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How to achieve sponsor ROI from virtual events

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Marketers and event organisers are looking to squeeze the most out of their investment into a virtual event, even considering that often hosting a virtual event is more cost-effective, the question always comes back whether the event requires sponsorship? Sponsoring at a virtual event or even a hybrid event is nothing new, and there are plenty of ways to return value back to your sponsors. Having a good brand at your event can bring more value in the eyes of your delegates too, as sponsors could bring more opportunity for engagement in an authentic way. However, it’s also important to make sure that the sponsors you choose are well-aligned with the topic and end goal of your event so that they can make the most out of it.

Here are our 11 actionable tips on how you can increase your sponsorship return on investment (ROI), and, in turn, secure their engagement with your business for years to come.

Ensure Suitable Brand Exposure Throughout The Site and On Social Media

Virtual events offer no shortage of opportunities to provide brand exposure to sponsors:

  • You could show sponsor logos in the lobby, auditorium, exhibition hall and networking lounges or any other spaces
  • If you don’t want it to look too busy in some areas, create a video screen in the lobby with a scrolling screen of sponsor logos
  • Add pre and post presentation slides showing event and sponsor logos
  • Incorporate your sponsor brands into social media content about the event
  • Offer sponsors the opportunity to send branded gifts to participants pre or post event

Offer The Opportunity For Content-Rich Presentations From Sponsors

Virtual events, like physical events, can include presentations from sponsors:

  • Offer sponsors the opportunity to present on a key topic thus providing a great way to get in front of participants in a non-sales environment and to show a sponsor’s understanding of the topic
  • Encourage sponsors to contact anyone who asked a question in their presentation and follow up with them outside of the presentation
  • Enable participants to download copy of the sponsors’ presentation or a related paper
  • Allow sponsors to include additional presentations in the on-demand part of the platform

Offer Sponsors The Ability to Moderate A Panel Session Or Chair A Day

If you don’t have a topic that you want a sponsor to speak on, consider them as moderators or chairmen for a session:

  • Gives sponsors intellectual credibility with participants on the subject area
  • Enables them to connect directly with panellists or speakers pre-event
  • Enables them to identify leads based on questions asked or identifying attendees for that session

Create An Event Pitch/Innovation Room With Scheduled Times For Sponsors To Showcase Their Project

For events where there is a lot of interest in new products/services, you can create an Innovation or Pitch room for sponsors:

  • Create a parallel stream for sponsors to do short pitches of, say, 10-15 mins each
  • Or create an Innovation Session in the main auditorium and invite those sponsors that have new products or services to showcase
  • Have a competition for sponsors to do 3 minute pitches with the buy side judging them on presentation and content delivery

Schedule Sponsor Briefings Pre Event

As a host, schedule a pre-event briefing to advise sponsors on how to get maximum ROI from their virtual sponsorship:

  • Advise them not to stay in their booth passively waiting for visitors
  • Encourage them to take the initiative and go, for example, to the networking lounge and participate in any discussions/chat
  • Tell them to listen to presentations, see who is asking questions and message them directly if you have comments on their questions or solutions to offer
  • Take advantage of the ability to search for delegates by multiple criteria so as to find those most likely to be interested in their products and then contact them directly

Offer Virtual Booths

Virtual booths are a great way for attendees to get information about, and connect with sponsors:

  • Ensure sponsors upload lots of videos or pdfs to give more info to visitors
  • Ensure they have a number of booth admins available to participate in live chat and answer questions
  • Make sure the booth space is designed to show their branding
  • Gives sponsors the opportunity to set up info sessions that attendees can book onto

1-2-1 Meetings Are A Key Criteria For Achieving ROI

1-2-1 meetings with key prospects are a critical measure for ROI:

  • Ensure sponsors offer attendees the opportunity to book on meetings
  • Advise sponsors to search the attendee list for prospects with certain criteria and reach out to them to set up meetings
  • Suggest they set up a range of meeting slots in advance so it is easy to manage on the day

Allow Time In The Programme For Attendees To Visit Sponsor Stands

Make sure the programme includes time to engage with sponsors:

  • Incorporate time in the schedule to visit sponsor booths
  • Create announcements re activities taking place on stands
  • Add pitch/sponsors sessions into the day’s schedule
  • Remind attendees they can visit stands after the event and message sponsors in the on-demand phase

Create Discussion Roundtables And Offer Sponsors The Opportunity To Chair Them

Identify key topics for discussion and ask sponsors to facilitate them:

  • Enable sponsors to host roundtable discussions to help them gain intellectual credibility on a key topic
  • Use roundtable discussions as an opportunity for sponsors to meet with prospects in a non-sales environment
  • Invite sponsors to write a summary of the discussion and provide to all attendees

Add Gamification In Sponsor Booths Or In The Event Overall with a Leaderboard To Attract Booth Visits

Gamification can be used to drive visits to a stand or booths overall:

  • Create a treasure hunt whereby attendees have to visit all the stands to retrieve the relevant clues
  • Provide a game on a stand with a leaderboard to tap into competitive desires and encourage multiple visits to a stand as people try to climb up the leaderboard
  • Offer a branded virtual photo booth to create a gallery of all attendees that they can have as a ‘take-away’

Provide In-Depth Data and Reports

Virtual events offer so much data tracking that can be incredibly valuable to sponsors:

  • Show sponsors how they can use the reports to provide great lead identification opportunities
  • Offer the ability to integrate activity data with data captured at registration for wider analysis
  • Show sponsors how to use reports such as time in booth, meetings attended or documents downloaded to indicate lead quality and priorities activity

In summary, as with any event it comes down to two simple things: engagement and relevance. Virtual events offer a multitude of ways to engage your delegates with sponsors through exclusive speaker presentations, networking opportunities, and pitches that can make your event feel alive. We also build all of our lobbies fully bespoke giving you the ultimate flexibility in showcasing your and your sponsor brand just the way you want to.

Written by:

Nikita-Selfie-ForWebNikita Ovcinnikovs

See more by Nikita Ovcinnikovs

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