Updated: Aug 21
So you’ve done it – you’ve signed numerous sponsors for your next event! That’s great, but now you might be wondering just how to create a mutually beneficial experience that strikes the balance between pleasing your sponsors and providing the ultimate experience for event attendees.
Keeping your sponsors pleased increases the chance of retaining them, which is arguably more important than signing them in the first place.
Here are our top ten tips on keeping your sponsors happy;
1. Assign a key point of contact
Put someone in charge of sponsorships, they will be the first point of contact and handle everything regarding sponsorships – from sales to logistics to the relationship with the sponsors. Their job is to make sure the sponsors understand their role, what they’re expected to provide, and all the pertinent details. Most importantly, they should make sure the sponsor gets everything they pay for.
2. Refer to them as partners.
While most sponsors are not equity partners, they are very much partners in the event. Referring to them as a partner implies an active role and a vested stake in the event’s success.
3. Create a clear plan
It’s really useful to have a clear plan with a time frame of deliverables, that encompasses what you need, when you need it by, and where you need it to be. You should always do a final walk-through of the event space to show them how you’ve laid out their materials or set up their assets. This gives the sponsor a sense of ownership over the process and an opportunity to identify and fix problems before your guests arrive.
4. Demonstrate their ROI
We’ve emphasised the importance of this in a previous blog sponsor ROI. You will need to demonstrate how the sponsorship can help reach and engage their target audience/s and provide value.
Sponsors will have their individual needs and objectives but some useful data to collect and pass to them might include:
· The number of people who attended each lecture/round table/presentation/etc.
· How much people engaged with sponsorship messaging over social media.
· Who and how people interacted with digital signs or attractions.
· How many people passed or viewed displays, attractions, or signs.
5. Be their brand ambassador
Sponsors want to be attached to your event for any number of reasons. One of the biggest things you can do is help build their brand by being an advocate to your audience and other partners.
6. Network, network
Do you know a big supplier who might be a good customer for one of your sponsors? Make an intro. It’s also great to introduce them to other partners. You never know what kind of cross promotions will come out of those conversations.
7. VIP treatment
If your sponsors attend your event, treat them like VIPs;
· Create a special entrance so they can skip the queues
· Reserve special seating during shows, lectures, presentations, etc.
· Exclusive meet-and-greets with your speakers, demonstrators, or performers.
· Offer premium drink and food options (at no charge).
· Placing their table in a special location (possibly elevated).
8. Be open to hearing their concerns or ideas.
It’s your event, and you can’t always accommodate everything, but make sure sponsors know you are open to listening to their ideas. Listen to sponsors concerns and if you can’t fix it on the spot, let them know you will think about a solution and get back with them.
9. Try to go above and beyond what you promised.
Think of the classic saying, “Under promise and over deliver.” It’s always good to have a few extra surprises up your sleeve that sponsors don’t already expect. It can be anything from delivering some food (or a cold beer) during the event, to adding them to a promotion they weren’t expecting.
10. Follow up after the event
A sponsor report is a great way to showcase the event and how they were included in the success. It’s a good time to send over any data you collected or materials they might use in their marketing (like photos of the event). If you don’t have those things yet, let them know when they can expect them.
If you’d like help or ideas on retaining, managing or attracting sponsors, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org