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The Keys to Selling Event Sponsorships

Written by | Monday, 01 October 2012 00:00 | Published in 2012 October
If you've ever promoted a conference, you probably know what an important role sponsors play in the success of the event. Sponsors can help with generating working capital, getting the word out and with the overall production of the conference. The reality is, securing a sponsor is much harder than you may think. To secure the right sponsor takes a mix of an irresistible sponsorship offering mixed with creative thinking and relationship building. In this blog we will explore some key concepts in how to secure the perfect sponsor.

Believe it or not, smart companies will not simply give you money because you are hosting an event, unless they happen to need some last minute expenses for tax season. So don't be surprised if you are quickly rejected when you simply send them an email asking for money.

Ideas Behind the an Irresistible Sponsorship Offering

Before even thinking of approaching any businesses regarding sponsorship, you as a sales and marketer, need to take of your "selling" shoes and put on your "buying" shoes as the representative you are approaching about sponsorship. To truly create an irresistible sponsorship offer, it's critical that you see things from their point of view. Once in your new "shoes" ask yourself:

  • What's in it for me (W.I.I.F.M)?
  • What is unique about this opportunity over others?
  • How is my company directly engaging the audience at this event?
  • What kind of return could I see from sponsorship? (doesn't necessarily mean monetary)
  • Do I like this event and does the audience fit my target audience?

It is only until you have these questions in mind that you can then examine your event and find the optimal answers for each one of these questions that would make any company excited at the fact of sponsoring your event.

The Answer for Every Company is the Same Yet Different

Each and every company you contact is looking for one thing in a sponsorship deal, value. They are looking for you to provide some value to them that they normally would not be able to easily get somewhere else. What is different from company to company is what that value exactly is.

Some companies are looking for simply branding and awareness value while others may be looking for ways to establish their authority in the Joomla community. This is where you may have to custom tailor the sponsorship proposal in order to meet that goals and provide value to that particular company.


Thinking of Ways to Provide Value

Once you have thought about the questions that a potential sponsor would ask themselves and then understood the fact that you need to provide value for that sponsor, it's now time to get creative and find ways to provide value.

Of course there is the typical table at event, sponsor banner on the website, social media posts, etc. These are pretty standard, however, they don't really make an irresistible offer. At this point, it's time to think outside of the box and find ways to really "WOW" and impress sponsors so they jump on your offer before their competitors do.

What are some ways that you can creatively get this sponsor in front of attendees of your event and once in front, how can you have the brand engage them. Think more creatively than simply slapping their logo on something.

One unique example that is commonly used when talking about unique sponsor placement is the guerrilla marketing technique employed by an amusement park in Brazil called "Hopi Hari". This sponsorship placement is so unique and creative that not only did everyone take notice but everyone also too photos which also flooded the internet. Pictured next to that is another creative example of sponsor placement done by HP in promoting their new printer at a tech convention.

These are just two famous examples, however, there are many ways to catch attention and engage users in similar fashion. From free samples, unique giveaway contests or key branding placements, the ideas are endless. It's just up to you to think of them and find the right sponsor to fit the role.

Of course, if there are additional costs associated with providing this extra, creative offer than you need to pass this cost along to the sponsors. You can explain that part of the cost is the production and materials for carrying out the unique steps of your marketing offer.

Selling the Sponsorship

This topic is a whole book in itself, however, I want to quickly touch on some key points that can help you successfully sell your event sponsorships.

  • Save Your Time, Talk to the Correct Person
    When first starting out trying to sell sponsorships and advertising, I wasted a great deal of time and effort trying to work out deals with someone in an organization only to find out I've been talking with the wrong person. Save yourself time and energy and make sure you are talking to the correct person who is in-charge of that department of the company.
  • Always Propose the Largest, Most Expensive Sponsorship First
    I'm currently reading a book called "Persuasion. Science and Practice" by Dr. Robert Cialdini and in the book Cialdini explains a process for successfully selling based on human decision making principles.If someone is presented with some large sized commitment or buying decision and they decline, there is a much higher chance they will convert on a second offer that is smaller in size. This purchasing behavior is based on the persuasion "principle of reciprocity" where the buyer feels inclined to purchase the second smaller offer instead of the larger, unreasonable offer.
  • Customizing the Actual Proposal
    Each proposal you create should be uniquely different in some way. One great way to help the sponsor visualize the value is to create mock-ups or photoshopped versions of different points of sponsorship with their branding on it. This will allow your sponsors to get a visual representation of what they will be receiving and get them excited to see it in person.
  • Have an Extra Bang in Your Back Pocket
    Sometimes sponsors are "on the wall" and aren't really sure if it is in their best interest to get involved with your event. In this case, have an extra offer in your back pocket that you can pull out to push them over the edge. This shouldn't be a small offer, this should be an "eye-opening", "jaw-dropping" offer that they would be dumb to turn down. Once you add this offer to the table, your sponsor will jump at the chance to back your event.
  • Make Finalizing the Agreement As Easy As Possible
    I've seen many deals stall out and never close due to complicated contracts or inconvenient ways to finalize payment. You've done so much work up to this point, make closing on the sponsorship as easy as possible. I would suggest getting everything (contracts, payments, etc) done electronically in a short and easy process.

In closing, I'd encourage you to take the idea of money completely out of your head when creating your sponsorship proposals. Instead, think of what types of value your prospective sponsors are looking for and how you can creatively and uniquely bring that value to the sponsor in a way they could not otherwise find. Then, once you have these items in place, find out what your costs are for completing these items and add on your desired sponsorship income.

Creating sponsorships in this manner will help you keep the core essence of sponsorships at hand and really get potential sponsors excited and enthusiastic in sponsoring your event. If you have any questions, comments or ideas regarding sponsorships I would encourage you to post in the comment section below.

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Tagged under Business Matters, English
Luke Summerfield

Luke Summerfield

Greetings! My name is Luke, the brains behind the inbound marketing team at Savvy Panda, jInbound and Master Inbound. I'm hubspot, google analytics & adwords certified and have a B.S. in Marketing.

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