How to Gain Event Sponsors in 12 Steps
Signing up new sponsors for your event can be a challenging process. As former meeting planners ourselves, we’ve been there. But we’re here to remind you that you have what sponsors want — their target audience and lots of potential leads. We’ve put together 12 ideas to get event sponsorship, generate new profits and craft relationships that last for many events to come.
1. Understand your own audience
How well do you know your attendees? Knowing your audience will benefit you in all aspects of your event and your marketing — and getting sponsors is no exception.
To better understand your attendees, do some research, and talk to some actual people. What are their goals? What are their problems and challenges? How do they currently solve these problems? The better you know the answers to these questions, the better you'll be able to speak to your audience when you pitch a sponsor.
2. Get to know their company
If you come across a sponsor you're really interested in, take time to do some research. Before you reach out to them, you should know all about their product or service, their audience and their messaging.
Get to know their company. Specifically, make sure you identify the key decision makers. You don't want to waste precious time talking to someone who can’t make the final decision.
3. Timing is everything
Nobody wants to be rushed, so don't wait too long to reach out and make contact. We recommend four months out. This way, your event app development process will be well underway, so you’ll know exactly what you can offer. Give them time to respond and take the time they need internally to make it happen.
4. Hone your pitch
Once you've done your research and scheduled time to talk, it's time to focus on nailing the pitch. First, look over their sponsorship guidelines, if they have any.
Make your pitch as specific to your potential sponsor as possible. You want to show how their product/service and audience are a perfect fit. Show them how you can offer them something that nobody else can. Share some success stories from the past, along with some solid metrics. Keep it short — nobody wants to be bored with unnecessary info — but make sure you hit the key benefits. And don't forget to make a sincere human connection when you meet with them.
5. Be persistent
If a sponsor doesn't get back to you immediately, don’t give up! People are busy, and emails and voicemails get lost in the shuffle. Without being overwhelming or annoying, be persistent. Follow up with a friendly note after a week goes by — they'll appreciate the reminder.
6. Offer a range of options and tiers
Sponsors love options. Offer a menu of opportunities, including a splash page, featured placement, banner ads, push notifications, etc. Organize all of the options into an easy-to-understand tiered system of sponsorship: gold, silver and bronze. For more ideas on sponsorship and monetization options, check out Meeting Play's eBook, 11 Ways to Monetize Your Event App.
7. Offer them gamification
Gamification is consistently one of the most popular features in event apps. Give sponsors the chance to get in on the fun. In addition to simply sponsoring the game, sponsors can be incorporated into the game itself.
Sponsors can have a QR code at their booths that attendees can scan and earn points, or they can ramp up the engagement with additional incentives. For example, guests can earn more points when they correctly answer quiz questions or by signing up for a service.
8. Offer an app with networking features
Two high priorities for your sponsors: getting new leads, and making new connections. With a lead retrieval app (or event app with similar features), you can offer them appealing and efficient ways to secure leads. In addition to sponsor-specific features, sponsors will love using your app's networking features during the event.
9. Keep communicating throughout the process
When working with sponsors, most frustrations or pain points are due to simple miscommunication. Be sure to communicate timelines upfront. Call attention to key dates and deadlines well in advance, and don’t be afraid to send reminders.
10. Wow them at the event
When event day comes, it’s your job to wow them! Set them up for success and a lot of fun. Doing so will keep them coming back for years to come. Be sure to offer a warm and friendly welcome from the get-go and that all of their needs are met throughout the event. It’s a good idea to ask them if they’re set-up comfortably from the start and check-in periodically. Your sponsors are VIPs so be sure that you’ve added them to all relevant lists and include them on VIP invites and/or VIP in-app messages.
11. Follow up afterward
After the event, ask for feedback and let them know they’re heard. Send them any recaps or reports (especially showing them ROI) that tell your event success story. Include key metrics, highlight videos, results from gamification, photos, etc.
12. Nurture your existing relationships
In the following months, keep in touch and keep them in the know about your events or new app offerings. Give these communications a personal touch — let them know they’re a priority and important to your brand or company.
We hope these ideas to get event sponsorship will help you! When you add more sponsorships, you cover some of the costs of your event — or even turn it directly into profits. And remember: a good event app is a cornerstone of many event sponsorship packages. To learn more about your app options and how to get event sponsorship, contact us for a free demo!