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How To Get Sponsors For An Event

If you plan on hosting an event, one of the first questions that often comes to mind is how you are going to fund it. Unless your company is already well established and has a generous marketing budget, you’re going to have to look elsewhere to get your event financed. The logical solution is to seek out sponsors.

Finding sponsorship, though, is like trying to get hired for a job. Do expect to submit proposals and get rejected or not get a response at all. Don’t fret, though, there are strategies you can implement to make your company look like a more attractive applicant worthy of company X and Y’s sponsorship.

1. Make Your Proposal Stand Out

When you’re job hunting, do you send the same generic cover letter to every company? If you do, you’ll be lucky to get a response at all. Your proposal has to stand out in one way or another. Keep in mind, after all, that the company likely reviews proposals like yours on a daily basis. Why should the company sponsor you over the other applicants?

Consider the following ways to give your proposal the “wow” factor:

  • Tell your company story. Did your company have humble beginnings? Was it founded as a family business dedicated to keeping the industry service local? Make an emotional connection if you can to strike a chord with the sponsoring company.
  • Describe what you do. What is your mission statement and how does your company live up to it on a daily basis?
  • Describe your demographic audience
  • Be specific about the estimated funding amount needed. This includes a breakdown of what portion of funding is needed for what area, such as venue rental, food, flying in guest speakers, and so forth.

2. Offer Incentives

Sponsorship is a give-and-take relationship. What do the sponsors get out of funding your event? The agreement may include giving the sponsor a booth or exhibit or placing their logo on event promotional banners and flyers. Sponsors want as much bang for their buck. What else are you going to do to provide more bang?

Here are some ideas to help sweeten the deal:

  • Mention the sponsor’s company in passing in your blog posts or email newsletters.
  • Provide incentives, such as freebies or discounts for customers that purchase the sponsor’s product or sign up for its service.
  • Include the sponsor’s logo in all of your promotional gear
  • Encourage your social media followers to “like” or share the sponsor’s content

If you’re willing to give more than take, then that shows to the sponsors that you are serious and intent on making the event happen one way or another.

 3. Offer a “Minimum Risk” Solution

 

Sponsors are obviously taking a risk by sponsoring your company. This is especially the case if your business is still relatively unknown. For this reason, why not propose a “trial” deal? Instead of requesting for the full funding amount, ask for a smaller portion in exchange for something small in return. If you need $100,000, for instance, offer to settle for $10,000. In return, you’ll allow the sponsor to have one booth, one guest speaker, a logo on one promotional item, or something like that.

This little risk, little gain approach allows the sponsor to test the waters with your company. This way, they don’t take a big hit if the event bombs. This also allows sponsors to get a good gauge whether to move forward with the relationship for future events. Of course, with this method, you will need multiple sponsors in order to fully fund your event though that’s how it should be. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by relying solely on a single sponsor.

4. Form a Partnership With Better Established Companies

Your company may simply not have enough brand recognition to get sponsors on your side. This is why you should outreach to other companies within the same industry and form some kind of joint event. This way, potential sponsors will see that you are partnered with a company that has a better reputation than your own and therefore, may be better able to draw a bigger event turnout.

When seeking out companies to form a joint partnership, look for establishments within your niche but that is not a direct competitor. Otherwise, there will be a conflict of interest. If your company sells dietary supplements, for example, then a company that sells exercise equipment would be a good company to get in touch with.

5. Study Your Sponsors

Do your homework on each sponsor you reach out to. Study any current events or transitions the sponsor may be going through. Are they in the midst of releasing a new product, merging with another company, or hosting an event of its own? Take advantage of these moments by incorporating it in some form into your event. If the sponsor is about to release a new product, then it goes without saying that they’re going to want to market the hell out of it. Reach out to the sponsor and let them know that your event is a great opportunity for them to showcase their new product and acquire a new audience base.

Follow the sponsor on their blog or keep up with them on their social media channels to find out if there’s anything special or noteworthy taking place. Make mention of this in your proposal with a plan on how your event can benefit them in relation to that product launch, merging, or other major happenings.

6. Be Willing to Rub Elbows With Potential Sponsors

Sponsors are ultimately businesses and not philanthropic organizations. They want something in return for funding your event. The key is to be an effective communicator and show in clear terms what makes your event worth the sponsor’s marketing dollars. Be confident in your approach and you just might hear back from sponsors who may otherwise skip over your proposal without giving it more than a moment’s glance.

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How to Promote Your Event Through Social Media (Vol 3)

… Continued from How to Promote Your Event Through Social Media (Vol 2)

#11: Create a Facebook Event Page

Most people log into Facebook at least once a day. Make it easy for them to keep up with event news by creating an event page listing. Your event page is also a great place to encourage networking before the event. The convenience of an event page also encourages sharing by attendees.

