It’s no secret that putting on an event is an expensive endeavor. Costs rack up very quickly, even for small events. As anyone who’s ever planned or paid for a wedding will tell you, hidden costs are everywhere. You need cleanup services afterward? That’s going to cost you. Need someone to serve snacks and meals? There’s another charge. Fees and expenses are found in nearly everything you do when planning an event, many of which are upfront.
If you are planning an event and find yourself with lots of upfront costs with no ticket sales or revenue with which to pay, where do you turn? Sponsorships is the key to throwing an event where you can keep your personal out-of-pocket costs to a minimum.
One of the biggest and most frequent mistakes made by new event planners is that they try to secure too many sponsorships. It may seem counterintuitive, but having more sponsorships is not always the best route. There are many problems that arise from having too many sponsors. Not only do you end up spending less time with each sponsor, you end up taking sponsors who may not align with your brand, and you may end up taking on sponsors who want too much say in the event itself.
Additionally, having too many sponsors can dilute the exposure that each one gets, meaning that they’ll actually pay less than they would with fewer sponsors in the spotlight. If you don’t need to get a bunch of sponsors to help foot the bill for your event, then what do you do? The answer is simple: you get more bang for your buck with fewer sponsors. You charge higher prices for exclusivity and make it your mission to have personal relationships with each one. Here’s how.
How to Get the Most from Event Sponsors
Getting the highest dollar from each of your sponsors is not easy. It takes a lot of upfront work and research. But in the end, the sponsors that you do secure will not only be lucrative enough to finance your event, but will also be a great fit for both your event goals as well as their business goals. Doing this type of work ahead of the pitch can ensure that you and the right sponsors have a long business relationships ahead.
1) Know your potential sponsors’ marketing goals and priorities. All businesses have goals and priorities when it comes to marketing and your event is just that, a marketing expense for the sponsor. Not only do they see sponsorships as marketing opportunities, they are also a larger part of their business strategy. What type of company are they? How do they want to align their brand? If they are a group that will want exposure to your audience, then you need to ask yourself why. They may also want exclusivity – are you prepared to give that to them? This is why it’s imperative to do your research and go after the sponsors you truly want first. If you get to them too late in the process you may not have many perks left to give. Doing business with you means that they are tying your event directly to their sales and marketing objectives. How will you report back and make sure they know it was a good investment? Again, research is key at this stage.
Understand your value-add and offering. What can you offer a sponsor that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get with traditional marketing efforts or other events? Be clear about the value your specific event brings to the table and make it impossible for them to say no without feeling as though they’ve lost out on a big opportunity. Some potential items you could offer a sponsor include, but are not limited to, complimentary demographics, free promotion materials, a large number of attendees, free tickets or exclusive access, brand recognition in front of a large crowd, access to your audience, a proprietary platform for reaching the audience, etc. But the core question to ask yourself is, “What can you offer that no one else can?” A big part of this step is understanding what’s important to the sponsor. You have to dig in and do the research and ask the right questions, but you can figure out what the most important deliverable is for a sponsor and then offer that as a perk.
Following these two steps will ensure that you get the most dollars possible from your key sponsors so that your event can go off without a hitch due to finances!