The final part of building a virtual sponsorship program is pricing and selling of the virtual event sponsorship packages. If you need to, please refer back to part one for strategy and part two for design. for the first steps you need to take in the process
Today we’re going to cover pricing and selling your virtual sponsorship inventory, a very important topic that many of you care about.
Begin by looking at several important factors as you decide what your pricing structure ought to be and what the inventory will look like. What are the strategic imperatives of the event? What are the budget expectations? Is this a net revenue play? Are you looking at gross revenue that you’re trying to chip away at? What are other associations doing in your space? Are they offering virtual events, too? What does the competition look like? Have you been able to engage audiences online?
Your sponsors will want to know answers to the questions above prior to committing.
Then, refer back to your sponsor discussions and interviews. What did they reveal about their company’s budgets, direction, and the level of support you might be able to expect? The answers help you come together not only with the pricing but with the inventory.
Launch your sponsorship program inventory with an email campaign, make sure that it the benefits of sponsoring your new and virtual events. You will have to educate on the upside of going virtual and the new opportunities that come along with it. Sponsors already know what a coffee break sponsorship looks like at the Grand Hyatt in St. Louis. They’ve never sponsored a virtual program before so you will have to educate, provide more information than you’re used to, and describe how everything is going to look and work.
- It will probably cost less for the sponsor to participate in a virtual event versus an in-person one.
- A virtual event will not require the same amount of time and resources. The sponsorship team, in effect, can be more focused on selling and promoting your brand rather than sitting in sessions, standing behind the booth, traveling, and incur additional expenses.
- You will not have the issue of having too many vendors at the meeting. No one will be able to see them. It’s not that big of a deal. Remember this theme – and I’ve heard it many times – “Oh, there’s just too many vendors and we don’t want too many suppliers and sponsors there! Everyone has gone virtual so they’re not going to be bothered by the too many vendors in the room issue.” You also have upside that there is every indication that overall registration is going to be much larger; you’re going to reach a bigger audience.
- Virtual events are more time efficient; you can respond to a lead in real time with automated e-mail campaigns and sales call follow up. You don’t have to wait to get back on the plane, go home, and try to reach that lead again. You can do it in real time.
- One-on-one meetings are easier to schedule. Attendees click on to your virtual booth and can set up a meeting, allowing you to have more conversations in today’s world. I’m certainly having them with people that were challenging to reach for face-to-face meetings in the past. Now we can just jump on a Zoom call.
- You’re likely to be able to get a better speaker lineup because you don’t have the challenge of physically getting everyone you want in the same space at the same time. People are available more and there’s flexibility of pre-recorded sessions. The programming is going to be fantastic.
Spell out the upside of going virtual and set the tone and context because next we’re going to sell the business objectives of the virtual sponsorship.
Begin with a webinar briefing to demo the platform and what is possible. First, virtual face-to-face meetings and the ability to match attendees that are most interested in the sponsors’ products or services. Second, you’re probably going to have better data that goes beyond the registration list. You can now provide behavior and engagement with virtual booths, collateral materials, video views, bonus sessions log-ins, and so much more. Third, the ability to deliver solutions through sessions and education. There may be less resistance now for content delivery of thought leadership from sponsors. Most of you are also running a more consolidated meeting so you may not have your usual number of sessions available. However, keep in mind that you can have additional thought leadership and bonus sessions after the scheduled portion of the event concludes. Fourth, the ability to promote within the virtual meeting platform with digital based advertising. There’s potential with ads, banners, and more in a virtual meeting setting with eyes on them from all of the event attendees. The exposure possibilities are huge. Finally, some food for thought, keep in mind that the sponsors are there to get in front of the attendees, pure and simple. Asking your sponsors to support our association is not a sales theme that’s going to work anymore. They’re not going to sponsor because they want to support you, they’re going to sponsor because they need to get in front of your attendees.
I hope this was helpful to and I wish you the very best success on selling these sponsorship programs.