Virtual meetings have provided a creative new opportunity for sponsors and exhibitors to get their name in front of attendees, but many are skeptical. Why is that? According to EventMB, “In terms of sponsorship opportunities, the top three features offered by virtual event tech providers are sponsor/exhibitor profiles (78%), analytics/reporting (77%), and banners in high traffic areas (70%)” (2020). Sponsors and exhibitors are now being placed directly in front of the audience through virtual sponsorships and it is much easier to track which attendees are interested in your business. Here we look at what specifically is different and new for virtual sponsorships and how it benefits not only them, but your upcoming meeting as well.
Virtual Sponsors & Exhibitors in 2021
What’s the SAME as In-Person Events?
It is still a marketing and sales initiative. Did you know? 90% of consumers feel positive about brands who participate at events and 85% will likely buy from you. Some of the ROI measurements will be the same as well as how customers find brands will stay the same. Even before the pandemic, many research a company or brand online before reaching out or buying their product.
What’s NEW and DIFFERENT at Virtual & Hybrid Events?
Moving forward we will see more virtual and hybrid events occurring. These options create a greater reach to a larger audience. Having a virtual element also leads to more impressions and opportunities for the time in front of your target audience. It is a lower cost and/or your dollars will go further with not having to spend time away from work or spending money on travel. There will be less prep time and possibly fewer competitors. Customers will remember creativity and fun at your virtual booth.
Measuring Success as a Sponsor or Exhibitor
Stop using “how many people stopped by our booth” as a measurement, rather evolve your thinking and approach to the current situation. Depending on the virtual platform there are many different digital metrics to look at such as clicking on an embedded video, downloading a PDF, the use of a chat feature, and so much more. You can see HOW they are interacting with your business or brand.
Set realistic goals. It could be brand awareness, leads, shape customer attitudes, etc. Consider tangible or intangible ROI and the digital metrics available. The virtual platform gives you a direct engagement to your target audience, which is more valuable than placing an advertisement on social media and hoping someone will see it.
Be Intentional to Create a Successful Sponsorship and Exhibitor Experience
You may or may not have an option for the virtual platform that is used for the event, but it is important to make a positive impression on whatever virtual platform is chosen. Be memorable by using your creativity to have fun unique experiences. This could be providing information, images, videos, and downloadable documents. You can negotiate your sponsorship or exhibitor package because the host needs you. Promote and attend the event to stand out and connect directly to your audience.
Be Creative to Be Successful
Here are a few ideas and tips on creative virtual sponsorship opportunities:
Swag boxes or bags
Sponsor a 15-minutes break, waiting room, meal, happy hour, etc.
Hire talent (yoga, music, actors)
Games or other interactive activities
Tips for the Host Organization
Create a Win-Win situation for you and your sponsors. Recognize that the needs, goals, and objectives of your sponsors & exhibitors have evolved. It is important to be in it for a long-term relationship. Also, communicate early and often. This may include teaching them how to use the virtual platform or sharing statistics with your sponsors and exhibitors. Let them know how your audience has evolved and grown by going virtual.
Learn more about virtual sponsorships as we discussed this further in our free webinar, 30 Minutes to Successful Virtual Sponsorships! In just a quick 30-minutes, we chat about how your sponsors become part of the whole experience, the new opportunities on a virtual platform, and flexible sponsorship packaging ideas.