If your events rely on sponsorships, you know just how important it is to foster a relationship with your sponsors so they continue to provide financial support. Even if you’ve secured a sponsor in the past, there are no guarantees that they’ll sponsor the same event next year if they feel detached from your event or organization.
Sponsorships aren’t an item you can simply check off of a list. If you want to keep your sponsors coming back time and time again, you’ll need to create strong, lasting relationships with them through a well-defined process, great communication skills, and significant attention before, during, and after your event.
Here are 4 simple ways you can connect with your sponsors.
- Initiate Top Notch Communication
Business relationships are no different than personal relationships. The key to keeping them healthy is to maintain an open line of communication. If you make an effort to initiate conversation with your sponsors at any time possible, even if it’s just checking in with updates, your sponsor will glean a sense of your commitment to their brand and will feel more comfortable reaching out to you.
- Be Humble and Courteous
When you strip away the branding, the jargon, the goals and the metrics, you’re left with one thing- people. You have to remember that you’re communicating with another person or group of people, and they will have an impression of you as an individual. Don’t let your positive attitude and politeness fall by the wayside once you’ve secured the sponsorship.
Make sure you say thank you when someone does something nice, be patient with them throughout the entire process, and do your best to personalize your communication. Making contact with your sponsors in a timely manner throughout the entire process is crucial, so make sure you connect with them and provide them enough time to gather any materials you’re questing from you without making them feel rushed. You’ll also want to follow up with them in a timely manner after your event has ended. Just remember, sending them a boiler-plate thank you is impersonal and does nothing but show that you don’t really value your relationship.
- Prove Your Worth
Sponsors care about one thing: results. You need to prove that their choice to support your event has paid off and that you’ve delivered on everything you’ve promised. If you can take initiative and show them how successful their sponsorship was thanks to your event (and vice versa), you’ll have the foundation for a fruitful and lasting relationship.
During your initial conversations with a potential sponsor, you should nail down exactly what they’re looking to gain. Whether it’s an increase in social traffic, lead generation, or some type of actual purchase, knowing what their goals are makes it much easier to know which aspects of your event you need to focus on and the technology you need to track those items. With enough planning, you’ll have hard data to show how successful your event truly was at meeting your sponsors’ goals.
- Provide Real World Connections
Your sponsors should always be treated like VIPs. Think about it- if sponsors had to buy tickets to your event, they’d be paying a price much higher than any VIP tickets or packages you sell to attendees.
To show that you acknowledge their status and that your event has real world value, consider introducing your sponsors to influential or important people involved with your event. If you have a special guest like an artist or speaker, see if you can arrange to have them meet with your sponsors. You can also introduce them to people associated with your event that have sway in your sponsor’s industry or can act as a potential business contact.
Essentially, you want your sponsors to feel like their sponsorship was valuable in terms of engagement, branding, and sales/distribution goals. If they walk away feeling like they’ve made powerful business connections on top of meeting their sponsorship goals, they’ll hold your event in high regard and will be more likely to continue sponsoring your event in the future.
When in doubt, always keep your sponsors in the loop about any changes to your event that could potentially affect their engagement with your event. This goes for both positive and negative changes. If something isn’t going well or you need your sponsor’s help, don’t hesitate to reach out to them.