The move online has brought about the emergence of a whole new environment that organizers, participants, and sponsors could explore and engage with. Some real-life formats have been translated into the digital world, some others have been reinvented to fit in. Either way, it’s safe to say that virtual, but most of all hybrid, events have redefined social interaction and networking within an event.
Participants were probably the ones that benefited most from this, but these changes also offered sponsors new opportunities to reach a wider and more diverse audience and engage with it beyond the timeframe and context of the event itself. Once sponsors got a taste for the creative sponsorship packages from the past year, there was no going back. Event organizers have to keep coming up with brilliant ideas and dream up unique packages that stand out and add real value for sponsors.
Staying ahead of the game is never easy, so we’ve had a brainstorming session and a look at what some events have offered their sponsors over the past year. The result was this comprehensive list of ideas to help you put together some amazing sponsorship packages.
Having an online event comes with the benefit of access to all kinds of online advertising. With most companies now continuously increasing their online advertising budgets, this is a great perk. By sponsoring an event, companies don’t simply get to put a banner up in a venue anymore. Instead, they gain access to segmented and curated audiences all over the world, and can pop up in front of them for as long as the event content is online, which in many cases, is well beyond the days of the live sessions.
As an event organizer, you can get really creative with how you include your sponsors’ ads in the content.
From the classic logos on the homepage to in-app ad space, interstitial ads on the event platform, branded videos before, during, and between sessions, pretty much anything is possible.
The Virtual Stand or Booth
Just because people can’t attend in-person, it doesn’t mean they cannot “walk” around and explore the online venue. Virtual booths and stands are some of those real-life elements that have been successfully moved online and even enhanced. They can be designed according to the sponsors' wishes, and have the option to add videos, logos, products, as well as meeting slots for visitors to book. They are a great opportunity for companies to design their own networking experience and attract relevant stakeholders.
In addition to this, most virtual event platforms out there use AI matchmaking tools to match attendees, companies, and sponsors. Anyone who has created a profile and shared some of their personal details and interests can be matched. The platforms even offer the possibility to automate email flows to send out personal invitations and reminders for specific sessions that the matchmaking tool predicts attendees might be interested in. Your sponsors will love the benefits of being able to engage with the right audience so easily.
The Speaker Slot
Speaker slots and sponsored sessions are a must. You can offer the sponsors the chance to speak about what they do and what they know best: their business and best practices. Make it clear that these sessions should add to the content of the event through brand storytelling and that they are not simply a way for sponsors to push their services. If done right, attendees will love to get a sneak peek into the organization of your biggest sponsors.
As part of this package, you can add marketing emails and push notifications to remind targeted attendees of sponsored sessions or sponsored live demos based on their needs and interests. Besides being a good opportunity for companies to make their brand known, offering the extra promotion will make it that much easier for your sponsors to see the value of such a package.
The VIP Treatment
Not all sponsors are the same, which is why most enjoy exclusivity more than anything else. Prepare a package that offers more visibility to those who want to stand out from the crowd but also want to help out more. VIP networking is just one of the ways to make some sponsors feel special, as well as create a space for the top industry leaders to meet and discuss.
You have information about participants that everyone wants to get their hands on, and sharing it with your sponsors can be priceless (but do make sure you put a price on it). We are not suggesting sharing email addresses or other personal data with your sponsors, but you can share a lot of your learnings with them. This is not just about the data you gather from the event platform about the attendees’ behaviors and patterns. Post-event surveys collect extremely valuable feedback and data which you can share as part of a package. This will make sponsors feel like they are not simply a customer, but rather part of the event and thus, responsible for its success. It’s a great way to start building long-term relationships.
The Fun and Games
Screen fatigue is something we simply can’t escape, especially when attending virtual events. While we might not be able to hang out all together yet, who said online hang-outs can’t replicate this. You can recreate the relaxed atmosphere of the after-drinks at the end of a jam-packed day or the meditation session halfway through the day so your attendees have some moments to unwind or catch up with each other. Most sponsors will want to be associated with those relaxing moments and will jump at the opportunity to create a branded haven of relaxation for participants amongst all the content being thrown at them.
The Digital Festival Tote
Create a digital tote in which your sponsors can add offers, promotional material, and other goodies. You can even make them available throughout the year and allow sponsors to reach out to participants whenever they have something to offer or tell them. It’s like having a whole new subscriber database and everyone who’s ever had to start one from scratch knows how much that’s worth.
The Long-Term Visibility
This is probably one of the biggest benefits of hosting virtual events, the experience is not ephemeral anymore. With most events now uploading their content to be available on-demand after the official days of the live event, they also open up an opportunity for sponsors to increase their visibility. A 30-second promo video during a live session can now be seen every time someone watches the recording of that live session.
The keyword for sponsorship packages for virtual or hybrid events is visibility everywhere! Online offers a whole new range of opportunities, but that doesn’t mean on-site is to be neglected. You can mix and match online and on-site placements to cater to the various needs and desires of your sponsors. There isn’t just one recipe for success, because one size does not fit all. Having more options available will allow you to put together more diverse sponsorship packages. It also allows you to be more flexible and adapt the packages to different needs and wishes. Explore, experiment and learn for the future.