How To Retain Event Sponsors?
Every event organizer knows that keeping a sponsor for future shows can be a difficult process. In order to grow an event annually the only real way to do this is to retain over 50% of your previous year’s sponsors, normally most event organisers will work on a retention rate of 70%+ for the event to be deemed a success. To meet this retention rate can be incredibly difficult, especially for launch events or shows that have yet to build up a large brand.
So, how do we ensure that we keep sponsors? Simple, keep them happy before, during and after the show and get them a good ROI and they will come back. Easier said than done.
Here are our top tips on how to retain your sponsors, keep them happy and ensure a good ROI for them:
- One point of contact for sales, one for marketing and one for admin/operations. Sponsors often complain with multiple contact from sales, marketing emails and poor follow up once they’ve booked. It’s far easier to have one sales person book their booth, then have one person answer any and all of their admin questions. Don’t make things over complicated for a sponsors
- Define the sponsors’ needs. Be clear with them form the start about what you can offer them and what they want in return. If a sponsor is signing up to your show with high or possible even unrealistic expectations then you must meet this issue early on rather than burying your head in the sand. Be clear with the sponsors about exactly what you can and can’t offer, if their requests are impossible then it’s best to make them aware of this in a friendly way as early as you can in order to avoid an awkward confrontation further down the line.
- Sponsorship options – be creative. The day’s of off the shelf sponsorship packages are well and truly over. Each client has very specific needs and budgets can vary massively between companies. If you aren’t willing to adapt to meet the sponsors’ needs then your competitor will be.
- Relationships matter. Pick up the phone, don’t send email after email. Emails are impersonal, they can often carry a negative tone, they can waste time and put up unnecessary barriers. Speak to the sponsor by phone, run through any issues and get to know them on a personal level. Go for a beer after the show, show them you’re human and get to know them as a friend as well as a business partner. It’s simple, people buy from people they like
- Event Technology. This is a huge growth market at the moment and there are a plethora of apps, software, gadgets, beacons, scanners out there at the moment. Some are needed, some can be a hindrance. Check your software and event tech fully, put yourself in the users shoes and think whether it’s easy for them to operate and if there is a real benefit. Using registration software, event apps and meeting platforms can often help take the admin out of an event.
- Social Media. Tweet them, like them, repost them. Marketing teams love to see the additional social media effort from an event organizer. Two minutes worth of work from your side with a retweet or a mention can create a good amount of appreciation from the sponsor.
- Event perks, gifts and bonuses. Remember to treat the staff well on the day. Arrange little extras for them, a free coffee, welcome pack or simply advice on the host city can really help build bridges with sponsors
- Networking, meetings and socials. This is the main reason sponsors come to your show – networking. Don’t skimp on this, it’s just as important as putting the expo together. Speed dating, drinks parties, boat trips, themed evenings, app led meeting sessions all go along way to provide a good ROI for the sponsors. Make sure they meet the right people as this is why they’re at your show.
- Rebook on site. Don’t forget to ask them on site to come to the next show. It’s far easier to get a rebooking confirmed when you’re face to face with them and they’re enjoying the buzz of your event (assuming it went well). Ask them there and then whether they want to come back, if they do, book them on!
- Post event follow up. Don’t forget your sponsors for 6 months until you start selling to them again. Send on the post event report, give the leads you promised you would, check if they need any additional help. All of this allows them to prove to management that they had a fruitful trip and helps you book them on again in the long run
Although this list is by no means exhaustive, we do hope that these 10 key points help you keep your sponsors happy at the show and coming back to your event.