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.