5 Proven Ways to Secure Event Sponsorship in Uncertain Times

5 Proven Ways to Secure Event Sponsorship in Uncertain Times

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Posted on August 7, 2023

How can you successfully attract sponsorships for your event amid shrinking marketing budgets of potential sponsors? 

During economic downturns, prospective sponsors often exercise more caution when deciding on the events they want to back. 

On the bright side, 68% of marketers view events as the primary lead generator for initial sales funnel stages.   Your task is to make your event stand out and secure sponsorships, even amid economic challenges and intense competition for marketing budgets.

This article will share five strategies that can help you attract event sponsorships, even during economic uncertainty. Let’s dive in!

Know the Strengths and Purpose of Your Event

Before we get into the specific tips, we recommend you develop a strategy guide to event sponsorship that provides details of the event and its purpose. 

This guide will be a valuable resource, offering insights into the benefits a potential event sponsor can gain by participating in your event. 

This event sponsorship prospectus should articulate and highlight the numerous advantages sponsors can enjoy, such as increased brand visibility, access to a targeted audience, business growth potential, and networking opportunities.

Identify the Right Partners

One of the most critical tasks regarding event planning is finding the perfect sponsors to back your event. Identify sponsors that align with your event’s theme, target audience, and goals. 

Find Potential Sponsors

Event planners have a range of online resources at their disposal to connect with potential sponsors. Let’s explore some of the most popular ones:

LinkedIn: This professional networking platform can be used to research companies and individuals interested in sponsoring events. It’s also an excellent tool for making initial contact with potential sponsors.

Google Search: A Google search can yield a list of other companies that have sponsored events similar to yours in the past.

Sponseasy: This tool helps you create professional event sponsorship proposals. It also allows you to track when potential sponsors view your submission.

SponsorMyEvent: This online marketplace connects event planners with sponsors. You can list your event here to attract potential sponsors.

ZoomInfo: This platform provides direct access to detailed profiles of millions of businesses and professionals across various industries. It can help you identify potential candidates for event sponsorship and key decision-makers within those companies.

Hoovers: This online directory provides information about both large corporations and small businesses, including industry, size, location, and revenue. This information can be helpful when seeking out event sponsorships.

Slack and Facebook Groups: Joining industry-specific groups on platforms like Slack and Facebook can help you connect with potential partners and sponsors interested in your field or type of event.

Understand Why Businesses Sponsor Events

Why do businesses sponsor events?   Companies sponsor events to boost their sales and marketing efforts, expand their reach, and connect with a more extensive consumer base. 

By sponsoring events, companies can showcase their brand, products, or services to an attentive audience, increasing brand awareness and recognition.

Event sponsorship also enables organizations to build valuable relationships with attendees, industry professionals, and potential customers, opening doors to new business opportunities. 

Investing in event sponsorship allows companies to tap into the power of live experiences and create memorable impressions that contribute to their overall growth and success. So, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!

Strategy #1: Get Creative With Sponsorship Packages

Getting creative is the perfect response when confronted with economic uncertainty and reduced marketing budgets!  Consider offering flexible sponsorship packages that cater to different budgets and provide various benefits. 

You can explore tiered options with perks like logo placement, speaking opportunities, exclusive networking events, or digital marketing promotions. 

Find innovative ways to make the most of your resources to help your event stand out in the market.

Offering customized event sponsorship packages enables potential sponsors to choose the level of exposure that aligns with their reduced marketing budget. 

To help you brainstorm, here are creative event sponsorship ideas:

Innovation Showcase 

Offer sponsors the opportunity to host an exclusive “Innovation Showcase” to present their latest products, services, or technologies in a dedicated area. 

This package can include interactive displays, demonstrations, and presentations that allow event organizers and sponsors to engage directly with attendees.

Thought Leadership 

Position sponsors as thought leaders by offering them speaking slots in keynote sessions or specialized panels. 

This event sponsorship agreement can also include opportunities for sponsored workshops or breakout sessions where event sponsors can share industry insights and expertise.

