Online Event Sponsors: How to Engage and Manage Them?
Effective sponsorship should be a partnership.
Sponsorship can help bring your online event to the next level– through meaningful content, additional value for participants, and added revenue for organizers. Based on your content there are various possibilities to incorporate online event sponsors – we prefer to call them partners.
Our experience shows how important it is to build mutually beneficial relationships with your prospective partners. Are you trying to build long-term relationships or are you looking to maximize revenue today? If you will be organizing events continuously, take a long-term view. When it comes to sponsorship, it is much easier to win a convinced partner back than to find a new one.
Whichever you choose, your participants’ interest comes first. Don’t let sponsorship take over your event, or create confusion out of your message. Delivering on your attendee’s expectations and needs is paramount. Be clear about how your partners are represented and their role in the event. The greater transparency you can provide will help both partners and participants manage expectations for a successful virtual event!
Three keys for successfully incorporating sponsors at your online event
Firstly, crafting effective sponsor participation takes more than just sharing a logo! Weave sponsor participation in. By authentically incorporating your online event sponsors throughout your event’s programming, it becomes easier for your participants to connect their names with the event experience.
- Session hosting: Offering a sponsor to host a session gives them the chance to share their expertise and supports your content creation. You can get creative here– utilizing sponsors for keynote sessions, or fireside chats, to panel discussions. Importantly, ensure sponsor programming is a value add for participants, rather than a sales pitch.
- Swag: Do you have a sponsor with products that match the style of your event? Offering participants to receive a goodie bag sent to their homes is a great way to create a memorable experience. In addition, goodie bags put your sponsor’s products directly in the attendee’s hands. If you’re working with a smaller budget, alternatively you can provide digital vouchers for products or services.
What most sponsors pay for new leads and contacts. If you’re hosting a global event, the prospective number of new contacts can be a tantalizing offer for sponsors. Think about special ways for your sponsors to connect meaningfully with new clients or partners.
- Participant data: Event participants generate data at each touchpoint of the event (before, during, and after). This data is valuable not only for event organizers but sponsors too. Sponsors can use participant data to generate added value by finding the most prospective leads, or interested clients. Importantly, if you plan to share attendee data with your sponsors, let your participants know beforehand.
- 1 on 1 meetings: Roundtables and sponsor areas can facilitate direct meetings between sponsors and attendees. Sponsors can position themselves as discussion partners on your event platform without having to do cold outreach. They can be available for meetings, or actively recruit your attendees through the conference platform.
The list of available branding options for an online event is nearly endless. Above all, organizers should take care to strike the right balance when it comes to branding. Always keep your participants in mind and remember that more, might not always be better if it distracts, or takes away from the event experience.
- Logo branding: Sponsors can pay for ad time on the live streams of your sessions. Your captive audience can be a highly effective advertisement opportunity. Alternative branding locations can be found in the sponsor’s expo area, rotating banner ads on the event website or at the bottom of email communications.
- Employer branding: If your event focuses on matchmaking, it can be valuable for companies to invest in having their job openings featured at the event (on the website, mentioned by the MC, or in the form of interview slots). If sponsors are looking to use your event for recruitment, you can create special areas of your event platform they can host.
PIRATEx Managing Director