Organizing a successful event requires not only meticulous planning and execution but also the support of sponsors who share your vision. Securing sponsors can significantly elevate your event’s reach, impact, and success. However, attracting sponsors is an art that demands careful strategy and effective communication. In this blog, we will guide you through the essential steps to attract sponsors for your event. From identifying the right sponsors to crafting compelling sponsorship proposals, we’ll help you navigate the process and build fruitful partnerships that contribute to your event’s triumph. Get ready to unlock the secrets of sponsor attraction and take your event to new heights!
WHAT IS AN EVENT SPONSOR?
An event sponsor, or event sponsorship, is how many businesses advertise their brand by sponsoring or supporting an event. They provide financial assistance in exchange for brand exposure to a diverse range of highly engaged and receptive attendees.
Marketing professionals understand the value of ensuring that their organizations sponsor relevant events, and 41% of marketers feel that event marketing is a critical channel for driving business outcomes and delivering robust ROI. Savvy marketers jump at sponsorship opportunities.
Businesses love this idea because it showcases their brand with the prominent placement of their logo at the event. It works well for everyone involved.
HOW EVENT SPONSORSHIP WORKS
Event sponsorship works in a few different ways. First, you can approach companies in a similar industry or market to yours, serving as a corporate sponsor. Sponsoring your event is a type of advertisement for colleagues where influential people and businesses take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their brand for greater awareness.
Another type of sponsorship works based on what is known as in-kind, or gift-in-kind, when the business provides goods or services for the event. This type of sponsorship works when the sponsoring entity provides tangible benefits specific to the event, such as the venue, furnishings, catering services, technology, or tools. They might also donate prizes and rewards for event competitions and other engagement activities.
HOW TO GET EVENT SPONSORS
While reaching out to get event sponsors might seem daunting at first, getting event sponsors isn’t as challenging as you might think once you establish the purpose of your event.
Here are some strategies to use to find the right event sponsors.
Identify Potential Event Sponsors
You might have your event completely mapped out and planned to the letter but still be foggy when it comes to sponsors. You’re not alone. It’s one of the more significant challenges that talented event organizers face. The best way to get started is to develop personas for your target sponsors.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help develop your sponsor persona:
- Who wants to sell to your event attendee base? This reverse-engineering strategy can help clarify which businesses and attendees you envision making connections at your event. Do these parties have mutual interests? Will your attendees be inclined to buy from your sponsors?
- What is the primary job title of those who sign sponsor contracts? If you miss the mark on this aspect of the persona, you might lose out on a valuable sponsorship. It’s vital to know that you are targeting the right individual within each organization to ensure you get the sponsorship and get it in time for your event. You should aim to contact the marketing team member or a decision-maker who understands the value of selling their product or service to your event attendees.
- Who sponsors your competitor’s events? Think about events similar to yours, then try to find out who your competitors invite to support their events. Visit their websites to determine whether they might appeal to your attendees (the chances are they will), and approach these sponsors. Find commonalities in your competitors’ events, and leverage those to appeal to prospective sponsors.
- What has worked in the past? If you have held any events in the past, reviewing what you did to determine what worked and what didn’t regarding sponsorships is important. The most vital question is whether you’re catering to sponsors who will find value in your event and make positive connections with attendees.
- What is the event’s focus, and what are your attendees’ interests? Ultimately, you want to ensure your attendees are engaged with the content you provide, making them feel open to learning more about your sponsors’ goods or services.
DEVELOP A SPONSORSHIP PROPOSAL AND REACH OUT TO PROSPECTIVE SPONSORS
Are you ready to extend an offer? It’s essential that you create one that is personalized and will grab their imagination. You want to help them envision what the event will look like and who will be present and receptive to their brand. The first thing you need to do is gather information about each brand, including the following:
- Name and title of the brand manager
- Products, services, or ideas within the business that complement your event and attendees
- Target market for the brand
- Overall brand marketing objectives
- Sponsorships they have done and how they have used them to achieve objectives
- How much advance notice the brand needs to participate in the event sponsorship
You can gather this vital information in various ways, from visiting the brand website and social media pages, to reading articles and blog posts about the brand.