VIP Lounge 

Create an exclusive lounge for high-level sponsors, speakers, and key industry players. The top event organizer or sponsor of this area can have their branding prominently displayed and enjoy additional benefits like hosting private meetings or networking events within the lounge.

Digital Engagement

Provide event sponsors with enhanced digital exposure through custom social media campaigns, sponsored content on the event website, or dedicated email newsletters featuring their brand and message.

Sustainability and CSR

Appeal to businesses committed to sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) by offering an event sponsorship package highlighting the conference’s green initiatives and charitable partnerships. 

Examples include tree-planting initiatives, carbon offset programs, or collaborations with local nonprofits.

Interactive Technology 

Incorporate interactive technology into the event, such as augmented reality experiences, virtual reality demos, or interactive displays. 

Involve event sponsors in creating and showcasing these technologies, driving engagement with attendees.

Swag Bag

Since 88% of businesses participate in trade shows to raise brand awareness, offer potential sponsors the opportunity to provide branded promotional items or samples to include in the conference swag bags distributed to all attendees. 

Networking Game

Develop a gamified networking app or activity encouraging attendees to interact with event sponsors to win prizes or exclusive benefits. 

This event sponsorship package would give sponsors increased visibility and engagement opportunities.

Host City Exploration Events

Collaborate with nearby businesses and tour operators to offer sponsor-led city tours or activities for attendees, allowing event sponsors to showcase their products or services while promoting the host city’s attractions.  

This could include things like sporting events or restaurant tours.

After-Event Follow-Up

Extend the value of event sponsorship post-event by offering post-event marketing opportunities, such as hosting webinars or providing content in follow-up email campaigns to keep sponsors engaged with attendees.

Strategy # 2: Craft Custom Business Cases

Marketing teams operating under tighter budgets will be more cautious with their expenditures. They must navigate various sponsorship and event options while dealing with information overload from competing event sponsorship packages. 

Their goal is to distill this information and form actionable recommendations. 

Make it easier for them. 

Develop a tailored sponsorship proposal that the marketing team can use to showcase the return on investment (ROI) and the benefits they can gain from attending your conference. 

It’s worth noting that half of all companies monitor sales leads generated from events, while 39% measure the event ROI itself.

To do this, incorporate the following information in your custom sponsorship proposal:

Attendee Demographics

Information about the attendees’ demographics, including age, gender, job title, industry, company size, and geographical location. 

This data helps sponsors evaluate whether the event’s audience aligns with their target market.

Attendee Numbers

You can use the expected attendees or historical attendance data for past events. Sponsors want to know the audience size they can reach through their sponsorship.

Audience Engagement

Metrics on attendee engagement include:

  • The average time spent at the event.
  • The number of sessions attended per attendee.
  • Interaction rates with event content or technology (e.g., mobile apps, social media posts).

Social Media Reach

Provide details on the event’s social media reach and engagement metrics, including the number of followers, impressions, mentions, and hashtag usage. 

Sponsors want to understand the event’s online visibility and potential for social media marketing.

Website Traffic

Incorporate data on the event website’s traffic, unique visitors, page views, and bounce rates. This information helps sponsors gauge the event’s online presence and promotional impact.

Previous Sponsorship Success Stories

Case studies or testimonials of earlier sponsors outlining their ROI and the benefits they gained from sponsoring the event.

Media Coverage

Provide information about media coverage and press mentions related to the event and any planned media partnerships.

Event Content and Agenda

Details the event’s agenda, sessions, workshops, and speakers. Sponsors are interested in the content relevance and how it aligns with their brand or industry.

Custom Sponsorship Package

A clear breakdown of the custom sponsorship package includes branding opportunities, speaking slots, access to attendee data, and additional promotional benefits.

Lead Generation Opportunities 

Share information about how sponsors can collect leads and engage with attendees during the event, such as lead scanning technology or networking opportunities.

Post-Event Data

Commit to providing post-event data and analytics, including attendee feedback and post-event survey results.

