There is a whole new world of opportunities to monetize virtual sponsorships thanks to the digital nature of virtual events.
While before 2020 event organizers were able to generate great revenues from ticket sales, they have struggled to generate the same profits from virtual tickets. Some organizers even go so far as to host completely free virtual events, maybe unaware that virtual events can - and will - become extremely profitable once they learn to attract and secure the right sponsorship deals.
As most of your virtual event revenue comes from sponsors & partners, it's crucial to learn to attract (and retain) more sponsorships.
So, what are sponsors looking for in a virtual event? Why would they want to partner with you and, most importantly, why do they come back for more?
In three words:
- Brand awareness
- Thought leadership
The logic is simple: your sponsors finance your virtual event for the chance to boost their visibility and connect with qualified leads while establishing their authority in the field.
You've done an amazing job at bringing all your attendees together, and you're already on the right track to give your sponsors everything they crave. However, when it comes to the best tactics to drive great sponsorships deals, at times is hard to tell the good ideas from the bad.
Don’t worry. This blog post will cover our 5 proven tactics to help you provide quality online event sponsorship proposals, both for your current virtual events and for the future.
And if you’re interested in how Brella can make your virtual sponsorship dreams a reality, download the free guide below!
The top 5 tactics for powerful virtual sponsorships
Virtual events can be seen as exclusive marketplaces where both offer and demand are easier than ever to match and connect. If you learn to leverage this new opportunity, you'll skyrocket your conversion rates to a whole new dimension.
Also, ROI for sponsors heavily relies on your event tech stack of choice. Before 2020, technology was only an extra asset while now, technology has become the event itself, and bad UX equals a disappointing virtual event experience. Choose your event tech stack carefully!
So, what are our 5 proven tactics to secure powerful virtual sponsorships making sure they get leads, brand awareness, and thought leadership?
Let's dive in!
1. Offer engaging and converting virtual booths
Of all the virtual event sponsorship ideas, this one is the best. Instead of offering physical booths at live venues, you can provide your sponsors with virtual booth spaces within a virtual event platform.
Virtual booths can be of different categories, sizes, and prices to accommodate all your exhibitors and sponsors. Plus, you can offer other benefits in tiered packages, like access to live chat, sharable content, and more...
Virtual booths are an irresistible opportunity for your sponsors, especially when they can provide measurable brand awareness, like Brella's booth traffic reporting. In short, your sponsors will be able to see how many visits their virtual booth has scored and who were the visitors.
Trackable visits and solid numbers are a great bonus, one your sponsors could not get with an onsite booth at an in-person event.
Moreover, we know event organizers lead hectic lives and it's our mission to offer as many practical and time-saving solutions as possible. That's why we've created a sponsor self-service feature, which provides selected sponsors admins with controlled access to build and customize their own booths removing the task from your overflowing plate.
And what are some best practices for effective virtual booth creation? We asked our team to share their best tips.
- First, set the right sponsorship packages and expectations! The more time sponsors spend on their virtual booth, the better it will be. As well, make sure they understand what they have access to as part of their online sponsorship package.
- Set a firm deadline for booth creation and stress to your sponsors that the more proactive they are, the better their return will be from their booth.
- Invite your sponsors to your platform around 14 days in advance of going live, as this gives them time to get acquainted with the features and make adjustments to their booth if necessary before the attendees see it.
2. Promote sponsors within your virtual event platform
A great virtual sponsorship package includes promotional opportunities for your sponsors, like push notifications or adverts within the attendee list.
You can sell these promotions in your package, or offer it a la carte to any sponsor wishing to purchase. And they work far better than a banner at a venue, because you can report on exactly how many attendees saw it and, even better, how many attendees took action because of it.
Sponsors can also purchase air time on your livestreams, push notifications or event pages. It's a cost-effective way for you to monetize the different features on your platform.
With Brella's analytics, you can also track how many attendees have viewed your sponsors' ads and push notifications. Once more, this is a terrific added benefit of hosting a virtual event your sponsors would not want to miss!
3. Sponsored matchmaking categories
Your attendees want to network, that's a fact. Your attendees also come to your virtual event with different networking goals in mind, that's another fact. So, how do you make sure the right people can find each other and connect?
One word: AI matchmaking!
The process is really simple: your participants join your networking tool (or app), create their user profile, and select their networking goals from a detailed list of interests. The AI handles the rest by analyzing thousands of data points and connecting the top matches in a matter of seconds.
