Sponsorships are the lifeblood of any conference: they provide the funds to put on a show that wows attendees and keeps the event going year after year. Therefore, it’s clearly important to not only retain past sponsors, but to attract fresh new sponsors, too. The fact of the matter is, however, that enticing new sponsors to spend their money at your event can be easier said than done. Here are four steps you can take to ensure that your event keeps getting the lifeblood it needs:
- Know your demographics. Every sponsor wants tangible ROI—literal bang for their buck! Therefore, they need to know that your event’s audience is right for their brand, product, or service. Be ready to supply demographic information about your attendees before you ever approach a potential sponsor. At the very least, you should be able to provide the gender, age, income range, and education level of your audience. Additional attributes sponsors may want to know are marital status, field of employment, or regional demographics.
The bottom line: the more information you can provide about attendees, the more easily a sponsor can determine whether your event is a good fit for their company—and the quicker you’ll have a decision.
- Create exciting sponsorship packages. Sponsors want to stand out from the crowd, but not every sponsor has the same agenda. Some may be keen to promote brand awareness, while others may want to put a sample of their product into the hands of attendees. This means that if you want to expand the types of sponsors you attract, you need to expand the sorts of sponsorships you offer. Maybe this involves dicing up your sponsorship offerings into more granular packages, or maybe it means combining of them in new and different ways. Or maybe it means coming up with new types of sponsorships altogether. Have you offered companies the chance to sponsor a signature cocktail (in a branded glass)? What about guided tours of the exhibit hall? Even the wifi login page has the potential for a sponsorship. Think outside the box!
- Perfect your pitch. The most important thing to remember when pitching a client is that their time is valuable. Therefore, do your homework: research exactly what they do, find other events they have sponsored, and have an answer to “what’s in it for me?” prepared so that you can make your pitch as concise, complete, and effective as possible.
- Follow up. Making a sale the first time you pitch a prospect is rare, so following up and reminding companies why they should want to sponsor your event is crucial. Yes, it is time consuming to follow up with every potential sponsor, but failing to do so will almost certainly leave money on the table.And remember: without sponsors, there is no event. So always follow up!