As an event planner, you know just how vital sponsorships can be. The right sponsor can provide you with the financial backing you need to “wow” your attendees while also lending credibility to your event. While this is certainly nothing new, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted sponsor relationships. 

In the past, event sponsors have readily paid large sums of money to advertise their brands at in-person events. Now that many events are held in a hybrid or virtual-only format, event managers must find creative ways to nurture sponsor relationships and provide them with the exposure they need to meet their objectives. Not sure where to start? Take a look at these seven strategies. 

1. Website and App Branding

When hosting virtual or hybrid events, you’ll want to give your sponsor plenty of opportunities to get their brand in front of attendees. The good news is, most sponsors understand the value of digital advertising.

As you plan your event, consider adding branded splash pages to the event website and pop-up ads or banners during your live streams. You should also add each of your sponsor’s logos on your event’s mobile app. You can also link the sponsor’s logo to their website or social media page, driving even more traffic to their desired location. 

To add even more value, consider allowing your sponsors to add gated materials to your event website. Not only can this position them as a thought leader, but since attendees will need to enter their email address to access the material, it will also provide your sponsor with valuable leads. 

2. Inclusion In All Communications

When promoting your event, communication is key. You’ll want to reach out to your attendees via email, text message, or even postal mail. You may also frequently post about the event on your social media platforms and private groups.

Whenever possible, be sure to include your sponsor’s name and logo. This ensures they’re getting maximum exposure in the weeks and months leading up to the event.  

3. Branded Breakout Sessions

If you have a top-notch virtual event management platform, you can easily include breakout sessions between speakers. This is a great way to improve attendee engagement, and it also gives you another opportunity to promote your sponsor.

Consider including sponsored entertainment, free downloads, special offers, and other exclusive perks that attendees can only get by attending these sessions.

4. Sponsored Speaking Opportunities

For many sponsors, the opportunity to speak directly with attendees is an incredibly valuable proposition. This gives them the chance to come face-to-face (virtually) with your audience, so that they can introduce their company and the products or services they want to promote in their desired way.

Providing a speaking opportunity is also a great way to drive revenue. Direct contact with the audience is a selling point that will significantly boost the value of your highest sponsorship levels.

One word of warning, though. If you’re going to offer a speaking opportunity, you need to be confident that the sponsor will bring a skilled speaker. Otherwise, it may be better to show sponsored videos and intros before each presentation instead. If the sponsor doesn’t want to speak, they could also host a panel or be a panelist instead.  

5. Branded Giveaways

Everyone loves free stuff, so offering branded giveaways is a win-win. If cost is an issue, consider offering branded digital swag bags. This could include free online courses, free trials for digital products or services, amazon gift cards, or other digital giveaways.

You could also surprise attendees with home delivery of physical swag bags or other branded items. For example, a bottle of wine or nonperishable snacks with branded labels would be perfect for a virtual happy hour.

6. Sponsored Games

Gamification is an increasingly popular way to improve attendee engagement. It’s also a great way to connect your sponsors with your audience. There are many ways to incorporate sponsor branding into games. This can be as simple as adding their logo to the game platform or offering prizes from the sponsor.

7. Virtual Store

Depending on the nature of your event, you may consider adding a virtual store. It is a unique approach that would allow your sponsors to showcase and sell their products easily. You could also offer souvenir-type products related to your event. Attendees may enjoy the opportunity to get their hands on exclusive items, and both you and your sponsors will have an opportunity to make instant profits.

Building Long-Term Sponsor Relationships with Your Sponsors

While the strategies above will help you offer value to your sponsors, that’s only part of the equation. You’ll also need to make sure you maintain your relationships with your sponsors. Start by making sure you reach out to them periodically throughout the year – not just when you need something from them. 

Please keep them in the loop about any significant changes or updates within the hosting organization. It’s also a great idea to occasionally check-in to ensure they’re still getting what they need out of the relationship and ask for suggestions or feedback.

Nurturing relationships with your sponsors is an ongoing process that requires a bit of effort. However, the payoff is huge! Once you’ve established a strong relationship with your sponsors and have shown that you can offer actual value in all event formats, you’ll find that it’s much easier to bring them back for future events.

