Event Sponsorship

Eventbrite presents advice from Nicola Lloyd, head of event marketing for Pearson Frank, on how to attract event sponsors

Finding the right backing for your event can be the difference between success and disaster. Not only will sponsorship give you exposure, it can be a telling factor in whether your event will be noticed.

It’s this noticeability that can lead to more significant profit margins and increased business success. And from the perspective of a sponsor, added publicity of their brand in clear view of their target audience.

With so much on the line, approaching a sponsor with a unique idea could be the difference between getting the support you need and zero investment. So if you’re looking to make a strong impression on your potential sponsors, Nicola Lloyd, head of event marketing at Pearson Frank, is here to pass on the knowledge she’s picked up over the years.

Pic: Getty Images
  1. Give sponsors the information they need to make an informed decision

Having a great idea that will attract the crowds through the door is all well and good, but if you can’t appeal to your sponsors, you’ll struggle to keep them onside and land a deal. When creating an event proposal, you’ll need to include the basics, such as the event name, when it will take place and for how long. But the main selling point for a sponsor can be the location. If they’re sending staff to attend, they’ll want to do that without making a loss.

You’ll also need to do your research – find out who attends similar events, their age range, gender, occupations, etc. This info will be invaluable to a sponsor, as they will want to make sure your event attracts the right audience for them. It can also allow a sponsor to implement their own lead generation tactics, ensuring they attract more attendees and receive a positive return on their investment.

Getting your hands on this data can be easy. Keep track of who has purchased a ticket or signed up for the online registration form. Once you have this info, you can then build a customer profile, which will give a sponsor insight into who they can convert into leads.

2. Make sure they’ll get a return on their investment

When organising an event, one of the most important things for sponsors is getting a return on their investment. If you’re able to single out where they’ll get a strong return from the get go, they’re more likely to commit.

If you have the numbers to hand, tell them how many people will be attending, if they are relevant to that sponsor, the cost they’re likely to face, and the conversion rates. All these answers should be able to offer a detailed insight into your event, so have the information on hand when speaking to a sponsor.

3. A strong social presence

Every business has a social footprint, and if a sponsor is looking for a quick way to make a decision on whether to commit to your event, they’ll look at your social media accounts.
While this isn’t a fool-proof way to judge a company, it can help make a quick judgement call, so be ready to answer all their questions.

Does your event have a strong pool of followers? Do they engage with your content? Is the stream regularly kept up to date? From these answers, a sponsor will know if you can bring in the relevant people, so make sure your social channels are engaging.

4. Know who to contact

In the world of business, the phrase ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ very much rings true. If you’re new to a sector, getting in touch with the right people can be the difference between getting sponsorship or missing out.

So if you’re looking for the right place to start, the CEO or VP may seem the obvious choice. But people in these positions are already hard-pressed with their time and your email may simply get lost in the crowd.

To approach a business and gain its trust, find out the key players in its marketing department and then send them an email. Even if you can only use a generic email address, find the name of the person you want to contact and personalise the message—it’ll reach the right person eventually and you’re more likely to get a response.

But now, reaching out to a business no longer has to stop at email. Follow their social media accounts, search on Twitter and LinkedIn for people who can help, and send them a message asking them to connect. It could be the start of a fruitful relationship.

5. Offer different sponsorship options

Becoming a sponsor of an event won’t come cheap, but if your sponsorship packages offer more bang for their buck, you’re more likely to attract the right people. If you’re unsure what to include, you could offer the chance to communicate with attendees on a larger scale through workshops, keynote, or product demonstrations.

By offering different levels of packages and those that are more in tune with the budget of a business, they’re more likely to commit. Alongside the actual sponsorship costs, there’s also travel, accommodation and other expenses, as well as promotional materials, so don’t forget to factor all of these into the equation when deciding on your costs.

6. Mention the incentives you can offer

It’s always good to give sponsors something a little extra if they sign up for your event, and if this is the route you’re looking to go down, then factor these into the initial pitch.

Of course, you’ll want people to sign up for the event, so giving sponsors access to the list of attendees can be an extra bargaining tool. You could also promote their logos on the event site, PR associated with the event, and mention them through the event social media channels.

If you have the budget, you could also help with the costs of them attending the event. Can you help with the printing of flyers or other costs they may face? You’re looking to build relationships with your sponsors, so giving something back can go a long way.

7. Showcase your previous work

If you’ve already hosted an event, this is the best evidence to demonstrate your success to sponsors. Showing you’ve already delivered a high-quality event can build the trust in a relationship before they’ve even committed to your new event.

