Ways to Engage with Sponsors in A Virtual World
As the world around us is changing, we are being challenged to create new and innovative ways of doing business. While putting together a virtual event, it’s often assumed that sponsors and their branding can fall to the wayside. But that’s not the case. With the range of capabilities provided with a virtual event platform, organizations, sponsors, and attendees can get recognition, interact, and form connections through a variety of creative channels. And since everyone is gathered in one place, a virtual environment lends to even more visibility and chances to say thank you!
But in the shift to virtual, some questions you may be asking are: How do I attract and keep sponsors happy? What are some interesting sponsorship opportunities? How do I get attendees to interact with my sponsors?
Here are a couple of new twists on how you can engage with sponsors to create a great online atmosphere for your virtual event participants.
We live in a virtual world—we learn to knit and cook from YouTube, exercise via FaceTime, and celebrate loved ones with a massive HouseParty. We are spending so much time online that we have stopped looking at our iPhone screen report – making it the perfect avenue to capture your attendees’ attention! It is important to take advantage of your attendees’ spike in online activity, increase your digital presence, and represent your upcoming event and sponsor participation through pre-event promotions online. Consider one of these ways to stay top-of-mind leading up to your meeting:
Graphics in Pre-Event Promotions
- With custom graphics integrated into the different channels of your event promotions, you can easily draw attention to your partnership with a single or multiple sponsor.
- A series of social media graphics to incorporate into your and your sponsor’s social campaigns is an easy way for both you and your sponsors to spread the word of your event, which attendees can then interact with and share themselves to generate excitement leading up to the event—a win-win!
- Taking the lead from the movie industry, sponsors have the ability to tease their partnership with pre-produced videos. Similar to a movie preview, these teasers can begin before the start of show. An impactful or funny 30 – 60 second spot that is dripped out in pre-event promotions, or plays at the top of a live broadcast, is the perfect way to build excitement and buzz for any and all online meetings.
- Our team at LAI Video can help you create a one-of-a-kind sponsor teaser video that will add a level of polish and finesse to your virtual meeting.
Visibility is a key desire for sponsors. Usually in a ballroom or convention center, there are many options to feature your key sponsors. And although the space may be more limited in a virtual event, the possibilities are endless! With your attendees tuned in for the live event, there are several ways to provide branding opportunities for your sponsors.
- One option is building graphics into your presentations such as ID bugs, bumpers, or transition wipes. These graphics can be a sponsor logo added to the lower right-hand corner of the video player for the session or speaker they are sponsoring. From animated bumpers and session buttons to full-screen graphics and graphically designed intros, Leading Authorities can go through your event screen step by step to incorporate sponsor logos and design the best look for your platform.
- Learn more about how to incorporate graphics at your virtual event here.
- A great opportunity for your sponsors to get visibility is to introduce a general or breakout session – teeing up a highly-anticipated talk and sharing their message. We’ve seen great success with pre-recorded video clips, designed with graphic elements we mentioned above and content that ties into the messaging of the meeting.
- But another, more integrated approach is to take advantage of a sponsor’s domain of expertise and have them participate in the discussion. There is no better way to align a sponsor’s brand to a thought-leading topic than providing a subject matter expert for a session or panel discussion. Building a sponsor segment into your virtual show is a sign of confidence and trust that can lead to future partnerships.
Delivery On You!
- Or since sponsoring a lunch isn’t quite the same anymore, sponsors can set up a discount code for a food delivery service like UberEats or DoorDash. Allowing attendees to share a virtual meal from their own homes during your meeting shows that sponsors can still get creative and stay connected to the current times. And an added bonus – no asking for dietary restrictions! Attendees can pick the exact food they prefer.
In-Show Product Placement
- Take advantage of all the great pre-recorded content you're creating for your event and use it for additional opportunities to give your sponsors visibility. By channeling your inspiration from Wanye's World and artfully placing sponsor logos within your show's content, you can subliminally feature your sponsors in a new and creative way that is organic to your program's storyline.
- See how we did this for the sponsors of the virtual 2020 Association Leadership Awards.
- Consider setting up a sponsored wellness lounge during a programming break that people can log into. Sponsors could host a 30-minute at-home yoga session for those who just need to get up and take a break or maybe a short fitness class showing ways to utilize household objects to get your blood pumping.
Create an Experience
- Experiences are great ways to engage with attendees. In addition to the new “sponsored lunch” or organized wellness activities, sponsors can team up with talent to host a truly one-of-a-kind virtual experience. For example, a cooking class hosted by a chef, a virtual wine tasting lead by a sommelier, or a musical experience delivered from a musician’s at-home studio. In exchange for attendance, attendees can pre-schedule times to connect with the sponsor to help foster those on-on-one business conversations.
- See just some of the ways you can partner with Leading Authorities’ industry-leading talent to create truly unique virtual experiences here.
- In advance of the conference, set up a sponsored challenge for your attendees to come up with food or drink recipes, naming them something related to the sponsoring company. The participants can then submit their recipes online and the chosen winner could live stream with the sponsor and create an interactive tutorial. Or recipes could just go up online with contact information, and people could connect one-on-one with someone who shares their sense of humor.
- Another way to gain visibility is the same as what would be done in person. Choose a series of 10-minute time slots throughout the conference where attendees log online for the chance to win some swag. The sponsor can open a chat room and ask an industry related question. The first person to answer accurately wins a prize. Or they could simply draw a name from the list of people who registered and announce the winner.
POST-SHOW & BEYOND
- When all is said and done, your sponsors can still prove helpful with a great opportunity packaged in a digital post-event report. The digital collateral can highlight important fact, figures, and takeaways from sessions, recap event highlights, as well as promote future events. This recap gives the sponsor a great chance to their own event follow-up with attendees, and still position themselves as a thought-leader that is providing useful information to participants.
- Another great resource that sponsors can provide to attendees is a virtual swag store or a special discount code that continues long after the event has ended. Everyone likes a little retail therapy, so attendees can select swag from an online shop and items can be shipped directly to them. For example – If an attendee visited company X’s virtual booth during the event, they then receive discount code for an online delivery service like DoorDash to use at their convenience.
- Since we are spending more time online – having a visible presence on an event webpage is a must. Sponsors can purchase website banner ad to promote products, session recordings, or future events. These banners can be click-throughs to the virtual event’s post-event microsite or the sponsor’s company website.
READY TO TALK VIRTUAL EVENTS?
We are ready to listen, brainstorm, and execute for you and your organization! Reach out to our team today to start talking all things virtual event design and online meeting management.