Create Sponsorship-Worthy Events 

Sponsorships should be a mutually beneficial solution. To keep your event sponsors happy, you’ll need to make sure they feel that they’ve received sufficient value for their money. Not only does this require you to provide them with plenty of brand exposure, but you’ll also need to ensure you create a well-organized and value-driven event that your sponsors will be proud to be a part of.eShow provides all the tools you need to plan and execute top-notch events. From increasing event engagement to managing all of your event logistics and following up with leads, we can support you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn about your options and schedule a customized demo.

From choosing the perfect location to planning your promotion strategy, countless decisions go into organizing a top-notch event. Using past experiences to make educated decisions is nothing new. However, today’s technology makes it easy to collect a wealth of data. This makes decision-making a breeze and helps make each event better than the last. 

Data-driven decision-making creates new and exciting opportunities for event hosts, organizers, and marketers. Today, we’re sharing some simple tips to help you find the data you need and leverage it to create a more effective event strategy.

Gathering Event Data

Since you can track just about everything online, it’s easy to collect all kinds of information when hosting virtual and hybrid events. Some of the best sources for gathering event data include landing pages on your event website, social media, promotional posts, and, most importantly, your virtual event management platform. It’s also possible to gather essential insights from in-person events by using on-site technology like RFID tracking and analyzing online interactions that occur before, during, and after the event. 

Here’s a look at some of the most pivotal information you can collect and use to shape future event decisions. 

Attendee Preferences and Engagement

  • Number of repeat attendees
  • Session choices
  • Number of event booths visited and dwelled time at each
  • Number of workshops and sessions attended
  • Number of questions asked during Q & A sessions
  • Number of one-on-one meetings scheduled
  • Number of mobile app downloads

Expectation Management 

  • Speaker ratings
  • Responses to post-event surveys

Virtual Engagement

  • Activity levels on chat channels
  • Live polling response rates
  • Number and quality of social media connections
  • Engagement on social media posts
  • Click rates and open rates on email communication

After the event, you can also analyze the number of leads and sales it brings to your event host, sponsors, and vendors. Doing so will help determine the return on investment (ROI) – a compelling piece of data for those in decision-making roles. 

Using Event Data for Decision Making

Once you’ve gathered your event data, you may wonder what to do with it. Effectively analyzing this information will give you the ability to improve your events consistently, ensuring an unforgettable experience every time. By using data to drive your decision-making, you can increase your conversion rates, boost attendee retention rates, and improve overall engagement. Analyzing data is also an effective way to find areas that need improvement and figure out how to correct them. 

While there are many ways to use data to improve your events, it’s important not to let it overwhelm you. Start by analyzing a few key points and making decisions based on them. Then, you can return to your data and take a deeper dive, repeating the process multiple times as you get more comfortable. Here are a few simple ways to leverage the data you’ve collected.

1. Narrow Your Event Goals

When measuring your success, few things are more valuable than cold, hard facts. Using data analytics to drive your decisions makes it easy to keep yourself focused on what really matters. The two primary objectives that always seem to rise to the top are the attendee experience and your business objectives.

Placing these at the forefront of your decision-making process helps ensure that each event you plan is a success. Even better, when it’s time to review the results with your clients, you’ll have the data to back up your decisions. 

2. Gather Insight into Attendee Preferences

The information you collect during your event will help you understand attendee preferences to accommodate them better going forward. For example, tracking traffic patterns will allow you to identify the most popular booths and vendors. You’ll also be able to see what types of offerings are creating the most engagement.  

This will help you decide whether to re-book speakers, choose topics attendees are interested in learning about and evaluate whether the space was suitable for your event.

3. Determine the Best Ways to Engage

When it comes to creating successful events, communication is indispensable. It’s critical to understand how your target audience wants to receive information. For example, an older audience may enjoy receiving email communications while younger attendees may never check their email, instead preferring to receive text messages.

If you want to make the greatest impact, don’t make assumptions! Instead, consider taking a moment before or during registration to ask your attendees about their communication preferences. Doing so will allow you to customize the experience to meet their needs and will give you better overall results. 

