Event Sponsorship – A Beginner’s GuideMay 27 | 15 min read
There is no way around the fact that the benefits of event sponsorship are colossal, in a wholly positive context. They optimize your event, help with its budgeting, and promote it to a wider audience. But what is event sponsorship? Do you need it? And most importantly, how do you find and reach out to sponsors? This article will guide you through this entire process so that you can weigh up all of the pragmatics and make an informed decision. Furthermore, it will discuss the difference between finding event sponsors for in-person and virtual events.
Defining Event Sponsors & Their Benefits
An event sponsor is a company who puts money into your event in exchange for promotional benefits. These benefits can range from the exchange of cash to an agreed-upon ROI. In the simplest terms, it is highly likely that your sponsor’s logo will end up being a big component of your event’s scenery. It is just a matter of what that logo will be, but we will cross that bridge soon enough. Sponsors can even be a negotiated agreement too, and in terms of this your strategies will depend on your brand. For example, a sports brand could supply an event with merchandise or gear. They can then place this stock around their event, to showcase the sponsor in different ways.
An event can offer more logo exposure and branding opportunities to sponsors too. You can have benefits such as giving tickets to their clients, or VIP passes. Even co-created influencer content. That is just the tip of the iceberg. It is particularly good if one brand compliments the other. That way, the physical features that you can supply to your sponsor will genuinely benefit them.
Sponsors will optimize your event in numerous ways. Firstly, they help with the budget. This is because the financial assistance that comes as a result of gaining sponsors for your event makes many elements of event planning more affordable. One of these is the cost of tickets, which you can now set at a price that is reasonable for your attendees and target audience. Without event sponsorships, many companies find that they need to increase their ticket prices to break even. This will often lead to a lack of ticket sales, due to the steep pricing. So, with a sponsorship, you can sell more tickets and potentially make a profit
Event sponsors also increase your credibility. Well, that sounds harsh. This isn’t to suggest that you aren’t a credible business or company already. Rather, it is about creating the perception of credibility in the eyes of attendees, competitors, and your audiences. People are more comfortable buying tickets for events that have high-tiered sponsors. This, combined with the previous point, go together to make tickets affordable and profitable.
Then there is promotion. Having a sponsor will promote your events, sell more tickets, and raise your profile as an event organizer, entrepreneur, and trusted industry professional. Whether or not this is your goal, the event sponsor will make your event more of a hit, and present you as a thought leader.
How To Know If You Need A Sponsor
Step one of the process is to decide whether you need a sponsor. For this, you will need to examine your event and figure out which of the following four benefits you need to inject into it. It may be a lot of a few or a little of one. But generally, these are a few of the biggest purposes for gaining event sponsorships.
1: Press Coverage
If you are organizing a large event, press coverage helps to secure the long-term benefits. Think about it. Video interviews, SEO optimized articles and social media exposure ensure that your event is memorialized within your industry circuit. A stark contrast to an event that comes, goes, and leaves no mark. This is not to suggest that an event that doesn’t have coverage is an ineffectual one, just that it won’t have long-lasting access for internet browsers and competitors.
2: Brand Establishment
Those two vital words are back again. Brand awareness. And to find sponsorship opportunities for your event is simply too good of an opportunity to miss in this regard. Get sponsors for your event, suitable ones who share your vision and are household names, will give you a bigger reputation, and bolster your credentials a hundredfold.
3: Financial Needs
Covered this already to a dregree, but financial needs come into play. Look at your event as a whole, and ask yourself whether the financial support gained from a sponsor will be a worthwhile investment. Assistance with money will take the pressure off of the financial aspects, and allows you to focus purely on your goals.
4: A Bigger Customer Base
Due to the broad range of connections that household sponsors have, through them you can generate leads and gain new clients. This leads to new customers, and keeps business booming. An event without sponsorship can yield this result as well. But with the partnership that comes with a sponsor, you get even more of it.
How To Find & Reach Out To Sponsors
So, it is heavily established that sponsors are an excellent vehicle for funding, promotion, and as a general stamp of legitimacy that can lead to connecting with peers and big companies. If you’re still reading intently, you probably have decided that you are at least interested in the idea of partnerships with event sponsors. So, let’s get into how to find them.
1: A Few Don’ts
Firstly, events should never be designed with the goal of securing a specific sponsor. As the organizer, your focus should be on making the event innovative, impactful, and worth the cost of the tickets. Nor should the focus be on the next event. Strategize your event, make it a great experience for yourself, your company and the attendees. Once you have reached this milestone, then look at the event as a whole and plan your sponsorship from there. Which is the best partnership for the bill, considering the shape of the event in its totality?
