Don’t ask for cash from sponsors, imagine what they want.
Former South African cricketer Matt Prior’s simple, yet profound statement sums up how nonprofit organizations and associations should approach event sponsorships. As an event planner, every sponsor engagement strategy you set into motion should be based on one golden rule – “what do sponsors want?.”
Let’s look at some strategies that can help you succeed in attracting and retaining the right virtual event sponsors.
TED’s partnership with Rolex is an excellent example of a sponsor engagement that aligns with the brand’s values and goals. Rolex invested in technology with TED, resulting in the mobile app Surprise Me. The app creates custom TED playlists for its target audience based on factors like topics, user rating, and the age of the user. Most importantly, the user can choose their video length based on exactly how much time they have to watch, playing on Rolex’s own brand promise of helping some of the busiest people in the world dependably keep time.
Through this engagement, TED delivers highly relevant content to its audience. Meanwhile, Rolex can carefully weave its own brand awareness goals with TED’s.
The key takeaway? Take the time to learn more about event exhibitors and sponsors you wish to partner with. Finding the right fit early on in the event sponsorship process will give you and your sponsor more time to maximize the benefits of your partnership for both of you.
Be candid with potential sponsors while researching them.
It’s true that virtual event sponsors want visibility through banner logos. However, this is just one small part of the overall experience you’ll give them.
Focus on providing an experience that provides them the opportunity to engage 1-1 with audiences, enables them to be actively involved at events, and gives them visibility beyond the virtual event platform.
You can achieve this by doing the following:
Successful event sponsorships are the ones that can show quantitative results. While the metric for success can vary from engagement, sales, leads, to membership, the basic premise remains the same. Your event sponsor has a goal and metrics show that you helped them meet that goal.
The Calm sponsorship on CNN during the 2020 US presidential elections is a fitting example in this direction. Calm was able to strategically place its logo at the bottom corner of the CNN Key Race Alerts throughout the evening, a decision that seemed to have paid off. On election night, Calm saw about 35,000 downloads, about 10,000 more than during the week prior.
Success stories like these make your sponsorship sales pitch a vivid show and tell strategy that makes you stand out. Establish further relevance by sharing more details on your audience profile and giving them details on projected event registration and attendance numbers.
If you’re wondering, how to attract event sponsors and exhibitors. hen data is the low-hanging fruit that you’re looking for. With the right virtual event platform, you can access a universe of rich data that was previously hard to obtain at in-person events.
Leverage data analytics to instill confidence in potential and existing sponsors. Show them how data can be transformed into valuable insights. Most of all, establish that investing in your event is worth it.
These are just some ways data can be leveraged. When you provide insights into every interaction an attendee has with a sponsor, you make partnership with your organization a valuable one that your sponsors will want to continue long-term.
Brands are often sponsoring multiple virtual events. This means that they are also working with multiple virtual event platforms and going through the tedious process of learning each one. They’re often stressed, tired, and short on time.
Show your sponsors you empathize with them by making this process simpler.
Help sponsors and exhibitors get comfortable with the virtual event platform you’re using. Empower them with as much relevant information as you can before the event. Work with your platform providers to give sponsors the necessary support.
Empathy in business is a highly underused tool. By providing sponsors with support, you are differentiating yourself from the competition and making a memorable impact for continued business partnerships.
Lastly, design various levels of sponsorship to fit into the budget requirements of each sponsor. These packages can be based on aspects such as:
In the end, virtual event sponsorship is like the Chinese concept of guanxi, in which networks and connections are used to open doors for new business, facilitate deals, and help organizations achieve their goals. As long as you convey a mutually beneficial partnership and deliver on it, you’re sure to attract and retain virtual event sponsors.