5 Key Ways to Drive Business Through Event Sponsorship
Right now, we are in the full bloom of conference season. From April through early November, you may find yourself heading off to a handful of conferences, eager to soak up the great content, gain wise insights, and build new relationships with people you meet.
Maybe this year, it’s different. That date marked in big, bold letters on your calendar? That’s THE big event that you’ve chosen to sponsor and participate in with an exhibition booth.
Event sponsorship is one of the best ways to grow your business when you’re working to take it to the next level. It may even turn out to be a real game changer as you become known to key individuals at the event. And this increased visibility and awareness may catapult you to a more prominent position in the industry with an increase in influence, clients and revenue to match.
Of course, you know that event sponsorship or exhibiting takes a significant amount of resources – time, energy, and money – in order to yield the type of return on investment (ROI) that you want to achieve. Snazzy, smart marketing collateral and banners will only take you so far.
Here are five key ways to drive business through event sponsorship:
Tell people their own story
Refine your message so that it is hits home for people who stop by your booth. When they read your literature or talk with you, they should experience their own circumstance. Your story is their story, too. Then they want to know what you can do for them. How do you solve challenges that they face? They need to believe that you are the person or company that can help them and set them up for success.
Listen to what they say first
How often have you been approached by an exhibitor to only have them immediately start talking and talking … about what they do and offer. Yes, be sure that your story is well told and clearly conveyed by your booth setup and supporting materials. But, when you actually engage with someone at your booth, be sure that you are first asking them what it is that brought them to the conference, what they do and what might they need help in doing. Then, and only then, is it your turn.
Lead people to a well-defined endpoint
People suffer from information overload during events. Overwhelmed or confused people don’t take action. People who are excited do.
Once you build trust by telling people your story and they emotionally connect with it because it is common to theirs, that is the time that you can present your core company mission, message and services. Do so succinctly and clearly. Don’t “muddy the waters” by providing too much of an explanation or too many pieces of marketing literature.
And then, in as straightforward a way as possible, tell them the one action that you want them to take with you or, alternatively, at the event. This is your call to action (CTA) that begins the sales cycle that will move that person from being a fan, to a follower, and ultimately, a prospect and client.
Give away something really great to start people on their journey to dreams realized
The most effective CTA provides people something that is of significant value – right then and there on the exhibition hall floor. It could be a free product, discounted course registration, complimentary strategy session, or even an entry into an amazing drawing. But it must be a gift that reinforces that you have understood what they most want for their business, health, career, etc. It has to provide them a quick, useful and easily accessed item that can get them started on their own path to resolution, growth, fulfillment, influence or success.
Make your complementary gift so irresistible an entry point to the amazing journey you want to send your clients on that people will be compelled to provide you with their contact information, thereby moving them into your sales funnel.
Remind people why they want to keep in touch
The days you spend at any event are long, whether you’re an attendee, speaker, sponsor or exhibitor; it’s critical that follow-up with prospects begins at the event and cycles through a well-defined plan of action for the three weeks immediately following the event.
While you know that your products and services can rock people’s world, the event attendees you’ve just met don’t know this, and some may not be ready to work with you just yet. It’s up to you to keep the connection going by providing great information, tips, and offers post-event.
Putting together an automated, targeted follow-up process before an event and kicking it off during the actual days of the event is the most critical step to take as a sponsor or exhibitor.
Combining all of the 5 techniques and approaches will position you well to achieve your event sponsorship goals. It’s not just about luck, it’s about being thoughtful and prepared going into the event. If you’re scheduled to be an exhibitor and still not sure how to leverage that investment to get the greatest return possible, I can help you lay out a strategy that will give you a high ROI and be another step to take your business to the next level. Contact me today!