So, let’s talk about virtual event sponsorships, shall we? As we all know, sponsorships have been the industry’s holy grail of revenue for years. They’re a safe way to ensure money is coming through the door, and planners have dedicated a fair chunk of their time to perfecting the art of negotiating good sponsorship deals. That is, of course, up until the moment the industry saw itself facing an unprecedented challenge. Now that virtual events are the norm, and with hybrid events set to become increasingly more common as life slowly returns to what it used to be, it’s in everyone’s best interest to learn about virtual event sponsorships. But where to begin? Is it even possible to entice sponsors within this paradigm?
Well, the short answer is absolutely. Sponsorships don’t live and die in the scope of in-person events! On the contrary, the online world has the potential to offer even more reasons for a sponsor to want to work with you on a virtual event. Because our team here at Endless is well aware of how complex this can be, we decided to put together your very own guide to virtual event sponsorships. In this article, we’ll walk you through how you can structure and price your sponsorship deals. And next week, we’ll be sharing a ton of unique and creative ideas to get the ball rolling. So keep reading to become a pro on virtual event sponsorships!
Selling Your Virtual Event
Unless you can confidently and accurately sell the value of your virtual event to potential partners, they’ll have zero interest in working with you. And who can blame them? At the end of the day, sponsorships are a business relationship. If you’re in it for the financial perks, sponsors need to get their money’s worth one way or another. This is probably where things get hazy. You’re well aware of how this goes down with an in-person event, but how do you go about virtual event sponsorships?
You’re Not Just Planning A Virtual Event, You’re Planning An Experience
Ditch the mindset that virtual events are boring and don’t hold a candle to their in-person counterpart. If you don’t believe in the value you’re providing to your audience, how can you expect sponsors to do it? A virtual experience can be as enriching and exciting as your run of the mill event – and that’s exactly what you need to sell to your sponsors.
This isn’t just a Zoom meeting where ten people will be discussing the Geneva Conventions. No, this is a full-scale virtual event, with incredible speakers, talented entertainers, valuable resources, Q&A sessions, exhibitions, and more. There’s clearly a lot of worth in what you’re offering, so make them see it.
Harness The Power Of The Online Landscape
There’s a reason why a handful of years ago, every company that wanted to stay afloat moved their efforts online. And no, it’s not because all of the cool kids we’re doing it (that’s just TikTok). But it’s because that’s where their audience is, and the opportunities to create curated and personalized content are much bigger, while costs are significantly lower.
As such, sponsoring a virtual event means better leads at reduced costs. Digital advertising space allows for a myriad of options, including videos, banners, and logos. From this perspective, it’s clear that it’s in both of your best interests to make a partnership like this work!
Sponsored Speaking Opportunities Are The Real Deal
The notion that virtual conferences simply can’t be engaging is wrong. With the right speakers and the best team behind them, speaking sessions can be as entertaining and valuable as the ones everyone is used to. It feels a lot more intimate, and attendees can react and participate in real-time, engaging in a waltz-like dance with heaps of potential for personalization on behalf of the speaker. So why not propose speaking opportunities to your sponsors?
Not only can this drive a lot of revenue for you, but it can also provide invaluable insights and warm leads on the sponsor side. It’s a win-win situation if, again, you know how to sell it.
The Possibilities Are Endless
In the second part of this guide to virtual event sponsorships, we’ll be sharing a ton of ingenious and lucrative ideas you can use. But right off the bat, the most important thing you have to keep in mind and communicate to your potential partners is that the possibilities are endless.
The virtual space truly allows you to have the creative freedom that physical spaces often don’t. Think of it as cinema versus theatre – they’re both incredible, but the screen simply provides more flexibility. And the same goes for virtual events. Sponsorship activation can occur through email, social media, content, speaking opportunities, virtual exhibitions, videos, banners, matchmaking, food delivery…and much more. In many ways, it can be perceived as a unique opportunity. Make sponsors want to take advantage of it!
Creating Your Sponsorship Packages
There are a couple of different directions you can go in when the time comes to take your sponsorship opportunities and put them in a nice, fluffy, irresistible package. The most common, and those we suggest you consider, are tiered packages and a la carte packages.
Tiered Sponsorship Packages
In our virtual event pricing article, we mentioned tiering as a viable option. When applied to the event itself, this model would translate into attendees paying different prices for different features. And when it comes to virtual event sponsorships, it works the same way. Here’s an example using fake numbers and potential packages:
Opal Package (Tier 1) – $500
Sponsors that opt for the Opal Package will be promoted on the event’s website, social media channels, and email blasts pre-event. During the actual experience, they will be featured on the feed and in several rotating banners throughout the course of the event. Additionally, sponsors who chose this tier will get two branded breakout rooms.
Emerald Package (Tier 2) – $2000
Sponsors who go with the Emerald Package get access to everything the Opal Package gets, plus a speaking opportunity during the event. This can take many forms, including Q&A sessions, a 30-minute slot to promote their brand on the virtual stage, and sharing case studies, followed by discussion, with the attendees.
Diamond Package (Tier 3) – $10,000
Sponsors who are willing to choose the Diamond Package will receive everything detailed in the Opal and Emerald packages, plus business and networking opportunities. This can take many forms, including, but not limited to, live demos, 1:1 interactions with a set number of attendees, data can be garnered from sponsor/attendee interaction, and sponsored lounge sessions.
Be clear about what each package offers the sponsor, and why the benefits presented are worth the price tag you decided on. The goal is to offer several packages that will attract different sponsors who have different budgets and goals to meet.
A La Carte Sponsorship Packages
These packages maximize the pool of potential sponsors you can attract. It essentially consists of offering a series of different opportunities, each priced individually, allowing them to pick and choose what better fits their needs and business objectives. An a la carte package can include everything we mentioned above, with the prices differing. For example:
A La Carte Package Options:
Social media, email, and website promotion: $300
Banners and logos throughout the course of the event: $200
Branded breakout rooms: $200
30 Minute speaking session: $3000
Q&A with the attendees: $1000
Live product demo: $2000
1:1 session with the attendees: $2000
Data can be garnered from sponsor/attendee interaction: $8000
These are only a handful of examples, of course. What you can offer your sponsors on your a la carte package will depend on the capabilities of your virtual event and on what you decide is best. If you’re running low on ideas, don’t worry. Next week we will be following up on this article with a part two that will ignite your creative bone!
And that’s a wrap on the first part of this guide to virtual event sponsorships! This is the first taste you’ll get, and there’s plenty of information to get you started on the right path. But make sure you tune in again next week – we will be sharing a ton of creative ideas on virtual event sponsorships. In the meantime, put your newfound knowledge to the test!