4. Identify and Track Key Outcomes

One of the best things about having so much data is that it allows you to measure the success of every touchpoint. If you’ve taken the time to define your objectives before you began planning, you’ll easily be able to compare your results to what you were hoping to achieve. Not only does this create accountability, but it also gives you the tools you need to improve your overall event experience.

5. Successfully Market Your Next Event

As you create a marketing plan for your next event, take the time to look at what did and didn’t work in the past. Consider factors like how many times promotional videos were viewed, how many people signed up via email, and how much activity came from social media posts. It will help you find areas where you want to double-down and identify marketing efforts that may not be the best use of your time.

eShow Makes Data Collection Easy

Each time you collect and analyze data, you’re creating a cycle of learning that allows for continual improvement. With the right tools in place, it’s easy to collect and manage many different types of data in a format that is easy to use.

From advanced registration options to a robust virtual event management platform, eShow offers everything you need to ensure the success of each event you plan. We also offer integration with AMS and CRM systems, allowing for maximum efficiency and access to real-time information. Contact us to schedule a personalized demonstration to learn more about our user-friendly tools.

From expos and product launches to user conferences and VIP dinners, B2B events can play a significant role in a company’s marketing strategy. Done right, these events can drive sales and boost your clients’ bottom line.

While return on investment (ROI) is essential for all events in the B2B marketplace, not only do you want your event to stay top-of-mind long after it’s over, but you’ll also need to show that it was fully aligned with your client’s objectives. The following marketing and lead generation strategies will help make your event a success so you can easily deliver the ROI your clients are looking for.

1. Optimize Your Pre-Event Strategy

Great events with a killer ROI don’t just happen. They’re the result of thoughtful, thorough planning and execution. Before you begin planning your event, make sure you’re crystal clear about precisely what the client is trying to achieve. Then, consider how you’ll leverage each aspect of the event to maximize ROI and meet other stated objectives.

You’ll want to incorporate social media and email promotion early in the planning stage. Consider working with other complementary organizations to promote the event. Also, send a press kit to each presenter so they can promote the event in their circles. 

Use event hashtags as early as possible. This will allow attendees and other interested parties to follow them and see relevant posts from the event host, sponsors, and speakers. This is an excellent way to encourage engagement and build excitement well before the event begins.

2. Incorporate Immersive “Live” Product Displays

Live product presentations are nothing new. After all, who could forget seeing Steve Jobs unveil the first iPhone live on stage? While they’re popular in the B2C world, they shouldn’t be overlooked when planning B2B events. In fact, since  B2B customers tend to put much more thought into product purchases, this can be a key driver of event ROI.

As events move to the virtual and hybrid world, you’ll need to get creative. For virtual events, plan to leverage the power of live video. You can also play shorter demo videos at optimal times throughout the event. Remember that these videos should not be a pitch. Instead, it’s all about showing the audience what it’s like to use the product and allowing them to visualize how they’ll benefit from it. 

For hybrid events, you may also incorporate virtual reality demonstrations. This will give in-person attendees an up-close, interactive encounter while also adding the “Wow” factor that comes with the virtual reality experience.

3. Enhance Your Virtual Event Platform

A top-notch virtual event management platform will include features designed to help maximize engagement and boost your event’s ROI. This may consist of interactive pages, exhibitor webcasts, video chats, and other features that allow businesses to create meaningful connections with attendees.

Your platform can also help the event host learn more about their customer. They can do this directly by using features like attendee polls or indirectly by analyzing behaviors through RFID tracking or leveraging reporting features within the platform’s software.

4. Leverage Your Event App for Consistent Engagement

A mobile event app is one of the best ways to keep event attendees engaged and informed. The capabilities can allow attendees to learn more about speakers, take notes during presentations, view interactive floor plans, and more.

When attendees can plan ahead to optimize their experience, they’ll get more out of the event. This will make conversions much easier. 

5. Focus on One-to-One Meetings

While group sessions will give your host or sponsors maximum exposure, one-to-one meetings are where deals get closed. The ultimate goal of every product or solution provider at an event is to actually talk to the attendees – even if only for a few minutes.

