Monetizing your virtual or hybrid event is easier than you think – there are many ways you can help your sponsors, partners, and exhibitors extend their reach and create valuable connections with your attendees in an online event format.
We’ve put together this handy guide so you can easily understand how to offer great value to your partners using your event tech, create tiered sponsorship levels, and effectively monetize your next virtual or hybrid event!
Some features of your event technology that you may already be familiar with can actually be leveraged to showcase your sponsors and exhibitors, and add value to the sponsorship packages you are creating.
Whether your event is going to be fully online or taking place in a hybrid format, there are an endless number of exciting ways for you to showcase all of the companies that are involved, and highlight the level of their contribution.
Sponsor Profiles & Groups
Company Profiles are a classic way to display all of your sponsors, exhibitors, or partners in an organized listing. These profiles give attendees access to information that will help them to get to know each company in more detail, along with the products and services they offer. Be sure to include additional information – such as contact details for specific representatives – so your attendees can easily connect with during or after your event.
Company Groups takes company profiles to the next level by allowing you to organize them into sections or categories so you can highlight the level of their involvement in your event.
Use Groups to establish separate sponsor and exhibitor listings, display sponsorship tiers, or to offer easier navigation in company sections – such as organizing them into categories based on industry or product.
Sponsor Banner Ads
Banners offer your top sponsors or exhibitors incredible visibility as they capture attendee attention from within the event menu and other sections that typically get the most traffic in your virtual space.
These ads offer your sponsors a visually compelling opportunity to promote their brand, and can also help direct people to additional content they would like to share. Additionally, sponsors will be able to easily measure their ROI using metrics collected on the number of ad views and clicks.
Home Screen Widgets will catch your attendees’ attention as soon as they access your event information, and enable them to easily navigate to company profiles or virtual exhibitor booths (more on these below!) to learn more.
You could also reserve your prime home screen real estate for your main sponsor. Not only will you be able to display their logo front and center, but you can also use this widget to direct attendees to the company’s profile, virtual exhibitor booth or website.
Help Create Connections
Selling booth space is often a primary way for organizers to monetize in-person events – and this is also possible at your virtual or hybrid event! However, companies may have concerns about how they will be able to connect with your attendees in an online event format.
While they may not be able to meet in person, exhibitors can still achieve the same kind of exposure at your virtual or hybrid event. In fact, most online events see a far greater number of attendees than their in-person events as the limitations of travel and time away from the office aren’t a consideration for remote attendees. It may actually be possible that your exhibitors will benefit from an even greater reach in your new event format!
Virtual Exhibitor Booths
Virtual Exhibitor Booths can support all of the same objectives that exhibitors and sponsors seek to achieve at in-person events. Creating a robust profile that offers all of the necessary information attendees need to learn more about the company will help spark the conversation.
Exhibitors will be able to showcase product demonstrations or presentations via livestreams or pre-recorded videos inside their virtual booth. Using direct links, they can guide attendees to their sponsored sessions, demos, and 1:1 meetings.
Gamification encourages attendees to meet with specific sponsors and exhibitors at your event. Including challenges that reward players for visiting profiles, attending a demo or meeting with a company rep will help drive traffic to exhibitors.
Working with sponsors to create prize packages is a great way to help increase participation and to keep players motivated and excited throughout the event.
Another great way to monetize your event is to incorporate your top sponsors into the sessions, activities and content that attendees will interact with in your Virtual Event Space. With the right plan of action, you can help companies both promote brand awareness and build connections with your attendees.
Sponsored Announcements are an easy way to offer exposure to your top sponsors. The key is to be mindful of the frequency that these are sent out – the goal is to position them as a call to action (to visit virtual booths or attend sponsored sessions, for example) without overloading attendees with unwanted information.
Try targeting your announcements to specific groups of people or even individuals; this will help ensure sponsored content is being promoted to those that it is most relevant to.
Sponsored Surveys can help your top contributors capture valuable data for market research and lead retrieval. Encouraging attendee participation is critical, so we suggest reserving this option for a limited number or single top tier sponsor if possible. Offering an incentive such as a prize or raffle entry will positively impact your response rates.
Sponsored Sessions connect your top sponsors with their ideal audience. Depending on your event agenda, you can opt to involve your sponsors in one of two ways:
- Allow companies to sponsor existing sessions that are relevant to their products or services. Labelling various sessions or activities as being ‘Brought to you by’ will help drive brand awareness and profile or Virtual Exhibitor Booth visits.
- Establish your sponsor as an industry expert and have them host sessions or panel discussions that tie into the current trends, issues or topics that are related to your event.
Sponsored Raffles are a great tool for lead generation and a fun way to engage attendees. For each Virtual Space credit that you purchase, three raffles are already included. You can sell these as part of your sponsorship packages to offer your sponsors a great way of getting additional exposure. Of course, additional raffles can be purchased at $100 per item to sell to your sponsors.
Sponsored Activities, much like sponsored sessions, offer a dedicated time and space for your sponsors to capture attendees’ attention. Try creating a combination of self-directed and structured activities for your attendees to choose from!
A few activities to consider at your virtual event:
- On-demand content from sponsors that attendees can interact with when they have free time in their schedule.
- Sponsored lunches where attendees will be provided with a credit towards their favourite food delivery app, or where arrangements have been made for meal delivery.
- Social media inclusion with discussions, feeds, hashtags, and/or custom filters.
- VIP Meet & Greets that are sponsored or hosted by some of your top sponsors.
Swag and Prizes
Swag and Prizes are always incredibly popular with attendees, so why not use this as an opportunity to drive additional revenue at your event – all while showcasing the companies that help make it happen!
With the many engagement features that are available in your Virtual Event Space, prizes can be offered for participating in a variety of activities, such as:
- Entering into a raffle that offers a single prize gifted from your top sponsor, or offers a series of prizes gifted from several different sponsors.
