Moving to Virtual Blog

How To Get More Sponsors For Your Next Online Conference

July 20, 2015 | Posted in Conferences, eLearning Best Practices by icohere

Moving your conference online? Use this opportunity to create dynamic exposure for your event sponsors. How To Get More Sponsors for Online Events

Begin with the Why. Why do businesses sponsor events?

Businesses consider event sponsorship opportunities that connect them with their ideal audience and provide the opportunity for interaction and demonstration. The most successful sponsorship packages show how the sponsor is connected to the topic of the event, and provide the sponsor with several opportunities to share their expertise and capitalize on the connection. An online conference offers the same, if not more, opportunities to connect with conference attendees. Here’s a look at the most important sponsorship opportunities and the key benefits to highlight when soliciting for sponsorship.

Advertisement – Banners, Program Ads, Logo Displays

The opportunity for sponsors to hang a banner, place an ad in the event program, or display their logo exists with online conferences just as it does with in-person events. And in the case of online events, sponsors gain more exposure and opportunity for ongoing interaction with attendees.

Key benefit to highlight: The opportunity to link the ads to a sponsor landing page for further interaction.

Keynote Speaker Session Sponsorships

Just as with an in-person event, your audience will be front and center for the keynote presentation. The keynote session provides several ways to add value for your sponsors.

  1. Event Name: Provide the sponsor naming opportunity for the event. (Example: The iCohere Conference – Sponsored by Cisco)
  2. Event Branding: Most conference websites are branded using the brand design of the hosting organization. Offer to co-brand the keynote event with your premiere sponsor. Place their logo and tailored advertisement strategically throughout the virtual hall.
  3. Welcome Video and Live Welcome: Provide your event sponsor the opportunity to share about their organization as it relates to the keynote during a brief welcome before the keynote. Offer more opportunity for exposure through a short 2-3 minute video featuring the sponsor company, which can be hosted directly in the conference room.
  4. Host a Pre-Event Speaker Meet & Greet: Remember the VIP sessions at larger conferences, where conference delegates get to meet the speaker in a VIP session? This is a benefit that can be easily carried over to an online conference. These sessions also help to create buzz about the upcoming content.

Key benefit to highlight: Multiple opportunities for engagement, and the analytics and tracking data to show user interaction.

Registration and Event Microsite/Landing Page

Both online and in-person events have an event microsite or landing page used for participant registration and to promote the content of the event. This site can be co-branded for an event sponsor or used to promote a specific level of sponsors using rotating banner ads, logo ads, and feature advertisements. Sponsors can contribute to content in a series of blog posts or event articles, sharing their expertise on the event topic.

Key benefit to highlight: Continued exposure throughout the entire conference experience.

Access to Registrant Data and Contact Information

One of the most important benefits for event sponsors is long-term access to those who attend the event. There are several opportunities to provide this information either in its entirety or in segments. Include a Terms of Use clause with this sponsorship opportunity, outlining specifically how a sponsor may use the information.

1. Entire List: Provided to a select level of sponsors so that you don’t jeopardize the attendees conference experience.

2. Hosted Emails: Provide the opportunity to place an advertisement in an event related email or sponsor one informational email.

3. Segmented List: Provides session sponsors with a list of those who attended that particular session, exhibit, or sponsor lounge.

Key benefit to highlight: The opportunity to build long-term, ongoing connections with conference attendees.

Event Marketing and Emails

There is ample opportunity to include the event sponsors’ content in the marketing email, confirmations, and event reminders. Give the sponsors the opportunity to create content that relates to the topic of the event that can be distributed in one of these email communications.

Key benefit to highlight: Continued exposure throughout the entire conference experience.

Conference Resource Center

If your online conference platform provides the opportunity to host a resource center, open up this space to sponsors. Give sponsors the opportunity to showcase their expertise on the topic. Create opportunities for sponsors to fund research papers, white papers, or studies related to the event topic, that can be available for download.

Key benefit to highlight: Demonstrates the sponsor’s expertise on the topic and their connection to the audience.

Exhibitor Hall or Sponsor Lounge

Give event sponsors the opportunity to host a welcome room in the Exhibitor Hall or a Sponsor Lounge where conference attendees can stop by and network.

  1. Live Streaming: Representatives from the sponsor business can host the welcome room via a live steam, and network with visitors.
  2. Welcome Video: For periods when the lounge is not manned, offer a welcome video.
  3. Chats, Q&A Sessions, Polls: Use these features to hold discussions with visitors.
  4. Co-Branding: Include the sponsor’s branding in the lounge or exhibit hall.
  5. Material Downloads: Include supplemental material produced by the sponsor such as case studies, white papers, and Powerpoint presentation.

Key benefit to highlight: The opportunity for one-on-one interaction with conference attendees.

Now it’s your turn. What opportunities have your event sponsors found most beneficial? Please share your expertise in the comments.


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