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  • Jennifer Kerhin, MBA, CEM

A Guide to Virtual Meeting and Sponsorship Opportunities

With face-to-face meetings on temporary hold, virtual opportunities can help associations educate their members. Members may be searching for the valuable education that only your association can provide. Create or repackage important education that your members want and need!


To help fund these opportunities, consider these options for your organizations as you navigate through the difficult process of event postponements and cancellations.


Online Education

Virtual Town Hall – Invite industry experts to participate in a virtual town hall discussing how COVID-19 might affect your industry. An association leader can be the moderator with both invited experts as well as content experts from sponsors. Questions can be asked from members through your virtual meeting technology (Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc.), email and social media.

  • Give sponsors content exposure by inviting their chosen speaker to participate.

  • Give sponsors brand awareness by showcasing their logo in email communications and online during the town hall.

Meet the Experts Panel – Host a panel of industry experts to participate in a webinar discussing any industry information. An association leader can be the moderator with both invited experts as well as content experts from sponsors. Unlike the virtual town hall, no questions can be asked. However, this content can be archived for reference.

  • Give sponsors content exposure by inviting their chosen speaker to participate.

  • Give sponsors brand awareness by showcasing their logo in email communications and online during the panel.

Webinar – Offer educational webinars to your members. Demonstrate your organization’s expertise through an online webinar with expert speakers and Q&A. Companies that are aligned with these content topics could be ideal sponsors. They could help provide speakers and content that could help your members.

  • Give sponsors content exposure by inviting their chosen speaker to participate.

  • Give sponsors brand awareness by showcasing their logo in email communications and online during the webinar.

Repackage Recent Educational Sessions

You may have had some recent educational sessions that would be quite valuable to attendees. Look through your archives – discover what education can be repackaged as a webinar. Invite your members for a virtual “brown bag lunch educational session.”

  • Give sponsors brand awareness by showcasing their logo in email communications and online during the brown bag lunch educational session.

Virtual Posters Gallery & Poster Awards Online Contest

Did your current postponed or cancelled meeting have posters? This opportunity is an excellent way in which to showcase your poster authors’ valuable work while providing virtual education to your members. You don’t need to wait for a face-to-face meeting to present these posters! There are many event technologies that offer online poster galleries.

  • Give sponsors brand awareness by showcasing their logo in email communications and online at the virtual posters’ gallery.

Poster Awards Online Contest

Launch an online poster gallery for your members. Have them review and vote on the “People’s Choice Award.” Or create some fun, new awards for today’s environment. Maybe “Best Poster to Read during Remote Work?”

  • Let sponsors choose a poster award that attendees can vote upon.

Virtual Tradeshow

Company Product/Service Showcase

No exhibit hall? Your exhibitors can still showcase their product/services to your attendees. You can create a Company Showcase on the conference website. Have exhibitors post their product photos, descriptions, flyers and videos. Send out eblasts inviting members to review this showcase. Make it interesting by adding games and prizes!

  • Let exhibitors post photos, descriptions, flyers, and videos.

Gamification

Add a sponsored scavenger hunt to your conference website where members can search for QR codes. They can still scan the QR codes on most event technology games. The members answer the sponsor trivia questions to win prizes. Or create new trivia game through online forms.

  • Sponsors add trivia questions, specific to the company.

  • Give sponsors brand awareness by showcasing their logo in email communications and online.



Digital Communications/Advertisements

Eblast

Your organization may not have a current sponsored eblast policy. With face-to-face meetings temporarily cancelled, you may wish to revisit this policy. Sponsors want to reach your members and eblasts can be the easiest and fastest manner for member access. Please note that you can limit sponsored eblasts to certain dates and times. You can also dictate the length and type of messaging and graphics. All eblasts will have to be approved by your organization.

  • Sponsors create eblast (text and graphic) to be sent out

Enewsletters

Most associations have digital newsletters. Add a section for sponsored content. Review your advertising rates and plans. Possibly add additional banner locations or additional price options.

  • Sponsors create content to add to your Enewsletter.

  • Sponsors create banner advertisement for your Enewsletter.

Conference website

So...your meeting is postponed or canceled. Make your conference website the hub for information/education opportunities that are listed above.


Just like a physical conference, showcase your education - your new virtual education. Place the Virtual Town Hall, educational webinars, and Meet the Experts on your conference website. Consider using a rotating banner of sponsor ads on this conference website.


Retargeted advertising

Maybe you’ve used retargeted advertising for your attendee marketing. There are many technology portals that can help your retargeted advertising. Did you realize that this technology can also be used for monetization for sponsors? Companies can purchase online retargeted advertising that will reach your attendees.

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