Attract Sponsors to Your Event

Last Updated May 17, 2018

You’ve built an event with an engaged following who love what you do. After much research, you have a great understanding of your target audience, what they’re looking for from your experience and beyond. The “beyond” part is what will lead you to a new set of opportunities with brands who may want to sponsor you.

If you’ve never engaged with sponsors before, buckle up. You’ll be forging exciting new relationships with companies and representatives, and it can definitely take time. There are consultancies and agencies around the world who focus on connecting brands together, so consider this a primer.

Have tips on how to build new relationships with sponsors? Help out your colleagues and leave your advice in the comments below!

Here are the things to consider before you start your new sponsor star search:

Know Thyself… and what thyself has to offer.

First and foremost, be ready to look your best. Assets like websites, logos, and marketing material will either make or break a first impression.  If your brand doesn’t look A++, you won’t get the opportunity to prove it. If you’ve been using a DIY website solution or the same logo for ten years, it’s time to call in the pros.

Next, be sure you’ve got a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Only a few sentences long, a USP communicates who your audience is, your mission, what makes your different from the competition, and why you’d be perfect to sponsor. If you don’t already have this, hit up google to find some really great guides to help you out.

EzSites users get one on one time with our marketing specialists to create an effective USP. Learn more by signing up for an EzSites demo.

Now it’s time to consider what you have to offer. Product placement, logos on print materials, maybe even a keynote address are all options you can present. Gather up all the ideas you’ve got for showcasing your sponsors in a way that will also enhance your guests’ experience.

Know Thy Sponsor

Make a list of all the brands or companies you think might be a good fit. Starting with organizations you have relationships with is smart, even if it feels like cheating. From here, do a tonne of research to see what their needs are when it comes to sponsoring. A sandwich shop isn’t likely to be interested in a gluten-free food festival unless they have a new product that fits the bill.

Be sure you’re putting your energy into brands who share your audience, and that you understand what their marketing needs are. Study any current event or transitions the sponsor may be going through. This includes new products, joint ventures with another company, events that they may be hosting personally. Know if they have new products on the market that would thrill your guests.

It will also be good to know exactly who is in charge of sponsorship dollars, because… well, duh.

Get Proposing

You look your best, you have great opportunities to offer, and you have a list of potential sponsors who would love to meet your audience. Let’s see if you’re right.

Relationship building is vital, so begin there. Remember, you’re unlikely to go from first contact to full marriage on a single date. So start chill. Send some emails to the people you’ve researched to introduce yourself and your event. An email allows busy sponsorship reps to review the basics of your event, audience, and how they’d benefit in joining you. If you don’t hear back, be sure to follow up, but be wary of phone calls too soon.

Social media is another way to get in touch, with many companies increasingly finding their online accounts can lead to new partners.

Remember to keep the communication friendly, personal, and specific. We can all sniff out a form letter a mile away, and those get filed in the garbage. An opportunity that really speaks to a company will stand out a lot more because it’s easier to see how your event can help them on their own mission.

Finally, you’ll be ready to meet up and present your fully realized pitch, lining up the assets you have to offer in a way that speaks to a company’s mission and budget.

In conclusion, this is a quick primer, but it’s important to have a great game plan if you’re diving into the world of sponsor shopping. You don’t have to be a massive festival with years behind you to be attractive, either. Even small tours or theatre productions can build a better business with sponsors.

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