Knowing how to secure sponsors can mean the difference between the success and failure of your event. Connecting with the right sponsors can build your reputation with your target audience and boost your attendance. Here’s what you need to know on how to identify potential sponsors and how to approach them with a compelling pitch that makes them want to support your event.
Make a List of Sponsor Prospects
The first key to knowing how to get sponsors for an event is approaching the right promotional partners. Ideally, a good event sponsor should possess several key qualities:
- Have your event’s target market among their customers, contributors or social media followers
- Have a mutual interest in promoting your event
- Not be direct competitors with your brand
To identify brands that are already in contact with your event’s market, consider what products and services your market buys or what interests they have. For instance, if you’re promoting a nursing conference, you might consider nursing colleges, medical supplies, or nursing employers such as hospitals or clinics, etc.. You can also look at lists of sponsors for similar related events (but not competing events). Additionally, local businesses may serve the same customer base you’re targeting.
As you’re compiling a list of potential sponsors, think about reasons why that prospect might want to promote your event; what’s in it for them? For example, would it serve their customers to promote your event? Could they profit by selling something at your event or by receiving a commission? Would it boost their brand’s reputation? Does the mission of your brand align with their values?
As you consider potential sponsors, look for brands that aren’t in direct competition with yours. An ideal sponsor has the same customer base as you but isn’t selling the same thing you are.
By applying these guidelines, you should be able to develop a list of prospective sponsors. If your list is long, you should prioritize it. Identify which prospects could give your event the biggest promotional boost. For instance, some sponsors may have a larger promotional reach, while others may be able to put you in touch with the right people. Prioritize these top prospects by reaching out to them first and following up with them actively.
Create an Appealing Pitch
Once you’ve got a list of prospects, the next key for how to get sponsors for an event is creating an appealing pitch that makes partners want to promote you. You can follow a seven-step approach to securing sponsors:
- Introduce yourself and your event
- Specify the purpose of your event
- Describe why your prospect would be a good sponsor
- Talk about benefits to sponsors
- Offer incentives to sponsors
- Tell sponsors what actions to take
- Make it easy for sponsors to respond to your invitation
Use these principles to create a pitch template. You can then customize this template by making appropriate adjustments for individual prospects on your sponsor list.
1. Introduce Yourself and Your Event
How you introduce yourself and your event sets the tone for your conversation with prospective sponsors. Your introduction should be short and to the point, with a focus on any highlights about your brand identity or event theme that might appeal to your prospect. Review your current branding statement and your event’s marketing emphasis. Consider whether you can reword these to bring out angles that might appeal to potential sponsors.
2. Specify the Purpose of Your Event
When introducing your event, let prospective sponsors know what the purpose of your event is. What does your event offer attendees? Why are you hosting the event? Specifying this can help your prospect see why they might be interested in sharing your event with their customers or followers.
3. Describe Why Your Prospect Would Be a Good Sponsor
Prospective sponsors will want to know why you’re contacting them. Why are they a good fit for your event? Let them know briefly why you’re reaching out to them. For instance, you might mention that the information your event offers would be useful to the type of consumers or business customers they serve.
4. Talk about Benefits to Sponsors
Prospects will wonder what’s in your event for them. Let them know the benefits of sponsoring your event. Will your event allow them to:
- Serve their customer base?
- Build their brand’s reputation?
- Sell items to your attendees?
- Gain customers from your attendees and followers?
- Have access to attendees and their information?
- Profit from commissions on registrations?
- Promote their company’s mission?
The stronger the benefits you offer prospects, the more likely they are to sponsor your event.
5. Offer Incentives for Sponsors
You can also frame benefits in terms of incentives for sponsors. For example, you can offer sponsors:
- Cross-promotion via email, social media mentions, website advertising or promotion
- Brand logo placements
- Free or discounted sponsor booths if your event is a trade show
- Offering exclusive opportunities for a solo brand sponsor
Think of creative ways you can reward sponsors for helping you promote your event.
6. Tell Sponsors What Actions to Take
When prospects decide to accept your invitation of sponsorship, they need to know what actions to take. Lay out specific call-to-action instructions for what they should do to become sponsors. Include any names, links, phone numbers or other details they need to know. Mention any deadlines they need to observe.
7. Make It Easy for Sponsors to Respond to Your Invitation
The easier you make it for prospects to respond to your invitation, the more likely you are to pick up sponsors. One way to make it easy for sponsors to sign up is to link them to a landing page on your site where they can get full details and click to register as a sponsor.
You can also use your website to make it easy for sponsors to promote your event to their following. Provide them with promotional materials they can distribute, and include a link to a page on your site where attendees can register for your event. A plug-in can help you automatically register attendees through your site. To maximize your sign-ups, use a plug-in that verifies emails to avoid attendee email address typos. If payment is required, use a payment method that is compliant with applicable regulations, and test it to make sure it’s working correctly.
Sending out automated event reminders can also help your sponsors and attendees prepare for your event. Any steps you can take to make it easier for your sponsors and those they invite will help boost your attendance.
Secure More Sponsors to Make Your Event a Success
By compiling a list of prospective sponsors and crafting a compelling pitch, you can attract more attendees to your event and make it a greater success. Hosting a successful event is easier when you use the right software to help you and your partners organize your promotion. The Event Espresso ~ WordPress event registration and ticketing plugin makes it easy for you to manage your event and register attendees right from your website.
Test it out for yourself to see how we can help you streamline your registration process and increase your attendance.