To ensure maximum ROI, you’ll want to create opportunities for one-to-one sessions. Using a networking and appointment management solution will help you match attendees with exhibitors or sponsors based on their industry or interests. When an attendee finds something they’re interested in, they can request a one-to-one meeting right from your event platform. This will improve the attendee experience while also creating real opportunities for businesses to profit from the event. 

6. Assist with Follow-Up After the Event

As you collect attendee data, it’s important to think about what you’ll do with it after the event is done. To maximize ROI, it’s important to give hosts and sponsors a way to connect with attendees beyond the few days surrounding the event. This may include lead generation strategies such as adding gated content to your event website. 

As an event planner, the bulk of the hard work is over after the event ends. However, there’s still a lot more to do for hosts, vendors, and sponsors. They’ll need to follow up with all the leads they collected. They may also want to share materials with attendees or send out a survey about the event along with an offer to schedule a follow-up meeting.

You can help with this by ensuring your platform collects all the necessary data and allows you to provide it to them in a format that’s easy to use. It’s best to reach out to leads within a day or two after the event is done, so it’s critical to provide this information as quickly as possible. 

Cutting Edge Tools Designed to Drive ROI

Companies spend a lot of money on B2B events, and they want to make sure they get a sufficient return on their investment. Taking the steps above will put you in a position to support their objectives while also setting you apart from the competition. Having the right tools in place makes everything easier. eShow offers you the ability to pick and choose the tools you need to create show-stopping events that deliver maximum ROI. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a free demonstration.

The next time you’re watching your favorite TV program, don’t fast forward past the commercials. Pay close attention to them, and you’ll notice that some companies consistently neglect to include a diverse group of participants in their commercials. Or, if the participants are diverse, they aren’t given equal camera time. Yes, this happens in 2022.

It’s not surprising, then, that a 2020 study conducted by EventMB found that of the 150 events analyzed, 35-40% didn’t even have one Black speaker. How do you think this makes members of underrepresented groups feel?  

Other companies are fantastic at being inclusive and ensuring that they represent as many groups as possible in their commercials, whether by gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, or class.  As you’re planning your next event, you want to follow the lead of these companies.  You want to ensure that you integrate diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your plans.  If you don’t, you deprive your event of valuable perspectives and experiences.  Here are some ways to make it happen:

Start With Internal Diversity

What are your company’s policies regarding discrimination and equitable hiring practices?  Diversity and inclusion start behind the scenes. The more diverse and inclusive your company is, the more likely the events planning team will also be diverse. Because the team reflects different perspectives and backgrounds, so will the partners, suppliers, speakers, and event topics. This will result in a richer event experience, one that will be less one-sided.

Another benefit of a diverse planning team is the awareness of cultural sensitivities and religious observances. For example, a team member might point out that a proposed event date conflicts with certain cultural or religious celebrations that you may have overlooked.

Hire Diverse Speakers & Performers

Speakers and performers will be the most visible component at your event. To show attendees your commitment to diversity and inclusion, make sure that the lineup of speakers/performers is as diverse as the audience. If you don’t, the audience will not feel represented and won’t likely attend future events.

Aim for a sufficient balance in gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, and other characteristics. Not only will this make attendees feel included and welcomed, but the diverse lineup will also result in more profound, richer conversations and sessions.

Present Inclusive Event Content

When planning your event content, choose topics that will resonate with and impact the audience you’re trying to reach.  For example, if your event pertains to advancing in the technology field, consider including content covering the challenges women or minorities face when seeking leadership roles in technology.

Use Inclusive Promotional Materials

Your promotional materials, event website, and social media posts should include images of your diverse speaker lineup and event content.  You can also mention that your event is an inclusive space within the event collateral, and discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated. Clearly state the consequences of this behavior and the actions you’ll take should it occur.

Take the extra step and educate your team, speakers, and attendees about sexist, racist, or homophobic language by distributing inclusive language guides. If time and budget allow, consider forming a focus group of people from different backgrounds to test your marketing materials for inclusivity.

