One of the most important aspects of planning an event is gathering the support of sponsors. Sponsors are a critical component for your success, so it’s crucial to understand how to please them before and after your event.
Before the digital age was upon us, it was a simple act of acknowledging your sponsors on an event flyer or adding their logo to a banner at the event. However, the digital age offers you more flexibility in going the extra mile to recognize your sponsor’s contribution. This can be seen through email marketing, social media promotion, website advertisements, and more. Any way that you can continually add value to your sponsors via print or online promotion is a huge win in their eyes.
Regarding the event execution itself, there are many ways that you can tailor your approach towards your sponsors that will keep them satisfied during an event. It is extremely important to focus on how you can better cater to your sponsor’s needs and keep them engaged, while also working to increase your chances of getting their support in the future.
Get to Know Your Clients
One of the best ways to get your sponsors more engaged in your events is by getting to know them on a personal level. Having a genuine interest of who they are as people, as well as a company and brand is essential. Understanding your sponsor and their brand expectations will also help you to better tailor a customized package for their sponsorship. When you are putting together an event, learn how the sponsor’s business fits in with other attendees at the event, and use that information to propose some unique integration of their image or brand. The time you take to invest in them and understand who they are, what their event expectations are, what their pain points are, and who they need to meet at your event will do nothing but positively impact your relationship that you are crafting or continuing with your sponsors.
Integrate Sponsorships into the Event
When you have signed up a sponsor for an event, it’s not enough to simply present their brand to attendees. Integrating sponsors organically into the event itself will thrill your sponsor and demonstrate that you’re in tune with their organization and respectful of their brand. A lot of companies chose to only incorporate their higher-level sponsorships in this regard, listing these integrations as perks of committing to a higher sponsor package as well. Regardless of the sponsorship level, you want to make sure to have some sort of integration, big or small, for all levels of sponsorships at the event.
Today’s sponsors want more than just an honorable mention; many times, event planners will use a sponsor’s branding on branded entertainment, or through drinks, meals, or accessories. These are what we like to call “A La Carte” sponsorships, which receive a different level of exposure at events. This is an example of how sponsors can now be intertwined into the entire event; whether that means having food stations named after them, branded Wi-Fi connections, branded espresso drinks, or other organic placement of their information. This type of sponsorship is a more natural, and less sales-like approach to getting your brand out there at the event. Often times, these types of sponsorships are packaged with a typical sponsorship option to get two variations of contact and brand recognition at the event.
Use the Digital Space to Your Advantage
Social media may be the easiest way for you to gain appreciation upon your sponsors. You may already be posting or sharing about an event, but make sure to be intentional with what you are sharing. Mentioning your sponsor’s products or services is a great way to get the word out about their contribution, while also explaining why other attendees or sponsors at your event should make time to get to know them. Boosting a sponsor’s online presence with more followers to their social media accounts or subscribers to a newsletter will add real value and entice them to sign up for your next event.
Facilitate Networking between Sponsors
Many times, sponsors send company employees to the event who are expected to not only represent their brand but to build business relationships. You can nurture this strategy by making introductions between like-minded individuals or companies.
Something as simple as playing the good host to your sponsors and providing formal introductions could lead to new business relationships and future collaborations. In promoting discussions between your sponsors, you can also gain valuable feedback about their experience with the event, their interactions, and how you can make it a better environment for sponsors. There are also various tools that you can use to facilitate networking between sponsors and attendees as well. For example, hosting a speed networking session, or providing a smart phone app that has networking capabilities between those present at the event.
Provide Sponsors with Timely Pre-Event Info
Before an event, you should send out a brochure or some sort of informational pamphlet that lets the sponsors know all of the necessary details for the upcoming event. This includes a timeline, information on their set up, a list of activities occurring, shipping information, a map of the venue, contact info for the event staff, and more. Timing is critical, and by getting the pre-event information in their hands sooner, you’ll earn their respect in recognizing the importance of their contribution. Your efforts to organize and inform the sponsors of all of their responsibilities while at the event is crucial, and highly respected as it provides peace of mind to all parties involved.
Send a Customized Thank You
You spend hours preparing the perfect package for your sponsors, and you’re rewarded with a valuable contribution. Let your sponsors know that their support and contribution to your event is appreciated. Follow up after the event with a customized thank you via email, or better yet, a handwritten note that shows your appreciation for their participation. It’s best to follow that up with an email asking for their feedback or providing a survey, as well as providing information on your next event.
If you want to ensure that you keep your sponsors engaged with your current events, strive to continually provide them with a tailored experience that exceeds their expectations time and time again. Sponsors are essential in pulling off a successful event, so it is crucial to understand how to intentionally accommodate them before and after each event. If you are interested in attending or sponsoring a private lending conference, reach out to Geraci Media today to secure spot! www.geracimediagroup.com