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Appealing to Event Sponsors

Interested in how to actually appeal to event sponsors? It begins with understanding what value you can provide to the sponsor, from marketing the event to the actual execution. What can you offer the sponsor in exchange for their financial or resource support? Turns out, you can offer plenty they would be interested in. 

This is the final episode for Season 1 of The Defiant Business Podcast, how crazy is that? We’re taking a one week break, but you’ll be so excited when we come back! We’re featuring Jennifer McGinley, CEO of JLM Strategic Communications. She has amazing experience, which led her to share amazing insights and advice!

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And here’s the transcript:

I am so happy that you’ve decided to join me for the last episode of season 1. That’s right. This is episode 30. Each season has 30 episodes. 

Can you believe that we’re already here? We’ve covered so many business topics and I’m really glad that so many of you have come along for the ride. 

Today we’re going to close this season with a talk about how to appeal to event sponsors. 

Why Would Another Business Sponsor My Event?

How did this topic come up? Well, I was exploring my options to hold a workshop with a friend, and she mentioned that I could seek sponsors for my event to help with the costs. Having an event can turn into something that’s quite expensive. 

I started thinking, “Why would another business pay for my event costs? That’s nice of them, but that’s not business.” It didn’t really make sense. 

So I thought about it and I know that M&T Bank sponsors a lot of business events here in Baltimore, which is close to where I am. I reached out to Rosa Scharf, a small business banker with M&T, because she’s given me such great information in the past. I figured she’d be able to answer this question for me. 

Talking to her gave me a lot of great insight. I asked her what she looks for when she’s looking at potentially sponsoring a small business/business event and what sponsors, in general, would look for. So, I just had to share it with you guys. 

As a side note, M&T Bank in Baltimore is a great example of being part of a community, instead of just in the community. That’s a concept we explored in our conscious consumerism article not to long ago. They sponsor a lot of business events, from educational conferences to pitch competitions.

I know the passion for small business success goes from Rosa to at least as high up as Eleni Monios, the business banking market manager for Baltimore and Delaware regions. And no, they didn’t pay me to say that. I just had a fan girl moment. It seems like organizations who really know their “why” are rarer and rarer these day.

Mutually Beneficial to Your Event and Your Event Sponsor

When you’re approaching sponsors, it’s about presenting your event in a light that shows the sponsor what’s in it for them, and why it’s beneficial for them to sponsor your event.

Access to a Shared Audience

 If you’re looking for event sponsors, besides your number of attendees, you should also consider if your audience is their audience. 

For example, for M&T small-business banking, they would potentially be interested if you have a business or entrepreneur audience. 

Of course, there are other factors as well. Let’s use another example. If your business was more Health & Wellness, then other Health & Wellness businesses could be interested in sponsoring your event. Why? Because your audience is at least a segment of their audience. 

Introduce Them to the Attendees 

Some of the things that you could offer to a sponsor include an opportunity to address the attendees at the beginning of the event. 

You can introduce them to the attendees, and they get some facetime there for their business. They can use any signage and printed materials, and maybe even hand out booklets. 

Thank Your Sponsors and Make Them Feel Included 

You want to make sure that you include your sponsor, and thank them in your opening address to your attendees. You want to thank the sponsors publicly. 

When you set up the event page on Eventbrite, Facebook, or wherever it is that you set it up, you want to include your sponsor there. 

These are all things you can mention to the sponsor. 

An Email List

Another thing that you could consider doing is giving them access to the list of attendees and their emails. However, if you’re a sponsor and you regularly sponsor events, don’t just get the email list and spam people. 

What you want to do is have something of value to include in your emails, something that people will be looking forward to receiving.

With the health & wellness example, perhaps one of the sponsors is a health & wellness food company. 

You’ve put together a fairly exclusive recipe book that you only send to the attendees of events that you sponsor. You will be providing this recipe book to them. What this does is vastly increases the likelihood that someone will open that email, read, and interact with your content.

And inside that content, there should definitely be a page about your business and about your company. 

Now they’ve opened the email and they’ve opened the ebook. They get an opportunity to learn a bit more about your business. They may never have heard of you before the event. 

Pointlessly Lost Marketing Opportunities

I’ve seen sponsors listed on events, but sometimes they aren’t thanked by the event organizer. You never even see them at the event, or maybe they’re not given an opportunity to speak to the attendees. 

All of those seem like lost opportunities to me. Besides, it makes the event way less beneficial for the sponsor. So if you want that sponsor to get any ROI from sponsoring your event, then you need to make sure that you give them the tools to do so. 

Choose Event Sponsors That Interest Your Audience

This is also why it’s important to pick sponsors that are pretty related to the topic of what you’re offering. If it’s not immediately evident why their business is related to what you’re offering at your event, then that’s a great opportunity to have them come up and speak. 

Let’s say I’m doing a business workshop, and a health & wellness company sponsored me. In the beginning, I say “I just wanted to say thank you to our sponsor X company. I want to invite them up to speak”

They’re going to speak for about 10-15 minutes, but one of their specialties is helping entrepreneurs handle stress or helping high-performance business people handle stress. Boom. Lights go off. 

Why they would be interested in sponsoring my event, not to mention anybody who comes to any of my workshops? 

If you relate to my content, you’re probably a high-performing individual who deals with a lot of stress, so now you’re obviously a lot more interested as well. I think that your sponsors can relate to your audience, so it’s not worthless to have them come up and talk. 

Concluding Season One 

So, this is the last episode of season 1. I’m just so excited for season 2! Like I said in a previous episode, Jennifer McGinley of JLM Strategic Communications, a wonderfully seasoned public realtions professional, will be joining us for season 2. She will be featured in multiple episodes because we had a long conversation. 

We’ll get an opportunity to dig deep and go through what she was able to explain to me about PR, and how she’s always approached the industry a bit differently than her colleagues. 

We even talk about steps that you can take as a small business to better position yourself for when you bring in enough money to hire a professional. 

If you don’t follow her yet, you should go find her on Linkedin and Twitter. You’re gonna want to follow her ahead of time because she’s always dropping great content. 

This is the sort of advice that anybody can use, and that’s why I invited her on the show. She’s our featured guest for season 2, and the first guest ever on The Defiant Business Podcast. I promise you, this is information that you’re not going to want to miss. 

We’re Taking a Week Off!

After today’s episode, we will be taking a week off. Over the course of the following week, you’ll be seeing social media posts from me sharing some of our most popular episodes and helping you catch up if you missed any. 

The week after that, we’ll be getting into season 2, and our first episode is going to feature Jennifer McGinley. 

This has been the final episode of the 1st season of The Defiant Business Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me, and I cannot wait to show you what we’ve got for season 2.