Competitor Analysis

Include insights into past sponsors and competitor brands involved in the event and any exclusivity clauses in sponsorship agreements.

Budget and Cost Breakdown

Provide a transparent breakdown of sponsorship costs and the expected event ROI based on the sponsor’s objectives.

Strategy #3: Highlight Relationships And Audience

Highlight the synergy between your conference’s target audience and the sponsors’ target market, showcasing event sponsorship opportunities to connect with a highly relevant and engaged audience that closely matches their customer profile.

When businesses see the potential to reach their ideal customers through the event, they may be more willing to invest, even during a downturn.  

In a study by Display Wizard, 64% of event exhibitors surveyed said the quality of attendees was the more important factor when choosing to exhibit at an event.

Here are some practical ways to showcase this alignment in your event sponsorship letter of proposal:

Attendee Profile

Provide a detailed breakdown of the conference’s attendee profile, including demographics, job titles, industries, and interests. Compare this information with the sponsors’ ideal customer profile to demonstrate how the event’s audience closely matches their target market.

Testimonials and Case Studies

Gather testimonials or case studies from previous event sponsors who have effectively engaged with the audience and accomplished their marketing objectives through event sponsorship. 

These real-life examples demonstrate the synergy between the event attendees and the sponsors’ target customers.

Industry Relevance

Emphasize the conference’s focus on specific industries or niches that directly align with the sponsors’ products or services. 

If the event caters to a niche market, sponsors in that industry will be more likely to see the value of connecting with their target customers.

Customized Content and Sessions

Offer to create customized content or sessions that directly address the sponsors’ target market and align with their business objectives. Sponsors will appreciate integrating their expertise or products into the event’s agenda.

Networking Opportunities

Showcase how event sponsorship offers excellent networking opportunities at the conference. Sponsors can engage with potential customers through networking breaks, exclusive meetups, or matchmaking sessions. 

This personalized setting enables sponsors to establish meaningful connections with their target audience.

Pre-Event Surveys

Conduct pre-event surveys or polls to gather insights from registered attendees about their interests, challenges, and preferences. 

Share these anonymized findings with potential sponsors to showcase the audience’s alignment with their target market for event sponsorship opportunities.

Brand Affinity

Explain any partnerships or endorsements from industry influencers, associations, or organizations reinforcing the event’s credibility within the sponsors’ target market. 

This association can help sponsors feel confident about the event’s alignment with their target audience.

Data Insights and Analytics

Sharing post-event data and analytics with sponsors, including attendee feedback, lead generation metrics, and engagement statistics, can prove how well the event’s audience aligns with the sponsors’ target market.

Strategy #4: Offer Value-Add and Exclusive Opportunities

To entice sponsors, go beyond standard sponsorship packages and provide exclusive benefits. Enhance the conference experience by offering opportunities for one-on-one meetings with industry leaders or keynote speakers. 

Grant access to post-event data and analytics for valuable insights. Allow attendees to host private networking events during the conference. Organize workshops, panel discussions, interactive sessions, and exclusive product demonstrations to enrich the event further. 

Diverse and engaging event offerings enhance the memorability and impact of the conference. These distinct features make event sponsorship more appealing, even during challenging economic times.

Strategy #5: Collaborate with Sponsors on Promotions

Consider collaborating with sponsors on joint promotions or marketing opportunities. Examples could be sending a collective email newsletter or promoting a package deal.

By sharing the promotional workload, businesses can gain increased exposure without incurring significant additional costs.

Wrapping Up

Even in times of economic uncertainty, it is still feasible to secure event sponsorships. 

However, achieving this requires adopting a creative approach, implementing adaptable strategies, and being willing to go the extra mile with tailor-made sponsorship packages and proposals that cater to potential sponsors’ specific needs and interests. 

By carefully crafting compelling proposals and showcasing your event’s unique benefits and opportunities, you can entice sponsors to collaborate and support your event, ultimately ensuring its success.

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