We’ve discussed how to manage your attendees and your team for online events, so now it’s time to look at the next group: your stakeholders. Those that sponsor your event and those that attend in a vendor capacity, such as employers at a career fair, or vendors at a tradeshow. These are the people who support your event and help add substance. They contribute time and expertise, as well as the money you need to take your event to the next level. What they ask in return is access to your attendees, whether its to recruit, employ, network with, or sell their products or services to. Just because your event isn’t in-person, doesn’t mean you can’t give your stakeholders an amazing experience that is both meaningful and beneficial to them.
1. Prepare them
We can’t stress this enough – everything is different now, so you need to spell out for your stakeholders how they will be involved. Many are used to seeing their company names on banners or signage, being invited to cocktail hours and networking events, and those look very different for online events. Provide clear and informative sponsorship packages, how-to guides on the online platform you’ll be using, and even a rehearsal or virtual walkthrough with sponsors and vendors before the day of the event. If your stakeholders understand how your event is going to run, they’re going to be more likely to sign on, and will have an easier time interacting with your attendees. This is especially true if your have a virtual show floor with booths. Your vendors or employers are going to want to get in there and practice with the platform so they can have it set up just right when they begin engaging with attendees.
2. Get it branded
Just because we’re no longer in halls with banners and multimedia screens doesn’t mean you can’t show off your vendors and sponsors to your attendees. With all the communication you’ll be putting out to your attendees, there will be ample space to mention your stakeholders. You can sell space to sponsors to have their logos on the registration page or on the pre-event information packages. We’ve mentioned before that a great way to engage your attendees is to send them swag boxes for the event. By including gifts from your sponsors such a stress balls, branded cups, or lanyards, you’ll be ensuring that your stakeholders are making themselves known right in your attendees’ homes.
3. Get them involved
If what stakeholders really want is access to your attendees, give it to them. You want them involved with your event because they bring the expertise, so why not have some of your sponsors host their own speaker session, or sit on a panel? Many virtual platforms also allow for one-on-one meetings, which means your attendees can request to set up a time to video chat with your stakeholders and network with them. This allows a unique opportunity for your stakeholders and attendees to get to know each other and form great connections. Their involvement doesn’t always have to be about their particular area of expertise, either. If one of your stakeholders want to sponsor or even run the exercise break or a cooking demo, this is a great way for them to associate their name with the more fun and games part of the event. Having your stakeholders personally involved gives a guest far more insight into what it is these stakeholders do and how they might be relevant to their life.
4. Follow up
Your stakeholders will appreciate hearing the results of your event. How many people attended? How many times were the pages with their logo viewed? Was the attendee feedback positive? This data will help the determine their return on investment. Don’t forget to ask them for their feedback, as well as some anecdotes about their personal experiences. Did they have trouble using the platform? Did they meet any attendees to make business connections with? Did they have fun? This feedback helps you shape your future events and determine how you can better engage your stakeholders in the long run.
Stay tuned for our next blog to learn about how to navigate the new world of online events!