To help make your event a success, Facebook has added new tools such as targeted news feed ads and event insights to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.

As the big day approaches, don’t forget to send out reminders to encourage people to RSVP on your event page.

#12: Welcome New Instagram Followers With a Video Invitation to Your Event

Instagram has made it very easy to offer a warm welcome: direct messages with video. You have 15 seconds to say thank you to your new followers and invite them to your event. This is especially effective if the person making the video will also be at the event to greet attendees. Who doesn’t like to see a familiar face when in unfamiliar surroundings?

#13: Mention the Event in Your Podcast

Whether you have your own podcast or you’re a guest, seize the opportunity to discuss your upcoming event. Be sure to talk about your value proposition—not just who the speakers are, but what your listeners can gain by attending.

Remember, you’re asking people to invest time and resources to attend—highlighting important takeaways is a great way to pique interest and get more registrations. And don’t forget to talk about the fun stuff, too!

#14: Create Special Graphics in a Variety of Sizes for Your Speakers

Make it fun and simple for your speakers to promote their presentation at your event. Be sure to use a great photo of the speaker and keep the image consistent with the branding for your event.

Since different social media platforms use various sizes of images depending on the type of post, take the time to create graphics in a multitude of sizes. This makes it convenient for your speakers to optimize the images on whatever social network they use.

Encourage your speakers to share, share, share the graphics on their social platforms, blogs, email signatures and more.

#15: Leverage Facebook’s Call-to-Action to Drive Traffic to Your Registration Page

You’ve already (hopefully) updated your cover photo to showcase your event, so why not take it a step further by adding a Call-to-Action (CTA) button?

Facebook recently rolled out its new CTA button for pages, said to “bring a business’s most important objective to the forefront of its Facebook presence.” What could be more important than generating event revenue for your business?

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How to Promote Your Event Through Social Media (Vol 2)

… continued from How to Promote Your Event Through Social Media (Vol 1)

#6: Create One Unified Hashtag for Use Across All Social Channels

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many events skip this vital step. Create, use and market your event-specific hashtag. You should be using this hashtag well in advance of your event dates and it should be included on EVERYTHING. Every digital image you create, every piece of collateral, your email signature… Anywhere you can think of—share it!

By using an event-specific hashtag, you’ll make it really easy for people to find not only what you’re sharing, but what other people are saying, too!

This is also a great way to create and participate in an engaging conversation with attendees and interested parties.

#7: Mention Your Event and Hashtag in All of Your Bios

Now that you’ve created your hashtag, don’t forget to add it to the Bio (About) section of each of your social accounts. An event hashtag in the Bio section is an often-underused tactic, but it has the potential for big gains. Once you have a link to your event, update your Bio section, and then people have a very simple way to find out more. They just need to click the link!

Not only does this create an easy way for people to see the event, it also ties that event directly to YOU. Ultimately, people connect to people and this is one way to give authenticity and transparency to you personally, not just the event.

#8: Share Pictures of Speakers With Quote Overlays

It’s almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of using visuals in your marketing. Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted explains, “In this fast-paced, noisy online world, visual content is the best way to not only capture the attention of fans, but also to have them take action on your content.”

While a headshot of a speaker might excite some people, it’s important to share something worthwhile from that speaker as well. Take one powerful statement from each of your speakers and add that to a graphic containing a headshot of the speaker. This gives people something to tie to that speaker, a glimpse into his or her personality or presentation.

This also provides another opportunity to give your speakers additional exposure. (And for them to share with their own audiences, providing exposure for your event.)

#9: Create a Group Post Featuring Event Speakers

Odds are, you selected your event speakers because they’re thought leaders in their fields. What better way to highlight the caliber of talent at your event than an expert roundup blog post?

Asking your presenters to contribute to this type of post has several benefits:

  • Your speakers will feel appreciated when they are afforded an opportunity to display their expertise to your audience.
  • Prospective attendees get a preview of the excellent content shared at your event.
  • Your readers gain the wisdom from multiple experts in one post.
  • This type of post is often one of the most shared, providing you valuable evergreen content.

Some ideas for roundup posts are marketing tips, favorite tools, blogging tips and marketing predictions. You can also do niche roundup posts such as Facebook advertising tips, Twitter tools, etc.

#10: Share Behind-the-Scenes Visual Content

A LOT of work goes into pulling off a fantastic event. Give a glimpse into this exciting and sometimes chaotic experience by sharing images and videos of the preparations going on.

Share stories of how you’re pulling everything together and don’t forget, mistakes and challenges happen. Be authentic and share the challenges you face and what steps you took to resolve them. It humanizes your brand and makes you more relatable.

Posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos is also a great way to generate buzz and boost engagement. It builds an emotional connection by fostering a sense of being an insider to the event, a “glimpse behind the curtain.”