Whatever the size of your venue, sponsorship can be a great source of revenue. And there’s no shortage of reasons for that:
It doesn’t require you to blow your marketing budget (however big it is).
It can be a steady stream of income if you develop a sustainable relationship with the businesses.
It’s a win-win business strategy for both you and your sponsors if it’s a right match.
It brings your community together and exposes your audience to businesses they may not know yet.
And the list goes on. The point is, it’s definitely a good deal if done right.The question is not why, but how: how to secure sponsors for your next sports game / live event / fundraiser?
We’ve compiled 6 best practices that you can easily follow to achieve that.
1. IDENTIFY A LIST OF TARGET SPONSORS
It’s not just mass-emailing or cold-calling local businesses — sometimes it does work, but more often than not prospecting sponsors takes more strategizing than that.
Here are what you should consider when coming up with a list of prospects:
Businesses your event attendees frequent
New businesses in the neighborhood
Sponsors you have partnered with in the past
Other similar venues or events’ sponsors
Sponsors for other events / activities at your school or venue
The key here is to remember that not every sponsor is right for every event. If the partnership is out of context or targeted at the wrong audience, both you and your sponsor would walk away with a sense of disappointment, maybe even deterrence from ever partnering up again. It’s tempting to try your luck by reaching out to as many businesses as possible, but some attempts are bound to be a waste of time from the very beginning.
2. SELL SMART
Once you’ve identified a list of potential sponsors, hold off on immediately sending over a standard pricing plan. Instead, figure out what your sponsors’ goals and interests are so that you can tailor your price and kit for them.
If a business wants more followers on their social media platforms, maybe putting their logo on a water bottle won’t work as well as adding their brand name to the event hashtag. Or if a business wants to grow their email list, you need to come up with promotional tactics that reward those who sign up. Granted, a certain level of creativity is required for the best sponsorship kit.
To make your job easier, there are many event add-ons and technological tools to help you provide the right media kit for your sponsors. For an example, look no further than right at us: FanFood provides sponsorship media kit including co-branded signage, flyers and business cards for our partners to help them secure that next gameday sponsor.
3. INCLUDE MULTIPLE ASSETS
This is basic marketing and sales strategy, which is making what you sell as attractive as possible. So instead of having just text descriptions of what you can offer your sponsors, include images, graphics, flowcharts, or anything else that makes the opportunity look appealing.
This also makes your packages easy to understand, so that your potential sponsors don’t have to scratch their heads trying to interpret what benefits they are getting. In return, you can get buy-in and purchases as quickly and painlessly as possible.
4. CREATE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SPONSORSHIP
There are big sponsors and small sponsors — but you want to capture them all because hey, who will say no to free money?
We recommend having at least three levels of packages and pricing to cater to sponsors of all sizes. You can call them silver, gold and platinum, or basic, premium and pro, or whatever you can think of. The point is, having flexibility and options is always a good way to go.
The three levels could be:
Level 1: Offered to new / small partners. This is a basic and least expensive option for them to get a feel of what the sponsorship experience is like without too much prior commitment.
Level 2: This package could be for partners you’ve worked with before and are ready to get more involved.
Lever 3: This is the premium package for those who are willing to spend the most bucks and get the best treatment. You may want to include preferential treatment to these VIP sponsors and place them at the centerstage for sure.
5. PROVIDE THE RIGHT NUMBERS
Sponsorship is like an investment, and just as any investment, your sponsors will want to gauge the return on what they are putting into your event. Especially nowadays, sponsors are no longer accepting assets that don’t have a directly proven ROI (return on investment), and that’s why they want to see numbers that could help them make the assessment:
How many attendees will be at your event?
What are the demographics?
What are some industries they are in?
What are their job titles?
How much do they spend at your events?
What are their socioeconomic backgrounds?
The answers to these questions will not only help your sponsors assess whether your event is the right event to invest in, but also help you scout for the right sponsors. The more information about your attendees you can get, the better.
We understand that data analysis may sound daunting and elusive especially if you are a small team. That’s why we make sure that on the FanFood platform, we provide insightful but easy-to-read purchase and demographics data for our partners so they understand their attendees better. You can learn more about what we do here.
6. TREAT YOUR SPONSORS AS YOUR PARTNERS
Sponsorship isn’t just a one-off deal. Just like how you want your clients to purchase from you time and time again, you want to establish lasting relationships with your sponsors so they’ll be happy to sponsor your future events as well. You should be nurturing a strategic partnership that’s beneficial to both parties.
That means it’s best practice to figure out what your sponsors’ long-term goals are and start strategizing how you can position yourself in those long-term goals right from the beginning. Make yourself an important partner on this journey towards mutual success can win you an important sponsor in the long run.