July 5, 2022
Until March 2020, event sponsors followed a standard formula for event sponsorships: travel to a venue, set up a booth, talk to passersby, collect their business cards, then give them a few pieces of swag.
Then the pandemic forced event hosts and sponsors to change their playbooks overnight. Without any option to meet in-person, corporate sponsors needed not just to master virtual event technology, but use it to excite prospects and close deals.
Now a middle ground is emerging in the form of hybrid events. As suggested by the name, hybrid events combine a live experience with a virtual component. This allows sponsors to get in front of two audiences at once — and gives event organizers new opportunities to monetize their events.
That is, if you know how to help your sponsors improve their ROI in this new format. Not sure where to start? Below are some foolproof ways to help your hybrid event sponsors increase their ROI — and keep signing on to your events:
1. Introduce sponsors to more leads. Simultaneously hosting your live event in a digital format allows more people to participate, like those who can’t travel to the venue or have scheduling conflicts. Having a virtual and in-person sponsor activation allows attendees the flexibility to engage with sponsors on their terms.
2. Increased branding opportunities: In-person sponsors allow for traditional methods or promotion such as on-site signage, badges, and swag. But on a virtual or hybrid event platform, sponsors can add their logo, branding and ads to their session room, Expo Hall placement, event-wide emails and even the ad banner below the webinar room in main sessions. Even better, they can add hyperlinks to their logos, so that all of those booth visits result in website visits as well.
And when you have more branding opportunities available, you can create more tiers within your sponsorship portfolio — and generate more revenue as a result.
3. Create more sponsor engagement opportunities: Because they host programming in both the in-person and virtual venue, hybrid events also give sponsors more opportunities to get in front of their audiences. For instance, companies can sponsor a virtual chat, session, networking lounge or round table. They can also host workshops in which they give free trials or consultations for guests.
Depending on the sponsor, you can simply add their branding to the virtual room, or have the sponsor drive the discussion and engagement. This is another way to differentiate between various sponsorship tiers.
4. Round out presentations with handouts, offers, videos, etc.: Hybrid event sponsors can supplement their virtual presentations with articles, pop-up offers and additional videos. Besides keeping people engaged, this gives them the resources they need to move closer to a buying decision, in a way that allows them to explore on their own. On BigMarker, sponsors can provide these resources in their individual sponsor booths or within the webinar room of any presentation that they host.
5. Schedule and host meetings within the mobile event app: One of the biggest success metrics of any sponsorship is the number of meetings booked. But in the rush of event days, sponsors might forget to schedule meetings with every attendee that enters the booth. Or maybe they send their list of leads to their sales team, and need to wait precious days or weeks before booking meetings. But if sponsors could book — or even host — meetings with leads on their mobile event app, they have a much higher chance of securing new business from the event.
On BigMarker, sponsors and exhibitors can book and conduct meetings with attendees directly in the mobile event app. No back-and-forth email chains or scheduling links necessary.
6. Use targeted push notifications to drive traffic to sponsor booths: At a live event, it’s difficult to nudge people toward sponsorship booths without seeming desperate.. But if you don’t promote your sponsors well enough during the event, they won’t talk to enough leads — or get good value for their dollar.
Strike a compromise with push notifications. Through your event’s mobile companion app, send them to attendees during downtimes in your agenda, like the post-lunch hour or late afternoon. You can also segment these notifications so that each attendees gets updates about experiences they’re most likely to attend. This way, in-person and virtual attendees are both encouraged to visit sponsor booths in a way that’s less disruptive than a blaring announcement.
And notifications are always within reach so never miss a favorite session or premium sponsor experience.
7. Generate more actionable data: Back in 2019, there weren’t many reliable ways to measure attendance and engagement at sponsor booths. Sure, you could collect names and contact information. But who asked the most questions? What information did each person need? Which offers or pieces of content appealed to your audience?
But virtual booths measure every element of the digital sponsorship experience. Hosts receive the name and profile information of each visitor, as well as what content they downloaded, what questions they asked, what offers they clicked on, how they answered poll questions, etc. All of this information helps sponsors better evaluate their programming and offers.
Better yet, hosts can swipe the QR code of every live visitor via the event’s mobile companion app, so they can generate performance data for live attendees as well.
8. Sell merch via virtual swag bags: Sponsorships can generate considerable meetings and future business. But what if you could help your sponsors generate easy money, right at your hybrid event? Merch stores, either in-person or on your event’s mobile app, can help sponsors get their product or service out to attendees right away - and get immediate revenue from your event.
For instance, on BigMarker’s mobile event app, attendees can use tokens to buy event and sponsor branded merch, the latest new books and tech, and giveaways that people will actually use.
9. Immediately send hot leads to your sales team: One of the challenges of traditional in-person sponsorship booths is the time it takes to delegate leads directly to your sales team. But at a hybrid event, you can send each prospect’s information to your sales team in real-time via your mobile event app. This allows sales teams to reach out to prospects as soon as they express interest, which increases the chances that person will convert.
10. Continue driving new business through on-demand content: At a live event, sponsors have one shot to earn new leads. They’re limited only to the people in the venue, and once the clock strikes midnight, the show’s over. But after a hybrid event ends, the virtual experience converts to on-demand. The sponsorship booths remain active for people to find weeks and months after the big day, so they can keep driving business from the same content — with little additional effort.
You can publish the content on your Media Hub so that when attendees watch your videos, you receive their name and email address, just as you would with a live event lead.
Want to learn how to monetize and grow your hybrid events? Our events team answer these questions and more at our twice-monthly live webinars. Check them out or contact our sales team to learn more today!