Marketing your agency through event sponsorships
Giving back to your community not only feels good, but it can also pay dividends.
Philanthropy and community giving have long been a part of business, harkening all the way back to the 19th century in some cases. Many businesses participate in programs like these simply because they are the right thing to do. But sponsoring a cause, or especially an event, can also be a great way to market your company’s offerings and even capture new business. Let’s explore best practices for how you can achieve those goals.
It can be tempting to think that sponsoring a local event is as simple as merely writing a check. There is a lot more to it, however, if you want to gain tangible benefits. Begin like you would with any other strategic initiative by determining your goals and objectives. Then, research different events that are seeking sponsors and where there is an overlap with your company’s identity and priorities, including your:
- Brand identity
- Target audience
Once you have selected an event you want to sponsor, the real work begins. At this point, you will want to conduct due diligence regarding your sponsorship’s terms and conditions. Be sure to assess the following details:
- Duration of sponsorship – You will want to establish a start and stop date for your sponsorship.
- Intellectual property – It is always wise to stipulate who will own any intellectual property or “IP” created for the sponsored event. IP can encompass many different things, including designs, logos and slogans.
- Brand reputation – Closely related to intellectual property is brand reputation, namely how your brand will be positioned and utilized before, during and after the event. Scrutinize the details to guarantee that your brand receives the right return on investment.
- Promotional obligations – When heading into an event sponsorship, you need to fully understand your promotional obligations. The event’s organizer must clarify what is expected of their sponsors in writing well before the event takes place.
- Liability and indemnification – Take the necessary time to double check if you will have any potential legal liability for your participation in the event.
During the event
Once the big day arrives, you can put your feet up and simply enjoy the event, right? Not so fast. The work of leveraging a sponsorship to promote your agency’s brand changes once the event begins, but it doesn’t end.
There are a few things to do during this period to get the most out of the experience. The first step is simple. Just get social. Liaise with event attendees. Capture content of the happenings to utilize on your social media channels in the days and weeks ahead. Discuss your business and its value propositions with key constituencies and exchange contact information. Whatever you do, just don’t rest on your laurels.
Finally, stay vigilant about how your brand is being presented and perceived throughout the event’s duration. If you have a booth or table and are not manning it directly, periodically check in for quality control purposes and to guarantee that visitors are getting their questions answered and their needs met.
After the event
Even after the event is over, the work is not yet finished. The post-event period is a critical moment where several activities must take place. In the days following the event, it’s important to move quickly to follow up on any leads generated through your sponsorship. Engage in post-event marketing by promoting your agency’s sponsorship through your owned channels or even by pitching a story to the media. You can also solicit feedback from your team and start laying the groundwork for future sponsorships.
Finally, take time to analyze the ROI. Take stock of leads generated and converted and examine your website metrics for any upticks in web traffic. Also, don’t forget to review your social media analytics for any boosts in engagement numbers.
Ask any event planner and you will quickly learn that putting on a good event is a big job. The same goes for sponsorships. Encompassing far more than simply doling out a little money, promoting your agency and amplifying your brand requires time and effort. There are no shortcuts, but when done correctly and thoughtfully, the results can be rewarding for your community and your business.