With the right steps, sponsoring an event can skyrocket success for your business. Well-executed event sponsorships leads to increased exposure, improved reputations, and bolstered sales for organizations of all kinds. To ensure that you get everything you need (and more) out of your next sponsorship, take these steps for sponsorship success.
Ask the Right Questions Before Sponsoring
Before jumping into a sponsorship, it’s important to ask questions to get a better understanding of the event and your organization’s role as a sponsor. Asking the right questions will help you determine if sponsoring is the right move for your organization. It will also help you be better prepared for the day of the event itself.
Start off by assessing your organization, your finances, and your overall business goals to assess whether sponsorship is the best course of action for your group. Ask these questions for yourself:
- What are my outreach goals? Does this event help me meet them?
- Does it make sense for my organization to be at this event?
- What is the target demographic at the event?
- Is it possible to get comparable exposure somewhere else without sponsoring?
- Are there any reasons not to sponsor?
As you begin to ask and answer questions about your company’s potential sponsorship, you’ll find that there are some questions only the event organizer can answer. These questions will help you get a better understanding of the event itself and what your sponsorship will look like in action. Ask these questions for the event organizer:
- Are there different levels of sponsorship?
- What types of exposure will I earn for my sponsorship?
- Will I have direct access to event attendees?
- Will there be other sponsors at the event? (Are any of them my direct competition?)
- Why do you want my organization?
Help Your Network First
With a wide range of sponsoring opportunities out there, it can be difficult to find the right fit for your businesses. One way to narrow down your choices is to focus on those events that are organized by individuals or groups in your network. Friends, associates, and even neighbors are great choices for sponsorship because of their pre-existing relationships with you and your business. Sponsoring their events will strengthen your relationships and ensure that your respective organizations are on great terms. This can help pave the way to mutually-beneficial transactions and partnerships going forward.
Emphasize Your Community Contribution
When sponsoring an event, you may think that your sponsorship itself is proof enough of your community contribution. Depending on the event, this can be true; however, most event sponsorships are simply opportunities to showcase your company and its community contribution. You’ve been granted a stage and an audience—now you must perform.
Emphasizing your company’s community contributions will help event attendees see your organization positively. This will bolster your reputation and pay dividends in terms of engagement. It may even earn you more clients and sponsorship opportunities.
Advertise to Make an Impact
The success of any event sponsorship depends heavily on the sponsor’s ability to advertise intelligently. Creative, compelling, and clearly-displayed advertising is crucial for turning sponsorship into meaningful exposure and future clients. When attending an event as a sponsor, you want to take every opportunity to advertise and catch eyes.
This starts with signage. Invest in high-quality, colorful banners, flags, and other versatile signs to set up at strategic locations around the event. Make sure your signs are branded and, if possible, include information on them to drive traffic to your central booth or brick-and-mortar location. If you’re granted a booth, you’ll also want to set up smart shelter—such as a branded event tent—to invite potential customers in so they can learn more about your organization.
Provide In-Person Support and Onsite Sales
After you’ve cultivated your community-centered image and optimized your advertising, you’ll want to offer resources for event attendees who may be interested in your organization. You’ve put in all the preparatory work to get people interested—now you need a way to close any deals that may be heading in your direction.
The first step is to staff your booth (or the event’s “general information” site) with a staff member (or several) to answer questions. People may inquire about your organization, and you want to be prepared. If you sell goods or services, you also want to give people the chance to purchase them on the spot. If you have a booth, stock it with a selection of your most popular items.
If material goods aren’t your commodity, offer an email list sign-up, on-site appointment scheduling, and business cards to give interested patrons several points of contact to learn more about your services. This type of engagement is essential for transforming your sponsorship from a planned investment to proven earner.