Making the most of event sponsorship

Sponsoring an event can be a relatively low-fuss, inexpensive way to promote your business. And, if you’re selective about which events you sponsor, there’s potential to get a great ROI.

Here in Sussex, we’re fortunate that there are all sorts of events (and therefore sponsorship opportunities) happening on a regular basis. So the question is: how can you make the most of the time and money needed to become an event sponsor?

Why become an event sponsor?

Before we plunge into getting the most out of your sponsorship, let’s take a look at the reasons you might choose to sponsor an event in the first place.

Most events provide different levels of sponsorship in terms of prices and sponsor packages. The more expensive packages should, in theory, provide better exposure.

While every event is different, sponsorship tends to have the following benefits:

  • Direct contact with your audience
  • Targeted digital marketing: e.g. social media, a website, emails and follow up blog posts
  • A place to show your products or services
  • Sales opportunities
  • Increased brand awareness

Whatever your level of investment, you can make the most of any event by planning what you want in return.

How to get maximum ROI from event sponsorship

If you’re on the fence about whether to sponsor an event, use this list to decide if it’ll be worth your while.

1. Choose an event that’s relevant to your industry

One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself before sponsoring an event is: “Will my audience be there?”

The answer will be really obvious if you already know the event well. If you’re not so familiar with the event, it’ll require some extra research to assess its suitability.

If it’s available, browsing the list of attendees is the simplest way to find out who’ll be in the room. This can be particularly helpful for B2B events as you’ll be able to look in more detail at the types of businesses represented.

For even more detail, or if there’s no attendee list available, you can ask the event organisers for audience demographics.

Once you’ve figured out who’s attending, check out how well they match up with your user personas. It’s then simply a matter of weighing up how important it is to get your brand in front of these people.

2. Ensure the event’s ethos is in line with your brand

At most events you’ll be looking to increase brand awareness. So any event you sponsor should be considered an extension of your brand.

If the event’s ethos sits well with your brand’s ethos, with a relatable tone of voice and a positive culture, then you could be on to a winner.

You can check out the event website and social media accounts to get a feel for the event’s branding. And if you’re still unsure – ask the organisers to describe the event’s purpose and ethos to you.

3. Assess the event’s popularity

Numbers aren’t everything, but they’re helpful to estimate how much of an impact well-placed sponsorship can have.

At this point, you’re just trying to assess the amount of reach the event will get. So asking the organisers a few basic questions should give you the information you need:

  • How many people will attend the event?
  • What social media channels are used to promote the event?
  • How many followers are there on each social media channel and is there evidence of engagement?
  • Will the event be streamed live or recorded for other viewers who aren’t attending?
  • How much traffic does the event website get?

If the event is still in its infancy, it’s going to be tricky to gauge reach. In this case, you’ll have to base popularity on the organisers estimates, taking into consideration the event’s potential for growth.

4. Set achievable and measurable KPIs

If you know what you want to get out of your sponsorship, it’s simple enough to put in place the means to measure its success.

Your KPIs are very much dependent on your business goals and may include things like:

  • One-to-one engagements
  • Social media mentions, engagements and reach
  • Sales figures
  • Contact details collected
  • Follow up emails

The more specific your KPIs, the easier it’ll be to keep on track and maintain momentum throughout the event.

5. Measure event sponsorship ROI

After the event’s over, it’s time to measure if the sponsorship was worth your while.

As with all marketing efforts, event sponsorship has many indirect benefits, including boosting word of mouth.

These sorts of ROI are important, but can be much trickier to measure and may take some months to translate into results.

If you’ve set specific, measurable targets though, you can check up on these right after the event.

How you measure ROI will depend on the KPIs you set prior to the event – so this will be things like the number of people you talk to, the number of people who try out your products and the number of email addresses you collect.

You can also track attraction, engagement and conversion metrics on your website, much like with your blog content.

And don’t forget about social media, including the number of people who interact with your brand during the event, and the reach of your social posts.

Sponsoring the right events

As with organising an event, your decision to sponsor should include an analysis of your audience, with a focus on achieving business goals.

By selecting relevant events where your audience are present and engaged, you have an excellent chance of getting more out than you put in.

Get in touch to discuss how event sponsorship can boost your marketing.

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