How To Increase Event Sponsorship
There’s nothing more draining than barely breaking even on an event, or worse still, your costs running into the red. Getting sponsors on board helps ease the financial strain and can help put you back ahead, where you should be.
What You Need To Approach Potential Sponsors:
Know Your Brand
You’ll need to arm yourself with all your statistics from past events. Know your brand well, what it represents, and who it caters to. Know inside and out all the avenues you currently use for promotion, as well as those you’re thinking of pursuing.
If you can’t sell yourself well, then potential sponsors certainly aren’t going to give you a second thought. If sales and marketing aren’t your strong suits, start learning, start practicing, or get someone else to be your spokesperson.
Listen To Them
This first thing you’ll need to do is start thinking less like yourself, and more like the marketing departments of your targeted companies.
You’ll need to work closely with your sponsors to determine what they want from your event. Do they want on-site advertising space? Do they want audience analytics to feed back into their marketing? Do they want access to a new demographic?
Your main aim from initial talks with sponsors will be figuring out what is important to them from the relationship.
Cast all your preconceptions about the brand aside and nut out what they actually want – and what provides you both good value.
Ad Space Errrwhere
The most obvious of sponsoring opportunities, giving your sponsors ad space. The places you can splash their brand are endless. On event posters, on emails, on your website, on flyers and booklets, on an event app, shout outs on social media, logos on staff uniforms, lanyards. Anywhere and everywhere is a good spot to advertise.
Saying this, you should be careful not to over saturate with any one sponsor across all mediums.
Opt-in email lists, or signs ups on the day give your sponsor access to an untapped lead stream. People are generally happy to give up their email address in exchange for some interesting content, a chance to win, or vouchers. Just make sure you have everything included about signing up in the small print.
Post Event Marketing
Continue representing your sponsors well after your event has finished. Use follow up newsletters, shout outs, etc to extend the sponsorship timeline.
If you’re doing merchandise, a well-placed brand logo on a t-shirt, hat or cup can be gold to a sponsor. Suggest collaboration with their brand artists and yours for a unique spin on your merchandise.
Sponsored contests can be run in the lead-up to the event – maybe having your audience include the brand in a hashtagged contest via Instagram to win tickets. Contests can be run during the event – perhaps scratch cards over a bar to win branded prizes. Contests can even be run post event – provide feedback to win X from our sponsors.
Give Your Sponsors Audience Data
Give your sponsors value elsewhere, rather than the traditional methods. Gather deep data on your audience by leveraging technology in your favour.
Have sex and DOB from ticket purchases? You can pass these demographics along. Have a schedule that attendees can tailor to what they want to see? You can determine where their interests lie. Have details on what the best selling items were? This may be of interest too.
Work the Long Game
A brand you can work with in the long term saves you time and money on your next event. Build your relationship with the marketing department. See if you can draw up a contract for your next three events, or the next six months.
If the fit is right, you should be aiming for long-term partnerships with each business.
Offer Your Sponsors Something New
Whether it’s a new market audience or a different location, if you can offer something your competitors can’t, a sponsor is more likely to sign up. Think the brand name in your event title, on-site sampling, customer focus groups and special benefits for their staff who attend.
Be Open To Alternatives
Sponsorships can pay for infrastructure, drinks, media platforms and advertising costs. If you can’t work out a cash deal for sponsorship, focus on other options such as exchange of goods and services.
You may need a business car, so get a car company on board. If you don’t own lighting, think about getting a lighting company to hire their setup to you in exchange for ad space.
Before you approach potential sponsors, during the event life span, and afterwards, when reflecting on lessons learned.
Engage deeply with sponsored companies as well as your customers to find the right balance. If you’re not capitalizing on sponsorship opportunities, you’re missing out on extra funds that may be available to you.