You want virtual event sponsors, but so does everyone else. Sponsors receive benefits from you, and in return, you reap the rewards. Or not. Unfortunately, too many event planners include the same old traditional (and boring) benefits in their event sponsorship proposals, mostly established from the physical events, and then they are surprised when they don’t land sponsorships that are worth their time. Instead, it’s never been a better time to get creative with benefits.
Are You Only Providing the Basic Benefits?
Traditionally, companies that sponsor events are offered the same benefits by most sponsor seekers. For instance, these benefits typically include logos and ads, as well as tickets and upgrades and designated sponsor display areas, now sometime with chat features. However, these benefits are not longstanding and do not reach an audience beyond those who enter the virtual event space itself.
Since you are offering the same old benefits as everyone else, you should not expect companies interested in sponsoring events to pay a higher sponsorship fee. Instead, you need to step outside the traditional benefit comfort zone and offer better, wiser, and creative benefits. Let’s break it down some more.
Maximize Benefits by Getting More Personal
Instead of relying on the traditional benefits, think about each event and sponsor independently. Each event, the virtual application or platform, the number of sessions, speaker expertise, and each sponsor is unique. Therefore, you should think creatively for each. Which unique benefits can you create that will create personal connections between the sponsor and the audience? Is it possible to give them more digital opportunities to connect with, get appointments from, and start breakout or roundtable discussions with virtual attendees? Is the virtual platform you’ve chosen able to handle that, or are sponsors stuck just being more “wallpaper?”
Spend the Time and the Money
Stop hesitating to spend time and money on worthwhile sponsors. It is far better to spend time and money crafting a meaningful benefit that will make sponsors more willing to agree to event sponsorship packages. Talk with your sponsors like marketers at an ad agency. Understand their goals and objectives, timelines, calls to action, and become a partner to assist them in meeting — or exceeding — those goals.
Customize, Customize, Customize
It cannot be said enough – get rid of the same traditional benefits and customize benefits for sponsors! Customization is unique, and sponsors want their brands and products to stand out. So, do your best to match benefits to sponsors. For example, what is a more creative way for a sponsor to reach their audience other than their logo on a cup? The mail is running fine in most locations. Wouldn’t your virtual event participants love to get a swag bag with logoed merchandise before or after the virtual event? Imagine that virtual happy hour with raised logoed glasses, or that lunch session with custom, individually packaged brownies sent via mail as dessert!
Stop Forcing Sponsors to Compete for Attention
Ultimately, when you embrace creative, customized benefits, then you do not force your sponsors to compete for attention. Think of it this way – when you offer multiple sponsors all the same benefits, their audience’s attention will be divided. Instead, look for benefits that meet your sponsor’s needs. Plus, by presenting potential sponsors with a variety of benefit options, they can choose the benefits that best meet their needs.
Expand Their Influence
Be prepared to show potential sponsors how sponsoring your virtual event will go far beyond even what the physical may have been for them. Sell that dream of focused attention and capitalizing on unique digital opportunity. If your benefits only focus on the actual benefit, you are missing a huge part of your sponsor’s audience. Instead, show how sponsorship can expand their influence across the various markets where their audience lands and give sponsors more exposure, such as benefits that include those who do not attend the event.
At the end of the day, you want your virtual event to be worthwhile. You want your sponsors to feel the same way by partnering with you. When you work to bring sponsors on board with creative benefits, they will see that your team went the extra mile to understand their business and to work with them to meet marketing objectives. And ultimately, when we move to hybrid and return to physical events, they’ll view the partnership with you as an organizer as a mutually beneficial relationship.
Get your team into a brainstorming session to begin building up your catalog of creative offerings today before you send any more virtual event sponsorship proposals. It’s worth your while for the long haul.