Hosting an online event can be a great way to improve employee engagement and have fun, whilst doing something great for your company. It can also be a positive way to help reduce stress for overworked employees and help them unwind.
For companies that generate a healthy amount of exposure during their online events, finding a sponsor to involve can be a great way to gain profits. This guide is here to help you identify virtual event sponsors and work well with them to ensure it is a worthwhile occasion for everybody involved.
What Is A Virtual Event?
Pre-pandemic, hosting an online event would have been much more challenging. With options on software limited and companies having to work with just stock software, it would have been impossible.
However, since the development of new software and as the understanding of the capabilities behind these programs improves, it’s become clear that online events can be both great for business and enjoyable.
In the business world, an online event can range from an awards ceremony to a trade show, or even a new employee icebreaker event. For example, a finance company can explain how they are investing in the coming year, businesses that provide training can run workshops focused on teaching best practices for virtual training, and companies like Webnames that work in digital security can host educational webinars explaining how to improve small business cybersecurity. The versatility and opportunities around online event formats are essentially endless.
People are 30% more likely to approach an individual at a virtual booth making them a great way for individuals to get to know about your company and the services they provide.
Furthermore, it can be extremely good for employee happiness and engagement. 60% of the most engaged employees were offered regular online events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scouting A Virtual Event Sponsor
It’s clear that online events are great for growing business. But it can be challenging to find the right people to get involved.
1. Offer Value To Your Events Sponsor
It is important that both the sponsor and your company realize some gain from the event. It needs to be a quid-pro-quo situation and the reality is that it’s an investment to sponsor an event.
You need to be aware of, and understand, how your sponsor will gain. Assembling a pack that outlines all of the incentives you offer to companies who sponsor your event will show them what they will gain from being involved.
- Offer them opportunities to be a part of a panel or interview.
- Give them exposure on your social media site through hashtags, tagged information, or photographs.
- Create a virtual room where attendees can explore the sponsor in greater depth.
Making your package enticing and valuable will help you gain interest from potential sponsors so make sure it is well thought through.
2. Find Sponsors Who Share Your Values
Firstly, this approach makes your search a little easier. There are a lot of companies looking to sponsor virtual events, and it’s easier to filter through them if you know the specifics of what you are seeking.
Also, you know that the services you offer or the product you are trying to sell matches well with what the sponsor believes in. Your company and sponsor should support one another and work in tandem.
This feeds into being able to justify why you have chosen a particular sponsor. Picking something irrelevant to your business can create confusion and disparity in information.
3. Use Social Media
Statista predicts that by 2025 there will be around 4.41 billion social media users. This makes it an incredible place to locate businesses or individuals who are interested in sponsoring online events.
Social allows for instant access to information, capabilities, and direct contact with a company you are interested in bringing on board.
Try to use all of the tools available on social media to scout potential sponsors. Search engines; sharing posts and posting in specific groups are all effective ways of seeking the right people
4. Explore The Dedicated Tools Available
The internet is a great place. Here are a couple of examples of websites dedicated to helping you perform this job.
A straightforward website that connects sponsorship opportunities to brands looking for sponsorship opportunities.
It has a plethora of options available to both sides involved and the online platform is straightforward to use.
It’s a simple way of initiating a connection between a sponsor and your business and working together to explore what you both require from the event.
This website advertises itself as a marketplace for events sponsorship. Similar to Sponsor Pitch, it allows both companies seeking sponsorship and sponsors to advertise themselves.
Online events lend themselves to collaboration across the globe. It’s a great tool for finding sponsors in different countries who are interested in many different events.
Hosting a Great Virtual Event
Hosting a virtual event should be seen as an exciting opportunity for your company. However, they can also be challenging.
Once you have found your sponsor, it is your job to work closely with them to develop a plan on how you are going to engage attendees.
So what makes a virtual event successful and how can your sponsor help?
1. Set Clear Goals
Your first step should be exploring the goal you would like your virtual event to achieve. Using SMART goals means both your team and the sponsor are aware of what’s happening and why it’s taking place.
For example, setting targets for how you are going to engage attendees is extremely important. You do not want people to be bored. Much like teachers need to focus on the class engagement, you need to focus on audience engagement.
2. Choose a Current and Relevant Platform
Ensure that the software you use allows you to involve your sponsor in the appropriate way. Don’t just go straight for the most obvious program as it may not always be the most effective. Zoom competitors do exist!
For example, if you are choosing to have virtual rooms for your sponsor to run, your software needs to be capable of supporting this.
3. Choose The Right Date and Time
If you are working with a sponsor from another country or time zone you need to make sure that you find an appropriate time when the right people can attend.
Discuss this with your sponsor to ensure you are both agreed on when and what time it will all happen.
As it is your virtual event, you need to make sure people know that it’s taking place. This is in your sponsor’s interest as well as it will improve the exposure they receive.
Use all of the tools you have available. Posting on both your own company and your sponsor’s social media pages, or your well maintained websites, should help increase the audience.
Your companies have many ways of communication both internally and externally. Ask the question, what are the communication channels and how can I use them to promote effectively?
As we are all aware, technology can often be unreliable. Running a test event before the official version can help you get to grips with the software you are going to use and learn whether it is effective.
It will also help to troubleshoot issues before the sponsors are involved in the professional event.
This is much like performing quality assurance. You use programs for this to test the product and may explore avenues such as agile methodology benefits to improve QA. Don’t leap in, test first and go live later.
6. Reflect and Review
Exploring what went well and what didn’t with your sponsorship company can help get them on board for future events.
Knowing that you want to reflect upon what happened and are interested in improving is a great quality in the business world and will go a long way when finding new sponsors.
- Ask Your Sponsors to Write An Endorsement
If you intend to carry on hosting online events, it’s a great idea to ask your sponsors to write endorsements.
If you are able to show that the event sponsor was satisfied with the occasion, other companies will be much more likely to get involved in the future.
The key information you should be taking away from this guide is to use the many tools available to businesses to locate and recruit sponsors. The recommendations I have made will help you secure the right people to involve with your company’s event.
So outline how you are going to attract potential sponsors and then show your emotional intelligence in workplace communications and work with your sponsorship company by discussing the event and adapting it to reap the biggest reward.
Mutual gain should be the phrase you keep at the front of your mind all of the time when it comes to finding sponsors for your virtual event.
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered phone system for business for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy and is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies with Dialpad. Here is her LinkedIn.