As potential sponsors have more opportunities to invest their marketing budgets elsewhere and the number of inbound solicitations they get increases, it’s up to event professionals to find new and interesting ways to justify sponsors’ spend.
Here are four unique ways that event professionals can increase sponsor ROI, and, in turn, increase sponsorship retention to secure their support for years to come.
1. Present sponsors with deep data about their target audience.
At the end of the day, the most basic reason marketers choose to sponsor events is to build their brand. The reason they have chosen your event as the vehicle to reach this goal is because they expect a high concentration of their target audience to be in attendance. Therefore, the best way to help your sponsors meet this goal is to provide them rich data about each of your attendees.
2. Give sponsors a virtual presence before and after the event.
As events move to have a virtual presence, the opportunities (e.g. lanyards, step-and-repeats, or programs) in typical sponsorship packages diminish and event professionals are left with not much more than offering up digital ad space in newsletters and on the web. This makes experiential software even more important and also raises opportunities such as placing logos on your virtual event layout.
For example, Brazen Careerist, a job site for Gen Yers, offers employers an opportunity to connect with talent through virtual career fairs. Instead of purchasing a booth at an expo, employers purchase an online presence where they can engage potential talent in a virtual environment.
3. Include sponsors in the planning process to drive value.
Make the planning process more transparent and create a mailing list just for sponsors, which you can use to send updates to. Updates don’t have to be earth shattering as long as they’re regular and informative.
As the event nears, send sponsors privileged information that can help them achieve their goals. This can include the floor plan of the event created in Venue Mapper by Social Tables, the attendee list, or the run of show. This kind of information is safe in the hands of your sponsors. It will make them feel included and appreciated, and more importantly, it will drive their sponsorship’s value.
4. Offer sponsors a unique follow-up opportunity after their event.
The number one reason organizations sponsor events is to reach their prime audience. This is why following up with the event’s attendees is critical for many sponsors and giving them the the opportunity to do so can go maximize their ROI.
Here are some ways you can automate this process for them:
- Share an opt-in list of attendees that contains rich profile data with sponsors
- Create an online community of attendees to keep the conversation going after the event
- Reach out to attendees to acknowledge your sponsors with a genuine, heartfelt message
- Introduce certain attendees to sponsors where there will be mutual value gained
- Connect sponsors to one another because there are many ways they can work together
The opportunities for potential sponsors to spend their marketing budgets are a dime a dozen. These organizations are inundated with solicitations from many event professionals. Thus, in order to secure and retain sponsorships, it’s important for event professionals to build and maintain strong relationships with their sponsors. The strength of these relationships will decide the size, length, and scope of each sponsorship.