By now it should be abundantly clear that events and trade shows offer media companies a valuable means of connecting with and bringing value to their audience.
In our first post on why you should host a trade show, we reported that 95 percent of marketers think live events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world. In our follow up post, we discussed some simple things you can do to facilitate networking at your event — delivering even more value to attendees.
But there is another critical element of hosting an event or trade show, affecting both to immediate revenue and long-term relationships: your event sponsors.
You’ve convinced brands to participate in your event, sponsoring a booth or a lounge or a networking event. But what about when the show is over?
To get sponsors to come back, you’ll have to show them their return on investment. One survey found that 40 percent of event marketers identified measuring and evaluating sponsor ROI is a top challenge.
How do you translate the results of the event into the ROI that sponsors will expect? Here are two tips to get you on the right track.
Communicate About Expectations Throughout the Process
Ask your sponsors what they hope to get out of the event. While ‘more sales’ is typically the underlying motivation behind most event sponsorships, brands should be able to express their goals in more specific terms. And you should be on board with helping your sponsor meet that goal.
Ronnie Higgins at Eventbrite suggests that sponsors narrow their expectations to one, singular goal: “What is the ultimate goal of your event? To generate qualified leads? Attract new employees? To build awareness or launch a new product? After making a list of all your goals, whittle down your answers to just one primary goal — the most important.”
Take your sponsors through this exercise ahead of the event. If their goal is product awareness, maybe there’s a way to work the product into what’s front and center at the event. If the goal is qualified leads, offering follow up with the attendee list may be more beneficial.
Either way, communicating about your sponsors’ expectations ahead of the event will help you speak to how their involvement translated into ROI after the fact.
Make Sponsorship Packages With ROI In Mind
It can seem temptingly easy to create sponsorship packages. A headlining speaker, a feature in the program, a premium spot for a booth — these are all simple to include and simple to deliver on.
But those elements of a sponsorship package are also difficult to translate into hard numbers for ROI, particularly from your end. The CMO may have a vague idea of how many people approached her after her presentation, but you don’t.
Instead, build in additional elements to your sponsorship packages that are simple to translate into ROI for your sponsors.
Include a coupon or link to your sponsor’s site when you send out reminder emails, and keep track of how much traffic they receive as a result. Set up meetups between attendees and sponsors and look at how many personal connections that opportunity delivers. Create social media posts before, during and after the event featuring the sponsor and see where the engagement lands you.
And, provided you have permission from your attendees, offer attendee data as a means of bolstering the sponsor’s leads. All of these efforts give your sponsors more exposure and give you the opportunity to deliver hard numbers when they come asking for ROI.