Sponsorship is a critical source of revenue for many events. And for a large number of event creators, securing sponsorship is a critical source of revenue. And for many of these event creators, securing the right sponsors is an overwhelmingly intimidating prospect. You may be tempted to simply replicate what you did for the last event. And the one before that. And the one before that.
But the world of sponsorship is transforming rapidly, and if you’re not transforming with it, you’re not just missing out on potential — You risk getting passed up by your favorite sponsors when they decide to hop the fence to a more engaging event.
Whether you’re hoping to evolve or just learn how to get sponsorship money in the first place, the status quo is no place to land. Here to help are four pro tips for creating an evolved sponsorship strategy.
Sponsorship Pro Tip #1: Woo sponsors with granular data
Data has always been essential to sponsors. But the data sponsors seek is now far more granular than mere ticket-sales numbers and simple demographics. According to Larry Weil, President of The Sponsorship Guy™, “If you’re wondering what kind of data sponsors today really care about, think lifestyle and insights over age and income.
Thanks to data, “Potential sponsors know their target markets intimately,” says Chris Baylis, President and CEO of Sponsorship Collective. “They know where they live, what they drive, what they care about, and some of them can even tell you what color shoes they prefer.”
So where does that data come from? You have plenty of sources at your disposal.
- Google Analytics: A free, robust web analytics tool with a comprehensive look at who is coming to your event website
- Social media: Your business profile, event pages, and ad campaigns all generate valuable data you can easily access
- Attendee surveys and order form questions: Asking attendees direct questions is a smart way to get the exact data you want. But make sure to choose your questions wisely — you don’t want your order form to turn into an exam!
Your event ticketing platform will also provide its own data. If you’re using Eventbrite, you can connect all of that data using our powerful integrations.
Sponsorship Pro Tip #2: Win sponsors over with a collaborative, experiential mindset
Today’s sponsors want a lot more than just logo placement. They want to help design experiential activations where attendees don’t just see the brand, but actually have an experience with it. More and more, this “pay to play” approach is gaining favor with sponsors, who seek to actively create innovative ways of interacting with attendees.You can help them by brainstorming ideas, giving them insight into what your audience wants, and simply being open to collaboration.
A good starting point might be an Instagram takeover or a community pop-up in the weeks leading up to your event. At the event itself, consider things like a branded VIP lounge or an art installation. Let your imagination roam to connect the dots between attendee experience and sponsor goals.
Sponsorship Pro Tip #3: Be the best host you can be
Data and innovation are critical strengths today. But good old fashioned courtesy will never go out of style. At the end of the day, your sponsors expect to be treated like proper guests.
Extend VIP amenities whenever you can — free tickets, VIP passes, swag, performer meet-and-greets. Pampering sponsors with special treatment goes a long way in showing your appreciation. Post-event, make sure to follow up with a thank-you note, too. And tag them in social posts so you can keep the relationship warm and their brand top of mind for your attendees after each event.
Sponsors love being appreciated, and sometimes, small gestures stick in their mind the next time they’re considering which event to align with.
Sponsorship Pro Tip #4: Prove return to your sponsors quickly
It’s important to know that your attendees enjoyed your event and engaged with your sponsors. But can you prove this to your sponsors with a positive ROI calculation?
When you’re forming alliances with sponsors, says Weil, “It’s all about them. You have to get to your value proposition in the first five or six seconds.” But any promises you make must be proven on the other side if you want your relationship to last.
Deliver a fulfillment report within a few weeks of each event — and in some cases, at intervals before the event. Weil puts it this way: “Sponsors are measuring more than they ever have. And if you get to the mid-season or the middle point of a sponsorship deal, and you don’t know how the performance is, you’re not doing the job.”
How to get sponsorship money — and much, more more
Getting sponsorship dollars in your pocket might be critical to your event’s budget. But if you handle sponsorship opportunities right, you have much more to gain.
For additional event sponsorship tips and best practices, download the free ebook 2020 Guide to Event Sponsorship.