It's the digital age — which means your potential customers are online and bombarded by endless opportunities and companies to work with. So, how do you stand out? You meet them where they go — the events they attend and watch from their computers.
A strong marketing strategy utilizes sponsorship and an event marketing plan to its fullest capacity — from generating brand awareness to tactical follow-up steps with event attendees. If you're wondering how event sponsorship can help your marketing strategy (and need a few tips to get started) keep on reading.
1. Build Your Brand Awareness
Probably the most common reason for sponsoring an event is to increase your brand exposure to an audience that may not know of your company yet— it's obvious but necessary.
Get to know as much as you can about the event before signing the dotted line and so you can add elements that support your marketing strategy. Here are a few questions to keep in mind:
Is there an opportunity to have your company's sign near the stage so it appears in more photos?
Are you able to get an on-stage mention?
Will there be tables for you to display your product?
What type of people will be attending and how can you craft an experience that resonates with them and represents your brand?
Real Event Marketing Example
Each year we host a marketing event in Minneapolis, MN— you may have heard of it — it's called One Squared. Our premier sponsor, Marco, is a technology company that offers many solutions and services. They could have kept their sponsorship to a simple bio read on stage — but instead, they opted to share this humorous video that had our attendees laughing and left a lasting impression.
2. Meet Potential Customers
French writer,Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, once said a goal without a plan is just a wish. If your goal is to generate new sales leads from your event sponsorship, then you need to create a plan on how you're going to meet and schmooze them up at the event. Create a plan that includes the following:
Negotiate access to an attendee list into your sponsorship
Do your research before the event and try to answer the following questions...
Who is attending?
What common interests do you have with them?
Why would they care about you and your company?
Who else is sponsoring?
Create a pre and post-event plan for the team or salespeople attending the event outlining the number of attendees they should connect with and where/how.
Create a day-of-event plan that answers the following questions...
How many people do you want your team to get in front of?
What is your team's "goal" for the day?
Where should your team connect with people online?
How many social posts should your team execute throughout the day?
3. Get Some Social Clout
Posting about the event before, during, and after on your personal and company pages gets you in front of attendees following the event on social media — but it also shows the event planner your support for the event.
And when you support others — they usually tend to thank you (hello, day of event perks). Look for event hashtags, key influencers, and other sponsors promoting the event and get engaged with them online.
Bonus Event Marketing Idea: If you can negotiate X amount of social posts that mention and tag your company on social media as part of your sponsorship, it's going to help your marketing strategy even more.
4. Increase Your Website Traffic
Most event sponsorships include showcasing your company's logo on the event website — and if you're lucky a link back to your website. Not only could this increase the traffic to your website, but it could also increase your website's credibility and ranking if the event site has a higher domain authority and overall rank.
Real Event Marketing Example
We took a look at the website traffic from the One Squared website to Vye's website...turns outour referral traffic's contact to session rate was 2.5% which is much higher than the average of 1%. What does that mean? The website traffic we received from an event website helped us generated new contacts.
5. Treat Your Clients
Here's just a few stats to remind you how important your existing customers are and the role they plan in the success of your business ...
It costs 16x more tobringa new customer up to the same level as a current one. (Destination CRM)
Itcosts5 percent more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one. (Small Biz Trends)
Your customers are important — so delight them when you can! As a sponsor, do your best to negotiate free tickets or an exclusive experience that your clients would appreciate in your contract.
6. Build Your Network
Probably the most important part of sponsoring an event is to create a follow-up event marketing strategy. Did you know that 80 percent of trade show exhibitors don't follow up with their show leads (SalesForce, 2012)? That's insane.
It does no good to put time and money into a sponsorship if you don't have a plan to connect with the people you did and didn't meet. Use social media to do this — consider sharing a recap (like this One Squared attendee) and use the event hashtag to engage with people after the event.
Real Event Marketing Example
To the right is a snapshot of a LinkedIn post I shared on social media following an event we hosted — while I wasn't sponsoring the event, there were over43,000 views on one post, 414 engagements, and 19 comments!
Most of these engagements were from people who attended the event or new connections that knew/followed our speakers.Social media can be when you engage with and highlight other attendees, speakers, and sponsors.
7. Get Event Marketing Ideas
The best way to know what works when marketing an event of your own is to see what works and doesn’t work for others. And the best way to do that is to experience it yourself. So, attend an event with a format that interests you and take notes on how you could create an event marketing plan that exceeds the experience you had.
These are just a few of the many benefits that come from adding event sponsorship to your company's marketing strategy. So, the next time your company is looking for a way to get in front of new prospects — considering sponsoring an event or creating one of your own.
Give a little. Get a lot.
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