Everyone who works with sponsorships is looking for ways to increase sponsorship sales, both in terms of selling more sponsorships and selling to more sponsors. But the process of achieving that goal can be frustrating.
I recently had the opportunity to lead two classes – ‘Revving Your Revenue’ and ‘Sponsorship Solicitation’ – at the Midwest Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. In the land of badgers and cheese, we discussed sponsorships in all their forms, and Jill Ackerman, President of the Marion (IA) Chamber of Commerce, came to me after a session with the question of what my number one tip for securing sponsorships is.
If there is one key to increasing sponsorships, it is diversification. And there are three important keys to making that diversification work.
Offering diverse levels of sponsorships isn’t new. It’s one of those things that falls squarely into the category of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Organizations continue to offer diverse sponsorship levels because they work.
Offering levels of this nature allows businesses the opportunity to engage with your sponsorships at different financial points as the business matures. Businesses can invest based upon the ROI they are hoping to achieve as well as upon the investments of their competition.
Diversified levels also allow your organization to determine the interest of your members in a program, initiative, or event. In our work with groups across the country, we are seeing businesses competing to purchase the top tiers of sponsorships. Companies want exclusive rights and benefits. In general, the only time we see the lower tier levels sell is when they are the only sponsorships remaining.
The easiest way to diversify your overall sponsorships is to modify your benefits. Benefit diversification is an easy process when your benefit levels are already diversified.
Sponsors desire what we all desire – something that will set them apart from the rest. Are you providing sponsorships and benefits that do that?
- Do your benefits provide access to unique target markets?
- How many of your sponsorship levels have exclusive benefits?
- Do you make sure you don’t offer the same benefits to every sponsor?
Exclusivity adds value. Exclusivity sells. If you are offering the same benefits to each sponsor, you need to re-evaluate that sponsorship and its benefits. A good example of this is offering to put a business logo on your website. It’s easy to do, and a business will certainly accept that benefit, but not every business needs or wants that benefit. And by providing it to everyone, you devalue it for the business that need and want it.
Another good example is your organization’s social media platforms. Many businesses want access to your social media reach. Don’t give that away for free to everyone. Make that a valued benefit.
Once you have updated your levels and benefits, you have positioned yourself to update your pricing as well. Many organizations price on a standard $250, $500, $750, and $1,000 structure. In general, if a company has $250 to spend on a sponsorship, they have $500. If they have $750, they have $1,000 and so forth.
If you price your sponsorships too closely, there isn’t enough difference in the benefits for a sponsor to justify purchasing the higher sponsorship. Stretch those prices and position the benefits accordingly and see what your businesses are willing to spend in order to obtain access to their target markets and the unique benefits you can offer.
If you diversify enough and repeat this process often enough, you can keep your current sponsors engaged (and purchasing newer and bigger sponsorships) and bring new sponsors to the table.