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30+ Sponsorship Ideas to Incorporate into Your Virtual Conference or Tradeshow

The quick pivot to virtual has given many associations whiplash. One minute you are on final approach to the most amazing annual conference you have ever had and the next minute a flock of Covid-19 flies over the runway and lands right at your happiness gate making you abandon your approach to Nirvana. This is kinda how things roll now but the pivot is possible, you will just be wearing a neck-brace for the next few months instead of celebrating on the beach.

One of the most frustrating challenges for any association is sponsorship in the virtual world. How do you turn straightforward real world activations into virtual packages that sponsors will understand and can benefit from? In order for them to show you the money, you need to be their expert and guide them through the process.

One of the ways that we try and make life easy for our clients is to work with them and recommend a virtual event platform that has many expected features built right in:

  • Create a custom virtual trade show booth
  • Showcase product information
  • Add media such as video, pdfs, and images
  • Collect attendee leads, have live chats, and set one on one and group meetings

This can’t be the whole offer however. From experience, I can tell you that attendees may visit the virtual trade show, but they will rarely interact in the type of numbers that an exhibitor or sponsor needs to call it a success, especially if you have higher than average price points. You must get creative, you must do more than what is just expected, and you must show your valued partners that you are with them on this journey.

Conference Sponsorship Ideas for Virtual Events

We have put together this list of 30 ideas that you can use to enhance the sponsor offerings that go beyond what is already built into your virtual event platform. This list is not meant to be the end of the conversation, this list is simply the beginning. Have a look and find the ones that would work for your group and figure out a way to offer them as standalone packages or as a value add for a larger sponsorship level. Don’t like something, leave it out! This list is simply an idea factory that we hope sparks your imagination and your sponsor’s enthusiasm.

Branding Opportunities

  • Branded session and breakout rooms
  • Branded break areas
  • Branded lobbies or waiting rooms
  • Branded “Thanks for Attending” at end of the conference
  • Dedicated live-stream feeds
  • Email sponsorships
  • Branded registration pages
  • Session overlays or lower-thirds
  • Promote on social media
  • Welcome message for the virtual attendee
  • Sponsor designation in press releases
  • Quick-bites sponsorships (Ability to sponsor 30 minute sessions that happen in the weeks before the conference)
  • Keynote sponsorship opportunities
  • Intros / pre roll video for speakers/keynotes/panels
  • Sponsored Q&A sessions
  • Verbal recognition of sponsors
  • Create a sizzle reel

Networking and Interactive Sponsorships

  • Host a Book Club (amazing idea)
  • Host VIP pre or post event gatherings
  • Hosted break rooms
  • Icebreaker activities
  • Sponsor/Speaker/Attendee matchmaking
  • Solution provider speaking slot
  • Live customer case studies
  • Sponsorship of a career center
  • Virtual meeting room for exclusive use
  • Partner with local groups and sponsors for CSR Initiatives

Gamification and Entertainment

  • Virtual raffle prizes
  • Virtual scavenger hunt
  • In your home scavenger hunt
  • Sponsored entertainment (For example, get a known singer to do a 30 minute concert)
  • Virtual event bags

Real World Items

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, we are always happy to help. For more ideas on marketing your conference or event in the age of Covid-19, check out the latest episode of the Event Tech Pull Up where Tess Vismale of isocialx and I talk to marketing expert Michelle Bergstein of BeatCreative Marketing or our two part series on Content Marketing with Kelley Wyant and Anati Zubia.

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