Make the Most of Partnerships 

If you’re considering working with other companies to add depth or (in the case of sponsorships) financial support to your event, do your due diligence. When researching potential partners/sponsors, look for signs that they’re actively diverse and inclusive. Are women and minorities in leadership positions within the company?  Do these companies support civil rights organizations and movements?

Add more diversity and inclusion to your event by using the products and services of companies certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). These companies are 51% owned and operated by someone who is an ethnic minority. Your partnership with MBEs can also help you reach marginalized communities.

Walk the Walk

It’s not enough to publicize that your event will be diverse and inclusive. You have to make an earnest effort to incorporate this principle as you plan and execute the event. Although some people are uncomfortable with the idea of quotas, it may be one of the best ways to ensure that you’re being equitable. For example, is there a fair number of minority or women speakers/performers? How many of your suppliers or event partners are MBEs?

Measure Your Progress

If you want to know if you successfully planned and executed an event that was diverse, inclusive, and equitable, ask the attendees. A post-event survey sent to attendees will let you know if they felt that the event resonated with them and made them feel included. Use this feedback to improve future events.

Final Thoughts

Planning an event can be challenging without the added challenge of ensuring that your event takes as many groups as possible into consideration. Sure, it will take more work to organize such an event, but it’s necessary. Every aspect of your event, from speakers to suppliers, should reflect your commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Once you’ve assembled your diverse lineup of speakers, let eShow help you manage the speakers and their sessions. Our Speaker & Session Management module allows you to schedule sessions with our robust conflict management tools. You can also monitor session capacity to avoid overscheduling.

This module isn’t just for your efficiency as the event manager but will also provide speakers and attendees with some pretty nifty tools! Speakers can manage the details of their sessions by logging into their own personal accounts, and attendees can easily register for sessions by accessing your session schedule pages.

 Using the Speaker & Session Management module, you can also create your post-event surveys, speaker evaluations, and session evaluations using the Speaker & Session Management module.  If you want to see this module in action, contact us today for a no-obligation demo; we can show you how this module and our other web-based tools operate and will help you execute legendary events! 

In the business world, as sterile as it may be from time to time, relationships matter. According to the well-worn phrase, people do business with people they know, like, and trust, but it’s even more relevant in an age where this business is often conducted at arm’s length. In other words, it takes a lot more than a simple signature on a contract, and this is especially true in the events industry. If you’re an event organizer and hoping to attract new customers and sponsors to help you with your efforts, why do you need to go the extra mile to nurture those relationships carefully? What golden rules should you remember if you want your organization to thrive?

Go With What You Have

You don’t need an economist to tell you that it’s cheaper to cultivate an existing customer than to go out and find a new one. Yet, that is how many event organizers operate as they may treat their existing clients as simply a means to an end. Alternatively, they may take steps to groom a new prospect but fail to follow through and bridge that gap between a would-be contract and a relationship.

Bring Them Into The Conversation

If you have already worked with an organization and have produced an event for them with some success, you need to make them feel like they matter. Indeed, you may have signed off on the event, and the relationship may be treading water now, so what can you do to bring them back into the conversation? Introduce them to your social media world and invite them to talk openly about their experience. Don’t be afraid of what they may say if you truly stand by your product and understand that some negativities may arise from time to time. Overall, however, this will be a positive experience for not only you and the customer but also your prospects. They will see that you are transparent and that you can be trusted at the same time.

Go Beyond a Questionnaire

Many event planners send out a questionnaire to clients and participants following an event. Often this can be generic, and they may not act on the gathered intelligence in any case. Try to formalize this approach. Request a one-to-one meeting, even if this must be through a videoconference. As you gather the information, it’ll give some positive feedback to the customer as well. Take the honest criticism and be very grateful for the feedback. Again, this will show that you care and will make the customer feel better about the interaction.

They Are Only Human

Remember that quote above? People like to do business with people that they know, like, and trust? It’s far too easy to think that a customer is a corporate entity, but it is, of course, populated by human beings. They may have the company’s well-being at heart, but they still have feelings, individual needs, and problems. You need to balance this carefully but be prepared to reach past the corporate conversation and see if you can get to know the key people at that organization. Likewise, open if they actively join the conversation and come across as a caring and contributory individual. Suddenly, your event planning company is more than just an organization but is staffed by people who are likable – and care about others.

Turn to Sponsors

You can use the same approach when it comes to building a meaningful relationship with any event sponsors. Again, you are dealing with companies with goals to consider, but this is a different type of spend altogether. An event client may want to stage such an event to educate or reward employees, wine and dine their own clients, or for many other reasons. On the other hand, you may be looking for a sponsor to help you make an event financially viable, and they will have different criteria to consider.

Nevertheless, you will need to nurture any relationship with a potential sponsor and make even more effort once they are confirmed.

Be Proactive

This is why you need to be proactive whenever you open the door with a sponsor. If you’ve got past the gatekeeper and are talking to the decisionmaker, now is the time to pounce. You may have started the process by sending out written or digitized material, but you should now request a face-to-face meeting. It’s always best to do this in person and even in these socially distanced and strange times. Tools like Zoom are all well and good, but nothing can replace in-person interaction. This is equally true when it comes to a potential sponsor meeting as it is for the actual events themselves. As reported in Tradeshow Executive, the pandemic has confirmed the value of face-to-face events. The site reports that 78% of people polled by UFI (the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) felt that face-to-face events would soon bounce back strongly.

Show the Benefits

So, during your meeting, go through every detail clearly and show how the sponsoring company will benefit from any interaction. You will share the schedule, demographic, and expected turnout and show them how you intend to promote their involvement. At this stage, you should have some surprises in your pocket, and you should deliver a little more than they may expect without giving everything away to secure an agreement. Here, you’ll convince them that they are getting more than they are giving – as you are being seen to over-deliver. But keep some of those surprises in your pocket so that you can over-deliver even more on the actual event itself. This should be the “icing on the cake” delivery to convince them that they have done the right thing. You can then use this warm glow to start building forward and to make sure that you have a sponsor on board for the long term.

Be Smart

You need to use your imagination when it comes to those surprises. Look at the event, its deliverables, and the opportunities and see how you could extend the sponsor involvement. For example, you may let them introduce their product or service during a critical part of your event and in front of an engaged audience. This may be over and above what you had previously agreed. Or you may engage with a topic that is very close to their corporate heart if they are philosophic. Announce on stage in front of your audience that you are donating to this charity. Invite your attendees to do the same and make it easy to do so by sending an SMS message to their smart device. This will not only make you look good in front of your attendees, but it will undoubtedly make your sponsor happy. After all, it makes them look good in the eyes of the charity for no extra cost.

Get Personal Again

Once again, try to foster a more personal relationship with the key people who work at the sponsor’s company. You don’t need to go overboard here and should certainly not be intrusive. Test the waters gently in an off-the-cuff conversation and see how they respond. Be willing to open up in response to their questions too, and don’t be surprised at how much of a difference this can make. By all means, focus on business first, but become that person others can know, like, and trust.

Worth the Effort

Somebody in charge of sponsorship arrangements at a large company will often field dozens of requests in any given month. They may meet with several representatives before they make a decision, and most if not all of those other companies will be “all business.” If you can add a human touch to your approach, then you’re more likely to be regarded favorably, and this theme will continue even after you have secured the first deal. Continue to develop the relationship, and you may even bridge the gap between acquaintance and friend.

Keep the Momentum

Don’t let the dust settle for too long once you have agreed on terms with the sponsor and have staged a successful event. At a reasonable interval, reach back out to the sponsor and look for their feedback. Send them a thank you gift and, if possible, send some new business in their direction. Ask your customers to patronize the sponsoring company and give them some incentive if they do so. Perhaps you can offer them a discount on your services or products if they prove that they have patronized the sponsor along the way.

Take the Heat off

As you can see, there are several ways to foster relationships with prospects, customers, or sponsors. Explore them all and come up with your own methods along the way. In the meantime, make your job as an event organizer a lot easier by working with companies that fully understand your industry. eShow is just such an organization specializing in providing comprehensive event management solutions and can do a lot of the heavy lifting. Check out some of their programs and services here. This may help to free up some of your valuable time – so you can strengthen those relationships even more.