Your organization made the difficult decision to move your conference to a virtual platform. Now what? How do you ensure that your virtual event delivers ROI for exhibitors, and sponsors? Opportunities should emphasize virtual sponsorships, which generate more revenue than virtual exhibit booths. The key to any successful virtual conference hinges upon a prospectus tailored to capitalize on the event’s platform’s capabilities.
Our team has written more than a dozen successful virtual prospectus. We understand how virtual platforms work, and how to take advantage of their many features, and how to expertly create a unique virtual prospectus for your event.
Step 1: Emphasize the Benefits of Your Virtual Event
You can’t hold your meeting in person. But you can convey the upside of a virtual event which include:
Increased attendance – We are seeing multiple times the number of attendees at virtual events.
Decreased cost of participation – Exhibitors and sponsors don’t need to pay for travel and lodging.
Higher Visibility – The audience for virtual events is international and content is available for weeks or months, rather than days.
Detailed Analytics – Exhibit booth visit and sponsored session analytics are comprehensive and readily available.
Step 2: Develop a Financial Model
At a live event, exhibits provide more revenue than sponsorships. This is flipped for a virtual event. You should model revenue from three sources:
Attendee Registration – 25%-100% of live event revenue
Exhibits and Sponsorships – 25%-75% of live event revenue
Sponsorships in your prospectus should include both comprehensive packages which include a booth and a sponsorship, and also la carte items.
Content is the greatest revenue generator at virtual events.
Step 3: Learn the Virtual Platform
You must thoroughly understand your virtual platform in order to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. For this reason, our staff at Sponsorship Boost recommends the CadmiumCD platform. The learning curve on platforms is steep, and you need to know every promotional opportunity the platform you choose offers, how to build those features, and how to pull the analytics that provide ROI for exhibitors and sponsors.
Step 4: Find Equivalent Virtual Sponsorships
Once you have a firm grasp of what your virtual platform can do, make a list of your traditional in-person sponsorships and match each item with a comparable virtual sponsorship. For instance a sponsored exhibit hall demonstration matches well with a virtual on-demand educational session. Floor stickers in the live exhibit hall are a good match with a banner ad during a virtual live stream. A scavenger hunt on the exhibit hall floor can be replaced with a virtual scavenger hunt or other gamification. Methodically matching your in-person and virtual sponsorships will give you a balanced prospectus with opportunities for everyone.
Step 5: Categorize your Virtual Sponsorships
Make certain that you have virtual sponsorships in important categories, and develop new sponsorships if necessary. Be creative, and remember that in the virtual world, content is king. Sponsors find ROI in opportunities to share their message with attendees.
Access – Video chat, collaborative rooms, polling
Advertising – Website ad, banner ad, sponsor tiles, mobile app splash screen
Brand Awareness – Poster gallery logo, educational session logo
Content – On demand educational sessions, livestream educational sessions
Lead Generation – Scavenger hunt, giveaways
Promotion – eblasts, directional signage
Step 6: Create Your Virtual Booth Options
Offer Standard booth features to entice exhibitors who are still unsure about the ROI of a virtual event or who have a lower budget. Features which add substance and visual appeal can be offered in a Premium booth for companies willing to pay for them.
The success of your virtual meeting begins with the prospectus. Remember that your sponsors and exhibitors will require more hand holding, starting with the sales process and continuing through the event. They will want to see what you are selling, so be prepared with examples of the virtual platform’s features, including the tile screen, livestream examples, and sample virtual booths. With careful planning and creativity your virtual event will be a success!