As more and more events take place, it is becoming even more difficult for event planners to find and secure event sponsors and event exhibitors. Event planners want to make money and keep things as simple as possible. However, with competition in the market, sponsors want more. They want to feel like they are important and to be treated as a special client.
To make event sponsors feel like they are special, you will have to do more work. However, if you use this checklist as a guide, you will discover that you have the power to attract and retain event sponsors and exhibitors.
1. Tailor your exhibitor sponsorship proposals. First, it is critical that you tailor each event sponsorship proposal. Companies that sponsor events want to see their logo on the proposal and not a generic template.
2. Show how your audience is their target audience. You want to show potential sponsors that your event is essentially their event. You make this happen by showing them the event attendees are their target audience.
3. Research what other events they have sponsored and use it to your advantage. Do your homework and find out what events the potential sponsor has sponsored. How are these events similar or different from your event?
4. Know everything you can about the potential sponsor’s brand and make a connection. Again, take time to do some research on the potential sponsor. Use all the information you find to help you make a connection back to your event. Show that what they believe in and who they are targeting aligns with your event’s brand positioning.
5. Do not copy & paste. Be unique. With the competing event space, show potential sponsors why your event offers them a unique opportunity. Take this a step further by providing unique event sponsorship packages.
6. Look to the leaders in the industry. Gain inspiration by watching what other successful event planners are doing. Look towards major events, such as SXSW and IMEX Americas, to see how they are finding major sponsors.
7. Do not neglect those with smaller budgets. Remember that not all companies interested in sponsoring events have a huge sponsorship budget. For those companies with smaller budgets, offer a low-budget event sponsorship package that just includes the basics.
8. Allow space for suggestions and feedback. If you take time to listen to feedback from sponsors about what they want, you are likely to make them feel like they are getting the preferred treatment – even if you do not do everything they suggest. Listening goes a long way.
9. Be willing to negotiate. Negotiate on the event sponsorship package until you both feel satisfied.
10. Thank the event sponsors and exhibitors. Keep event sponsors happy after the event is over by sending a thank you note. In addition to the thank you note, send them the data you collected that proves the event was a success. This is also a great way to get them to come back for future events.