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I originally wrote this post in 2014.  I am updating the post with information from 2016.

Have you ever thought that event sponsorship was just a waste of money?  Maybe you thought about sponsoring an event and then talked yourself out of it because you just couldn’t see how you could make it work out for you?

Well, welcome to the “I’m Just Not Sure About Sponsoring Club.”  For a while it seemed like I was acting as president of this club!  I couldn’t see how I would possibly recoup my investment; I was terrified of the thought of putting together a booth, and don’t even get me started about the thought of actually talking to people at the event!

At Decisive Minds we are currently having a lot of conversations with potential sponsors.  During these conversations, I’ve noticed a couple of things.  #1 There are questions around whether event sponsorships really pay off and then #2 Those who do finally get the courage to commit (and it does take a certain level of courage) aren’t really sure what their approach should be to the sponsorship.  I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to share what I’ve learned about sponsorships.

Earlier this year I read a book called Powerful Exhibit Marketing written by Barry Siskind.  In this guide to event sponsorship, I learned how to set my objectives and expectations and create my display in a way that attracted attention; as well as what to do pre-event, during the event, and after the event.  I highly recommend it!

Event Sponsorship 101

As a service based entrepreneur or business coach, would you like to know how to Double Your Event Sponsorship Return?  You need to change your objective and focus on follow-up!  Understanding what would benefit you the most in a sponsorship opportunity will help you to make all your money back plus some.  I think that most of us who are new to the sponsorship game are looking for one thing – sales.   Let me share a better, two-fold approach.

First, building your brand awareness, name recognition and business visibility.

  • Does the sponsorship offer you the ability to place a flyer or advertisement in the event materials, resource guide or binder?  Remember that participants take course materials home and keep them.  If you can get your materials in the binder for the event,  this kind of advertising can live on forever.  For example, many live events turn the recordings and the binder into a home-study course.  This means that anyone who sponsors at those events will be promoted to anyone who purchases the home study course in years to come.  Think about that, your sponsorship dollars are paying off for years to come!
  • Do you get recognition from stage?  Think about the powerful impact of having the person who is hosting the event, on stage, recognizing your company for the work that you do and for being a sponsor.  There is a certain level of trust between the host and the audience.  One of the things we promise our sponsors is  recognition – I will refer to them throughout the program, recommend their products and services and give them time on the mic to share.  There is a trade-off here.  As you sponsor larger events, you’ll have to pay more for on-stage recognition.  But, you will be mentioned in front of more people, so the extra investment can be worth it.
  • Are there times and activities designed to get people to your booth?  I have sponsored a few events lately – one particular event had scheduled activities and special times for people to visit with the sponsors.  The other had no structure – no set times – no idea how to drive traffic to the booths.  It was a huge lesson for me.  It taught me that as the event host it is my job to design an experience for my attendees and also for my sponsors.

Now I said that to double our event sponsorship returns we should be looking at a two fold plan.  The second being, building profitable relationships.  That is the topic for part 2 of this blog post.