If you are a virtual event veteran, then you may recall one of your first experiences. A lack of exhibitors' interest in your first event. This is a recurring problem for first time virtual event planners, but it can be easily remedied. Create powerful sponsorship opportunities with these seven easy steps.
1) Know Your Provider
You cannot begin sponsorship development until you know everything about your virtual platform provider. You have to know reporting capabilities, ad spaces, dimensions, file size limitations, accepted media formats, linkability, schedulability, scalability, video and audio capabilities, restriction capability, security, e-mail communication, languages, and more. Once you know the full potential of your selected platform, the more effective your package development becomes.
2) Media Format
People always ask, "how should we present this to our clients?" Well there is no magic answer to this question or to the question, "how much money will I make with my event?" Every situation is different. When is a PowerPoint presentation or print media acceptable? Is it beneficial to open a website or another section of my current site dedicated to sponsorships?
There are many scenarios and multiple correct answers so create it all. Develop a presentation, a printable document, a website or webpage dedicated to the packages, and create an interactive element if you can. Think how neat it would be as an exhibitor to select the options needed, then the package is auto selected for them. You have to make money, so why limit your visibility by offering only one media format?
3) Sponsorship Kit Agenda
Now that you know your provider and have the best possible media format in mind, it is time to develop your kit. The agenda is a simple structure that helps guide your development. The exhibitors will never see this agenda, but you have hidden it in the kit. Here is an example for your consideration:
- Introduction: catchy phrase and basic event information. Hook the potential exhibitor and open with the initial event details like the time and date.
- Explanation of why this event is important and topics the event covers. Tell the exhibitors what the event is about and the type of content that will be discovered in the event.
- Benefits. Explain to the exhibitors about lead generation and full engagement with the participants. You may also describe metrics here.
- Features. Now that you know your provider, this step should be simple and powerful. Provide as much detail as possible about the spaces and attendee experience with as little wording as possible.
- Sponsorship Options. Be prepared to create multiple packages. Do not just create one or two package types. Be creative with your approach.
- Contact information and next steps. Include your contact information and how the exhibitors can become a part of the action.
Your kit's introduction will set the stage for exhibitors to continue reading. This, along with the document header, is the leading cause of sponsorship failure. If you are too short and broad, people may not open the kit. If you are too lengthy and precise, people may get bored with the information and move on. The introduction should be short and precise. Do not generalize, boast about the event's capabilities, or add fluff just to make it appealing. People want to get straight to the point as easily as possible.
5) Approach of Package Design
If you walk away after reading this with only one lesson learned, please let it be this one. Do not use less than four opportunities within your kit. We all know that every company cannot spend $50,000 on a sponsorship package, but why not add it? You know all the capabilities of your platform so exploit the multiple levels to your benefit. Displaying value by displaying a tiered package approach with a la carte items will help sell even before your pitch begins. Here are a few considerations when developing your packages:
- Naming conventions. Will you use gem types, precious metals, or deluxe styles?
- Sponsorship options and pricing:
- One $50,000 titanium sponsor
- Two $25,000 platinum sponsors
- Three specialty packages from $10,000 - $15,000 (help desk, profile, prize center sponsors, games, etc.)
- Unlimited $5,000 gold sponsors
- Unlimited $2,500 silver sponsors
- Unlimited $1,000 bronze sponsors.
- A La Carte items may range from $250 - $10,000+. These may include audio or video presentations, additional ads that vary in price from space to space, in-event announcements, marquee messages, rich media, and more.
- What each package should include. Each package should include all of the benefits of equal or lesser value packages. Scale down features, document uploads, staffers, ad placements, video uploads, video chatting, and marketing efforts as the packages get smaller. Design the value adds visually so it is easy to comprehend.
6) Visual Appeal
Shortly put, make your kits visually appealing. Do not overuse text or overcrowd your pages. Use white space to your advantage to keep exhibitors interested and calm. The moment your exhibitor feels overwhelmed the sale may be lost. Use screenshots of demo environments, chatting, interactivity, engagement, and visual booth features to peak an exhibitor's interest. Also break down the packages into easily understood visuals so exhibitors can make instant choices.
7) Share With Your Provider
Your best friend during the development of your project is the account executive at your virtual platform provider. Some account executives have a hands-off approach and others want to become a part of the action.
Once your packages are complete, send them to your account executive because I guarantee you left something out or added something that does not exist. Be very careful not to over-promise to your exhibitors because you want their repeat business event after event. Your account executive should be able to pinpoint strong and weak areas within your kit.
Now that you spent all of this time developing your packages, do not fail on the implementation. Train your salespeople to talk the talk and walk the walk. They have to know everything about the limitations and capabilities of the platform as well as an understanding of the benefits just as you did before sponsorship development. Ask your team to sell you a virtual booth or advertising spot. Chances are if you are confused, others will be too.
If you would like more tips and tricks about selling, creating, or monetizing your virtual event, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to help you be successful for your next virtual event! Until then, good luck and happy selling!