Every event, regardless of whether it’s a press conference, an exhibition, a private gathering or even a music festival, is ripe for backing from sponsors. A big event can attract tens of thousands of people through its doors, giving advertisers the chance to get their brand in front of a huge crowd of people.
Smaller events are also primed for involvement from sponsors, provided the right sort of opportunities can help the investor gain a return on their investment. Consider the sponsoring of specific categories at an industry award ceremony, where advertisers can receive free tables to help them entertain clients on the night, or an option to speak at a private event.
A creative mind can find a sponsor for just about anything; from a table to a stand, across to an area of the venue or even the event itself. You too can adopt a smart approach to selling sponsorship packages if you’re prepared to leave no stone unturned in finding the right people to take them.
Here are five easy tips we’ve picked up from companies that are using our platform to run sponsor-rich events:
Develop a list of prospects
Starting with the very basic matters, it pays to have something which outlines key sponsors, what they sell and the scale of their operation.
All too often you’ll find a salesperson trying to get a very small company to purchase their top-tier package. Some are too kind to say “no” at the start, leading to weeks upon weeks of failed attempts at converting the opportunity.
You can start to outline potential big spenders by connecting your event management platform to a CRM in order to gather information on past attendees. If someone has been to the last couple of events, perhaps they’d like to increase their presence next year? Once you’ve established a good list of prospects, you can work on creating the packages that suit their business.
Match companies to offers
The level up to having knowledge of sponsors would be to actually craft opportunities around who they are. For instance, if I’m a business operating in the mobile app space, I might be interested in a package that includes sponsoring the official event app due to its marriage to my core values.
Some events will go above and beyond with very unique opportunities to cater for their top investors, like Bavarian beer gardens for sponsors based in Germany, or networking areas for businesses that connect people or things.
If you want to really impress the sponsors, you’ll have to go the extra mile to learn about each company and their brand connotations.
Get there early
The weeks leading up to an event can be a hubbub of organised chaos, fuelled by the sales reps that need to sell the last few opportunities. Every year they’ll rue the chance to start selling a little earlier, but does this ever happen?
As soon as the dust has settled on a recurring event, each salesperson should be organising meetings with existing sponsors to gauge their feedback and areas for improvement before presenting options for the new year. This plants the seed early doors and in a way that isn’t too pushy.
Other approaches might see the use of an email marketing tool, connected to data from an event management platform, to send reminders around sponsorship opportunities to past attendees. Again, this is about keeping the topic on their mind so they are almost anticipating a follow-up when it comes.
Giving yourself a good lead time is an easy route towards ensuring a calmer process of looking for sponsors and getting them on board.
Speak to decision makers
Regardless of what you’re selling, whether that’s sponsorship of the entire event or just a type of lanyard, the money will need to be signed off by a decision maker. One error that a lot of junior salespeople make is to get too far in a conversation with someone that has no authority to actually spend money at their company.
Plenty can suggest sponsorship opportunities to their bosses or pass on a message, but only a select few can actually provide the green light. Where possible and appropriate, you should be asking anyone beneath the c-level about the structure of their business and who makes their decisions.
You don’t need to avoid speaking to the initial contact; just suggesting a call with them and their boss provides a way of passing the torch to ensure you’re closer to the investment.
Don’t forget the pre-event build-up
Every organiser should be aware of the work that goes into marketing an event before it can open its doors to attendees. Modern-day events have their own websites, social media accounts, apps, blogs and podcasts, each of which beam out messages on a regular basis.
According to research, 74% of consumers engaging with branded event marketing content are more likely to purchase from their sponsor. With that in mind, and provided you can sell the packages early enough, you can effectively incorporate sponsors into some of the activities you’re using to drum up excitement around the event.
For example, if your plan is to commit to bi-weekly episodes of an organiser’s podcast, there is no harm in having a sponsor that is also a recognised industry figure to interview for it. This gives you fresh content and the backing of an extra company to help promote the episode. At the same time, you are making the sponsor feel valued and involved, which is a great place to start.