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How To Build Meaningful Relationships with Event Sponsors

If your events rely on sponsorships, you know just how important it is to foster a relationship with your sponsors so they continue to provide financial support.  Even if you’ve secured a sponsor in the past, there are no guarantees that they’ll sponsor the same event next year if they feel detached from your event or organization. 

Sponsorships aren’t an item you can simply check off of a list.  If you want to keep your sponsors coming back time and time again, you’ll need to create strong, lasting relationships with them through a well-defined process, great communication skills, and significant attention before, during, and after your event.

Here are 4 simple ways you can connect with your sponsors.

Initiate Top Notch Communication
Business relationships are no different than personal relationships. The key to keeping them healthy is to maintain an open line of communication.If you make an effort to initiate conversation with your sponsors at any time possible, even if it’s just checking in with updates, your sponsor will glean a sense of your commitment to their brand and will feel more comfortable reaching out to you.

When in doubt, always keep your sponsors in the loop about any changes to your event that could potentially affect their engagement with your event.  This goes for both positive and negative changes.  If something isn’t going well or you need your sponsor’s help, don’t hesitate to reach out to them.

Be Humble and Courteous
When you strip away the branding, the jargon, the goals and the metrics, you’re left with one thing- people. You have to remember that you’re communicating with another person or group of people, and they will have an impression of you as an individual. Don’t let your positive attitude and politeness fall by the wayside once you’ve secured the sponsorship.

Make sure you say thank you when someone does something nice, be patient with them throughout the entire process, and do your best to personalize your communication.  Making contact with your sponsors in a timely manner throughout the entire process is crucial, so make sure you connect with them and provide them enough time to gather any materials you’re questing from you without making them feel rushed.  You’ll also want to follow up with them in a timely manner after your event has ended.  Just remember, sending them a boiler-plate thank you is impersonal and does nothing but show that you don’t really value your relationship.

Prove Your Worth
Sponsors care about one thing: results.You need to prove that their choice to support your event has paid off and that you’ve delivered on everything you’ve promised. If you can take initiative and show them how successful their sponsorship was thanks to your event (and vice versa), you’ll have the foundation for a fruitful and lasting relationship.

During your initial conversations with a potential sponsor, you should nail down exactly what they’re looking to gain.  Whether it’s an increase in social traffic, lead generation, or some type of actual purchase, knowing what their goals are makes it much easier to know which aspects of your event you need to focus on and the technology you need to track those items.  With enough planning, you’ll have hard data to show how successful your event truly was at meeting your sponsors’ goals.

Provide Real World Connections
Your sponsors should always be treated like VIPs. Think about it- if sponsors had to buy tickets to your event, they’d be paying a price much higher than any VIP tickets or packages you sell to attendees.

To show that you acknowledge their status and that your event has real world value, consider introducing your sponsors to influential or important people involved with your event. If you have a special guest like an artist or speaker, see if you can arrange to have them meet with your sponsors.  You can also introduce them to people associated with your event that have sway in your sponsor’s industry or can act as a potential business contact. 

 

Essentially, you want your sponsors to feel like their sponsorship was valuable in terms of engagement, branding, and sales/distribution goals.  If they walk away feeling like they’ve made powerful business connections on top of meeting their sponsorship goals, they’ll hold your event in high regard and will be more likely to continue sponsoring your event in the future.

 

Smart Ways to Save Money When Planning an Event

If we all operated on an unlimited budget, planning an event would be a cakewalk.  Unfortunately, you’re locked in to a budget and need to stretch it in any way possible to make your event a reality.  If you find yourself running into a financial wall when planning your events, you may be allocating funds to the wrong places or not throwing enough of your capital behind aspects that truly matter.

Knowing your top expenses can help you plan your budget around them.  The following are a few of the most common costly event expenses and ways to avoid falling prey to them.

  1. The Venue
    If you’re not a venue owner, you’re probably throwing a significant portion of your budget behind the venue for your event.Choosing the right venue for your event is crucial, but what if you’re not getting the best deal or could find a similar venue for a lower rate?

Before you go shopping for the best deal, make sure you know exactly what’s included in your rental agreement or contract.  Are things like catering, staffing, security, or cleanup included with your quoted price? Is it more cost effective to rent your audio and video equipment from the venue or do you have a great deal with a separate production company? How long do you have access to the venue before and after your event?  Are there any taxes or service fees you should add on to the quoted price?  A relatively high price for a venue could actually save you money in the long run if the price includes valuable services that are right for your event. 

The services needed can vary from event to event and, depending on the venue, you may have fewer options when working with an included service like catering.  Do your due diligence when contacting venues so you can have a clear picture of what you’re actually getting for the quoted price. You may find that paying a bit more for a venue with included services can help you cut another item out of your budget entirely or can make the management process much easier.

  1. Marketing Tools
    It’s easy to drain your budget if you don’t have a clear marketing plan in place. If you just throw money at social media ads, SEO, and paid sponsorships hoping for results, you could end up overspending on your promotions with no real return.

It seems almost counterintuitive to cut down on your promotional materials, but it can be done without impacting your sales.  You’ll want to lean heavily on your social media channels as these are, without a doubt, the most cost-effective way to reach attendees- just make sure you take a “quality of quantity” approach. 

Posting too often with the same content will feel like spam and can push your audience towards the unfollow button.  Make sure you have compelling, unique content that you can push out on a regular but not-too-frequent basis to keep your followers (aka your possible attendees) engaged.  You can also leverage your sales through social media contests that encourage followers to post, share, and like for the chance to win free or discounted tickets or other event perks.

