As you plan virtual and hybrid events, you may be wondering, “How can I give my sponsors and exhibitors exposure during my event and connect them with my audience?" At first glance, creating value for sponsors in a virtual setting may seem intimidating. But fear not!
Having a virtual event does not mean your sponsors and exhibitors will lose precious face time with your audience. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!
With a little creativity and the right virtual event platform, you can easily showcase your sponsors and connect your audience with companies, products, and services they will find valuable. The best part? You’ll continue to build strong relationships with important sponsors and exhibitors and effectively monetize your event.
To help you get started, we’ve included some of our best virtual event sponsorship ideas in this post.
1. Social Media
Just like you would with a live event, give a shout-out to virtual sponsors on your social media channels. You can also create an official event hashtag so that they can promote their involvement in your virtual event.
2. Sponsor Logos on Event Registration and Home Page
Help your attendees become familiar with your sponsors before your event even starts. Add sponsor and exhibitor logos with links to their websites directly on your event’s registration page, home page, or custom virtual event platform.
3. Temporary Retargeting Tokens
For premium sponsors, consider adding a temporary retargeting token on your event’s registration page. Then, they can serve up targeted ads to your event page or virtual event platform or app visitors as they surf the web. Learn about retargeting here.
4. Welcome Videos
Place a welcome video on your event dashboard that answers general questions about your event for attendees. Acknowledge prominent sponsors in the video and thank them for supporting your event.
5. Sponsored Session Video Interstitials
Take a lesson from YouTube’s revenue success with pre-roll and mid-roll ads. Give your sponsors exposure with a video interstitial before your live stream or pre-recorded content plays. Learn about how to create engaging video interstitials here.
6. Virtual Exhibit Hall
Host a virtual exhibit hall to give your exhibitors face time with attendees and maximize exposure during your event. Just as you might offer different sized booths and locations at an in-person event based on sponsorship levels, you can create similar online packages within your virtual event space. Here are some things to consider including in your various sponsorship packages:
Representative profiles - Your exhibitors want to be seen by your audience as people. Humanize your exhibitors and help them connect with attendees by allowing them to upload representative photos and profiles.
Appointment scheduling - Facilitate a face-to-face introduction between exhibitors and attendees by allowing your attendees to book one-on-one appointments with exhibitors.
Office hours - Do you want your exhibit hall experience to feel truly authentic for your exhibitors and attendees? Have your exhibitors “‘go live” with office hours and product demos where your attendees can check-in and chat with exhibitors.
Videos - Boost attendee engagement with exhibitors during non office hours by having your exhibitors upload videos and commercials to their public profile.
Special Offers - Attendees love visiting a live exhibit hall to get exhibitor swag and other special offers. Help your exhibitors generate solid leads with visitors by allowing them to post special offers in their virtual booth.
Downloads - A disadvantage of an in-person exhibit is that attendees frequently lose sponsor information before they get home. With virtual event platforms and mobile apps, sponsor’s content can be saved, downloadable, and ready to use during and post event. In your exhibit hall, have exhibitors provide content that attendees can instantly download and access while they are top-of-mind.
People love a fun challenge. Encourage your attendees to connect with sponsors and exhibitors through virtual event gamification. Award prizes and points when your attendees visit exhibit profiles, check in to office hours, click on special offers, schedule appointments with exhibitors, or any other attendee behaviors that will create value for your sponsors. Virtual event apps can enhance the gamification experience for attendees.
8. Virtual Happy Hours and BOF Sessions
Sponsored happy hours and networking sessions are always a favorite with attendees. Offer sponsors the same valuable face-time with your attendees with virtual happy hours and birds of a feather (BOF) networking sessions. But instead of providing alcohol, let attendees BYOB and have sponsors give away gifts and prizes. We’ve seen this be especially effective with BOF sessions when the topic is related to an exhibitor’s product or service.
9. Banner Ads
Put your sponsors on display in front of the right attendees with rotating banner ads. The secret to maximizing click-through rates is to place these ads on the content or session pages most relevant to your sponsor’s products and services.
10. It’s All About Leads!
Let’s not forget that your sponsors invest in your event to get results. Yes, they want brand exposure. But more importantly, they want to connect with qualified leads. Your sponsors will measure ROI by how many leads your virtual event brings them.
A huge advantage of a virtual event is that you can collect detailed data on attendee movement and interactions throughout your event. You can track impressions, video views, clicks, dwell-time with exhibitors, office hour visits, chat conversations, content downloads, notes, or other important actions, all thanks to modern-day analytics.
You can then provide exhibitors and sponsors with robust lead information to solidify your virtual event’s value to their bottom line.
Now that you know some ways to provide value for your exhibitors and sponsors at virtual events, we hope to see you try them in your next virtual event experience.