Western Sponsorship Virtual Conference Feb 3, 2021
“Larry provides a deep dive into the mindset, assets, and strategies that make it possible to be successful with sponsors in this environment. It is full of specific and actionable information you can start using right now.”
Guests: Karen Hartline, Alecia May, Larry Weil, Keneisha Williams
The positives of virtual events are apparent – access to a broader audience, cost savings (in some areas!), and a huge increase in data available to organizers and sponsors. And yet many organizers are having trouble securing sponsors and showing them that a virtual event, just like an in-person one, is worth the investment.
We’ve invited four industry experts to join us for a discussion on how event pros can build attractive virtual sponsorship packages, source interested sponsors, and more.
How do you get in front of a potential sponsor with gatekeepers and emails not being open?
One of the most important things that people forget is that there’s some sales skill required here. You have to have somebody who actually knows how to talk to folks to get past gatekeepers and so on. I spent a lot of time working on value proposition. The most important thing is being able to quickly communicate what the value is that you’re offering for sponsors.
The typical sponsor packages usually come in bundles, such as gold, silver, bronze. However, there is an issue with this. It is not customized. People do a lot of business through the internet and they want things that are customized. Similarly, sponsorship packages should be put together more based on customization.
One of the things that I use is called a one sheet and a one sheet is just a one page document that gives a quick overview of what your event is about. There’s no point in a sales person giving your presentation on how great the car is because you’re just, you have an established interest. And so what you want is kind of a visceral response. You want people to look at it and go, “Wow, that’s really interesting. That’s our audience. And they know how to connect us”. And that’s how you start the conversation.
This post was originally published on the Corporate Meetings Network. Read the original post here.
Written by Clare Tattersall
Now almost six months into the worldwide pandemic, most businesses have pivoted from in-person gatherings to virtual events. But despite more people than ever using online platforms, companies continue to struggle with monetization, which may be essential to their survival amid the economic chaos wrought by COVID-19.
While there are a variety of methods to earn income from virtual events — ticket sales, paid access to selective streams and upgrades for premium session content, to name a few — perhaps the most effective is sponsorships.
“Charging for a virtual event will dramatically reduce the number of attendees,” says sponsorship expert Larry Weil, who acknowledges there might be instances where this option is ideal like a music concert.
“Because the cost of putting on a virtual event is usually much lower than a destination event, there is a real opportunity to dramatically increase the sponsorship revenue,” he continues. “Even a small webinar-style event of an hour can get sponsors.”
But do traditional sponsorship offerings work for virtual events?
Yes and no, says the founder of The Sponsorship Guy. What event organizers are able to offer sponsors is not that different, explains Weil. There are still occasions for branding, website and event app placement, promotion via e-mail marketing and social media campaigns, signage, speaker engagements (keynote, breakout session or panel), booths and gift bags. However, the two diverge in the mode of delivery. For instance, instead of handing out bulky grab bags, event organizers send attendees a virtual ‘gift for engagement.’ Weil says this affords sponsors the chance to really stand out as digital swag bags can be designed to incorporate branding in all virtual goodies, from gift cards and discount codes for products and services to vouchers for an online course and free offers.
Brent Barootes of the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists agrees.
“Grab bags provide more value for virtual events. Hosts have full control over what’s in them, how they’re offered to attendees and when,” says the company’s president and CEO. “Imagine receiving a digital swag bag during or even before an event. People are sure to talk about it in chat rooms and on social media, spreading the word about a sponsor’s business.”
Since virtual swag bags are custom-built around an event, they also provide attendees with that personal touch, continues Barootes. This is so important given physical contact is missing from these types of gatherings.
“You can’t fully replicate or duplicate that touch, feel, hold interaction of traditional events but there are more occasions to integrate sponsored experiences for consumers at virtual events,” he says.
These include surveys and interactive polling, games, entertainment breaks, cocktail receptions, lunch and learns, and the list goes on.
What’s most important with virtual events is repetition, says Barootes. Sponsorship messages are increasingly effective the more times they’re seen and/or heard. With many one and two-day virtual events now spreading their content over several days or even weeks to avoid attendee burnout, the opportunities are endless for sponsors to make a real impact on participants’ mindset.
“Most sponsors think branding is important but recall clearly shows it’s not very effective. A logo at the bottom corner of a screen is just white noise if not combined with some other marketing measure,” he explains. “Creating many memorable experiences is the best way for sponsors to get out what they are investing and more.”
When you get to the end of your sponsorship, what you want to do is get in front of your sponsor with a recap of what you provided. It’s important because it lets the sponsor know that you’re interested in how they did. Then to open the conversation about the next sponsorship opportunity, or you might find out that they were disappointed in something, so you can get in front of that.
There’s a lot of data to support that the most satisfied customers in general are actually customers who have had a problem, but it was addressed quickly. When things are going smoothly, that’s great. But it’s what you do if things don’t go smoothly that is key. Do you let them know? How are you going to take care of them once you have that connection?
Valuation is when you attempt to determine how much should a sponsor pay for the sponsorship. Valuation and sponsorship tends to be where you roll up everything. The activations, benefits, the website, the views, all of these kinds of things get added up and then put into a quote valuation. This is not the same for every sponsor. Understanding the revenue model of the sponsor and what the upside is for them is critical to understanding valuation. If you’re performing an evaluation, you frame it for the particular sponsor prospect that you’re looking to acquire.
A pitch deck is your presentation and it is typically a summary of what you’re offering. It provides an introduction to who you are and what you’re about, and then offers some kind of an opportunity to connect and collaborate and is hopefully supported with a lot of data. The simple thing to say about pitch decks is don’t send one until you’re asked for it.