5 Strategies for Getting Sponsors to Say Yes
The strategies you use to gain event sponsors can be a make-it or break- it moment for your events
Why do companies participate in sponsorship activities for events? The short and sweet answer is to drive ROI for their businesses. Event sponsorship is considered as a way for businesses to extend their reach and the participation in such events is the stepping stone towards financial success. When done right, sponsorships strengthen both parties' brands and long-term goals.
The results of EXHIBITOR’s Trade Show Sponsorship Survey indicate that the vast majority of sponsors invest an average of 9% of their exhibit-marketing budgets on trade show sponsorships. Further claims from these results indicate that more than half of the respondents say that sponsorships have helped them improve client-prospect relationships, boost brand awareness, booth traffic, and sales leads.
Ideally, sponsors should be viewed as partners who contribute to the success of their events. In order to make sponsorship compelling, organizers must go above and beyond and express this from the moment they establish contact with a sponsor.
Brands regularly seize the chance to sponsor events, especially those that precisely match their target market. Your ability to tailor your sponsorship to your sponsors' challenges in finalizing a contract will increase as you better grasp their demands.
Strategies to gain sponsorship
As mentioned before, establishing a strong sponsor event strategy is the key to driving ROI, but it is still one of the most challenging goals to achieve for organizers. Here are five strategies to implement when securing event sponsorship:
- Do your research (inside and out)
If you are targeting certain companies or businesses to be sponsors at your event, you should do your homework first and read up on them. Check out their website, press releases, social media, and news sites to see their content and whether it is relevant. Find out and research any recent events they participated in, whether they’ve launched a new product, had changes in the company or leadership, etc. By knowing your potential sponsors inside out and by weaving this information into your proposal, you are showing how serious you are about having them on as sponsors, showcasing how sponsoring your event can provide them that added benefit.
Whether it is a new product launch or if they’ve just had a rebrand, highlight your event as the place to unveil this to their intended audience.
While all this external research is great, don’t forget to look internally. You are bound to have some assets that will help you with your pitch. Conduct a thorough asset analysis of your current and previous events and programs. What past data do you have that would resonate with your potential sponsors? Harness the information you can use from these assets and bring them up during your discussions.
- Outreach is key
Who you reach out to, when you seek them out, and how you do it is vital to the success of your sponsor outreach.
There can be several stakeholders involved in event sponsorships in a company, or at times, there may be just one decision-maker. Applying the multi-touch rule here could be advantageous.
Blindly reaching out to obvious job titles like events coordinators or sponsorship managers might be more difficult with companies you don’t have a relationship with, as you and hundreds of others in your place would try to get connected to them. Start by covering your bases: your own contacts - Those who don’t say no. Previous sponsors, regular speakers or attendees, these are friends and allies for your event sponsorship; They trust you, as they know the ins and outs of your events, and know the benefits they stand to gain by participating. They’re familiar with your organization and may be able to introduce you to their network. For instance, the vendors you work with. They’ve probably worked on countless other events, maybe even those similar to yours. See how you can strike a deal with them to get an introduction to their network.
Cold outreach is last - but certainly not least. Although it is a much bigger ordeal, it is worth it. It’s a lengthy process, and they might not agree to a sponsorship at this time, but think of it as a long-term investment and nurture this relationship for the next time. Use the research you’ve conducted and the networks that you have. Start and work your way up to get to the right decision-makers.
Now here is where you need to determine your angle and approach. Who your point of contact is will determine how you pitch and perform your outreach. Sponsorship expert Joe Waters, emphasizes on the three kinds of decision-makers you would deal with - the Thinkers, the Feelers, and the Deferrers.
Thinkers? They’re all about logic, facts and figures, data etc. Explain the rationale behind why this event sponsorship would be beneficial to them. Present data and statistics showing exactly this to drive their decision to support the event sponsorship.
Next are the Feelers. Here, emotional connection is key. Appeal to them by sharing the narrative that your event and organization has and how their participation as sponsors will contribute to more meaning and fulfillment for all the parties involved. Do you have a shared mission? Great! That would be a talking point for getting them to respond better.
