How to Launch Your Virtual Event Sponsorship Program



One of the things that we’ve hear about from our clients is the desire to move some of their live event programming to virtual ones: webinars or live streaming sessions, to name a few. We’ve been involved in these types of programs for a very long time and I’ve conducted dozens of webinars.
Here are some thoughts for you in developing a webinar sponsorship program, especially if you’ve never done this before. Let me give you some context and considerations before you launch the program.

Focus on the sponsor’s business objectives. I know it is very easy right now to jump into online events for the purpose of replacing traditional meeting sponsorship revenue, however, I urge you to pause and think about the long game. Along with that, you will need to manage the expectations for the sponsors before you start. If you don’t have a track record for delivering huge audiences then you’re going to want to speak to the longevity, alignment with thought leadership, and distribution of the webinar beyond those who registered.

Manage expectations. Think about the sponsor. There’s a lot of pressure on you to think about the replacement of revenue and the delivery of content, continue to stay in the long game.

Every promotion of the webinar can be considered a promotion of the sponsor’s brand. Make sure that you integrate the sponsorship with ads, social media, email campaigns, print advertising, and more as you send out promotional notices. Add those promotion opportunities to the inventory of the webinar sponsorship to enhance its value.

Be very diligent about the sponsor’s type of involvement in the webinar delivery. Do they have an active part? Do they say anything during the webinar? Or is it just a promotion of their brand during the event? Are they going to introduce the speaker? Will they be providing some of their own content in terms of making the webinar valuable to the audience? You have to think about how you’re going to engage these folks because I know a number of you have different criteria for live events where you do not allow the sponsors to speak. Now is the time to loosen the rules because, to be honest with you, you really need their support to get this off the ground.

Be very thoughtful about the post webinar opportunities. I’ve been amazed at the value and the shelf life of a well delivered webinar. We still have people downloading our content from our archive of past webinars a year after we delivered it! Think about transcribing it to make an e-book or posting it on your YouTube channel. Make parts of it available in newsletters or magazine articles, things like that. Think about how you’re going to scale the content after the program is delivered.

Now let’s shift to what a naming rights webinar sponsorship could look like. Start with logo placements and link to sponsor’s website on all registration promotions that you send out and a social media campaigns promoting the sponsor. Do that on a weekly basis for the sponsors. Promote the sponsors in email confirmations to those who have registered with sponsor branding prior to the event, day of the program, etc. Highlight the sponsors in a prominent position on the webinar’s registration page.

The next thing to think about is how are you going to promote you partners during the webinar? You can place the logo on the viewing screen or on all of the presentation slides. The webinar host can provide a promotional intro prior to the programming as people are signing on or at the very end. You can have a 30-60 second “commercial break” or a promotional slide halfway through the webinar.

Finally, post webinar recognition is very important. Are you going to provide the registration list to the sponsor? Where are you going to archive the webinar on your association’s website? Make sure that you promote the title sponsor by linking to their company’s page. Send out a link to the recording to all of your members that includes a promotion of the sponsors. Think about transcribing the webinar into an e-book, a white paper, a newsletter, or magazine articles. Again, promoting the sponsor within those pieces of media as part of your post webinar recognition.

So, there you have it, your pre-webinar, during the webinar, and post webinar promotion plan!
Folks, your sponsors may be very receptive to this opportunity and I hope you provide the opportunity to them.

Hey, we’re in this for the long game. Most of our associations are going to live through this. We need to take on these long-term investment strategies while at the same time think about how we can deliver value and be very important to our partners right away.

Let’s work together to grow your non-dues revenue!


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