How to Keep Your Event Sponsors Happy

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

How to Event Plan for Success

The first thing that usually comes to mind when people think of an event planner, is that this generally refers to weddings. Although weddings are the most common events that the average person attends each year, event planning itself covers a wide range of activities. This includes coordinating business meetings and seminars, conferences, online webinars, academic presentations, fundraisers, family gatherings, and political rallies. Events are a great way to bring the right people together in the right place, at the right time. It is a controlled environment where a specific activity is facilitated by a trained team of professionals.

Pitfalls to Avoid in Building a Strong Event

Whether you are new to the industry or are an established company that is looking to grow your event planning business, here are some pitfalls to avoid in building a strong event.

Misunderstanding Your Client’s Needs

The first step in planning a successful event is to meet with your clients and make sure you take detailed notes on what exactly they want, and what they’ll expect from you. The last thing you want to do is deliver an event that your client didn’t expect. If you are planning an event for a larger audience rather than one company or client, you can still make sure that this step is not missed. Ideas for this can be sending out a survey, getting feedback from previous events, or contacting loyal attendees/ sponsors for your event to see what adds value to them when attending events.

Choosing a Bad Venue or Unreliable Vendor

Your event is only as good as the services that you deliver. You must ensure that every outside vendor that you work with is trustworthy, reliable, professional, and takes their role in your event seriously. If you have a great venue with an outside food vendor that doesn’t live up to the set expectations, you will take the blame. If you have a vendor that does not show up, you will take the blame. If the venue or hotel staff are unprofessional or difficult for attendees to work with, you will take the blame. It’s your responsibility as an event planner to review each vendor and venue to ensure you and your client’s expectations will be met or, better yet, exceeded.

Poor Coordination

Your vendors and temporary staff are part of your team, and coordination and competence among team members is very important if you want to avoid unforced errors. When beginning your project, make sure each member of your team understands their role during the event. Make sure to set clear expectations of what you want them to focus on at the event, what their responsibilities are, and who to turn to if issues arise that could affect the overall production of the event. Open the lines of communication between team members so that everyone is on the same page and understands their responsibilities. A great way to make sure that all of these boxes get checked is by creating a playbook that includes job duties, timelines, processes, and contact information with points of contacts for all staff, coordinators, vendors, etc.

Underestimating Expenses

Accurate estimates and budgeting for events are critical if your business is to survive in a competitive market. Take the time to double check your vendor and venue costs to ensure you haven’t missed any of the important details throughout the planning process. Inaccurate estimates can be costly, both financially, and to your brand. If you continuously come in with estimates that are lower than the actual cost of the event, your clients will begin to lose confidence in your ability to accurately plan an event, or worse, possibly think you are passing the cost of your failures on to them. If your expenses spiral out of control, you’ll end up over budget, either eating the extra costs or explaining to your clients why they owe more after the event is over.

Poor Customer Communication

One of the biggest pitfalls to avoid when planning an event is poor communication with your clients or staff. A lack of communication can lead to a bad experience and be considered extremely poor customer service. Dedicated, constant communication with your team, clients, vendors, staff, attendees, or sponsors is what will truly ensure a successful event. Problems will always arise at events, but it’s the way that you deal with these issues which determines if you’re providing the level of customer service your clients expect.

How to grow a successful event planning business

A helpful policy to have when beginning the planning stage of an event is to always have a “crisis management” strategy. This is where you identify the things that could go wrong and areas that may need special attention during an event. A common phrase used in event planning is “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Preparing for unforeseen circumstances will allow you to quickly address problem areas and make corrections before they become a true issue, and before your attendees or clients can even know that an error has occurred.

Here are some event planning tips that will help prepare you for success.

Have a plan

Build a plan and make sure you stay on task. Write out your timeline for event preparation, execution, and clean up; create written processes for event logistics; put together checklists of what needs to get accomplished; and write out specific role responsibilities for each person that will be working on the event.

Stay upbeat

Maintaining and broadcasting a positive attitude will calm your staff and keep your clients feeling confident in your ability to deliver. Being the friendly, helpful, consistent presence at the event provides peace of mind to all involved in the event.

Consult with experts

If you come across a portion of an event that you may not fully understand, don’t be afraid to consult an expert. Getting advice on certain aspects of your job doesn’t show weakness, but rather courage, humbleness, and the willingness to learn.

Deliver on your promises

Perform on your guarantees. Stick to your plan and make sure that all the deliverables you promised are provided as expected.

Think on the fly

To stay ahead of the curve, you need to think quickly and be prepared to adjust your plan to make the event a success. Again, plan for the best, prepare for the worst – having a plan B and C ready to pull out of your back pocket if need be.

Build a reliable team

Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Create an eager, talented, kind, and competent team, and you will be on your way to success.

Develop a bond with customers

Build a strong pipeline of clients and pay attention to their needs. Reach out to them and ensure they feel they are involved in the planning, or execution of the event, and are happy with your strategy or plan. Address any areas where they think there is a shortfall and present a backup plan, if necessary.

The event planning industry can be very rewarding, but it can also be incredibly stressful since there is a large margin for error to occur. Businesses and individuals hire event planners because they want to hand off this process to an experienced planner that knows how to plan, execute, and reflect for future events going forward.

If you take the time to strategically develop a great plan, build a strong team, communicate well with your clients to ensure they are kept “in-the-loop” on your progression, keep your costs down, plan for contingencies, and build a robust marketing brand, your business will flourish, creating a network of customers that will keep you busy for years to come.