Securing online event sponsorship is more important than ever, but it can be a little trickier than finding sponsors for an in-person event. Although there are plenty of benefits to virtual sponsorship such as a wider reach, sponsors may only be used to the idea of crucial face time with a potential client. But marketing your event in the right way can lead to fruitful online event sponsorship.
If you’re wondering how to get sponsors for an online event, we’re here to help. Follow these marketing tips to help encourage potential partners to sign up for your virtual event and boost engagement between sponsors and attendees.
Connect your sponsors to your audience
Exhibition booths appeal to event sponsors because they allow sponsors to showcase their products or services and build their customer base. It’s here where they connect with event attendees, answer questions about their business, and build their network. These benefits don’t have to be lost at an online event — they simply need to be tweaked to remain effective.
Design a virtual exhibition page or sponsor page on your event website that allows every sponsor to create a virtual booth. Attendees can enjoy access to this booth throughout your event — and you can even extend access to it after the event to incentivize sponsorship. Offer live Q&A sessions via a virtual meeting platform like Zoom, where attendees can connect directly with sponsors to ask questions and gain information.
Make the most of digital offers
Who doesn’t love a freebie? A digital event bag can help boost event ROI and make sponsorship more appealing. Instead of miscellaneous items like pens and bags emblazoned with a sponsor’s logo, digital swag bags can feature a variety of offers that truly engage with event attendees. They can offer discounts on products or access to virtual workshops or Q&A sessions.
These bags also offer some key advantages:
- They limit waste, eliminating the need to produce hundreds or even thousands of products or papers for distribution
- They’re cost-effective, reducing production costs on items that might go unused
- They require less work — sponsors create a digital bag that every attendee can access instead of one bag for each attendee
For maximum effect, work with your sponsors to come up with creative promo codes, coupons, and virtual offerings that attendees can use to connect with a sponsor’s brand.
Engage attendees outside of the event dates
When your event is virtual, your connection with guests begins long before the event does. Your website can serve as a sponsor hub, allowing sponsors to connect with attendees during the registration and ticket purchasing stages of the event. Encourage sponsors to create short videos introducing their business or add graphics to the event registration page where visitors can check out the sponsors ahead of the big day.
Happy hours, live performances, and social outings have to change for online events, but they don’t have to disappear. Create sponsored social opportunities during your online event. One sponsor can host a virtual happy hour after the first day of your conference. Another might choose to sponsor the virtual waiting room where attendees will log in to hear the next performance or presentation. Giving sponsors access to attendees outside of a traditional exhibition booth allows them to connect creatively in this virtual environment.
Maximize sponsor exposure
You’re probably already reaching out to your attendees before your event to confirm their registration, send virtual tickets, and distribute links for different sessions. So why not use these emails as an opportunity to showcase your sponsors as well? Depending on how frequently you send them out, you can use a few different strategies to promote sponsors at your virtual event:
- Send out a sponsor email that includes links to their website and virtual booth, allowing attendees to peruse sponsors even before the event kicks off
- Add a sponsor or two to every event email, which offers more exposure to individual sponsors if you have dozens
You can even use your event’s social media channels to promote online sponsors and make the partnership even more worthwhile. Share a sponsor a day on your event page or social media account to generate interest. Encourage sponsors to share these posts on their social media pages too for a great cross-promotion opportunity.
Make online reach a selling point
Since you’re working to get sponsorships online, don’t forget to emphasize the potential reach of your virtual event. While in-person events are limited in number due to the likes of geography and venue sizes, online events can open up a national or even international audience. As a result, online event sponsorship can actually reach a larger group, which can make sponsorship an effective marketing tool.
If you’re securing sponsors after registration opens, be sure to highlight not only how many registrants you have but where they’re from. If you have a larger audience from more states or countries than previous in-person events, use this information to appeal to potential sponsors.
Virtual connection for sponsors
Online events certainly change how sponsors and event attendees interact. But that doesn’t mean they limit interaction. In many cases, they allow sponsors to reach out in new, creative ways for added engagement. As you draft sponsorship emails to connect with potential sponsors, focus on these advantages and highlight the many ways your event will allow sponsors to connect with guests. Consider offering an “a la carte” menu of virtual conference sponsorship packages, allowing each business to create a customized sponsorship package that suits their needs. When you do, you’ll secure sponsors and help make your next virtual event a success.