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 7 ways to provide value to your association’s virtual event sponsors

by | Sep 15, 2020 | Membership & Marketing

You create appealing sponsorship packages to attract sponsors for your events.

Now, here’s how to give your virtual event sponsors and exhibitors extra perks to make sure they return again and again.

Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager

By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Manager, Community Brands


Your association has probably been thinking a lot about virtual events lately. If you haven’t already moved one of your association’s in-person events online this year, there’s a good chance you will soon.

As you plan your next virtual event, you’ll likely think about building attractive sponsorship packages to drive revenue. But here’s something else to consider: Even without the in-person environment, it’s still important to demonstrate value to your virtual event sponsors and exhibitors to make sure they return year after year.

What most sponsors and exhibitors want is more exposure to your event attendees. They also want to be known as leaders in your industry.

With these things in mind, here are seven effective ways to provide big value to your association’s virtual event sponsors:

1. Get them involved with sessions.
Many of your sponsors and exhibitors work in your industry and have helpful insights and experience to share. Beyond simply asking them to sponsor a session and provide a brief intro, ask them to participate in session development. For example, they might serve on a thought leadership panel. Or, they might co-develop and present a session.

2. Ask them to share data and resources.
These same sponsors and exhibitors might have timely industry data and other resources. Ask them if they have recent research data, papers, articles, or other resources that could be share with attendees.

3. Provide a virtual meeting space.
A great “perk” for sponsors at in-person events is providing them with a meeting room for one-to-one meetings with attendees. Provide them with a similar space, online, in which they can have ad hoc or scheduled meetings with prospective clients. You can even facilitate by surveying attendees before the event to find out what products or services they might be looking for, and then pairing them up with a sponsor or exhibitor for a short virtual meeting.

4. Help attendees find them.
Another great way to connect sponsors and exhibitors with the attendees who need their products and services is to provide an interactive sponsor/exhibitor directory. Make sure the directory is easy to find and navigate. And, be sure to include all the basic information, such as company descriptions, website links, and contact information.

5. Invite them to provide giveaways.
One way to keep attendee enthusiasm and engagement up is to offer drawings for prizes throughout the event. Ask your sponsors to “donate” items for these giveaways, and be sure to recognize each sponsor (verbally and on screen) as you announce each winner.

6. Ask for their input.
Of course, one of the best ways to provide value to your sponsors and exhibitors is to ask them what they want. Survey some of your top sponsors from previous events and ask what would make their sponsorship of your virtual event extra valuable. Ask them what’s been valuable to them at other virtual events they might have sponsored.

7. Thank them publicly.
Give your sponsors and exhibitors extra exposure by thanking them often in front of your online attendees. For example, include a “thank you to our sponsors” slide throughout the event. Remind attendees to check out the virtual expo hall. Highlight any special giveaways or offers from sponsors or exhibitors. Just be sure that the exposure you provide each sponsor and exhibitor is appropriate for their sponsorship level.

Offering attractive sponsor and exhibitor packages is a must-do for recruiting sponsors for your virtual event. Taking it a step further – adding extra value and perks throughout the event – will keep your sponsors and exhibitors happy and coming back again and again.

Learn more.
Find out more about how to pull off great online events. Read the guide: The Small Association’s Guide to Planning and Delivering Virtual Events.

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