Many organisations are not in a position to organise and manage their events without some serious sponsorship. The cost of hosting an event, and to do it well, is considerable. Well-known, respected sponsors can not only mitigate some of the costs involved, but also give your event other important benefits.
Association with a leading brand in your sector provides an endorsement for your event that can help you secure speakers and other sponsors, as well as driving attendees through your doors. Additional marketing and promotional support may also be available, helping you reach a wider audience through your sponsor’s network and connections.
Attracting Event Sponsorship
Successful event sponsorship is about having a deep understanding of your target audience. Firstly, you don’t want to alienate your prospective attendees by aligning your event with a sponsor they don’t relate to. Secondly, you are unlikely to attract sponsors unless your target audience is also their target audience.
As well as this your event ethos and objectives also need to be aligned with that of a potential sponsor. You can therefore save a lot of time by doing some substantial research into prospects and discounting those who are not a good fit.
Your pitch to a prospective sponsor needs to give them clear reasons for coming on board, and this needs to be supported across all your platforms. Making claims or statements to attract sponsors without substantiating them elsewhere is a red flag. For example, if you purport to be an innovative and exciting event but your website is conventional and dull, sponsors may question your authenticity.
Of course, if you’ve got metrics and other data from previous events, this can form the basis of any sponsorship request. Other supporting evidence such as previous marketing campaigns and previous sponsors will also provide prospects with good information to make a decision with.
Researching and understanding potential sponsors will also help you identify what level of sponsorship they may be interested in. Sponsorship packages are not just about cash, there are other more imaginative ways you can get top prospects to notice you and your event.
All communications, whether a pitch, package or information for sponsors on your website, should address the following three points:
- ROI – what are you offering the sponsor?
- Synergy – why should the sponsor want to be associated with your event?
- Support – how will deliver your promised ROI?
A useful tool to help prospects determine whether your event is right for them is to offer to conduct a pre-event questionnaire. Results from event registrants will help them determine if they are a good fit for your event and what level of sponsorship is appropriate for them.
Promoting Your Sponsors
Once you’ve secured a sponsor it is imperative that you deliver the ROI you promised. With the right sponsors this shouldn’t be a problem; if you’re proud to be associated with them and you know your attendees will be too, you won’t be tempted to stick their stand in an out-of-the-way location. Nor will you mind having their logo on your website or other branding displayed in your venue.
However, stick to the package you’ve agreed. Don’t let their marketing department override your team. There is a fine balance between giving sponsors the exposure they want, and fulfilling your other event goals. Upsetting your attendees with aggressive sponsorship promotions is not part of the deal.
How you promote your sponsors will depend entirely on your event, your target audience and the sponsors themselves. Typically it might include branded products, logos on event marketing materials, clothing, banners / displays / signage, a hosted reception or podium time, PR packages, social media exposure and so forth. The more closely aligned with your event objectives, the more engaging and successful these will be.
Post Event Engagement
Follow up after the event to show sponsors how it performed. What metrics you use to demonstrate that you delivered the ROI promised would depend very much on the objectives you had for the event, and the objectives the sponsor had for getting involved.
Attendance is obviously a key number to demonstrate ROI, as are website visits, social media engagement, relevant email open and click through rates, attendee satisfaction, press coverage etc. Along with the metrics you collate from your reporting, attendee questionnaires can also be used to qualify the success of an event and its value to sponsors.
However, only the sponsors themselves are likely to know the conversion rates for their involvement. A survey of your sponsors after an event can help provide this information and, if it’s been successful, give you more data to attract future sponsorship.
If you have come across any creative ways to promote sponsors at events you’ve attended, please let us know!