It only takes one click for intent-based connections to be brought together, and matchmaking benefits attendees as much as sponsors who can be connected straight to their qualified leads.
For instance, if you use an intent-driven networking platform, you can connect attendees on a deeper level by understanding their intents for your event, like:
- The services they are selling or wish to buy
- If they are recruiting or looking for jobs
- Seeking investment or are an investor
By adding your sponsor's name and their solution as an interest, you offer your sponsor:
- Amazing visibility to all attendees
- Real information on demand for services
We recommend making an agreement with your sponsors and preferably limiting it to a few top sponsors (like a networking sponsor). This reduces clutter on the matchmaking page for attendees and allows you to charge a premium for the service.
All in all, effective matchmaking is a real magnet for sponsors as it provides them with the qualified leads they crave and connects them in one click. Leveraging intent-based matchmaking should be at the top of your priorities, and that's one of the reasons why we have compiled our expertise in event matchmaking into a free certification course on Event Matchmaking & Networking you can take at your own pace.
Become a student at Brella Academy and learn everything there is to intent-based matchmaking for your sponsors!
4. Offer a 1:1 virtual meeting scheduler
So, your sponsors can get great and measurable visibility through virtual events. But how do they translate those views into business?
Well, just like at live events, you offer quality networking opportunities so sponsors can meet 1:1 with potential leads. Only this time, you use video conferencing instead of booths or a networking area.
Your sponsors and attendees are already familiar with many conferencing tools, and 1:1 virtual meetings with top matches are excellent for drumming up business for your sponsors. It allows them to strike when the interest is highest and offer the right solutions to the right people.
If you're looking for the best virtual event platforms for your online event sponsorships, look for platforms that offer:
- Hosted video conferencing (meaning no extra downloads)
- Matchmaking algorithms & meeting scheduling functionality
- Participant list filter (to proactively hunt for the best prospects)
The best matchmaking algorithms are powered by artificial intelligence, as they are able to analyze and understand the reason for meeting, continously learning from those analyses, and improving the match quality for each participant.
And speaking of analyzing, post-event you'll have a much richer data set to help your sponsors prove ROI. At a live event, a sponsor may have a rough estimate of how many meetings they had, if they took time to keep count. And as long as they remembered to scan the badge of every booth visitor, they'll have a mostly accurate list of leads.
But with a virtual event platform, you can let them know exactly how many meetings they had, plus a list of leads through traffic to their booth and the segment of your audience who selected that they were interested in the sponsor's offerings.
5. Sponsored rich content, demos & sessions
Sponsored content is a perfect way to get your sponsors involved and in front of your attendees, instead of passively waiting for leads at booths (virtual or physical).
They can provide quality knowledge, showcase a demo of their product at their virtual booth, but also sponsor a session on a relevant topic.
This gets their name out there while also providing quality content to your audience.
And due to the highly customizable nature of virtual event platforms means you can highlight your sponsored sessions in your agenda or schedule, typically through locations or content tags.
Plus, with an event analytics feature like Brella's you'll be able to track attendance numbers during sessions and livestreams and deliver the reports to your sponsor after the event.
Another tactic is to offer sponsored breakout rooms or roundtable discussions.
At Virtual Shake-Up 3.0, our own event, our sponsors found incredible value by engaging with audience members in a more intimate environment, where they could establish thought leadership, for example with digital sponsorship, covering new features, or asking questions about hybrid event AV.
Get away from thinking solely about impressions and reach, and consider how can you get your sponsors and attendees interacting with each other in a meaningful way.
Breakout rooms and roundtable discussions are perfect opportunities for your sponsors to build thought leadership with their target market and start the business discussions early.
Give your sponsors the opportunity of a lifetime
If you can provide your sponsors with qualified leads, visibility, and thought leadership (and you can prove your ROI opportunities with data) you're already halfway to securing great sponsorship deals.
Matchmaking & networking has always been one of the most efficient ways to connect your sponsors with your audience in an effective manner, providing exactly what your sponsors are looking for. Those connections are at the heart of our company.
Brella's intelligence-powered matchmaking algorithm helps each sponsor (and each attendee) find and meet the right people.
Thousands of events, virtual and in-person, have used our matchmaking feature to drive more business for sponsors and improve ROI.
If you want to provide a truly powerful virtual sponsorship experience, start with connecting your sponsors with the right people.
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