Guest Blog: How to Increase Sponsor ROI at Today’s Virtual Events
Online, or virtual events have become more popular than ever since the world went into lockdown last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2021, they’re set to become even bigger.
Most virtual events, especially those which are monetized, need sponsors in order to reach their maximum potential. In fact, 91% of large-scale event organizers seek out sponsors. But what’s in it for those sponsors?
The simple answer is return on investment (or ROI). When a sponsorship agreement is made, it should benefit both parties involved. The event that’s being sponsored is able to offset some of the cost of running their event, as well as create more of a draw for attendees, while the sponsor gains access to key advantages, such as brand awareness, new leads, sales opportunities and even closed won generated from interactions and live conversations with interested attendees during the event itself.
In other words, ensuring meaningful sponsor outcomes and ROI at virtual events can help make them more profitable and valuable for potential sponsors. This way, virtual events become more impactful and results-driven for everyone involved.
Sponsor ROI is therefore very important for virtual events. So, how can event organizers maximize their potential in this department?
The first thing to consider with regards to virtual events and the potential they offer for delivering sponsor ROI is the virtual event software that’s being used. Excellent software can make all the big difference between the ability to run a successful event, as evidenced by the fact that 78% of businesses that use an event application say it contributes to a positive event ROI.
This begs the question: “How do you find the most suitable software for your event?”
Since there can be many different types of solutions involved in running a given event, it’s important to carefully consider all of the options.
Collaboration Is Key
For all those who have run an event of any kind, it’s clear that the more organized and aligned the team behind an event can be, the more likely it is that the live event will run as smoothly and successfully as possible. Well-organized event planning and cross-functional team collaboration works to increase the quality of the virtual event and its content, which is key element to keeping attendees engaged. Furthermore, this type of dynamic functions like a virtuous wheel of event engagement, which means that the more interactive a virtual event can be, the more likely attendees are to seek out and engage with sponsor’s pages, or virtual booths, and convert into high-performing leads and sales opportunities for your sponsors.
Having the right tools to make this happen is a crucial factor to consider. For example, especially when taking into account today’s remote work realities, many companies are turning to well-designed team collaboration apps for sales department efficiency, which provides a great virtual space for working together, while other departments may, or may not, require similar products that fit their needs. For those looking for the right collaboration solution when planning an event, or sponsors participating in an event, comparison tools, like this Talkdesk and RingCentral comparison blog post, can be very helpful in finding the best fit.
Armed with the tools that can help ensure alignment and deliberate event planning, such as collaboration software, companies today are working to streamline their teams’ internal communications, which in turn, aids in creating a better event experience for everyone involved.
Anytime, Anywhere Engagement
Some virtual event platforms come with a built-in advantage over their counterparts: they can allow event participants to engage with and experience the event from any device and enable attendees to participate on their terms.
This is why it’s important to take the time to choose a fully integrated virtual platform and mobile event app to ensure your event participants can interact anytime and from anywhere. These technologies allow you extend your event experience beyond the desktop screen to mobile devices, which helps to expand its reach, increase overall attendance, and foster meaningful attendee interaction and networking.
Additionally, it’s important to consider the virtual booth capabilities for the sponsors and exhibitors at today’s virtual events. Some virtual event platforms provide built-in dynamic, content-rich, and customizable profiles and dedicated areas that allow attendees to not only learn about the company, but also to explore sponsors’ offerings and their product-specific information, some even complete with pricing information, demo videos, and custom CTAs to drive attendees to take the next desired action. More depth of attendee interaction with sponsors’ content and virtual booths translate to more potential leads, which in turn increases their ROI. This highlights how crucial it is to use the right platforms for your event.
Live, 1:1 Meetings Boost ROI
When you’re looking for the perfect virtual event solution, one of the most important factors to consider is the ability for attendees to communicate directly with sponsors. In today’s digital-first world with its vast number of communication channels, like email and chat apps, it’s easy to find ways to touch base with sponsors.
Providing a built-in tool within your event for attendees to interact directly at peak interest with sponsors by initiating live, 1:1 video calls and meetings has become an essential component to providing value and ROI for today’s virtual event sponsors and exhibitors. This allows sponsors’ representatives to tailor the conversation around the attendees’ unique business needs and allows attendees an instant way to connect with sponsors around the solutions they would like to explore further.
This ensures that customers feel they’re being heard, and unlike static chats or pages alone, this lets sponsors actually humanize their brand by pairing real faces and conversations alongside it.
Additionally, sponsor brand representatives will be able to use their sales skills to consult event attendees on their specific offerings, as well as to accelerate attendees’ active buying interest and consideration into closed-won client revenue.
To sum it up, providing a direct channel for communication between virtual event attendees and sponsors lets sponsors directly convert leads into customers. This provides a massive boost to their ROI.
Personalization Is Paramount
In a similar vein, tailoring an event more closely to individual attendees can have a highly positive impact on sponsor ROI. A recent study showed that 88% of marketers found personalized content more effective than its depersonalized counterpart.
In order to personalize attendees’ experience, it’s helpful to gather data during an event and then afterward.
Online events are much more conducive to these kinds of analyses than in-person events; due to their inherent digital format, it’s significantly easier to keep track of attendee touchpoints and activities during a virtual event. These type of event and attendee insights represent the next big shift in the event industry, because they allow event hosts and their sponsors alike to understand their audiences to inform targeted, personalized, and relevant marketing and sales campaigns.
Or, to put it another way, employing a data-driven virtual event strategy can go a long way in increasing event ROI for both event hosts and their sponsors. It helps pave the way for events to become more personalized and attractive for attendees, thereby increasing their satisfaction, and provides event hosts and sponsors alike with the knowledge of their participants, or leads, such as those demonstrate the highest purchase intent.
Promotion Gets Personal
One small but universally useful part of creating an effective promotional and sales strategy is personalization. Much like with virtual events, tailoring marketing and sales plans for optimal resonance with specific individuals has an immediate positive effect on overall sales.
Email marketing is a perfect example of this. In a recent study, it was found that personalized subject lines can increase open rates by 50%.
This idea of personalization can be expanded to all types of sales. As it stands, 72% of consumers will only be interested in content if it is personalized. When a customer feels that an event’s content targets their own tastes and needs, they’re more likely to attend that event according to the vast majority of B2B and event marketers.
It can also be helpful to include storytelling in your sales strategy since this lets you personalize the approach to the customer.
These stories can express the personality of the brand in a way that customers can relate to. This helps humanize the brand so that it appeals to customers on a more personal, or even emotional level.
Realize Real-World Sponsor ROI
The takeaway here is that every event has the ability to generate sponsor ROI at today’s virtual events—it’s just a matter of best equipping yourself to turn this potential into a reality.
The concept of personalization and relevancy is paramount to achieving a high-value virtual event. Providing the opportunity for collaboration anytime, anywhere makes sure that engagement is maximized, which helps drive attendee interactions with sponsors. When attendees feel that they can connect with sponsors on a personal level, they’re more likely to go on to become leads and loyal customers.
In other words, using data-driven personalization and virtual event experiences capitalizes on sponsor ROI and makes it easier to foster meaningful engagement, generate leads, and drive revenue, which works to benefit all parties involved.
Guest Blog Author Bio:
Victorio Duran III – RingCentral US
Victorio is the Associate SEO Director at RingCentral, a global leader in cloud-based communications and VoiP Phone Service. He has over 13 years of extensive involvement on web and digital operations with diverse experience as web engineer, product manager, and digital marketing strategist.