In the wake of the pandemic, many meetings and events are taking place online. The opportunities to reach a broader audience have never been greater. As with many events, the key to any successful event is sponsorships. COVID-19 may have limited the opportunity to interact in-person but there are still ways to make a profit and attract prospective sponsors. Continue reading to learn how you can generate revenue for your next virtual meetings.
Email is still one of the most powerful ways to communicate and connect with your attendees. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content and reaches about 85% of the people. In the email, you can include your sponsors’ websites along with news about them on your company newsletter or offer sponsors an email bundle deal where you can email featured content to attendees. 83% of B2B companies use e-newsletters as part of their content marketing program. (Content Marketing Institute) Also, you can do a post recap email. After each day of the virtual event, send an email with a recap to all your attendees with highlights stating “This event recap is sponsored by…”
Receiving an invitation is always exciting. Invitations improve attendee satisfaction and build anticipation for the event. Virtual attendees will hold on to a printed invitation for a longer period, keeping the sponsor’s name top of mind longer than a meeting request sent online.
Virtual Waiting Rooms
Before the meeting or event begins, consider playing demos, ads or commercials. The sponsor can prerecord a short video or message for your specific event as well. This is a perfect place opportunity for your sponsor to get exposure because the audience needs a place to wait before the host starts the meeting. Be sure you are not just putting anything up for revenue purposes as people will catch on and get turned off. Make it have a call-to-action and be relevant to the meetings. Throughout the presentation, rolling sponsored logos could be displayed on the bottom of your live streams, or announcements can be periodically made stating the meeting is sponsored by “ABC” and/or “XYZ” companies. If there is a poll or statistic in your presentation, use that as an opportunity to involve sponsorships since people tend to pay attention to statistics.
The beauty of the online experience is the ability to do so many different things. Consider interactive activities like a virtual scavenger hunt. This is an excellent way to engage attendees and provides a unique sponsorship opportunity. The scavenger hunt can be attendees going into different sponsored websites and finding facts and information such as the year the company was founded and the company’s mission statement is. A virtual scavenger hunt is a win for everyone involved. Not only is it entertaining but it provides vendors and exhibitors with additional lead generation opportunities and web traffic. Another idea is between sessions, you can hold quizzes, challenges, or competitive play to allow your virtual attendees to take a break while you highlight a sponsor. In return, sponsors can reach out to participants and offer them a discount code or small gift as a way of saying “thanks for playing”.
Food and Drinks
Catered luncheons and dinners used to be the highlight at any event. Consider partnering with local businesses to deliver a meal, coffee or a snack to each attendee. If you have attendees in many different cities, consider getting a sponsor to provide a discount code or coupon for Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash or other delivery platforms so participants can order a meal or snack from their favorite local restaurant.
To increase engagement and to ensure participants attend the virtual meetings, you can ‘buy” your participants a drink. Participants that register by a specific date will be eligible to receive a beverage in a sponsor-branded box, or a small bottle of wine or glassware. Be sure to have non-alcoholic options available so all who want to participate are able.
Without a doubt, this is a time of unprecedented change in the meeting and events industry. The good news is that hosting a virtual event does provide a broader reach compared to a physical one. People are more likely to attend virtual events as there is are no airlines, no hotels, and far less money is spent on or by the attendees. With a little bit of creativity and planning, you can take full advantage of new opportunities with a virtual audience.