- Participating in a sponsored survey where the company can collect useful data from attendees.
- Completing Gamification challenges where the attendee must meet with specific sponsors to learn more about their products and services.
While offering swag can be a trickier concept in an online event format, it is by no means impossible! With enough time and planning, you can create incredible packages – both physical or virtual – that will wow your attendees. If the logistics seem like too much to manage, use an external resource to help!
Companies like SwagUp can help put together and deliver your custom branded, sponsored Swag Bags. Depending on your event size and budget, you could have them delivered to all attendees before your event, or send out deluxe deliveries to prize winners post-event!
A few fun ideas for your online event swag:
- Deliver a physical swag package to attendees a few days before the event to help generate excitement, reinforce your event theme, and most importantly – showcase who the main sponsors are.
- Send virtual or physical gift cards that attendees can use towards your sponsors products and services. While attendees can benefit from a great deal, your sponsors will benefit from additional sales and revenue directly from the event.
- Have your top sponsors contribute towards your Corporate Giveback or other sustainability efforts, like the Virtual Forest Initiative.
- Have your sponsors create or donate to scholarships that directly impact the industries and themes that are tied to the event. This can be as simple as offering free admissions to next year’s conference, or something with a longer lasting impact such as funds and programs that help to educate and mentor the next generation of leaders.
Monetize Your Video Production
Taking your event from a simple online meeting to a broadcast quality production with professional and polished videos can have a great impact on the overall event experience you are creating. This will not only enhance the attendee experience, but will help you monetize your virtual or hybrid event in an exciting new way!
Your video sessions – whether live streams or pre-recorded – offer an incredible opportunity for your sponsors to drive brand awareness. Work with a production team to add visually compelling and polished sponsor content designed to grab your attendees’ attention.
Consider using one, or all of the following options to incorporate your stakeholders into online sessions:
- Play a promotional video that attendees can watch as they connect and wait for the session to begin.
- Include a banner or watermark within the video that highlights who is sponsoring or hosting the session. These can be displayed periodically, or remain static within the video.
- Add your sponsor’s logo to title cards and transitions throughout the session.
- Include sponsored breaks where a logo or a short video ad will be shown to the audience.
- Create custom backgrounds with your sponsor’s logo that can be used by hosts and speakers during their session.
Create Sponsorship Tiers
One of the easiest ways to develop sponsorship opportunities is to create packages and tiers that clearly outline the various ways that companies can be promoted at your event. In fact, offering tiered sponsorship packages is one of the easiest ways for you to monetize your virtual or hybrid event.
Use sponsor tiers to outline the level of contribution so that a premium can be set for the highest level of exposure. Not only do packages and tiers help to establish an agreement and set expectations accordingly, but they also help your sponsors understand the ROI they can expect with the various options you are offering.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to creating these tiers and establishing price points for your virtual event sponsorship. Instead, there are many variables to consider, so we wanted to break it down into a few easy steps that will help point you in the right direction:
- Determine the total amount of revenue that you would like to receive through sponsorships.
- Finalize a list of ways that you plan on promoting companies at the event.
- Organize your promotional opportunities into three main categories: low, medium, and high exposure opportunities.
- Using this information, decide on how many tiers you would like to offer (i.e. will you opt for Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze tiers, or choose to focus on a main sponsor with a few smaller sponsorship opportunities?)
- Divide your promotional opportunities into the tiers, based on the level of exposure (and value) that they will offer to companies.
- Calculate a price point for each tier by considering the following factors:
- The level of exposure that each tier offers.
- The number of companies that you can support within each tier (i.e. higher tiers will require a higher level of exposure, and should therefore be restricted to a set number of companies).
- Any revenue goals that you have set for sponsorships.
|Virtual Booth with post-event analytics|
|2 Banner Ads in Virtual Event Space|
|2 Sponsored Sessions|
|5 Gamification Challenges|
|3 Sponsored Announcements|
|VIP Meet & Greet|
|Logo featured on: |
Event Website, Virtual Event Space home screen, Event Swag
|Virtual Booth with post-event analytics|
|1 Banner Ad in Virtual Event Space|
|1 Sponsored Session|
|3 Gamification Challenges|
|1 Sponsored Announcement|
|Logo featured on:|
Event Website, Event Swag
|Virtual Booth with post-event analytics|
|1 Banner ad in Virtual Event Space|
|2 Gamification Challenges|
|Logo featured on:|
|1 Gamification Challenge|
|Logo featured on: |
Another factor to consider while creating your tiers is when each sponsor will be promoted. This will open up additional opportunities to monetize your virtual or hybrid event as you consider the frequency and duration that the promotional opportunities will be available – from pre-event, during, and even after.
A la carte options can also deliver additional value to sponsors by allowing them to specifically choose the ways that they will contribute, and the types of promotion that they will receive during the event. You can open this up to specific items companies can add on to the set packages you have created, or you can offer a flexible list of opportunities so they can create their own custom sponsorship package.
A la Carte Options
- Virtual Exhibitor Booth
- Company Listing
- Sponsored Session
- Sponsored Announcement
- Gamification Challenge
- Social Media Inclusion
- VIP Meet & Greet
- Sponsored Lunch
- Sponsored Prize
- Sponsored Event Swag
- Contribution to Corporate Giveback or Sustainability Efforts
- Donation to Scholarship
Now that you’ve seen just how many ways you can showcase your sponsors, partners and exhibitors at your virtual or hybrid event, you can be confident about the value and ROI your event can provide. By leveraging your event technology, great video production and fun add-ons like surprise swag, your next online event is guaranteed to be much more than just another webinar!
Recommended Read: How EventMobi’s Virtual Platform Enables Engaging Online Events