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Seven insider tips for making event sponsorship into a marketing success story for every startup

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Are you after more engaged customers? Then, you may want to considering sponsoring events that are already gaining the attention of your potential customers.

Events and conferences give you the added advantage of being able to directly interact with the audience in one shape or form. You are basically paying for the opportunity to hire out a limited portion of the audience’s attention. The more you pay the more time, attention or interaction you buy.

However, as with other marketing campaigns, signing on the dotted line is not enough. You need to prove worthy of your audience’s attention in order to deliver a return on investment.

Remember, engagement does not come without effort.

Whether you are investing $500 or $50,000, here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your event sponsorship!

1. Treat the sponsorship opportunity as any other marketing campaign

Quantify everything! If not, you will be unable to measure any return and evaluate whether to do it again. Try to also attach values to intangibles, such as growing your network as there will be plenty of them.

2. Ask for additional benefits

Even after you have signed on the dotted line, ask for some other benefits. You are still likely to pay, however, you never know what the Event Manager has not managed to sell and what they are ready to let things go for.

3. Read your emails!

There are likely to be a few containing key dates, deliverables and other instructions to help you make the most of your sponsorship. Do not miss deadlines or, you will likely miss out on benefits.

4. Use your community to share information on the event

Use your own network, especially through social platforms to promote the event you are sponsoring. It’s a win-win. You get to engage your audience, and show that your company is actively involved in your industry. Plus, the event gets more attendees.

5. Set up meetings before the event

Ask the organiser for a list of attendees. If that is not available, follow the event hashtag on Twitter. Engage with those posts and ask who is going to the event. Actively engage with those who respond before you get to the event. Then, aim to meet up in person.

6. Attend the event

It may sound obvious but, you need to attend the event and all its networking functions. Take your wing-man, or woman, with you. That is, the person who is most passionate about your company, not necessarily a sales person. Between you, work the floor. Talk to new people. Build relationships rather than focusing on selling. Most attendees will already know that you are a sponsor, so this is the time to build relationships, not do a hard sell.

7. Give the audience something for free

And, I don’t mean a leaflet or your corporate marketing materials. Give them something of value, either a taster of your product/service or something useful that will constantly remind them of your company.

Sponsoring an event is an excellent way for any sized company to increase its exposure to highly filtered audience of industry specialists. But, making the sponsorship work is up to you.

Nadine Zrinzo facilitates awesome learning experiences at Bright Conferences partly by organising & managing knowledge led events such as conferences, training courses & workshops for corporate clients.

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