This post originally appeared on the Social hour blog.
Virtual event engagement is a pressing challenge for nearly 35% of virtual event planners. Luckily, there is an easy and effective way to both boost your event engagement and help cover the costs of a virtual event—virtual event sponsors.
In 2021, event sponsorship was the number one source of virtual event revenues, but a shocking 22% of event planners were completely unable to generate revenue in a virtual setting.
Event sponsors provide a vital way to help offset (or even cover!) your event costs. They can also be instrumental in creating a genuinely engaging and well-rounded virtual event experience for everyone involved.
To unlock the total value of your event sponsors, your team must understand how to develop an enticing virtual event sponsorship package to attract the best sponsors—let’s explore how.
What Is The Value of Having Virtual Event Sponsors?
Virtual event organizers will elevate their attendee experience by partnering with event sponsors, but these engagements must be mutually beneficial to ensure long-lasting success.
By partnering with event sponsors, event organizers can more effectively meet their attendee needs. Complementary solutions providers and recognized brand thought leaders can lend a necessary third-party perspective to your event. These providers can also answer attendee questions and provide resources to meet needs that your team cannot support.
However, you cannot expect virtual event sponsors to readily line up and donate their time and resources to support your event without some element of “what’s in it for me?” That’s why host organizations need to explain and deliver on the potential value that their event can provide to sponsors. At a minimum, virtual events can help boost a sponsor’s brand awareness, grant them access to qualified leads, drive social media engagement, and achieve several other marketing and business goals.
10 Virtual Event Sponsorship Ideas
The best way to attract prospective event sponsors is to create a dedicated page on your event site that discusses sponsorship opportunities or sponsorship packages. Then, promote this virtual event sponsor page across your social media channels and through targeted email outreach.
The preliminary information you share should set the seed for 1:1 conversations with prospective event sponsors. In these conversations, you should discuss what the partner hopes to gain by sponsoring your event and explore potential custom agreements that will meet their goals and deliver on your attendee needs.
To help you get started, explore these virtual event sponsorship ideas either as standalone opportunities or group them in event sponsorship packages that will appeal to the range of your event sponsor goals:
- Attendee Email List: Virtual event hosts can offer sponsors access to the event attendee email list. Be sure to clearly communicate to your attendees that their information will be provided to partners if they check the box to opt-in to allow this permission.
- Breakout Rooms and 1:1 Meetings: Virtual events bypass the physical limitations of in-person events. Provide dedicated digital space for your sponsors to connect with attendees, conduct demos, and discuss their product or solution. Be sure to explain to event attendees how they can access these rooms and what value they will gain by speaking with your sponsors.
- Email Marketing: As you engage with your virtual event community through email, highlight your event sponsors. Include promotional messages, spotlight their event session or booth, or share their content that may be of value to your email subscribers.
- Event Branding: Promote your virtual event sponsors across your virtual event space. This is similar to the promotional banners, tablecloths, floor mats, and other in-person visual branding elements, just placed across every page and aspect of your event website and virtual event platform.
- Giveaways and Contests: Generate excitement with your event attendees by giving away event sponsor materials. These contests and giveaways can take place before, during, or after your event in exchange for your attendees submitting lead generation forms, engaging with event exhibitors or sponsors, or completing actions across the virtual event platform.
- Polls: Host branded polls throughout your event as a way for your event sponsors to get direct input from your attendees. Partner with your sponsor to decide what questions you will ask and exclusively provide them with the poll results. Or, offer any sponsors the ability to access the poll results, but only if they opt for that sponsorship option.
- Social Media Promotion: Promote your event sponsors across your event social media channels, with an increased number of posts that highlight your sponsors versus general exhibitors and partners. Consider creating promotional videos or other visual assets that will increase your audience’s likelihood of engaging with your sponsors’ social media content.
- Sponsored Sessions: Allow brands to sponsor your sessions or topic tracks with varying levels of exposure. At a minimum, promote an event sponsor alongside each of your event sessions by adding their logo and branding to that session. Depending on the arrangement, each event sponsor could directly engage in the session, such as introducing the speakers, moderating a conversation, or participating in a panel. At the highest sponsorship tier, you can offer for sponsors to create an entire conference session. Just be sure that the topic will be of interest and value to your attendees.
- Swag Bags: In addition to giveaways and contests, swag bags are a great way to get company branding and products directly in the hands of your event attendees. Enable sponsors to provide materials for swag bags that will guarantee their brand exposure.
- Virtual Sponsor Booth: Much like an exhibitor booth, offer your virtual event sponsors a space to engage with attendees and curate an experience within your virtual event platform.
Use a Modern Virtual Event Platform to Build Lasting Sponsor Relationships
Each of the 10 ideas we shared above can entice your prospective virtual event sponsors, but that’s only part of the event sponsorship equation. The virtual event platform you choose can significantly limit your ability to achieve your full event sponsorship potential.
Virtual event sponsors need dedicated space to engage with your attendees. A comprehensive virtual event software platform will allow you to fully customize the rooms and branding to maximize your sponsors’ value. Learn how Social hour can bring your dream event to life and help you cover your event costs through smart sponsor relationships.