Sponsorship marketing is a great way for companies to promote their brand and generate business.
However, when it comes to convincing a big headline sponsor that your event is worth investing in, it’s essential to prepare a strong pitch before knocking on their door.
Here’s how to get corporate sponsorship for your event.
1. Understand what sponsors want
Supporting an event is not an altruistic decision. Regardless of whether it is a business or charitable function, sponsorship is a marketing decision aimed at obtaining value.
In return for funding, a company will want their brand front and centre, and to achieve other marketing objectives such as lead generation. So, be sure to understand what the prospective sponsor wants to achieve and how your event will facilitate that outcome.
Make sure that your pitch explains what benefits you can offer, including but not limited to: speaking opportunities, social media promotion, prominent placement of logos, and access to your audience’s contact details and survey data.
2. Get your timing right
Sponsorship does not happen overnight. More often than not, the plan will need to be signed off by multiple people in the company, and negotiations following the initial meeting can draw out for months. So you’ll need to contact potential sponsors well in advance of your event.
Another key point of consideration is the time of year in which you choose to contact the companies on your shortlist.
Most organisations will tighten their budgets toward the end of the financial year and refuse to consider sponsorship pitches. So it’s best to send requests well before this time, and to avoid specific ‘crunch time’ periods in other industries, too.
3. Have a clear audience profile
Potential sponsors will be much easier to bring on board if your audience matches their target market. Essentially, you are creating a partnership whereby they fund your event and gain targeted exposure for their brand in return.
The biggest mistake people make is not taking the time to clearly outline the likely demographics of their attendees, along with their behaviours and characteristics. If you cannot articulate this basic information, organisations will lose interest immediately.
4. Approach potential sponsors in person
Events that want sponsorship are a dime a dozen, so a nicely worded email to a person you have never met will likely have zero impact.
Do online research to find the right point of contact – often this is the marketing or brand manager – and ask to speak them directly when you ring up the company. If they say no but show interest, keep their contact details to follow up another time.
Sponsors are usually brought in on the back of good working relationships, so start building your network as early as possible.
5. Return on investment
Once you get a sponsor, it’s likely you’ll want to use them again in the future. Consequently, it’s essential that you find ways to measure the benefits that you deliver to them.
A crucial part of this will be reporting back to your sponsor with easy-to-understand results. This could include numbers on social media engagements and shout outs during the event. Additionally, you could gather insightful information on the day by carrying out a sponsor survey among event attendees.
One of the most powerful strategies to improve ROI, though, is to create ways for your sponsor to generate immediate leads or sales on the day. You could allow the sponsor to set up a stall and gather customer data on-site, or offer them the chance to run a promotion or give-away for a specific product or service.
Whatever you offer the sponsor, make sure that you clearly explain after the event how your function helped the company achieve its objectives. Follow up after the event in person, so that you can have a frank conversation about how it went and pick up tips on how to do better next year.
If you are planning an event and want to find the perfect space for your sponsors and attendees, check out Spacely.