Encore Event Technologies

How to drive revenue from virtual event sponsorship

10 sponsorship tactics you can do now to make money from your virtual or hybrid events, by leading event technology and production company Encore.

10 tactics you can do now to make money from your online events. As the COVID19 pandemic tightens her grip on the world, event planners are turning to online events to continue delivering their message. Many have made great progress with understanding the opportunities hosting an event online can provide with a significant reduction in costs being the obvious one. Some more experienced online event planners have taken it a step further and are charging for access to their content further increasing the cost margin. As your audience potential grows exponentially now that time and distance are redundant, your event with its millions of eyeballs can become a very attractive sponsorship opportunity to the right brand. Sponsorship can be an efficient revenue stream to further increase the ROI of your event.

Sponsorship has other benefits too, such as building positive associations with companies that share your values or purely providing your audience with the entertainment factor as sponsors get creative with their valuable placements. We all watch the Superbowl for the ads right?

A key benefit to online sponsorship over traditional sponsorship like physical banners and event announcements is the opportunity to demonstrate the benefit to your sponsor via digital data reporting. Other sponsorship deals also allow you to share the customer data with them such as registration details for their own marketing purposes. Simply put – the ROI for digital sponsorship is easy to track and can provide more lucrative opportunities over traditional sponsorship.

What can you offer a sponsor? Start with looking at your assets to see what spaces can be utilised. Remember your audience experience is the most important factor so only if the sponsor fit is natural, don’t try to cram in sponsor placements as it’ll only detract from their effect and make the online experience way too salesy if not spammy. A tiered approach can help here with the most expensive sponsorship options getting the most real estate and then so on, but remember to limit the number to only a handful at most. The number will depend on your event – the audience size, type, and duration.

We’ve compiled 10 online sponsorship tactics that you can use to drive revenue today, plus deliver other positive outcomes such as engagement, ROI analysis, relationship building and more.

1. Banner ads on your online event site or event app

If you’re streaming your event or offering on-demand it’s a great opportunity to drive revenue by offering banner ads which link to sponsor sites. It’s a great way to offer branding opportunities for sponsors as well as associate your online event with industry associations or businesses associated with the event content. You can provide your sponsor with helpful ROI metrics like number of impressions, time spent on page, unique visitors, click-throughs, audience demographics and more. Your presenters may also like to utilise this option to promote their business. Other options include offering sponsorship opportunities to suppliers in exchange for a discount on their services.

There may be multiple opportunities on your event site such as your registration page. This is great real estate as every attendee needs to go to this page. Plus, depending on your sponsorship deal you can negotiate to share the details of your registrants with the sponsor. Remember here you’ll need to clearly state in your Terms and Conditions how you’ll be using their data to ensure you’re abiding by privacy laws. The last thing you want to do is risk a negative experience with your audience for the sake of a sponsor.

Event apps are now common place at live events, and they can also be a great tool to engage remote attendees. Apps are convenient solutions for providing instant access to information about events, sessions, presenters etc., plus sponsorship opportunities such as banner ads, pop-ups, sponsored messages or logos on different screens.

There may be multiple opportunities for sponsorship and advertising on your event app. As these apps normally have multiple screens/pages, there are multiple opportunities for sponsorship. Speak to your event app provider to explore what sponsorship options you have.

As with banner ads, event planners can demonstrate ROI with your sponsors by providing analytics as mentioned above.

2. Sponsored video ads

In addition to banner ads, event organisers can offer sponsors the opportunity to show videos. If relevant, you can show these in between presentations, before a breakout session or before a session starts like a YouTube Pre Roll. Again, the ROI can all be demonstrated via analytics. Videos can be embedded in your event website, on an event app or even within your event comms such as at the bottom of an eDM.

3. Branding on presentation slides or the ‘skin’ of your live stream

Another option for sponsor branding is to include the company’s logo as part of the border of your event website’s ‘skin’ – also known as the template. An example would be to include their logo or message in the header or footer of the live stream website skin such as “This presentation is in partnership with Company X”.

4. Sponsored Media Walls as Virtual Background

With all eyes on your video, the background behind your presenters is a simple and subtle yet highly effective way to integrate sponsorship. Think of it like a virtual media wall and you can give your sponsors the option to design the background based on their message such as a repetitive watermarked logo or something entirely different. If you have multiple speakers you could even offer different speaker backgrounds to different sponsors based on their content. Again you could provide the sponsor with the number of viewers, impressions, time engaged and more as data to measure ROI. 

