It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of 2020, many business owners had never considered attending events virtually or sponsoring virtual events as a way of networking and connecting with business prospects. Fast forward to 2021, and virtual meetings and events are the norm — and very well might stay that way long after the pandemic ends.
Virtual events are the wave of the future
With a whopping 93% of organizers planning to invest in virtual events moving forward, according to the Post Covid-19 Event Outlook Report, it’s important that business owners start planning strategic ways to increase brand visibility and attract new customers during virtual events. One great way to do this is by sponsoring a virtual event that aligns with your company’s mission and appeals to the movers and shakers in your industry. Need tips on how to make sure your company benefits from virtual event sponsorship? Continue reading and we’ll explore five effective ways to ensure your virtual event sponsorship establishes your business as an authority to your target demographic, promotes lead generation and boosts your virtual event ROI.
Reach out to event attendees
Once you have identified which virtual events to sponsor, it’s time to get to work. Making important business connections is one of the main goals of any sponsorship, so make sure contact information for attendees is included as part of your sponsorship activation. Prior to the event, review the list and look for attendees from your target prospect companies or others who may be potential partners or vendors. Send those individuals customized, targeted emails to let them know you will be at the event as well, which speakers you look forward to hearing and how your company could help them achieve their business objectives. And don’t forget to ask them to stop by your virtual booth. Remember, many other businesses attending the event will be vying for the attention of attendees — taking the initiative to make a personal connection with prospects before the event will help you stand out amongst the (virtual) crowd.
Give something to get something
It’s a universal truth — everyone loves free stuff! To attract more attendees to your virtual booth, consider giving away something of value to each booth visitor. Perhaps it’s a white paper download or a useful infographic. Or, maybe it’s a free consultation or a promotional price on a specific package just for virtual event attendees. This also gives you key information your sales team needs to follow up with attendees after the event.
Showcase your brand as an authority
During the virtual event, find effective, informative ways to connect with attendees while also showcasing your knowledge and expertise. Most virtual conferences let sponsors host live chat sessions or have speaking opportunities to present or be included on an expert panel. Aim to provide useful and compelling content, and not just a sales pitch. That will resonate with attendees and keep them more engaged with your video or presentation. More voices helps keep the pace energetic, so consider having multiple presenters from your organization.
Make visibility a priority
This may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating. If you are sponsoring a virtual event, make sure your logo and branding are visible on slides, backgrounds, and other virtual “surfaces”. Make sure the version of your logo you use is clear and defined at all sizes. Your URL can stand in for your logo if it’s simple and short.
Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!
You’re likely to leave the event with a trove of contacts and other content and competitive information. And, it’s often after the conference that the real work begins. How can your team leverage all the new information and contacts to win new business? Do some brainstorming before the event so that you know what your post-event timeline, offer and follow-through plan is. That way, you won’t lose precious time in the days afterward, and your timely efforts are more likely to spark a longer lasting conversation that could lead to a new partnership.