2: Plan The Event
It is highly important for your event to be fully realized before you begin the search. Doing so will assist you with respect to targeted marketing. This is because an event that has been sharpened down to pinpoint precision in terms of focus will ensure a much more targeted research phase as well.
Another factor to bear in mind is the possibility of sponsorship opportunities finding you. Yes, that will happen when your event is in development and is gaining some notoriety. If it is looking to be a feat of an event, then you can trust that a sponsorship proposal or two might come your way. That is a prevalent activity with big companies – they often are on the search to find events to sponsor, because they are always on the lookout for new ways to advertise themselves to the world. This is another solid reason why you should prioritze event development first and foremost.
3: Rigorous Research
Sorry to say, but there is no way around the research process. Much research is required to find your event sponsors, and that research has to be deep and thorough. What’s more, you have to look beyond the first few pages. For instance, testimonials written by the sponsors themselves are not necessarily a good representation of how the sponsoring body is to work with. There are many places to look, and fortunately, in the age of the internet, there are many more options thatn before. But the first step is to narrow your research down to the most relevant sources, with targeted research.
4: Targeted Research
The prospect of finding potential sponsors can be overwhelming from the inception stage. You may have a vague idea of the kind of sponsor you need, and therefore the areas in which to look at. But locating the solid leads is another matter entirely.
To break this down, the first step is to focus your research down to pinpoint precision. Targeted research. There area a few things to look out for in this regard. The first is to target sponsors with whom you have assimilated interests. Moreover, it is good for them to have similar demographics too, and a cohesive mission that compliments your own.
Another important part of narrowing down the search for potential partners (not just for event sponsorship, but many other endeavors) is to find companies whom have a strong ROI focus. This is important, because it ensures commitment. As a business person, you don’t want to grab any sponsorship opportunity that comes along. You want investment. A situation where both parties invest to equal degrees. That way, you get a better deal.
Think about it. If the sponsoring party approach the sponsorship package with the same burden to promote themselves, then it becomes their job as well as yours to sell tickets. These are the kinds of partnerships that make things happen. There are no reasons to miss those opportunities.
b) Similar Marketing Style
One final stipulation for targeted research is to narrow your search down to those who have a similar style of marketing to you. This is for the purpose cohesion between your event sponsor and your company. When the time comes to push the event, and gain the momentum required for a good turnout, you need brand similarities in order to present a cohesive message. Ergo, both parites have to retain an acute awareness of a singular vision. More specifically, your vision as an organizer.
c) Brand Affinity
Then there is the cohesion of branding. This level of affinity applies to many aspects of the sponsorship package, including the imagery which will be plastered across your event. Another area where it applies specifically is to your customers. If you have an affinite sponsor, it will transcend onto your customers who will recognize its appropriateness. Furthermore, it has the same effect in the marketing phase.
d) Similar Values
You may even want to break it down to other matching values, such as cultural ones. Again, this is for the sake of affinity and carrying a message that you and your company believes in. When you create this cohesion, you push a concise message that is marketable, accessible and caters to a niche, however big or small.
5: Targeted Marketing
There is a marketing aspect to consider too. This is in respect to your pitch, to a degree. Not only that, but throughout the event sponsorship process. When you pitch, you are selling. When you sell, you pick your customers carefully. Ergo, you sell your products to the ones who are most likely to buy them.
What’s more, believing in the unity between your event and the sponsor is important for writing and presenting a great pitch. Think about when you apply for dream jobs; the process is easier to engage with, and is slicker and more energized when we believe wholeheartedly that we are the best person for the position. It’s the same here. The relationship between event planner and potential sponsors will be a greater one when there is unity between the two parties.
Moreover, this same rule applies when it comes to promotional efforts. Targeted marketing campaigns locate the right audience and stands the best chance to attract them to your event. There may be customers out there who haven’t heard of your event. That is not necessarily because they aren’t interested, but rather because they don’t have access. So, align your marketing efforts with your sponsor, and make an impression.
6: Digital Tools
There are many options to find sponsors for your event, and thanks to the internet, you can find them all in one place. Don’t just jump on Google and do reams of research, targeting brands, and looking for any and all event sponsorships. No, one way you can get relevant sponsors for event is by using digital search tools – there are databases out there which you can use to stipulate your search and find the best matches. Here are a few of the good ones, in no particular order.
This one is particularly good as it advertizes events currently on the lookout for sponsors. Some solid evidence of how it works both ways. What’s more, it hosts a user friendly interface that allows you to use built-in tools to manage all aspects of your event sponsorship process.
