Events can bring in a whole new revenue stream to niche publishers–if done right. Securing sponsorship dollars is key. But demonstrating the unique value of your events to sponsors is a never-ending challenge, right? And trying to convince sponsors about a new event isn’t easy either.
We checked in with some of our experts to get their insight on some of the key drivers of profitable sponsorships and the best ways for publishers to deliver value.
NMHQ: What is important to know when evaluating sponsorship opportunities?
Chris Ware, Vice-President of Business Development for the NAIOP:
“Just about everything can be sponsored – it’s really gets down to understanding that it really depends on your audience. Here’s an example where knowing your audience is key: I recently heard a speaker here in DC who works for the GSA (The General Services Administration for those of you outside The Beltway). I personally haven’t used a flash drive/thumb drive in years. All my stuff is in the cloud. But GSA people love the flash drives. If a conference sponsor is handing them out at the GSA conference, they take buckets of them. This would not work for my audience—flash drives mostly gather dust at shows in my industry. So look for creative sponsorship opportunities that make sense for your niche.”
NMHQ: How do you convince people to take a risk of supporting a new event?
Carl Landau, Grand Poobah, Niche Media HQ:
“On your first contact with a new prospect, learn everything you can about that vendor, including their product(s) and services and who their ideal target audience is—(This is Sales 101 but most salespeople don’t do a great job doing this step). Initially, do not try to sell them anything. Don’t discount or give away anything to new prospects, just enough incentive so they jump in. Offer an additional incentive to them, such as a demo opportunity, email blast etc.
Make them a part of the team from the very beginning. Lay out what the event is about and who the targeted audience is and ask them their opinion. Then listen to them. I have actually had some great ideas come from vendors.
Remember your very best sales people are the attendees! An evangelist will go back to the vendors they work with and ask them why they weren’t there. This is what happened to us 8 years ago and we’ve sold out all our sponsorships ever since.
Finally, take advantage of FOMO! One of our most successful strategies is to create demand by truly offering a limited number of sponsorships. It definitely heightens interest, and when sponsors see others lining up, they don’t like to be left out—remind them of that.”
NMHQ: What are important ways to deliver value to sponsors after the event, to keep them coming back?
Darrell Denny, EVP of the ISS Show for Emerald Expositions:
“Understanding and managing expectations is most important. Get sign-off on all details (beforehand), and capture results in both written and graphic (photo, video) manner. Sponsors want to know if their participation was noticed and if it moved the needle on how the target audience feels about that company. Testimonials from target customers exposed to their sponsorship are, I think, the most powerful portion of the post-show reports.”
So think about all possible opportunities you might have overlooked for sponsorships. Make your sponsors and exhibitors feel they are an important part of the process. Show tangible, compelling results to them post-event. By consistently delivering value you will develop sponsor relationships that you can count on for the long term. And wouldn’t that be nice…..
About this blogger: Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Niche Media. A former sales director and corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast…who sometimes gets carried away.
Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Check out the Niche Digital Conference in Denver, Sept. 19-21!
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