Event planning is hard work. It involves building a strong agenda with leading speakers, marketing the event to participants, and ensuring it all runs smoothly. But whether your event is physical or virtual (or both!), a well-known sponsors list is crucial to make it a success.
Sponsors help fund the event and make it possible. Secondly, just like the speakers’ list, they add to the event’s credibility and assure people that this is the place to meet industry leaders. Last but not least, their presence paves the way for partnership opportunities and relevant industry connections. A recent survey found that almost half of event and marketing professionals consider connecting sponsors and attendees an important event strategy for their 2020-21 event lineup.
Of course, would-be sponsors understand and appreciate ‘what’s in it for them.’ Otherwise, global sponsorship spending wouldn’t amount to tens of billions of dollars. But now that physical events aren’t a real option anymore, it’s vital that organizers confirm and communicate virtual and hybrid events’ merit to sponsors. Along the way, organizers must be prepared to overcome some obstacles. And remember: it’s not just about attesting that virtual events work; it’s about assuring that it’s where brands need to be in 2021.
Step 1: Overcoming fears
Firstly, sponsors may be worried about virtual events’ ability to transfer their live product demos, Q&A sessions, workshops, and overall experience onto a digital booth. These informal interactions are what traditional event marketing is all about, and customers may be hesitant to give in to their digital edition.
If so, don’t paint yourself into a corner going into the fine details of every expected interaction. Instead, explain how an online video conference still bears the essence that sponsors are looking for – engaging with customers. However, be careful not to belittle the influence of physical events and be very respectful of how traditional event managers have been operating up until now.
Demonstrating your knowledge and appreciation for the event planning world is likely to bring down some walls. It will also give you the leeway you need to validate that you can help them reach the same (and even better) results using a virtual conference platform. Showcasing features will speak louder than any pitch, so if you can, let sponsors feel the power of virtual events first-hand.
Step 2: Adding value
Now that you’ve established that nothing is lost, show sponsors all there is to gain. Using virtual event platforms, organizers stand a much better chance of controlling the audience’s attention division – use that fact! Customers are bound to see the potential in displaying their company’s logo or ad right at the time when thousands of eyeballs are gazing at that screen. Furthermore, virtual conference platforms can integrate with existing content management and marketing automation systems, creating a continuous visitor journey.
But what if they’re used to a booth at a prime location? In that case, ask them how many attendees typically visit their booths and how many people they can handle at any given moment. Once you show them how virtual conference platforms help them reach so many more than that, and more effectively at that, we believe their eyes will open up. Online events offer a world of possibilities that your leads might not be aware of. Set out different examples of creative and engaging virtual event experiences, and be sure to explain it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Step 3: Redefining Event Marketing
Repurposing content and analytics are great examples of how virtual events can easily outperform physical ones in terms of ROI. As such, they can come in handy when trying to interest prospective sponsors, so it’s worth sharing when trying to close a deal.
Unlike physical events, virtual event platforms can continue generating leads well after their live phase, as VOD and content hubs. So, all these hours spent crafting a clear message or designing the perfect deck can carry on giving, rather than fade away the following day. Sponsors can repurpose content for their blog, PR efforts, and marketing collateral.
Another challenge with physical events is measuring their success. However, online conference tools offer advanced analytics built-in, turning any event into a unique opportunity for sponsors to measure their endeavors and learn about customers’ behavior. Quizzes and polls will provide sponsors with even more information regarding relevant user groups.
Virtual platforms shed light on a corner of marketing that could use groundbreaking innovation and, for the first time, offer real targeting and retargeting capabilities for high-quality event audiences. Instead of merely shifting physical events online along with everything we know and love about events, they provide a real chance to put event marketing at the forefront of technology and win everyone’s attention. You know it, and soon your sponsors will, too.
Planning a virtual event?