SponsorPitch gives you access to a database full of potential sponsors. It also supplies you with data and analytics of each company, so you can get a more intricate and focused idea of who each company is to their audience, and how they are received. So if you want to know how your event sponsorship personnel are to work with before you begin, this is your best bet.
There are other sponsorship databases that cater to particular niches, and OpenSponsorship is on such example. It focuses on the sports industry.
Pitching To Sponsors
So, you’ve done your homework and now have a number of sponsors to approach for your event. Now comes the pitching process. These can come in many different shapes and sizes from written copy, to video presentations, to both. It can depend on who your targeted sponsor is and what kind of presentation style is likely to create affinity between the two parties, but there are a few general rules to abide by, regardless of your pitching mediums.
1: Create A Cohesive Message
Make your message concise and to the point. One thing that recipients to pitches of this nature won’t want to see (particularly the big names) is a lot of detritus in the contact points. Make your mission known in a few sentences if you are using copy, frames if the medium is video, and slides if you possess the artform of artwork and images.
2: Pull Don’t Push
One of the classic methods of business is to pull rather than push. This means that you rely on descriptive tactics to get sponsors rather than pushing your values onto them in any kind of forceful manner. It is designed to interest the recipient into taking action by advertising your wares in an open, and transferable way. It is the best tactic for finding event sponsorship.
3: Tell Them Why They Should Invest In You
First and foremost, remember in order to get sponsors for event, you must treat your potential sponsors like any other business relationship. In general, there needs to be a pragmatic idea of how the partnership will benefit them. This is one of the key areas of your pitch. Some of the most common benefits that sponsoring bodies are interested in in the modern day are that of increasing their demographics, pushing their social media reach, and for general promotion of their products or services. So, make sure you describe in detail how partnering up with you will facilitate these interests.
4: End With A CTA
End your pitch with a call to action. As in, leave the ball in their court so that in order to advance, they must make the next move. That way, you have made the first move, but when you get your response, it will be from a party that is genuinely interested in working with you. CTAs tend to prompt the recipient to follow up on your initial contact point.
Don’t Stop Moving
The most important aspect of pitching is to keep trying. The first pitch might not return any response or engagement, but don’t let this get you down. This is often the case. Keep trying.
Also, don’t rewrite and restructure your pitch based on a single rejection. It’s human nature to assume that because an effort hasn’t landed, that it needs to be changed. But endless fiddling with your pitch does no good. Stick to your guns, and if at first you don’t succeed, keep on trying.
Also, bear in mind that there are a great many sponsors out there. Create a solid pitch, keep working at it and eventually you will secure a great deal.
Pitching Sponsorship For Virtual Events
The way that you strategize how to get sponsorship for events is different when it comes to virtual mediums. In fact, virtual sponsorships are more of a challenge to implement into an event. It is arguable that the corporate world is still trying to figure it out ways how to sponsor an event with it. Many business-people are debating whether it is possible.
At Everytale, we believe that it is. It is just generally more complex than in person methods. But when you pitch for a virtual medium, you need to stress different benefits in order to convince companies of the value of working with yours.
The first is the benefits that come of virtual exposure. The thing is, with virtual events the exposure is eternal. This is due to the nature of the web, and the tendency for companies to immortalize their events by posting the streams online in some form, and then promoting them further with social media. What’s more, the algorithm will often do them the favor of recommending these videos to the right audience.
Another action you can take is to propose a tiered sponsorship plan. That’s to say, offer the company in question a number of different commitment levels for your event, for varying levels of ROI on your part.
Then, consider securing more than one sponsor. That way, you can secure financial aid and promotion from more than one source, to make up for the benefits that are lost in the transition to virtual medium.
Also, don’t forget the number of digital benefits that come with virtual mediums, such as data collation, demographical information and other useful statistics that can be used to sharpen your marketing skills and target your audience in a more precise manner.
If all that sounds promising and you like the idea of using virtual platforms for your event sponsorship purposes, make sure you have a good broadcasting platform too. Everytale can provide that. Not only that, but it gives you the ability to conveniently beam your event out internationally, to hundreds of thousands of attendees. It’s super user-friendly too.
Sponsorships can illuminate your event and does many services for the practical necessities as well. What’s more, it takes your event from a niche occasion to a corporate one, recognizable to the masses, and simply amazing for the purposes of business development. While the search may be long and taxing, consider it a business investment. Plus, if you pitch well and consistently you are bound to get one sooner or later. And then the fruits of your labors will pay off a thousandfold.