Dear Sponsors, My Event is Your Event
Recently, etouches created a post for social tables, 'Event Sponsorship: 4 Ways to Court a Sponsor', where they gave event professionals a few tips on how to get companies to invest in your event. It starts with building relationships, showing value, giving them an unbelievable offer and teaching them how to engage with attendees.
"We wanted to go a step further with more tips, tricks and ways to seal the deal with event sponsors. Our skilled and seasoned team of professionals at etouches came together to show you how to engage sponsors by saying a simple phrase, 'my event is your event'."
Know what they want
Potential sponsors are choosing to be a part of your event because they are expecting to see some kind of return on investment, hopefully a big one. While you can't guarantee a big return, you can give them a little peace of mind by letting them know the buying power of your event audience. If you let potential sponsors know that your audience is capable of buying and that there will be big decision makers in attendance, it may put their sponsorship contract on the fast track.
Once you have the attention of some companies, you need to create your sponsorship proposals. Skip the usual sponsorship packages and create packages that are targeted to the needs of these companies. The key is to listen to what they want, without compromising your bottom line goal.
When you reach out to potential sponsors, see if they have any great ideas that will bring more innovation to your event and help them to meet their marketing goals. Then, create a sponsorship package together that has your event goals in mind, but also meets the needs of your sponsor. Team work is very important and your sponsors will remember that you took the time to make sure that their needs were met.
Don't treat them as a cash machine, but as a partner
As said, team work is important and you need to stand together with a common goal in mind - to have a successful event. Sometimes in order to get sponsors on your side you need to show them that they are a part of your team and not just funding your event. This may mean offering them a little something extra to give them brand awareness or a bigger ROI.
- The small plus: a demo table during lunch, an email blast the week before, or an interview onsite.
- Include them in the event debrief after the event to get their feedback.
- Allow them the opportunity to have some positive buzz when you partner with a charity for the event, or give them the opportunity to co-create content to be published before or after the event.
Convince sponsors with the right speech and timing
Understand that for different sponsors and contacts you are going to need to approach things in a different way. What might appeal to one person, may not to the next. For example, a sales person is going to respond positively to leads. When you speak with them, make sure that you mention the big decision makers that will be at your event and the amount of attendees. On the other hand, when you work with a marketer you are going to need to show them concrete data - results from last year, differentiation, added value and opportunities. They will also care a great deal about the price of the sponsorship.
Everyone has objectives that they need to hit in order to achieve their goals, so educate yourself. Show people that your event is the right event for them. That means you need to know your target audience, behavior of the target (will they buy), results from last year, potential reach, market size and more. Seriously, do your research - you will get asked these questions. Would you buy a house without looking at the market value and having an official inspection? No, it is too risky. Don't make the decision to invest in your event risky for your sponsors.
Finally, make sure you know when to pitch your event. Most businesses make their sponsorship decisions in the last quarter of the year, so plan accordingly! It will take several months to get approval on sponsorships from the right people, so make sure you have your pitches out months before that.
Where do you find them?
Now that you have a plan on how to get your sponsors, you need to know where to find them. You can't just type into Google, "sponsors for technology event". You need to do your research. See what companies make sense for you to have on board and if you can get referrals from others. Here are our tips on where to look:
- Social media. LinkedIn is a great way to find the right sponsors by searching through groups. You can see what their interests are, their company and where they have done business before.
- Create an advisory board with previous sponsors to help attract future sponsors. Your past sponsors can give feedback on sponsorship incentives/ideas/targets.
- Create a referral program with others sponsors, so they can recommend key people in the industry and act as references to share what they gained.
Sponsorship will always be a win, win situation. It is a good way for you to enhance your event financially and add new services, entertainment or learning for your attendees. On the other hand, it is good for the sponsors because they have the chance to create new business, have more brand awareness and hopefully a good ROI. When you are in the process of courting sponsors, creating packages and convincing people to invest in your event, think of it as a journey of discovery. You are embarking on a new relationship with an organization and get the chance to collaborate - it is more than just a hunt for money! Even if money is key...