Building solid partner relationships is key to leveraging a successful sponsorship program. These sponsorship funds help event marketers deliver unique and memorable experiences for their attendees. I’ve learned that some marketers have found it increasingly difficult, though, to reach out several times a year to solicit sponsorship funds.
Creating an comprehensive, year-long sponsorship program can help organizations forge lasting partnerships and turn existing sponsors into long-term supporters, ultimately leading to more successful events.
But planning ahead is crucial. You may think sponsors aren’t able to commit a year in advance or feel uncomfortable asking for so much up front, but by taking a strategic approach, event marketers can unlock the many benefits a year-long sponsorship package brings for each event stakeholder.
Why Should Event Marketers Create Annual Sponsorship Packages?
Strategic planning takes time upfront while saving time in the long run. Event marketers employing annual sponsorship plans should evaluate their events schedule and create packages for the upcoming year that line up with each sponsor. Doing so allows more consistency (and less stress) for the host and the sponsor. Follow these three steps when expanding your event sponsorship to an annual program.
- Determine your budget early to prepare a comprehensive package that asks partners for dollars once, versus throughout the year.
- Look for similar key messages between your events and target attendees that align with your sponsor’s audience(s).
- If sponsors are already paying for multiple engagements, think about including add-ons to increase the value, like a series of webinars to increase sponsors’ visibility all year long.
Related: Enhance Your Event ROI & Strategy With Sponsorships
What Makes a Year-Long Program Appealing to Your Sponsors?
Connecting with attendees and more opportunities to maximize brand exposure are the top two requests we hear from sponsors. An annual approach lends itself to fulfilling those needs without question.
It’s also no secret that sponsors have a finite giving budget. Making multiple asks per year runs the risk of their funds becoming depleted. Shifting to a year-long program gives partners the opportunity to not only plan their budgets, but also what promotions, booth materials and promotional giveaways they can use throughout the year across the events.
Some common sponsor goals include:
- Increasing awareness around their product or service
- Reaching new leads within their target audience
- Building relationships and engaging with their customers and prospects
Offering multiple opportunities for your sponsors to get face-to-face interaction (either in-person or online) through a year-long package could be a perfect fit for you and your valued partners to accomplish your goals (or adopt the ones listed above).
Related: Quick Tips to Spice Up Event Sponsorship Packages
What Can Event Sponsorship Do for Attendees?
As the saying goes, “Repetition breeds familiarity. Familiarity breeds confidence.” Seeing the same sponsors at events throughout the year gives attendees a sense that your brand trusts their products and/or services, which in turn builds respect and strengthens the attendee/sponsor relationship.
Remember, one of the primary goals of collecting sponsorship dollars is to create unique and memorable event experiences. When your sponsor allocates funds for the full year, you’ll know how much money you have to work with to produce a wow-worthy event. And exceeding attendee expectations is what builds brand loyalty year after year.
Get Started With Your Annual Sponsorship Planning
With a little strategic planning and thinking outside of the typical sponsorship package, you, your sponsors and your attendees will benefit.
Not sure where to start? Learn more about attracting the right sponsors for your next event.