Skip to Content
Event Management

Event Management

Building Effective Relationships With Your Event Sponsors and Exhibitors

26 Jun 2024 | Heather Pryor | 3 minutes

Sponsors and exhibitors are a critical part of an event’s financial success equation. Securing more sponsors and increasing the revenue generated requires teams to work more efficiently and incorporate smart strategies. 

Event sponsors’ own shifting budget limitations and priorities can make the process more difficult. According to a Boldpush State of the Event Industry report, nearly a quarter of sponsors are looking to spend less on events this year, and a third have delayed signing up as sponsors for financial reasons.

To retain and gain sponsors this year and beyond, organizations must create compelling packages and establish powerful relationships. Read on to discover best practices for securing sponsors — even reluctant ones. 

Creating Compelling Sponsorship Packages

The ultimate goal of every event sponsor is to generate leads, but each organization’s preferred method for doing so differs. Develop a range of sponsorship packages that accommodate the ways your sponsors may want to present their products and services:

1. Offer New, Unique Ways to Help High-Paying Sponsors Stand Out

Sponsors don’t want to feel like they’re in a losing battle of capturing attendees’ attention. Consider creative new ways for your top-tier exhibitors to get visibility. Are there certain activities they could sponsor outside of sessions? How about unique spaces outside of the exhibit hall where they can present their offerings? 

2. Create Networking Spaces

Dedicate time and space for your sponsors to meet with attendees. For example, allocate a few rooms for sponsor meetings. Doing so helps sponsors feel more confident they will be able to hold conversations and advance their business away from the exhibit hall hustle. 

3. Give Sponsors a Sample of Potential Data

Be sure to illustrate what past sponsors have gained from your events, and consider presenting customized material that speaks to their goals. Highlight exactly what lead capture technologies you’ll be using and their benefits. Share how and when you will make that data accessible to sponsors.

4. Adjust Your Pricing Strategy

Instead of just a flat rate, consider offering pay-per-impression, pay-per-lead, or bundle pricing. Discounts and greater perceived value can convince budget-minded sponsors to sign. 

5. Optimize Your Package Tiers

Clearly communicate what sponsors can expect from each sponsorship tier, including the benefits and costs associated with each tier. Consider discontinuing and adjusting past unpopular tiers. Outline how each tier will meet your sponsors’ specific needs.

6. Sell Sponsors on Advertising

Create an advertising plan to present to potential exhibitors early on. Include an outlined audience for emails, social, and website visibility (e.g. full virtual booth, logo inclusion) available before, during, and after your event.

Building Strong Relationships With Event Sponsors

Crafting an enticing product offering is just the beginning of creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Building rapport and trust is crucial for sustainable sponsorship success. Event teams should keep the following principles in mind throughout the process:

  • Communicate often
  • Follow up promptly
  • Host dedicated activities or events for sponsors and exhibitors 
  • Be flexible
  • Show appreciation
  • Award innovative booths, presentations, or partnerships
  • Ask for and apply feedback
  • Engage with sponsors on social media
  • Involve sponsors in your event planning process 

Finally, make the contracting process simple for your sponsors. The more difficult it is for them to get involved, the less likely they are to sign on. Scalable, easy-to-use platforms like RainFocus can help you manage contracts, track sponsor tasks, and ultimately make sure your sponsors get the quality leads they want at your event. 
Learn about RainFocus exhibitor activation here.