Top tips for sponsorship revenues & engagement in virtual

Jeroen van Liempd, Director - Association Solutions & Business Transformation, MCI Benelux

What are sponsor benefits like in the virtual space? How to keep long-term sponsors’ engagement with virtual events? How to make sure they receive the right ROI? In this article, we take a closer look at how virtual events bring new and innovative sponsorship opportunities.

Amid this pandemic, many organizations are taking steps to move their events online. And if most of them are wondering which platform is best suited for their needs and how to make a profit, many are also wondering how to retain sponsorship revenues within their virtual event strategy.

Corporate sponsors provide financial support and are often a key part of what allows organizations to achieve their mission. But too often, sponsor packages are developed to fit organizations’ own revenue objective, while they should be designed based on the sponsors’ objectives. Sponsorship packages should be quickly adaptable and scalable to meet sponsor needs and goals, thus contributing to building stronger partnerships.

In the digital space, a virtual event is a moment in time. But it doesn’t stop there. The overall audience’s virtual experience starts well before the event itself and continues long after it ends. This leaves plenty of opportunities for sponsors to showcase their brand.

The beauty of online platforms – virtual is a volume business

Like for any face-to-face event, virtual event sponsors are looking for high-converting leads. They want to interact with their target audience, showcase their products and increase revenue. Online platforms offer them the opportunity to extend their reach beyond the event date. It allows unprecedented access to individual information, user data, delegates’ behavior and learning insights such as topics of interest, preferred time of learning, day and usage patterns. Moreover, because online is about volume, online platforms have no audience limitation. This allows sponsors to access an even larger number of prospects and for an extended time.

What happens on the exhibition floor – data is the new exhibition

At a traditional face-to-face event, exhibitors scan people with lead retrieval and receive their contact information. With online solutions, exhibitors have access to data to measure the time attendees have spent looking at their products and the type of information they are interested in. This does not occur only while the event is ongoing, but year-round. To make sure sponsors get the most out of this opportunity, allow exhibitors to record a short introduction video to present their products and facilitate virtual appointments with attendees based on their product and service interests.

The sponsorship sales strategy – think like a marketeer

Virtual events provide new and innovative sponsorship opportunities with even greater ROI. Virtual sponsorship packages offer flexible and customized options, beyond the event’s one-size-fits-all opportunities. They also provide measurable and impactful data, allowing sponsors to strengthen their brand awareness and engagement with their target audience. What’s more, tailored opportunities will allow sponsors to receive qualified leads with high potential for conversion, and therefore demonstrate greater ROI.

New and innovative sponsorship opportunities may be identified by reviewing the digital platform options. Remember, revenue may hide in areas you didn’t think about and opportunities to impress sponsors are endless.

By adopting a blended approach that is at the same time agile, strategic and human-centered, virtual sponsorships can be as effective as those at traditional events.

About the author

Jeroen van Liempd, Director - Association Solutions & Business Transformation, MCI Benelux

Jeroen is an expert in the development and implementation of international and regional strategies and business planning.  For more than 15 years, Jeroen has been supporting associations building sustainable business models and governance structures, helping association leaders rethink and retune their operations and remain relevant in the digital age. With a background in both EU policy and business, Jeroen helps association executives navigate in a multi-stakeholder, customer centric and fast-moving environment to generate, deliver and monetize value.