It took a lot to get those sponsors to support your event, now comes the tricky work: keeping them. If you want to retain your sponsors – and attract new ones – it is essential to connect with them before, during, and after the event.
Here are some tips if you want to retain those valuable sponsorships.
Prove Your Value
This one is key. Companies expect to get something in return for sponsorships.
Be specific. You need to prove the value of a logoed cup because this is exactly the information sponsors require to keep returning to your event.
As part of this process, it is essential to know which companies are a good fit with your event and why. How will a partnership between your two companies help achieve the goals and objectives for your event?
You’ll showcase your value by doing your homework.
Clearly Identify Sponsorship Benefits
Create levels for sponsorships and clearly outline what a company receives at each level. Specify how they will receive exposure. How can they quantify return on investment? How can they increase exposure through giveaways or providing discounted merchandise or registration?
Make it crystal clear what all parties can expect – BUT do not become inflexible. Some potential sponsors may request items that are not in your sponsorship levels. Listen to their offer. Not only may you want to accept their offer, you may want to create a new sponsorship level based on their suggestions.
You’re already collecting data on your event sponsors: Who they are? What they are sponsoring? How much they are contributing?
However, are you doing enough with this data? What else can it tell you?
- Data Consolidation – One thing that can mess up your review is messy data. Make sure that information is not duplicated anywhere. Double-check all company names, sponsorship levels, and all naming conventions to make sure they are not repeated (i.e., XYZ Company, Inc. and XYZ Company, Incorporated).
- Loyal Sponsors – Group your sponsors by how many times they have supported your event. Now look at those that come back year after year. Are there any similarities between these groups? If, for example, these returning sponsors are involved in the same or similar offerings, perhaps that says something about the value of that sponsorship. How can you leverage this information to attract more sponsors?
- Spend Levels – What are the spend levels of your loyal sponsors compared to those at return once in a while and the one-offs? It’s likely that the returning backers are spending the most and the one-offs the least? What does that say about where you should focus your efforts? You may want to direct your attention to turning the once-in-a-while’ers into loyal sponsors than focusing on the one-offs.
Several outside factors may affect the success of your sponsorships, including the economy and show location. Create a survey for your sponsors that will provide these insights and complement your existing data to give you a broader view of your sponsorship possibilities.
Also, create a relationship with your sponsors by reaching out to thank them. The time to do this is the day after the event – you may also want to ask about a commitment for next year. It’s never too soon.
Continue to reach out throughout the year. Put that newly organized data to work by tailoring specific messages to different sponsor segments. And be sure to keep your data updated so you can quickly react as your sponsors’ needs evolve. Identifying these changes will provide a solid foundation for your sponsorship program.
Remember, the end of your event not the end of the relationship with your sponsors. For more tips on data collection, as well as gaining and maintaining sponsorships, give The Trade Group a call at 800-343-2005.