Next, write your sponsorship proposal following these steps:
- Write a brief introduction and message about your business, your brand, and your experience in event management.
- Introduce your event and its intended purpose, laying out a clear itinerary of the event and the attendees.
- Share the names of any team members or business partners with whom you will be holding the event to let sponsors know about names they might later hear of persons they might later communicate with.
- List the benefits and ROI you expect them to enjoy.
- Provide the terms and conditions to ensure everyone understands the contract.
- Create a call to action, inviting them to contact you in various convenient ways.
What’s in it for Them? Benefits of Sponsoring Your Event
We touched on some benefits for sponsors earlier, but it’s worth adding more here:
- Brand visibility to a targeted audience
- Boosted consumer perception when a business is tied to high-profile events with happy and engaged attendees
- Efficient and effective lead generation all in one place
- High engagement with few competitors, if any
- Strengthens business image, showing goodwill
- Provides fresh material for enhanced content strategy
- Powerful and actionable attendee insights
- Builds new business relationships
Depending on the businesses you approach, not everyone can afford to offer the same dollar amounts for their sponsorship. You don’t want to price them out of the event, so offer tiers and associated benefits with each tier. Offer tiers that allow sponsors control over their choices and budget and make it easier for you to scale your plan to avoid customization hassles.
An example breakdown of tier sponsorship is outlined below:
- Logo Placement: The Sponsor’s logo will be displayed on the event website, promotional materials, and signage.
- Verbal Acknowledgment: Mention of the sponsor during the event’s opening/closing remarks or speeches.
- Social Media Exposure: Gratitude expressed on the event’s social media platforms.
- All Basic Tier Benefits: Includes all benefits of the Basic Tier.
- Booth Space: A designated area at the event venue for the sponsor to set up a booth or display.
- Increased Brand Visibility: Logo featured on digital screens or banners at prominent event locations.
- Promotion in Event Materials: The sponsor’s promotional materials are included in event attendee bags.
- All Basic and Mid-Tier Benefits: Incorporates all benefits of the Basic and Mid-Tiers.
- Exclusive Branding: Prominent logo placement on the main stage backdrop and event banners.
- Speaking Opportunity: Sponsor representative given a speaking slot during the event program.
- VIP Access: Invitations to special VIP events or after-parties.
HOW TO PROMOTE SPONSORS AT AN EVENT
Be sure not to invite a sponsor to your event and forget to acknowledge and promote them. Here are a few unique ways to let everyone know who made your event possible:
- Set up charging stations, setting a notification next to them indicating that they are provided by one of your sponsors.
- Plan a QR-Code scavenger hunt with QR clues leading to an event sponsor’s booth to pick up a prize.
- Ask sponsors to bring branded pens and mugs and ask that they offer branded T-Shirts and caps as prizes.
HOW TO THANK SPONSORS FOR AN EVENT
Expressing gratitude to sponsors is essential for fostering positive relationships and encouraging future support. After the event’s success, a thoughtful and personalized thank-you gesture goes a long way. Start by sending a heartfelt thank-you email or letter highlighting the impact of their contribution and the event’s achievements. Share photos and success stories to illustrate their role in making it all possible. Consider organizing a post-event appreciation gathering or a virtual meeting to extend your thanks and publicly acknowledge their support personally. Offering sponsor-specific perks, such as logo placements on your website or promotional materials, further shows appreciation. Thoughtful gestures, like sending branded gifts or certificates of appreciation, make sponsors feel valued and recognized. Continuously communicate to keep sponsors updated on the event’s outcomes and express interest in future collaborations. By conveying genuine gratitude, you build lasting partnerships that lay the foundation for continued sponsorship and a successful journey ahead.
LEVEL UP YOUR EVENT MANAGEMENT SKILLS TO ATTRACT SPONSORS EVERY TIME
Do you feel more confident about your event management and sponsorship skills? Building on your existing skills and experience is always helpful if you want to create memorable and influential events.
Take your event management career to the next level when you earn your MBA – Event Leadership online from Johnson & Wales University. To learn more about earning your degree online or at our Providence, Rhode Island campus, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881 or email [email protected].