Photo by Wojtek Witkowski / Unsplash

1:11 Sponsorship options for virtual events

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

Sponsorship is a huge part of the success of many events around the world. As we experiment over the virtual and hybrid events, how can we elevate our in ways that honours their commitment to the community, and provides as much if not more value during these times for all.

We will unpack:

  1. Live stream sponsorship
  2. Unique profile pages
  3. Swag deliveries
  4. Content from sponsors
  5. Email broadcasts
  6. Competitions
  7. Sponsor breakout rooms
  8. Special offers


Welcome to the Event Martech Podcast. This is your host Lee and on today’s show we are talking about sponsorship for virtual events. We as event organisers have experience in creating fantastic opportunities for our sponsors to increase the engagement that they have to increase their visibility, etc, but how on earth can we do that when we are forced to virtualize our events? So today I’m going to share a few ideas that you could apply to your event and this is drawn from feedback from other event organisers as well as things that we are trying as we had to virtualize our conference, which was a physical conference for me into a virtual conference online, which happens in just a few short days time. Number one would be a live stream sponsorship. If you are going to be live streaming some of your event, then you can utilise the real estate onscreen to place sponsorship logos and you can also ensure that during the broadcasts you are talking about your sponsors at certain elements.

If you imagine it like a TV broadcast, then you can be taking a short break for a message for relevant sponsors. In our event, we are elevating one particular sponsor who invested significantly with us and we had a lots of plans to elevate them at the physical show, so we’ve made them the key sponsor of the live stream. This is where everybody will be congregating. There’ll be watching the content over the first two days and we want to make sure that that sponsor is front and centre. Number two is a unique profile page. You can give your sponsors real estate on your event website, allowing them to showcase who they are, their brand images, their products, etc. In a typical event, you may only place their sponsor logos on the website to say that this event was supported by sponsored by, these are our media partners, etc, but if you can give them some extra real estate, some links back to their website, their online assets, et cetera, then that is an extra step that you can take to help give them more exposure.

The event website traffic has obviously increased and during the virtual event people are going to be checking out who each one of those sponsors are because you should be encouraging your attendees to go check them out, so create some extra real estate for your sponsors to share more about themselves. Number three is swag. Let’s face it, a lot of people love to get free stuff at an event. Maybe that’s a bag, maybe it’s some t-shirts or maybe even USB sticks. I don’t actually know who uses USB sticks anymore, but I do know that we still get them for free at events and I’ve got an awful lot of them hanging around my house. But how can you recreate that excitement and create surprise? Well, we would recommend you deliver the swag, those freebies out to your attendees and give your sponsors the opportunity to be a part of that.

Number four is content from your sponsors. We’ve given our sponsors the opportunity to create their own talks and to add value to the event programme so they can educate our audience, but also elevate their brand. This is something that they would pay for along with all of the other ideas that we’ve shared so far, and they can create content that is in line with the ethos or with the subject of our event. Number five email broadcasts. Can you offer your sponsors an extra platform for them to communicate their messages and their offers? Consider offering the opportunity to communicate on a broad level to all of your event attendees. Number six is competition time. Would any of your sponsors love the opportunity to offer some form of prize to the community? This allows you to get creative with the sponsor and to communicate how your attendees can get involved in the competition.

This is something that you could get multiple sponsors involved with, and of course you as the event organiser made this happen. So that’s really helping to build brand loyalty for your event as much as for the sponsors involved. Number seven is sponsor breakout rooms. You’re likely looking to encourage your attendees to commit to the whole day and creating that serendipity that would normally happen in a physical event can be quite hard. However, you can encourage your sponsors to sponsor a breakout room and to turn up inside of that breakout room for people to congregate. That encourages people during the lunch break to come and sit in maybe a zoom room and everybody have a general chat as well as get to know the sponsors themselves. Maybe with some form of Q and a. And finally, number eight special offers. Everybody loves a bargain. Let’s face it.

And if you, as the event organiser manages to secure some phenomenal offers for your attendees, then of course that’s going to elevate your own event brand. But it’s also a great opportunity for your sponsors to get the community talking about their product or their service. This sort of offer is especially good for those newer businesses that are looking to get more market penetration, more feedback, and more people using their product or their service. So folks, we’ve unpacked eight different ways that you could give your sponsors opportunities to grow their brands via your virtual event. Let’s do the recap. First of all, we talked about elevating their brand via the live stream. Secondly, we talked about unique profile pages. Third, we talked about swag and sending that to our attendees. Number four was content from the sponsors that was in line with the event subject matter and ethos.

Number five was email broadcasts to all attendees as well as people who were interested in the event and any other lists that we may have. Number six was competitions because people love free stuff and that would also help elevate your own brand as much as the sponsors brands. Number seven was sponsored breakout rooms, especially in those quiet lunch breaks or coffee breaks during a virtual event where that energy disappears in a virtual event if everybody goes offline. So can you create a sponsor breakout room? And number eight was special offers, especially good for those people who are looking to get more people using their product. So folks, come on, join the conversation, head on over to go to Episode 11 and share with us your ideas for generating great sponsorship opportunities for your virtual events. If you’re listening to this episode for ideas for the future, perhaps you have been furloughed or perhaps you have more time on your hands than you normally would in these unprecedented times, then can I encourage you to go ahead and listen to Episode 10 with my colleague Tim Davis, he shares a very inspiring episode on how we can put this pause to really good use, and he shares moments in history where past lockdowns were put to really good use.

So if you are looking to be fired up and to be inspired, then I highly recommend Episode 10. Folks, if we don’t see you in the comments of 10 or 11 then we will see you in the next episode.

Season 1

Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs