5 Tips to Sponsoring an Email Marketing Event 28th September, 2011

Sponsorship is a fantastic way for email marketers to stand out from their competitors.  If done strategically, sponsorship can not only generate significant leads, but can also provide a platform to showcase expertise and present client testimonials.  In such a small market, sponsorship can be one of the most cost-effective ways to differentiate an email service provider.

Sponsorship Options for Email Service Providers

There are a number of sponsorship opportunities for ESPs in a range of budgets.  From large exhibitions such as Ad:Tech and Marketing Week’s Online Marketing Show to smaller intimate breakfast sessions with the DMA Email Marketing Council and online webinars, how can you be sure you are not only choosing the best sponsorship opportunity, but also making the most of it?

In order to help you leverage your potential opportunities, there are a few things to consider:

1.  Do you even need to sponsor this event?

Sponsorship is a great way to access an audience and help build affiliation.  However, there are other ways to do this through marketing and just simply by attending the event in question with a couple of good sales people who can work the room.

But if your competitors are also attending the same events, then sponsorship is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
Based on the audience you are targeting, options can include:

  1. If the audience you are trying to reach is not familiar with your brand, I’d recommend exclusive sponsorship of the event ensuring that you also receive an opportunity to speak and present what you do best.
  2. If you want to create loyalty with an audience who is familiar with you, then consider sponsoring an element of the event that you are trying to target and align new product launches.
  3. To reposition your brand, look at alternative opportunities, such as sponsoring the photo booth or after party.  This can help reposition an otherwise ‘dull’ brand as an engaging and approachable one.

2. How much?

Ensure you take into account everything that is required to make the most of any event that you sponsor.   Your budget should not just include the cost of purchasing the sponsorship rights, but also any additional activation costs to make sure that your sponsorship is effective.

Activations can include:

  • Prizes or promotions on the day
  • Communications you want to send out to your current clients about your sponsorship
  • Secondary leverage options such as posters to promote your sponsorship
  • Follow up activity on those people you met through your sponsorship

3. Is your audience going to be there?

The best way to identify whether the audience you want to reach will be attending the event you wish to sponsor is to gather as much information about previous delegates.  Although the lists won’t be identical, they should provide you with enough information on the level of delegate.  Specifically ensure that the audience isn’t filled with organising staff and/or partners.

The second way to ensure that the audience you want to reach will be at the event is to invite them yourself.  As a sponsor, you should ensure you receive a number of complimentary tickets to your sponsored event and co-ordinate those invitations with your sales team to set up an engagement programme.  These invitations can also be used to further promote your sponsorship of the event helping to reinforce your affiliation with your current clients.

In some instances you can also request that the organiser invite specific brands you’d like to target – it never hurts to ask.

4. SHOUT about it

Sponsorship helps build fan loyalty with your brand and fans are people we all want on our side.  If you aren’t telling people about your sponsorship then you aren’t getting the most out of the inherent rights that you’ve purchased – and best of all it doesn’t need to cost you a thing!

Depending on the sponsorship, it can and should be reflected in your client and prospect communications.  These can include:

  • Email signatures
  • Social networks
  • Blogs
  • Email campaigns
  • Promotions
  • Your reception area
  • Giveaways
  • Website

5. Get them working for you!

Typically the event will have its own PR team who will be trying to promote the event you are sponsoring.  Set up a meeting or at the very least send them your press kit so they can include your messaging whenever possible.  Find out about their communication and marketing schedule and find ways of linking in with it.  Typically providing a prize tends to lend itself well to being included with communications as the organisers also want to add value to their delegates.

Making sure that you really ‘work’ your sponsorship rights can add significant value over and above the rights that you have purchased with your sponsored event.  Most of these tips can be done with little or no cost, but just make sure you have the resources to make your sponsorship truly work for you!

This blog was originally posted on the DMA Email Marketing Blog.  For more email marketing articles, make sure to register here.