Why sponsor an event?
Sponsoring events benefits include…
- Increased reach and awareness among your target audience
- Positive branding through association
- Lead generation opportunities
Whilst large international or national events are often too expensive for small businesses, there are hundreds of much smaller events that are as equally, if not more, effective as a marketing channel than their larger counterparts.
Whether you are simply sponsoring an event, or also attend in some capacity (e.g. stand/ stall), you can use local/niche events to create both breadth and depth of engagement.
Regardless of whether you trade nationally or regionally, here is why sponsoring an event should be on every small business’ marketing plan…
They can be amazing value for money
International and national events are expensive to sponsor, but you can sponsor a niche or local event for a fraction of the cost. As well as costing less, you can associate your business with an event that is closely targeted at your target audience.
Although the number of people coming to the event (and the amount of media coverage) maybe smaller, the return on investment is typically much higher.
I have known some national events to cost upwards of £15,000 for a middle of the road sponsorship package. Compare that to the £500 to £1,000 I’d expect to pay for a local event, and you can see why it starts to make financial sense.
They are more accommodating
From my own experiences of sponsoring both national and local events, I have always found the organisers of the local events to be much more responsive and flexible in accommodating your requests.
Fancy a larger stand, a description on their website, supplying a hand out to all attendees…?
Most local events will like the fact you want to do more, whereas national events are much stricter in what they will, and won’t do.
You can still publicise your involvement nationally
Just because it is a local event doesn’t mean you can’t promote your involvement nationally. Your blog, social media, press releases etc. should all be used to publicise your sponsorship to a national audience.
Here is an example from Heart Internet, who have a page dedicated to promoting their involvement in grass-roots web design meet-ups….
You can also run competitions to win tickets to the events and pay for people’s travel and accommodation to build interest.
Grass roots supporter
If you build up a solid number of local events you sponsor you will position your company as a supporter of “real” people and affordable events.
This is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. This tactic is particularly helpful if a competitor has a larger traditional advertising budget.
Meet people and network
If your business is 100% online, this is a great opportunity to get out there and meet people. As well as meeting new people, you can get valuable feedback on your products and speak face to face to new prospects.
If you already have face to face time with your customers, here are some new prospects for you! Local events are also a great networking opportunity to meet new b2b suppliers, or to become one yourself.
Analysing your success
As with many offline marketing channels, measuring the success of sponsoring an event can be tricky, but it is not a complete black hole.
Here are some tips on how to gauge the success of your sponsorship investment:
- Take lead generation forms if you attend the event so you can get contact information to follow up with
- Add Google Analytics tracking if you have a link/ logo on their website
- Use a unique telephone number on any marketing communications related to the event so you can track calls
- Add a QR code for people to scan to take them to unique content and track the number of visits to that page
- Monitor social media mentions of your involvement
- Run a prize draw competition that people need to enter at the event
If you attend the event you will also get a feel for how successful it has been based on your own experiences. Did a lot of people come and talk to you, were they interested in what you had to say, and how long did they engage with you for?