How to Design an Event Sponsorship Package
Event Sponsorship Package Basics
Sponsors have always been a crucial source of revenue for events, and that is even more true now that virtual and hybrid events are as common as in-person meetings. With so much competition for audience attention, how can you ensure that you’re offering competitive and valuable in-person, virtual and hybrid event sponsorship package options? How can event platforms make the difference?
Ranked presence in digital/social/mobile media the most valuable sponsorship benefit
State developing new sponsorship packages was the primary strategy to increase sponsorship revenue
Are in the process of developing new sponsorship categories
Are focused on finding new sponsor benefits that were previously unavailable
Looking for detailed advice on designing an event sponsorship package that will be competitive in today’s market?
Since the widespread adoption of virtual events in 2020, there have been some clear challenges regarding the value of sponsorship packages for virtual events. A recent study by UFI and Explori revealed that exhibitors think in-person events are better than virtual events for ROI, representing their brand, generating leads, overall experience, and networking. However, it appears that familiarity with virtual can change these attitudes. The same research discovered that as exhibitors become more familiar with virtual events, they begin to see the value virtual event sponsorship packages can provide through ROI and leads generated.
Some common sponsor goals include:
Increasing awareness around a new product launch
Reaching out to a new target audience
Increasing brand awareness with an existing audience
Building relationships and engaging with a relevant community
Repositioning a brand that has become stagnant
Aligning a brand with social responsibility/CSR initiatives
Despite some of the early challenges, virtual events have created more opportunities than ever before for sponsors to increase their brand awareness and connect with their communities. Event planners must understand their sponsors’ goals and clearly present sponsorship packages tailored to achieving those goals to capitalize on this.
An event sponsorship package is essentially your “pitch” on why potential sponsors should choose your event over other events or channels they could invest their budget. That’s why it’s critical to understand the goals and objectives of any existing and potential new sponsors.
More than ever, sponsors are demanding customized event sponsorship packages with the best ROI available. Two benefits sponsors value most are:
- The ability to establish connections with attendees
- Opportunities for maximum brand exposure.
You’ll want to offer as many opportunities as possible for face-to-face interactions, in-person and/or online, depending on the format of your event. You’ll also need to provide sponsors with high-visibility opportunities to share their brand messaging into your event content wherever possible. Address all of these needs in your event sponsorship package offerings, and you’re guaranteed to yield excellent event revenues and loyal sponsors who return year after year.
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The two most common ways to approach building event sponsorship packages are:
- Tiered Sponsorship Model: This is the traditional approach where a variety of features are included in the event sponsorship package offerings, depending on the sponsorship level
- À La Carte Sponsorship Model: This approach is commonly used to serve sponsors with specific needs or goals, so flexibility and customization in their event sponsorship package are key
1) The Tiered Sponsorship Model
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to build a tiered sponsorship model that includes event technology features:
Step 1: Create Tier Levels
Tiers are commonly labeled as Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Exhibitor, but you have lots of creative freedom to name the levels whatever you think best fits your event theme or brand. It’s your chance to make it sound fun and appealing to sponsors.
Remember that both your in-person event app and virtual event space provide plenty of opportunities for visual cues to signal sponsorship level. When choosing labels for your virtual events, it’s a good idea to think about what sorts of badges or ribbons you can use to highlight each level of sponsorship. Every part of the virtual conference sponsorship package should help to elevate the sponsor’s status and drive traffic to their virtual booths.
Step 2: Decide Quantities Per Tier
The next step is to determine how many event sponsorship packages of each tier level you need to sell in order to achieve your event revenue goals. The more limited the quantity, the more you can charge for the sponsorship package because of its exclusivity. This will also encourage sponsors to commit earlier so you’re able to better predict your revenue and plan your event.
The same principle applies to the features included within each sponsorship tier — especially the most high-value offerings like prime scheduling slots for branded content. When it comes to the virtual sphere, your most popular sessions are equivalent to the trade show floor space that draws the highest foot traffic. If only your top sponsors are allowed to contribute to a keynote panel discussion, for example, exhibitors will rush to snatch up your premium event sponsorship packages.
Step 3: Distribute Sponsorship Benefits Per Tier
The higher and more exclusive the tier, the greater the number of high-value benefits. Rank your benefits by value, and start decreasing what’s available as you scale down your tiers. This will allow sponsors to choose the tier that works best for them, increasing your overall opportunities for sponsorship.
2) The À La Carte Sponsorship Model
The à la carte sponsorship model is an alternative model for sponsors seeking to achieve specific goals or outcomes. This can include attendee engagement or brand exposure. Below is an example of à la carte sponsorship offerings based on the event lifecycle stages.
- Include the sponsor’s logo on your event registration page and any marketing communications promoting the event, such as registration invite emails.
- Provide social media shout outs to promote sponsors.
- Promote your sponsors’ speakers to encourage session attendance
- Include pre-event sponsored giveaways when promoting registration (physical prizes can be mailed to online participants together with swag bags, or they can be awarded through digital coupons, gift certificates, and discounts).
2. During the event
Digital Brand Exposure
- Highlight top-tier sponsors with banner ads on the mobile event app and virtual event space home screen.
- Feature the sponsor’s logo and include a detailed profile in the mobile event app and virtual event platform sponsorship section.
- Highlight the sponsor’s logo on the results window/graphic for all live polls and the home screen.
- Include links to downloadable resources provided by the sponsor, such as brochures or product collateral.
- If your event uses gamification, include challenges where attendees need to visit sponsors’ exhibitor booths (either physically or online) to collect codes. Award extra points and prizes for more in-depth interactions with sponsors.
- Promote sponsor offers and/or giveaways that can be included in gamification challenges or sponsored raffles.
- Enable sponsors to connect with attendees via sponsored group discussions, private chat, and 1:1 meetings.
- Help sponsors create a more personal connection with attendees by hosting breakout sessions with targeted groups, either on-site or in interactive breakout rooms online.
- Send targeted alerts or push notifications with the sponsor’s logo.
- Send sponsored emails to a targeted segment of your audience.
On-site Brand Exposure
- Place the sponsor’s logo on any printed and/or digital marketing materials/signage displayed in the event registration area or theatres.
- Incorporate the sponsor’s logo into the show design by creating floor tiles for high-value sponsors with arrows pointing towards their stand.
- Offer sponsors the option to rig a physical banner above the show floor so that it can be seen from all corners of the expo hall.
- Include the sponsor’s logo and/or mention them in the post-event email or survey sent to attendees.
- Incorporate sponsor content into an ongoing library of on-demand video content, embed links to their virtual booth or website and add contact information in the session description.
Event Sponsorship Examples
Now that you know what goes into the two main types of event sponsorship packages, how do you actually put one together so you can start promoting it?
You can try out both models (and even see examples!) by downloading these free templates:
Next Steps: Designing Your Event Sponsorship Packages
The fundamentals of event sponsorship packages remain the same whether the event is in-person, hybrid or virtual. Sponsors are looking for opportunities to connect with your attendees and maximize their brand exposure.
The rise of virtual and hybrid events means that event tech has become a mainstay of the event industry, with the in-person audience at hybrid events reliant on event apps to stay engaged and informed. And as you may have noticed from our list of à la carte sponsor features, many sponsor benefits apply equally to the in-person mobile event app as to the virtual event platform.
The important thing is to provide your sponsors with the option to choose the right event sponsorship package for their needs. Do they want you to make it simple for them by creating all-in-one packages using a tiered model? Or would they rather have the flexibility of an à la carte system? Mobile event apps and virtual event platforms make it easy to incorporate both approaches into your sponsorship model.