Provide evidence of how past sponsors have benefitted from your events, whether it’s growth in customer base or brand recognition. If a sponsor can see this, they’re more likely to commit and invest in your next event.

Although a sponsor may be taken by the idea of your event, you’ll still need to give them a reason to invest, so show them how they can get a positive ROI by converting attendees into positive leads. If they have this info, they’re more likely to commit, and you should be able to attract highly influential followers.

Getting it Right

Managing your relationship with a sponsor with advice from Eventbrite

The more work you put into your sponsorship relationships up front, the higher the reward for everyone – you, your sponsors, and your attendees.

Without that relationship, you’re left scrambling to find new sponsors every time you throw a new event. Ready to nurture your current festival sponsors and develop relationships with new ones? Use these four tips to keep them coming back every year.


  1. Be transparent from the beginning

When you’re pitching a potential sponsor, start with the basics:

  • Are you giving potential sponsors access to a local audience? National? Global?
  • How many attendees do you have each year? How much money do they spend at your event? Remember: brands are buying access to your audience, not assets
  • Be clear about your objectives. What are you looking for from your sponsors? Funding only? Exposure to their audiences/stakeholders? A multi-event contract?
  • Next, you’ll want to dazzle them with details about how you can help them achieve their goals.
  1. Impress sponsors with your value proposition

Many companies providing sponsorships have a limited budget, well defined objectives, and a rigid timeline. They’re not searching for new sponsorship opportunities but they may entertain your proposal if they see a fit with their objectives.

Whether your sponsor would value exclusive market research into their target customer or an increase in their social media reach, you need to make it clear how your event can connect sponsors with their target audience and help them achieve their goals.

Before you create your value proposition for a sponsor, ask these five questions. Make sure the answers are in your pitch and in your follow up emails:

  • What are your sponsor’s key objectives?
  • What do they need to be successful?
  • How will sponsoring your event benefit their organisation?
  • How does your event tie to their brand?
  • How does your event tie to their marketing objectives?
  1. Prove your worth

If you can’t deliver on what you promise, sponsors will walk out the door. In fact, proving your value is the foundation of a long-term relationship. Not to mention, sponsors talk – so if you damage one relationship, you might damage them all.

After the event, you should compile and circulate a report to show sponsors how it all went. If you’re not sure where to find the right data to populate your report, here are three easy ways to get it:

  • Surveys – integrate a few sponsor-related questions into your post event survey. For example, you might ask people to check off which brands they noticed during the event. That direct feedback shows how sponsors stand out at your event
  • Social media – this is your ally when it comes to proving the ROI of sponsorship. You can provide sponsors with information on things like how many users interacted with sponsor messaging on your social feeds, how many new followers came directly after mentioning a sponsor in a post, and how many times you mentioned a sponsor in social posts
  • Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) – if your event is equipped with this technology, you can find out things like how many people interacted with a sponsor’s station. Attendees don’t need to manually enter their information on an iPad, instead sponsors can collect that data and more with the swipe of a wristband or badge.
  1. Connect with sponsors all year, not just at renewal time

Whether your sponsors opted to renew early or not, continue nurturing your relationships. Regular check-ins will keep your event on top of your sponsor’s mind during their budgeting process. And it doesn’t have to be all about business – send a happy birthday message. That can ultimately lead to more referral opportunities.

Stay in touch when something isn’t going well, not just when things are smooth-sailing. Sponsorship is a partnership. While it may feel counter-intuitive to speak out when there’s been a mistake, it’s as important as relaying your successes.

To show you’re committed to a partnership with your sponsors, ask for feedback. What did they love? Was there anything they disliked? What should you do more or less of next time? As you discuss, use the time to ask more about their goals for next year.

Mini quiz: Are you a desirable partner?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to the following three questions, congrats – you’re a good catch!

  • Authentic: Are you truly invested in your relationship with your sponsor?
  • Flexible: Are you ready to pivot your strategy to meet your sponsor’s goals?
  • Dedicated: Do you have a contact person on your team who sponsors can rely on?

Finding the right sponsors for your event can seem like a fruitless effort – and keeping your sponsors year after year can feel nearly impossible. However, with the right strategy, identifying new opportunities and developing those relationships become second nature.

About the Author
Eventbrite is the world’s leading event technology platform. Hundreds of thousands of organisers use Eventbrite to boost ticket sales, promote and manage events, handle on-site operations, and analyse results across multiple sales channels. To learn how you can be your sponsor’s favourite event, get in touch at www.eventbrite.co.uk or call 0800 652 4993.

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