5. Sponsor call outs or segments in your stream

‘This conference is proudly brought to you by….’.

It’s one of the most obvious sponsor placements and if included at the beginning of the event video, you can guarantee as least 90% of attendees will hear it based on average video viewership data. You could couple the announcement with a logo that appears on screen and a script provided by the sponsor, similar to a radio read.

If your sponsors wanted to get more creative you could let them sponsor the networking element, ice breaker or break out session. For example, Lipton Ice Tea could sponsor the initial ice breaker intro where you get attendees or speakers to introduce themselves and answer some fun questions to warm up the crowd. You could get Wriggly gum to sponsor yoga break session - after you’ve had attendees watching a 2 hour session, they’re sure to get restless and start to wriggle.

There’s so many possibilities on fun ways to naturally integrate a sponsor and make it enjoyable for your attendees too.

6. Branded sponsor polls

Similar to the creative sponsor integrations, you can offer branded sponsor polls throughout your online event. One of Encore’s most popular digital tools is Event Poll – a live audience polling platform that lets you ask questions and your attendees respond in real-time using their mobile phone or computer. With over 10 question formats you can use it to stimulate discussion, vote, ideation, survey, trivia, Q&A and feedback. Whether you integrate the sponsor into the question, into the question template design or host a sponsored poll the options are endless. For example, a sponsor could host an online trivia with a prize as a nice breakout session. You could offer a branded skin for your event’s Q & A segment so when attendees submit their question, it gets displayed on screen on the sponsored Q & A.

7. Sponsorship in Email Placements

If you are sending email invitations, event updates or other communications, you can offer sponsors the opportunity to include their logo or banner creative in the footer of the email. This would also link through to their site or a campaign page. You can provide them with data such as recipient numbers, open rate, click rate and more. Being digital you also have the option to offer sponsors the ability to test their creative or messaging by sending to a small segment f the database with the winning creative (base on clicks) sent to the wider audience. It is more legwork for the event organiser but depending on the sponsor’s spend it could be a nice value add and incentive to help improve their ROI.

8. Promotion via event social media

In the lead up to the event, you can offer the opportunity to promote sponsors via your social channels. Be sure that the posts are relevant to your audience, for example:

We’re proud to partner with Company X as part of our event. During our presentations you’ll hear from their CEO on [insert subject]. Then include a link to their site.

As with social media you can give them the opportunity to post a video, a link to their site or campaign or static images. Be sure to ask sponsors to include posts on the event on their socials too to spread the word.

9. Keynote presentations

Sponsorship of your keynote presentations is a great opportunity as all attendees will be focused on this session. For example ‘This presentation is brought to you by Company X’.

10. Offer sponsored Virtual Event Bags

Not only is this sustainable, a virtual swag bag is also a great way to surprise and delight attendees whilst giving sponsors great exposure. You can give your sponsors the opportunity to curate what goes into attendees' swag bags, be it coupons or vouchers, a free trial for a software, or an online course. The bag would then be shared directly with your attendees for them to access via email, social media, or the event app, either before, during, or following the event.

A virtual swag bag also provides reporting data such as how many people accessed it and how they interacted with the items in the bag, which you can share with sponsors and use to help inform what materials attendees found most valuable.

Provide value with your virtual event sponsorship

Digital sponsorships are nothing new, they're just usually implemented in conjunction with other, physical branding opportunities such as brochures or giveaways. When planning a fully virtual event, you can focus solely on the digital part and capitalize on the real estate you do have available.

Sponsors can also be offered access to your attendees contact details. Permission is of course vital, so you need to enable attendees to opt in to receive communications from the sponsor.

Another option is to offer a number of tickets to your event to sponsors for colleagues to attend.

Consider every touch point of the online event you’re producing – there will be multiple ways you can add sponsorship opportunities. Anything that your attendees are looking at or interacting with is an opportunity to incorporate sponsor.

Speak to the virtual event experts

Encore have helped hundreds of clients pivot and turn their onsite event into successful online experiences. Whether you're organising a company announcement, an ongoing training series, a mutli-day association conference or an interactive webinar, you can count on Encore's in-house team of digital experts to provide you with the right technology to get online. Explore our range of online event solutions today and get in touch to start discussing your options for meeting in 2020.

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