You don’t want to get stuck in the one-and-done cycle of event sponsorships. If the sponsor feels like they didn’t get any value, if the participants feel disconnected or “sold to,” and if you feel like it’s just too much work, then you’re doing sponsorships wrong.
Events that are consistently successful at attracting and retaining sponsors are ones that know how to connect sponsors and participants before, during, and after the event. And it isn’t forced—it’s relevant (and fun) for everyone involved.
Here are five quick tips for making your relationship with sponsors successful:
- Have a solid activation plan
Create activation plans that outline what a company will get at each level of sponsorship. Specify where they will receive exposure: logo placements (gear? course banners?), featured emails, event website, gear bags, and more. This will make it crystal clear from Day One exactly what all parties can expect.
- Offer exclusive discounts or giveaways together
This is tried-and-true cross promotion, and it works. Whether it’s an online discount for registration or giveaway at an expo booth, co-brand and partner with the sponsor to offer participants something special. This will create buzz and goodwill for both your event and sponsor.
- Bring sponsors into social media conversations
As you are posting on your social channels, bring your sponsors into the mix. For example, you can poll the audience for their favorite version of an event t-shirt featuring the sponsor’s logo. Both you and the sponsor can reply to comments. The idea here is to create an opportunity for your sponsor to engage with your audience pre-event, and extend the value of their investment beyond race day.
- Be flexible
Open up the conversation with sponsors to try new and creative ways to engage with participants. Again, this should incorporate pre-race, race day, and post-race ideas. From training runs at brick-and-mortar stores and virtual goodie bags to a race reunion party for finishers, there’s a ton of ways you can connect sponsors and participants throughout the entire event lifecycle.
- Prove the value
And now comes the hardest part for event directors. How do you prove the value of a course banner? It’s tough, but this is exactly what sponsors need to keep them invested in your event year after year. When you think about the elements of your activation plan, try to tie a measurable number to each. Virtual Event Bags is a great example. Instead of handing participants an event bag stuffed with coupons and product samples in person, put it all online where participants can claim only the offers that they want. You’ll be able to track the clicks and report back to sponsors on how their specific offer performed.
Want more tips for improving your sponsorship relationships? Register to download this free 30-minute webinar on getting and keeping event sponsors.