Last week I shared six initial ideas for adding more value to virtual event or virtual conference sponsorships, and specifically to sponsor virtual booths. This week, I have a couple more ideas around booths, as well as a few ideas to help extend the sponsorships throughout your virtual conference. Here we go:
1 – Preparation is key. Sales reps may be the last ones to show up for training, but they are crucial to sponsorship success. While you don’t want reps stalking attendees during the keynote, you do want reps who know how to use the virtual event platform and who are prepared with appropriate outreach and appropriate answers to common questions – even questions about the general session agenda. Make sure reps know how to leverage experts for small group conversations, and encourage them to think about a next step, whether that’s a whitepaper download, a scheduled demo or an invitation to next week’s webinar.
2 – Tell attendees what to expect in your virtual booth. Like with physical shows, offer your virtual conference premium sponsors a chance to engage with attendees pre-conference. Make sure they talk value over product pitch, highlighting any live booth activity, freebies or prizes, so attendees know what to expect when they visit the virtual booth.
3 – Craft your main stage agenda around your sponsors. While attendees may sign up to hear the industry keynote, you can bring your sponsors onto the “main stage” by offering sole-sponsor thought leadership sessions or panel slots. Depending on your audience, you may or may not need to call these out as “sponsor sessions” but either way, if the content is valuable and it’s on the main agenda, attendees are more likely to join.
4 – Consider a sponsor stage. OK, so maybe attendees will shy away from anything that specifically says “sponsor” but at the same time, valuable content sessions, sponsored or not, can draw solid attendance. And if they are in a specific virtual theater or virtual auditorium, versus the sponsor virtual booth, there’s less perception by the attendee they’ll be “tackled” by a sales rep. Your sponsor still gets to follow up, as any attendee who listens to their session is likely a good prospect, while the attendee feels like they have a bit more control over their exposure.
5 – Offer sponsored spaces or activities – just like in the physical world, where a sponsor package might include logo napkins and a signage at breakfast, or exclusive sponsorship of the wireless in the networking lounge, allow your sponsors to include signage in the virtual lounge or the virtual help desk. Or offer an exclusive opportunity to sponsor all public chats. Or …
6 – Offer follow up mini-virtual events for specific sponsors. Remember that your virtual conference can have a life after live day. For your top sponsors, allow them to schedule follow up live activity, maybe a few weeks after the live day. They’ll want to have something unique to offer– again, maybe a new whitepaper, or an exclusive Q&A session – that will draw attendees back. At the very least, they’ll have a chance to send a unique email to both attendees and non-attendees, and at best they engage with prospects and drive a few sales leads forward.
Any ideas here you’re willing to try? What else works for your sponsorships? We’ll keep pushing the envelope where we can, and I’ll keep sharing ideas that work for our clients. In the meantime, happy sponsorship selling!