The COVID-19 pandemic may have done away with the opportunity to host a physical event, but that does not mean that the event industry has gone dark.
Virtual events have taken over.
But as any event organizer knows, one of the driving forces behind any successful event is event sponsorship. The good news is that sponsorship opportunities do not disappear simply because you’ve moved online. In fact, the opportunities afforded by an online event may be even more interesting and attractive to prospective sponsors.
Certainly plastering a physical event space with a sponsor’s logo or handing out sponsored swag bags is a no brainer. And while it may require thinking outside of the box, finding, and highlighting, a virtual event sponsor is easier than you might think!
In this post, we have put together a list of creative sponsorship ideas so you can put together a sponsorship package and host the most successful event possible!
Selling Virtual Event Sponsorship
Convincing potential sponsors to participate in your virtual event can be a challenge but if you get creative and pitch your packages properly, you’ll have no trouble generating sponsorship revenue.
- Targeted Audience: One of the biggest benefits of an online event is that it can put your potential sponsors in front of a very targeted, highly qualified audience. Marketing strategies often involve a lot of trial and error. By showing sponsors that you share their target demographic, you are letting them know that with your event they will be put in front of the people they most hope to reach.
- Global Reach: A hybrid or virtual event has the potential to reach an audience much larger than a traditional event. Because all an attendee needs are time and an internet connection, it is possible to reach a global audience. This may be the perfect opportunity for your sponsor to make a splash in a market they have been trying to reach.
- Some Traditional Avenues Still Exist: just because your event has moved online, it doesn’t mean that some traditional elements of your event sponsorship package won’t still apply. It is still possible to hold sponsored keynote addresses or feature your sponsor on social media. The only trick in the virtual environment is to make sure that you are not overwhelming the audience with pop-up or banner ads or going too far off your brand messaging.
For more advice on how to sell sponsorships for your virtual event, check out our guide here!
Creative Virtual Event Sponsorship Ideas
Before you can sell people the opportunity that is available at your virtual event, it’s time to think about what you are offering in exchange for those sponsorship dollars.
Here are some of our favorite ideas:
1. Sponsored Games
You have a captive audience that you are hoping to keep engaged with your event so why not give them something fun to do AND promote your sponsors at the same time? Attendee engagement can be fostered easily by adding a little bit of fun.
Between sessions, you can hold quizzes, challenges, or competitive play to allow your virtual attendees to take a break while you highlight a sponsor.
Sponsors can provide the game and provide prizes. It also gives them an opportunity to reach out to participants to supply them with a discount code or small gift as a way of saying thanks for playing.
2. Branded Virtual Waiting Rooms
Before a keynote address, a live stream, or a virtual conference session begins, the audience needs a place to wait. This digital space provides an opportunity to feature a sponsor’s logo and messaging. Depending on the length of the wait, it might also be a time to work in some of the games mentioned above. If the sponsor has short video ads or has recorded a message for your specific event, you can feature it in the waiting room.
Consider branding the session landing page as well. Each participant will visit the landing page and sit in the waiting room so you and your sponsors both know that the space will be viewed by the majority of your audience at one point or another.
3. Sponsored Breakout Sessions
The one thing that many people fear is missing from virtual events is networking opportunities. A virtual event does not mean you have to deprive your virtual event or conference attendees of networking sessions.
Virtual meeting rooms or breakout sessions are a way to facilitate networking while also giving your event or corporate sponsors an opportunity to get their name out there.
Use sponsor colors and logos to brand the space, then feature pop-up windows or chat boxes.
4. Printed Agendas or Programs
Who doesn’t like receiving mail? While ordinarily, printed agenda and programs have moved online but when it comes to virtual events (especially those taking place in this time of social distancing), receiving printed communications can be a positive experience that improves attendee satisfaction and builds anticipation for the event.
Best practices for creating event agendas includes highlighting each event sponsor and in this instance, it is likely to create additional benefits to them. Where most people will view a printed agenda for the duration of the live event and discard it when it is no longer of use, virtu