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As events and meetings have gone virtual, event sponsors have had to change their approach to getting the most out of their sponsorship dollars. Adapting to virtual events has been a boon for sponsors who have brought innovative ideas to the new platform, proving that just because we can’t be face-to-face, doesn’t mean sponsors can’t see excellent ROI on their investments.
As is the case with in-person events, sponsors who lean into the event with energy and innovation will have far more success than those who remain flat-footed. Besides, it’s more fun to be part of the action, so why sit on the sidelines and hope for the best?
Here are five ideas to differentiate your business, fill your sales funnel, and get more out of your investment in virtual event sponsorships!
Event Promotion on Social Media
If you’re sponsoring a virtual event, let the world know about it! Write a blog post about the event and its importance to the industry and share it on social media. Create event-specific profile pictures for your social accounts in the weeks leading up to the event to let your audience know you’re sponsoring and attending. Your event promoters will love the help spreading the word about the event and will happily share your content with their own social media audience. It’s a win-win for sponsors and promoters alike.
Part of Sales Process: Awareness / Top of Funnel
Schedule Appointments with Attendees for the Day of the Event
In the lead up to the event, some of your social posts should have “Schedule a Meeting” as a call to action. Review the agenda of the event and schedule virtual Zoom calls with participants before the start of the event, during networking breaks, or even for the day after the event. To encourage attendees to schedule appointments, it’s crucial to be proactive. Some ideas for calls-to-action for scheduling appointments could include:
Part of Sales Funnel: Influence / Middle of Funnel
Engage in the Networking Portions
Don’t be shy — be visible in the networking portions of the event! While many sponsors or exhibitors will have a virtual booth, that doesn’t your whole team should be hanging out there. Have some of your reps join other chatrooms, visit other exhibitors to meet attendees, and participate in any event-themed conversations. Just like at in-person events, some of the best relationships come from the serendipitous nature of networking. Virtual events needn’t take that opportunity away.
Have a Proposal Ready to Go
While this doesn’t work for all sponsors, if you can offer a proposal for a specific service or offer a special rate at your property, consider putting your best foot forward right from the off. Making this offer exclusive to attendees may get you some extra exposure and marketing support from the event promoters. Also, consider making it a limited time offer in order to condense your sales cycle and deliver a measurable ROI on your sponsorship investment within a specific time frame.
Part of Sales Funnel: Buying Decision / Bottom of Funnel
Set Up a Drip Campaign
With the email addresses you’ve collected with your giveaway, whitepapers, and networking skills, set up an email drip campaign. Your sequence should balance calls-to-action by providing helpful resources over the course of weeks and months. The key to drip campaigns is to influence decisions rather than be too salesy. Demonstrate expertise, thought-leadership, and nurture the relationship. A sample drip campaign might look like:
The power to get the most out of your sponsorship dollars is exactly where it should be — the sponsors. The opportunity to build awareness, meet and influence decision-makers, and move your sales needle should be an exciting endeavor. Those with the energy and effort stand to thrive in the virtual landscape!
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COVID-19 has completely changed how members view meetings and events. For as long as there are still new cases across the country, potential conference attendees are going to hesitate to join a few hundred (or thousand) of their peers in a singular location and sit in big rooms with other people. While we’re certainly headed in the right direction in many locations (particularly Michigan!), we’re not anywhere close to being out of the woods.
I like to start out my client meetings with “tell me about your organization” and “tell me about your event.” These questions don’t directly impact the Audio Visual quote that I will later write, but the answers are invaluable as to how my team approaches the look, feel, suggestions, and options that are available to our clients. Plus, honestly, it’s one of my favorite parts of this job – learning who we are supporting, and why they do what they do. It’s usually extremely rewarding to know how we are helping to get the message out and successfully meet the event goals.
Over the last few months, we’ve all likely spent a considerable amount of time on Zoom calls. If you’re at all like me, you’ve quickly realized that virtual meetings and events quickly separate attendees who know how to be engaging and prepared participants from those who, well, very much aren’t.
Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, ORGPRO was always going to look different in 2020. On our call, we went over why we’re offering a hybrid conference, with a virtual experience to complement the option of attending in-person. The conversation was enlightening in a variety of ways, but in two polls we conducted during the call, it was clear that many executives share similar attitudes and concerns about the future of their events.
Every association is different. But no matter who you are or whom you represent, one thing is for certain: there is lot of work to be done.
Whether it’s managing members, raising funds, contending with new rules and regulations, or delivering quality programs that serve your mission, there is only so much that can be done in a given day, week, or year.
And that’s not when you’re trying to hire new employees or keep existing ones, or reduce overhead costs, or stay up to date with new technology and ways of communicating.
Does this sound stressful? Perhaps a bit. But that’s part of the job — managing people, processes, finances, and beyond.
The most successful associations are efficient, tech-savvy, and skilled at communicating with members, sponsors, and their local (and online) communities.
Another trait these associations share: They track employee time.