular sponsor, while pop-ups are perfect for in-between sessions since they are more disruptive. Because advertising space on banners and pop-ups is typically limited, use them to provide links to the sponsor’s website, where attendees can find more information.
4. Sponsored games, contests and virtual trade shows
To deliver a successful virtual event, you must take advantage of having a captive audience directly at their keyboards. Suggesting that sponsors sign on to support games or virtual trade shows can help solidify optimal engagement from your attendees. An online trade show can allow attendees to virtually “walk the show floor,” visit “booths” and partake in the event as they would at a live exhibition.
To ensure extra interaction from attendees, planners can also incorporate sponsored contests. Just let your sponsoring organizations provide the fun game breaks and have them send a small parting gift to contest participants. With games, virtual trade shows and contests, you can keep participants engaged while maintaining tracking for event analytics, which will be helpful down the road.
Like traditional events and conferences, effective promotion for their virtual versions is imperative. E-mail and social media are two excellent promotional tools that can propel your virtual event into the stratosphere with attendees, while garnering major revenue for your sponsors.
Both of these can be especially effective when employed for post-event sponsor exposure. Consider giving a shout-out to sponsors on your social media platforms and sending out email blasts to event attendees, which include special deals and compelling calls to action to drive more clicks and conversions. You can also create an official hashtag so that sponsors are able to promote their involvement in your virtual event. Finally, be sure to thank your sponsors with friendly shout-out posts after the event.
You can even try bundling a series of social media posts into your sponsorship package, which is a great way to guarantee exposure for sponsors without adding inbox clutter for your viewers.
Get help with virtual sponsorship
Recording attendee data is vital for proving ROI, identifying KPIs and detecting necessary improvements. CPG Agency specializes in optimizing virtual sponsorships that uniquely capture these analytics for your events. We provide you with access to tools designed for elaborate engagement tracking, which allow for more effective monitoring of ROI and KPIs and deliver extensive data on sponsors and stakeholders about the success and value of your event.
Now is the time to partner with CPG Agency to start perfecting virtual sponsorships and winning in the post-COVID world. Contact us today to learn more.