Your prior attendees are most likely to buy tickets to your event, so make sure you’re also taking advantage of inexpensive email campaigns to keep your past buyers in the loop. Spending a small amount of time and an even smaller amount of your budget on email campaigns can end up boosting your conversions without having to fight for attention across social media platforms.

  1. Print Materials

Your event budget may or may not include a separate item or category specifically for printed materials. If you find yourself allocating too much money for flyers, direct mail content, programs, signage, or tickets, you may be racking up unnecessary expenses.

We live in a time of awareness, so why clutter the earth with paper products that stop being relevant the moment your event ends?  By using digital alternatives to your print materials, you could end up saving the environment while saving yourself money. There are plenty of easy ways to transition to digital and save on printing costs:

  • Using digital and mobile tickets for your event rather than printed tickets are an easy way to save on printing costs, but most ticket platforms come with that as a standard option so there’s a good chance you’re already utilizing digital tickets.
  • If you still use printed programs for your event, consider switching to an event app instead! The cost of building and customizing your app may be less than designing, printing, and shipping paper programs.  You may find that you end up getting a bigger return on investing in an event app because some have the power to capture useful data about your attendees that a piece of paper cannot.
  • Consider replacing some of your signs with beacons or Geofencing technology. If you host multiple events a year, you may want to consider if investing in this technology would end up paying for itself in the long run. Rather than paying to create new signs each time, you can use the same hardware you’ve already paid for and re-allocate it for each venue when needed.

There are plenty of other ways to cut costs, such as building meaningful sponsorships or revamping the pricing for your event, but the big three outlined above have the potential to save you significantly.  Your event may also have some unique budget busters, such as expensive talent, high security costs, or a higher than normal catering budget.  Just knowing which aspects of your event tend to be the most expensive can help you build a successful budget and pinpoint any parts of your event planning process that may need to be revamped.

 

 

How to Prepare A Venue For Your Event

Once you’ve picked a venue for your event, making sure it’s set up properly can be tricky. You want to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases, haven’t overlooked any accessibility issues, and have successfully curated a space that enables your event to be as successful as possible. Many of these aspects will depend on the venue you’ve chosen, but you can turn almost any venue into a workable space if you keep the following details in mind.

Budget

Obviously cost is an issue for any event planner. Paying more for a unique space or a venue in a premium location may be worth it depending on your event, but make sure you’ve picked a venue that doesn’t break your budget. The more you spend on the venue, the less you’ll have for entertainment ,food and drink, AV accommodations, transportation, gift bags, etc.  Some venues such as hotels and conference centers include a catering or AV package which could end up a better option for your event.

Contracts/Legal

Make sure you go over any legal issues or contracts with a fine-tooth comb before you start planning your event. You’ll want to read over each rental agreement very carefully and pinpoint any areas of concern such as cancellation conditions, terms and duration, construction supervision, noise ordinances, or any other criteria that could potentially affect your event.

On-Site Sales or Registration

If you’ll be selling tickets or allowing registrations at your venue the day of the event, make sure you’re set up to handle all that foot traffic! You’ll want to have a sufficient number of tables, desks, or registration kiosks to adequately handle your walkup sales or registrations so that your attendees who didn’t pay ahead aren’t stuck waiting in line for an hour. The number of registration or walkup sale stations depends on your expected volume of foot traffic, so dig into the data of your last event or events of a similar scope and choose this number wisely.

Ideally, your new registrations or walkup ticket sales will be done in a separate line area than your check-in area for customers who pre-purchased or registered ahead of time online. Make sure you also indicate check-in areas vs. walkup registration areas using signs and directions in your printed program as well as your mobile app.

WiFi, power, and event tech

Easily accessible and reliable WiFi is the number one amenity event attendees crave. Second to this is a reliable way to charge their phones and tablets. Make sure the WiFi network for your venue has been set up and tested for reliability and speed ahead of time. You’ll also want to walk through the venue and take note of the number and location of power outlets.

If there isn’t enough power to go around, consider adding charging stations to your venue. From large, eye catching charging tables, sleek tabletop options, charging lockers, and more, InCharged has you covered. Click here to browse our full line of charging products to find the best option for your event space.

Accessibility

First and foremost, you want to make sure that your venue is accessible to all attendees. This is important when choosing a venue in the first place, but the way you set up your event floorplan can also affect how accessible your event truly will be. Consider holding certain sections of seating for patrons needing accessible seats, or tables close to the handicap accessible entrance to your venue so that they don’t need to travel across your entire venue to locate their seats.

In addition, make sure the venue is accessible to you well before your event. If you only have 3 hours to set up your entire event before the doors open, there’s a significant chance something will be overlooked.

Food and Beverage

If you’ve chosen a venue that includes catering or has food and drink stations included, you may not need to worry about the location and accessibility of food and drink. Depending on the size of your event, you’ll want to consider separate stalls for food and drink to help the lines move quicker. Food and drink prices should be clearly displayed and, if you offer any coupons or food vouchers, have signs indicating where those vouchers can be redeemed.

There are also secondary considerations to go along with food and drink such as accessibility to water, bathrooms, and adequate trash and recycling receptacles. Make sure there are enough water stations or functioning water fountains depending on the number of attendees and the general climate of your venue. You’ll also want to make sure that all bathroom facilities are easily accessible, clean, and stocked full of toilet paper and other toiletries.

There are plenty of other amenities you may want to spot check for your event such as sound and lighting equipment, lodging accommodations, and staff training, but these vary wildly depending on the type and scope of your event.