4 tips for growing your events sponsorship revenue

by Lauren Sauser,

20 October 2020

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4 tips for growing your events sponsorship revenue

Securing events sponsorship revenue is salesmanship—and selling is not easy. Recurring revenue depends on your follow-through and ability to provide sponsors with niche access to their target audience. Once you can establish financial return on investment for your event, you should encourage sponsors to sign multi-year deals in exchange for greater access, exposure, and control.

Physical gatherings offer personal connection with a target audience, which cannot be digitally duplicated. This is an important part of what brands are seeking in event sponsorship.

The following tips will help planners play to the goals of their sponsors and build greater event revenue. 

Clarify your goals 

Having a clear set of objectives and knowing your audience will help guide which sponsors are right for your event.

If your event aims to promote sustainable energy to outdoor enthusiasts between the ages of 25 and 45, you should target potential sponsors that share the same objective. By clearly outlining the sustainability goals of your event, your team can more effectively target and sell sponsorship to companies of all sizes.

You will be able to create more value—and sell bigger sponsorships—if you make sure to check your mission’s alignment with potential sponsors before making your sales pitch. Research where else a company is sponsoring events and compare the ostensible goals of these gatherings with your own. Then determine how you can differentiate your offerings.

Provide diverse sponsorship opportunities 

Instead of offering tiered packages (i.e. bronze, silver, gold), try creating a menu of assets from which sponsors can choose their ideal balance of cost, exposure, and value. An asset can be anything from a logo placement to a speaking opportunity to a custom flyer or banner. Variety leads to creative, flexible partnerships that can be refined each year.

According to Exhibitor M, 52% of sponsors who purchase assets prefer to select “a la carte” options rather than packages that bundle multiple items at a fixed price.  

Each menu asset should offer a distinct value incentive to attendees and sponsors. This can take the form of branded networking sessions, lounge areas, and entertainment. Functional examples, such as rapid charging stations, water fountains, and branded recycling bins also invite the eyeballs, participation, and valuable feedback of guests.

To help sponsors quickly understand the potential value of your assets, categorise each by its activation type: free samples, static ads, entertainment, etc. If you’ve diligently researched where your guests spend their time while attending previous events, you’ll be prepared to offer sponsorship opportunities that meet guests where they congregate.

Most importantly, your menu for sponsorship should offer assets for both large and small spenders. Like guests, sponsors should be celebrated for whatever they can contribute and should receive creative, individualised options. Every sponsor wants to feel special, and by offering a personalised menu, you will have more opportunity to sell larger assets (or a collection of smaller assets) and to increase your overall event revenue.

Collect attendee data 

Knowing your attendee demographics is critical to selling sponsorship. One way to get to know your audience is to send out a simple survey along with their registration information. 

Ask your attendees about their frustrations, goals, and budget restrictions. Besides basic questions like age and job function, find out how many people they manage and if their team is national or global. 

Eventbrite suggests that to get the feedback you need from a survey, planners should offer an incentive like the chance to win a gift card or VIP tickets to next year’s event. They also advise keeping your survey to a maximum of 10 questions and to keep questions brief and direct. 

The more segmentation you can provide about your attendees, the better. Sponsors don’t just want to know that your event will be brimming with software engineers; they want to know what programming language they use, their company size, and their average level of seniority. The more detailed your demographic research is, the better chance you will have at selling sponsors who wish to cater to a given specialisation. 

Communicate your findings 

Focus on over-delivering for sponsors and go the distance to make sure your work is noticed. This will encourage sponsors to come back next year and spend more money. You are the sensor responsible for relaying information and new data back to your sponsors.

Find and share metrics wherever possible with a focus on polls, participation, and alleviating attendee pain-points. Take pictures and document everything; then plan on meeting with sponsors after the event to discuss the outcomes. Come prepared with a detailed report highlighting how you delivered (or hopefully over-delivered) on each purchased asset. 

To build multi-year sponsorship revenue and deeper trust, you’ll also need to confront the challenges and mistakes made during an event openly. The acknowledgement of these realities is essential for building lasting trust and communication in an event partnership. This strategy allows you to develop suggestions for growth in the years to come preemptively.

Greater brand awareness is not the sole objective of your potential sponsors: they want to deliver something valuable and memorable to their audience; they want to be seen as intuitive, knowledgeable leaders within their industry. They want nuanced introductions, objective observations, and new, personalised sales contacts.

If you want to drive more significant sponsorship revenue as an event planner, it’s essential to hone the experiences that effectively connect sponsors with their audience. These kinds of interactions can’t be fully realised online and are a perpetual selling point for sponsoring physical events.

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