Attendees are the reason we work long hours sourcing the perfect venue, crafting agendas and testing AV setups. But sponsors keep the lights on. Cvent Sponsorship Manager Noel McWilliams and FAZEFWD founder Meg Fasy shared the secrets for attracting event investors in a special Smart Meetings webinar. Following are five suggestions that could increase your bottom line—and decrease your blood pressure.
1. Develop a Wholistic Sponsorship Strategy
Your attendees’ journey begins with understanding their behaviors so you can create a targeted experience for them. Ask, “What companies do your attendees want to know more about?”
Smart Tip: your “partner ecosystem” could be bigger than you think it is. Even companies you might think are “nonendemic”—outside your industry—could be wildly interesting to your audience. Just ask.
Keeping a current customer is cheaper than getting a new one—and even better is leveraging that relationship to bring new sponsors to the table. Your customers could be your biggest advocates. Tap into their networks to create referral programs. Ask what other events they are attending to create a prospect list.
2. Create a Compelling Offer
Only five percent of your sponsors will buy straight from the prospectus, but a stellar one-sheeter with attendee demographics, titles and behaviors is an important reference piece. Bonus points if you can paint a complete picture of your attendees. Where do they vacation? What are their job titles? Do they participate in wellness programs?
Your sponsors want to spend quality time with your attendees. Experiential, immersive activities are one way to provide this networking benefit. The more a sponsor can be face to face with attendees, the more valuable they will see your offer. Food and drink activations are a simple way to achieve experiential interactions at your event. Your venue could help you provide culinary ‘wow’ on a budget if you know how to ask the right questions.
3. Price it Right
Three important factors of pricing include: profit margin, sponsor propensity and competitive analysis. The ideal profit margin for an event is unique to each company, but the rule of thumb is to aim for around 25 to 30 percent. Sponsor propensity relates to what the market is willing to pay. Lastly, look at similar conferences that have the same number of attendees, industry segments and attendee titles and do a cost analysis around those factors.
4. Mine Your Post-Event Metrics
This is very important because you should be able to take this data and report it back to your sponsors in the form of an ROI (return on investment) or ROE (return on equity) report. This report would include information such as session attendance, post-event surveys and attendee feedback.
5. Ride the Trends
The five biggest trends right now include: experiences, philanthropic activations, matchmaking appointment technology, health and art activities.
Experiences create positive buzz and keep people coming back for future events. Corporate Social Responsibility activities have been a trend for the past few years and giving back locally is a popular way to achieve this. Empowering attendees to schedule meetings at events is the hottest trend in the market right now because it creates a targeted experience in a non-intrusive way. Fun walks and runs, diet and meditation challenges are thoughtful ways event professionals let attendees know they care. Setting up art opportunities for attendees to participate in can even be partnered with philanthropic companies who could help make art out of recycled goods. Win-win.