Sponsors not only make your big event financially possible, but they also help you promote the event! This partnership can help expand your reach and impact by throwing a better party and attracting a bigger crowd! If you include complimentary offers plus improved access to locations, media, and partners, and it becomes clear how important sponsorship can be. However, finding the right sponsors for your party can be particularly hard to navigate. Here are the top eight steps to creating a value proposition attracting the best sponsors for your event!
1. Research Top Potential Sponsors
Being focused about who you approach can help limit time spent courting sponsorships that will not materialize. First, think about what type of sponsors make sense for your event. Are there companies you’ve previously partnered with and had a good experience with? Are there local businesses that could benefit from advertising to your community? What about companies that might align with your particular theme? Then, make a list of all the companies to approach for potential sponsorship. What type of sponsorship package would appeal to each sponsor on your list? While some sponsors might value hanging branded banners and promotional materials for example, others may respond to event branding opportunities or exclusive supplier sponsorships.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
Providing detailed demographic data can help attract top sponsors and provide the best financial options. Potential sponsors want proof that your audience are part of their target market. So ask yourself, what is the profile of your attendees?
Take the time to do a little research and create some defining characteristics such as:
– Demographic information like age, gender, marital status, and education level
– Spending information like employment information, average income, and buying habits plus
This data is most effective when based on real numbers you’ve gathered from previous attendees. If you’re using an online ticketing service like Eventbrite, you can collect demographic data from within the purchase process. If you prefer keep your ticketing process more streamlined, consider using a separate survey tool like Survey Monkey to poll ticket buyers.
With a survey, you can ask tactical questions specific to your event or your sponsors’ needs, such as:
– What’s your favorite cocktail? (To approach alcoholic beverage company sponsors)
– Do you plan to take a cab, walk, or drive? (To approach rideshare sponsors such as Uber or Lyft)
– What types of festive appetizers are your favorite? (To approach food/hospitality sponsors)
Your ability to describe your audience in detail to sponsors can give you an advantage over other event organizers who aren’t as data savvy. You may discover new potential sponsorship partners that match your event demographics!
3. Build your Sponsorship Proposal
A sponsorship proposal provides details of your event/company, your audience, your proposal to the potential sponsor and what you expect in return. It should look professional and appealing, and include a clear call to action (i.e., “Contact Hurston Events at (111) 111-1111 to secure your sponsorship”).
To make your proposal stand out in the crowd, try to include the following:
– Eye-catching event description
– Make your event description sound inviting and exciting so potential sponsors will be intrigued. (Remember, their goal is to reach as many people as possible, so the more appealing your event sounds, the more sponsors will see opportunity. Your event description gives your sponsors an image of the evening; so, make them wish they could be there and sponsors will be lining up.)
Consider including details such as:
– Event name
– Date and time
– Speakers and entertainers
– Catering and suppliers
– Venue and location
– What makes your event special (i.e. unique selling points)
– History or background of the event (if relevant)
– Mission statement of the event
Present Your Data
Now that you’ve got your sponsors intrigued, provide data showing exactly why your event is a good match for their sponsorship. Data on attendee demographics and other details from your past events provide evidence as to who will likely attend your future events. Sponsors can then more easily assess whether sponsoring your event helps them reach their target audience.
Along with attendee demographics, the types of data sponsors are going to be most interested in include:
– Ticket and registration sales (using email promotions helps increase sales and improves email data)
– Social media tracking such as event mentions and #hashtags on blogs and social media sites
– Email invite open rate (taking advantage of Eventbrite tools makes this data easy to obtain)
– Details/examples of the after-event attendee data that can be offered to sponsors (complying with relevant privacy laws of course)
Build Custom Sponsorship Packages
You can maximize your sponsorship possibilities by offering multi-tiered packages rather than one single set of benefits. Different pricing levels for distinct promotional benefits can attract more sponsors, both those who seek only major sponsorship opportunities and those whose marketing strategies prioritize smaller packages. For example, an alcohol company wants exclusive pouring rights for your event. This leaves open other avenues of sponsorship you can offer to other companies, such as food, music, and décor, expanding your sponsorship revenues. For high-powered affairs, a media company may seek exclusive access to local stars and celebrities attending your event.
Experiential marketing enables guests to experience the sponsor’s product. For example, a florist might offer demonstrations of the art of floral arrangements or a winery might include tastings paired with cheeses or artisan bread. For an big holiday event, consider targeting public transport companies to offer free or discounted transportation to event attendees to eliminate drunk driving. Additionally, if you’re hosting a raffle or auction, you’ll likely need donated goods — another chance for sponsorship.
4. Connect With Potential Sponsors
Now that you’ve done the research necessary, the next step is to go out and meet with potential sponsors. While your initial icebreaker might be sent by email or through social media, consider meeting in person to make your pitch most effective.
T.E.A.M. CENTER top recommended steps for connecting with potential sponsors:
– Contact the relevant department or person by email, social media, or LinkedIn about setting a meeting to discuss potential sponsorships.
– Send a polite follow-up if no response is initially forthcoming.
– Rehearse your elevator pitch, including who you are, what you do, and what benefits a sponsorship offers in just a few sentences.
– You may wish to make your pitch in your initial meeting, or, after having listened to what the sponsor needs, you may wish to revise and tweak your pitch to better meet the company’s needs.
5. Sponsors and Your Marketing Plan
Once you have secured a sponsor, take full advantage of their brand by embedding it into as much promotional material as possible. For example, you may sending an email to registered attendees with updated news of the sponsorship to help build interest and anticipation.
Make sure to collaborate with your sponsors so your event can be included on their social media platforms and highlighted by their influencers. This can exponentially expand your promotional reach and be a key benefit of sponsorship, perhaps even more than any funding your sponsor might offer.
6. Create Long-Term Connections
Stay engaged with your sponsors. A successful event will give you the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with your sponsors. Keep them feeling included by sending periodic updates about upcoming events, highlighting growth in attendance and interest. It can also be a smart idea to send complimentary tickets to your sponsors if applicable. This helps them feel appreciated and lets them experience first-hand the passion of your event-goers.
What most inspires future business partnerships is results. Sponsors want to know how many people they’re reaching, and your event data provides just that. This will assure them that their sponsorship is effective helps build confidence. After your event has concluded, consider sharing data such as email click-through rates and social media interactions to show them exactly how effective their sponsorships were.
7. Circle Back & Evaluate Your Sponsors
It’s a good idea to evaluate your sponsors once the event has concluded. Sponsorships work best when they feel coherent with your event, with both you and your sponsors reinforcing each other’s message. For example, How were they received at your event? Did they match the event’s persona and voice, or did they seem out of place?
Consider getting feedback from registrants by sending a poll after the event. Ask for impressions of the event, as well as of specific elements such as sponsorships, food, and music. Then take the feedback you’ve received and keep it in store for when it’s time to discuss your next event sponsorships.
8. Celebrate Your Combined Success
Pulling off a successful event, complete with sponsorships, is a true accomplishment! Take some time to celebrate your success when it’s done! By rewarding yourself, you can help keep your motivation strong and energized for your next move!