You already created the perfect sponsorship proposal, sent out amazing invitation emails to potential sponsors and even sent tons of follow-ups but still nothing.
Here’s the thing, getting sponsors to say “hell yes” to investing in your event goes way deeper than proposals and emails.
Imagine if someone who wants to make $10,000 profits in their business thinks that creating a website, promoting their offer on social media and having a powerfully written sales page is ALL it takes to get highly paid customers. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there’s more to it (:
So here’s what I learnt from 9 years of securing sponsors and why you aren’t hearing back from them.
1. You’re approaching the wrong person in the company
There are small companies where the CEO directly answers the phone and there are huge companies with thousands of staff that it becomes impossible to reach the CEO.
When you send an email to coca-cola for example, chances are you get an automated email and when you call their hotline, you’ll get a “sure, let me direct your email to the marketing department” at best and a “I’m sorry, we don’t disclose our marketing staff email address” at worst.
A better way is to customise your outreach strategies based on your sponsor’s profile.
A direct email is perfect for small companies but it might not work for a multinational corporation, so take your time to research for the decision maker of your “bigger” sponsors. Press releases and Linkedin are a great way to find out the names and contacts of the marketing manager and CEOs, while sending a message directly through other platforms helps to bypass any Admin Assistants that’s quick to delete your emails.
Approaching the RIGHT person who makes these decisions is super important to even be considered for their marketing budget. Next, you gotta convince them!
2. You didn’t build the know, like and trust factor
Let’s be real here. If a stranger dropped you an email or a direct message selling something for USD$5,000, would you buy it?
What if it’s going to change your life? Or your business?
What if it’s a brand new car that you are already planning to buy anyway?
What if whatever amazing product that is on offer is a freaking great deal and the price was on a huge 80% discount?
What if you are a millionaire and the $5,000 price tag literally feels like $50?
Would you say ‘Yes’?
I’m guessing, it’s a MAYBE.
Because at this point, no matter how great the offer is, the question that you have in mind is who the heck is this person? Or, where does this product come from? Is it available in another colour, shape, size? Are there real customer reviews?
Basically, you might have a couple of questions no matter how tempting and great the deal is.
And that’s the exact same thought process that your potential sponsors have!
All they want is to get to know you better and what you have to offer so that they can make a decision if this is for them or not.
Building the Know, Like and Trust factor is super important especially when your event:
Does not have years of track record
Does not have high profile speakers or guests
Is targeting a small to medium audience (less than 5,000 attendees)
Here's my tip to build an authentic connection with your sponsors:
Set up a meeting, arrange a call or discuss face-to-face! (Even if it's virtually!)
Sharing about your event and the marketing opportunities through video calls or in-person meetings is the best way to establish the know, like and trust factor. Not only that, you also get to discuss first hand what their marketing needs are so that you customise your proposal to uniquely help them best!
Even when I was securing sponsors for events that had Singapore President as our guest-of-honour, or for events that literally flew in Michelin Starred chefs from across the globe (because we are the best food festival in the country!), we take our time to get to know our sponsors.
Whether you are a solopreneur or an international company, building that connection will be your best energy investment yet!
3. There is no follow-up to your email
It happens to the best of us. People miss important emails so it's great to include the exact deadline on when they should get back to you to discuss. Within 3 to 5 business days are perfect and including the actual date of “5 September” will be even better so that they know exactly when they should discuss internally and get back to you.
A proper follow-up is really important because it helps you to track the progress of the invite. This is the part where I get to know that the manager-in-charge is on leave, or that they are still discussing it within the team or if their CEO is overseas and haven’t had a chance to look at it. Sometimes, it’s a simple case of overlooking your email.
A good tip will be setting a notification reminder on your phone or laptop when it's the day of the deadline so that you can send a follow-up email or a call to your invited sponsors. If there is no response, give it another 3 to 5 days of a last follow-up before moving on.
4. Your sponsorship proposal did not match the company’s goals or audience
If there is no match in their company’s goals or audience to your event's, your proposal goes right to their “NO” pile.
One question that you can ask yourself is, will my audience buy my sponsor's products and services? If there is an alignment, the answer is going to be a resounding YES!
Again, take your time to know your sponsors incredibly well even before you sent that invite!
5. They think you can't help them
The harsh truth of non-response is this -> They think you can't help them and that's why they don't want to spend their money on you.
Maybe you are expecting 1,000 attendees for your event but their company have a million people buying their products every day.
Maybe you offer logos and branding opportunities through your event but what they are really looking for is to be a leader in their niche and speaking engagements.
Whatever it is, your job as an event organiser is to help your sponsors with their marketing and promotional goals.
If your event is in no position to help them be more visible, get them sales or help them establish their brand as a leader in the industry, they are not going to want to be your sponsor, much less reply to your emails. #HarshButTrue