And finally, there are the Deferrers. Simply put, they are like the kids at school who want to join the “cool crowd”. They look up to them, want to be like them, admire them. It’s about reputation and credibility. Here is where your prior research comes in. Talk about other companies sponsoring your event, even better if there are any competitors. Not only that, highlight any of the who’s who attending or speaking at your event. These high profile figures definitely are a selling point. Hey, if your event is worth the investment to them, shouldn’t it be taken into consideration?
Lastly, timing is crucial when reaching out for event sponsorships. You need to be wise and prospect-centric when it comes to this. It's important to start early and avoid pitching during the holiday season; focus on individuals who can offer the best return on investment.
- Attractive proposals
Your proposal or prospectus is probably the first thing event managers would pay attention to when considering events to attend or sponsor. Do you have the right target audience? What does your attendee demographic look like? Who has participated in these events before? Does it align with your prospective sponsors’ company goals? Answering these questions, and providing the right answers, would get your foot in the door.
This is incredibly relevant when securing event sponsorship, and why you should always work together with prospective sponsors to identify their goals and values, and provide data-driven metrics and statistics to validate why they should sponsor your event. Don’t just focus on the benefits during the event, mention the pre-event and post-event benefits they would gain. Remember you’re playing the long game. Pique their interest and continue to engage in the conversation.
- Sponsorship deals and incentives
How you design your sponsorship packages can greatly influence your event sponsorship prospects.
Traditionally we know event sponsorship packages to follow a tiered structure, most commonly Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze levels. Each tier would have an allotted number of slots, with the more rare packages having fewer slots, and have varying levels of sponsorship benefits. This works fine, and a number of events continue to use this structure.
Here’s the problem. Not everyone has the same budget when it comes to sponsoring events and not everyone finds the predetermined sponsor benefits ideal for them and their own success metrics. More and more event organizers are coming up with customized sponsorship opportunities, providing a win-win solution for both you and your sponsors. This is where the a-la-carte model comes in.
Much like its name suggests, the a-la-carte sponsorship model allows prospective sponsors to pick and choose only the benefits and features that they want - sort of like choosing your toppings at a sandwich shop, only the ones to your liking. Maybe in this case, it could be just a speaking session, or their logo on the website and screen during the event, or branded merchandise/ break-out rooms. Be creative and collaborate with your prospective sponsors to ensure you both have a happy outcome.
- Leverage the use of event technology
In order to secure event sponsorships, it is important to provide value and increased ROI for companies involved. This is where you can leverage event technology. How do your sponsors evaluate the added value of participating in your event? Through data, data, and data. This is what you should pitch to your prospective sponsors. Event tech should support you in providing sponsors with the valuable information and analytics they need to get the big picture.
Partnering with a third-party vendor that can help you achieve this and more is crucial. Jublia has over a decade of experience helping their partners boost engagement and profitability through capturing event data analytics.
Features such as Jublia Scan, the AI-powered lead scanning and retrieval solution allow sponsors to capture information from booth visits. Sponsors and exhibitors can gather rich data points and learn valuable insights such as the attendees’ interests and behavior (e.g. how many attended your sponsored session? How many viewed your products?) to be used for strategizing purposes.
Jublia also assists in providing ad space in the form of visual exposure and sponsored sessions, or by providing profile up-ranking as a way to incentivize sponsors or users to create high-quality profiles that stand out from the crowd. Sponsors can leverage these features and attain maximum exposure to the attendees before, during and post-event.
Additionally, Jublia’s Match 360° feature leverages AI matchmaking algorithms to ease business matching and networking from the pre-event stage. Sponsors can leverage profile up-ranking to have people from their companies shown more prominently. The algorithm can also intelligently recommend matches, and sponsors are able track the number of business meetings created and conducted, contributing to the sponsor’s ROI metrics.
Ensure that you are equipping your event with the right tools to assist in the event experience for not only your attendees but your sponsors as well.
Flawless Event Execution with Jublia
In the words of Morris Chang, “without a strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless”, identifying the tips and strategies to use to get the most out of your sponsorship plans is pointless without the proper execution. Give your event and your sponsors the value that they deserve. To find out how Jublia’s solutions can provide said value, speak to our Solution Specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow our LinkedIn page to get the latest updates!