Articles, Event Sponsorship

Sponsorship ideas for your virtual event

With the first two months of 2021 done and dusted, can we all agree that using the term “the new normal”, when referencing life in COVID-19 times, should come with a forfeit? The last 12 months or so have been dreadful and we have to get used to it. This is beginning to be the norm and there is nothing particularly “new” about it. In-person events have taken a big hit from COVID-19, can you honestly recall the last in-person event you attended? Interestingly, while the pandemic has generally wiped out large scale in-person events, the events industry has been relatively quick to adapt. 

Virtual events have taken over. Without the geographical limitations of in-person events, virtual events can provide you greater opportunities to reach your intended audience. This is potentially beneficial to both you, as the event organiser, and event sponsors. Though events have gone online, an indispensable aspect of organising an event is sponsorship. It might seem rather peculiar at first but there are a number of ways to effectively monetise an online event. With Delegate PLAY, you have options aplenty!

Sponsorship Banners

sponsorship idea
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Consider monetizing your virtual event through selling banners and pop-up ad space. Having banners highlighting specific sponsors throughout the virtual event can enhance the attendee experience as they are allowed the autonomy to click on links that may interest them. Also, these banners need not be present throughout the event. You can have different sponsors to fit the theme of different segments of your virtual event.

Virtual event booths

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Image credits: Delegate PLAY

A great place to start is by looking into opportunities at the virtual booths. Similar to an in-person event, a virtual event should also have sponsored booths. While the face-to-face interaction between attendees and sponsors are lost, there are ways around this. An example would be to build customised virtual spaces so that interaction between attendees and sponsors are not entirely lost – just slightly altered. Whether it’s a virtual hall or virtual presentation, branding and sponsor placements should still be in the picture! Event organisers and marketers can also look into the idea of decorating their virtual booths even further. This comes in the form of live streams or videos being added to their booths. By making an effort in custom designing their booths, it enhances the booth’s overall attractiveness from the customers point-of-view.

Landing page

Even before attendees enter the virtual event itself, there are options for you when it comes to sponsorship ideas. Ever thought of optimising the use of your event landing page? While the landing page of an event should focus on the CTAs required of attendees, sponsorship can also be part of the picture. This line can be understood in the literal sense as well! For example, why not reach out to sponsors to be part of the virtual event welcome video? 

Lobby, hall, stage

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What happens after attendees click onto the landing page link on event day? Chances are they’d enter a virtual environment like this. It could be a registration page, home page or lobby — depending on how you plan your virtual event. Sponsors can also be part of whichever visual format you’ve chosen for your attendees here. Interestingly enough, you could even consider getting a sponsor’s logo or message just before the event begins. Waiting rooms usually last 10-30 mins and that’s more than enough time for sponsors to create interactive and impactful content delivered straight to your audience. As such, welcome videos or messages can be inserted in this segment of your virtual event.

Video “ads”

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Image credits: Delegate PLAY

This might be bending the rules just a little bit but hear us out! It takes inspiration from proven models that already exist in established live streaming services (a.k.a YouTube). Nonetheless, video ads are a great way to get sponsors on board your virtual event. What you want to achieve is a seamless transition from event to ad and back to event. A good method to do so would be to place these short sponsored video ads during the breaks of your virtual event. 

Special talk sessions

Sponsorship idea
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Having these at your virtual events will definitely add more attendee touchpoints. An online talk session can be customised to include important segments such as live chats, video calls, Q&A functions or appointment calendars. It is important that we do not limit ourselves by assuming that such virtual talk sessions only be 1-way conversations. By allowing the opportunities for 2-way conversations, it encourages audience engagement and (hopefully) audience satisfaction!

EDM Banner/Dedicated EDM 

Sponsorship idea
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The acronym, EDM stands for Electronic Direct Mail and is another method in getting sponsors to be part of your virtual event. Chances are you’ve already used EDM to build an email database of potential customers and prospects. In preparation for your virtual event, reach out to sponsors and have them be your EDM. Since you’ll be sending the email to event attendees, they are very likely to be opening these emails and engaging with it – which works as a great selling point to potential sponsors!

In-event push notifications 

Sponsorship idea
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This is an appealing option which can help bring more attention to the sponsored content and potentially create better outcomes for your sponsors or exhibitors. In-event push notifications gives you and your sponsors the option to target messages to any specific group of attendees at any time. They’re simple and to-the-point, which works as a great point of monetization. But a word of caution, there needs to be balance when it comes to sponsored notifications. No one enjoys constantly being sold something!

Breakout sessions

This example applies more to virtual conferences as they tend to be half- or full-day events. The typical itinerary would include a main panel, session or speaker presenting to a large audience. Thereafter, the audience would be split into respective breakout rooms to discuss the content shared. At this point, there are options for you to have sponsored content on the panels during the session. Alternatively, you can simply have the screen branded with sponsor colours or logo for something less intrusive. 

Networking sessions 

As for networking sessions, the ultimate goal, from an attendee’s POV, is to mingle and create connections with one another. The event organiser should know that they too can play a part in elevating these sessions. Here is where you’ve got to get creative with sponsorship collaborations. Maybe you could send attendees sponsored tops or accessories to match the theme of the networking session. That could work as an ice-breaker at the start of the session. The floor is yours when it comes to how exactly you’d like to incorporate a sponsor for networking sessions. Executing novel ideas well would ensure attendees leave your event with a positive experience whilst also getting their networking sessions objectives fulfilled.  

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to maximise click-through rates from the most relevant attendees. What this means is that placing these ads, booths and banners at the right place is crucial. The chosen location has to gel with the products and services provided by the sponsors. So, have a think and give ‘em a try as you plan your next virtual event!

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