When we design event invitations and program books, there’s always one page we affectionately refer to as “logo soup.” You know that page — the one with all the sponsor logos displayed from largest and most legible at the top to tiniest and barely legible at the bottom.
Our logo is usually at the bottom. When we’re asked why we spend lots of money to drop our logo into the soup, we say, “Logo soup is delicious! You should try it sometime.” We mean it. You can get a lot of new business from event sponsorships when you work it as part of an integrated marketing strategy. It’s designed to increase the number of people who know, like and trust your business.
Don’t try it if you think the act of writing a check to get your logo in the soup will be enough to bring you new business. It won’t. If you want event sponsorships to bring you more value than a logo at the bottom of the soup bowl, do these 10 things:
Select events run by quality organizations. If you can sponsor a series rather than one-off events, you get a discount and the opportunity to make multiple impressions on regular attendees and other sponsors.
Get in the sponsorship mix early. This helps maximize exposure by getting your name in the pre-event marketing materials.
Get the perks that add value for you. We always want extra tickets, an advance list of expected attendees with their company names and addresses, and a name badge that identifies our company as a sponsor. You’ll see how these perks add value below.
Get to know the organization’s leaders. They are grateful to sponsors and eager to add value. Greet them at every event. As you build your relationship, you can ask them for introductions to attendees who are good prospects for your company.
Wear your sponsor badge proudly. Connections new and old will see your logo displayed alongside well-known logos and hear when your company is thanked from the podium. This conveys credibility — a great foundation for trust.
Promote your event sponsorship. Let everyone in your network know about the event and why you’re sponsoring it. This should include an email blast, social media posts and possibly even a blog post. You can even include it in your email signature: “Proud sponsor of XYZ.”
Invite a few guests to each event, and use those extra tickets for them. Personally invite two or three people from your network of clients, prospects and business connections. Your invitation can be a way to say thanks, to get to know the person better, or to help the person by making introductions to others in your network.
Choose events that educate and inspire. Your guests will enjoy themselves and feel their time was well spent if the focus topic is relevant and the speaker is knowledgeable.
Be intentional about meeting new people. From the advance list of attendees, pick two or three people who fit the profile of a good prospect or connection. Discover their phone numbers or email addresses. Contact them one day ahead to say, “I try to meet new people at every event and tomorrow I would like to meet you.”
Focus on four to six people per event: your guests and the new people you reached out to. Add value by introducing them to each other, to other attendees in your network and to the host organization’s leaders. They will then be talking with people who already know, like and trust you — a pretty great way to start them down that same path.