Sponsoring an event can be great for your brand or a complete waste of your event marketing budget. How do you know a good opportunity from a total bust?
Whether you’re backing a fun-run or funding an industry luncheon, sponsorships can be a very rewarding experience and can achieve positive, real-world goals. However, connecting your brand to a community of like-minded individuals isn’t as simple as signing a check. Adding your name to a brochure or event banner won’t drive business your way.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to picking out the right sponsorship opportunity for your brand.
Do: Set reasonable expectations
Your brand’s presence at an industry conference or trade show will yield different results than from sponsoring a local art fair. The trade show sponsorship will familiarize people in your industry with your brand, while your company’s name at the art fair should engender good will among your neighbors. Determine your marketing goals to know which sponsorship is the right move for you.
Don’t: Focus on quantity over quality
Brand impressions are important, but make sure they’re the right brand impressions. Focus on event sponsorships that fit your target audience, ones where industry influencers will notice your brand. A single social media post from the right influencer is more meaningful than dozens of posts that reach the wrong audience.
Do: Ask around for event marketing context
Research past events put on by the same organization. Do attendees speak fondly of the experience or gripe about it? People will associate you with the company you keep, so ensure that attendees connect positive feelings with the event.
Do: Get it in writing
Define what you get in exchange for your sponsorship with a solid contract. Negotiate the finer points, such as the visibility of your brand or exclusivity—being the only one in your industry to sponsor the event. Event managers will also rely on you to hold up your end of the event marketing deal. If you promise branded materials for gift bags, clarify quantities and delivery dates.
Don’t: Skip the event
Make sure you or one of your staff attends the event to take advantage of meet-and-greets and social media opportunities. Many sponsored events tout worthy causes that make attendees feel good about themselves. This makes it a great time to engage with your audience in person.
Do: Look for new partners
The event could uncover new partnership opportunities, so network with your fellow sponsors. These events offer the chance to meet individuals with similar, but not competitive, interests in your business.
Do: Consider opportunities outside of cash donations
Sponsorships don’t have to take the form of cash. Does your business offer services or an in-demand product? Offer it up as a prize at the event. You could also provide a service or product for the event free of charge in exchange for prominent sponsorship placement.
Also, don’t be afraid to turn down a sponsorship that isn’t right for you. If it isn’t the audience you want to see or if you worry the event organizer won’t deliver on marketing opportunities, it may be better to opt out.
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