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5 Ways Sponsoring an Event Can Help Your Marketing Strategy

September 9th, 2022 | 5 min. read

By Katina Beniaris

Woman presents at an event in front of a slideshow featuring

From festivals to symposiums, event sponsorships are so common that we almost expect them. Sometimes, the brand name is practically synonymous with the event title!

That hints at how potent these sponsorships can be. Are you a smaller to mid-size company looking to gain positive publicity and new customers in your community? Teaming up with the right local partner can take your marketing to the next level.

For over 35 years, we here at Zoe Marketing & Communications have hosted sponsored events — in-person and, more recently, digitally. Our sister media companies, Metro Parent and Chicago Parent, produce annual virtual events focused on autism support and camps for kids. We also host a year-long online series of parenting experts called ParentEd Talks Detroit and ParentEd Talks Chicago.

Drawing from this experience, we're highlighting five top benefits of sponsoring events:

  1. It's an easy branding opportunity that puts your name in a positive light

  2. You can connect with a new audience aligned with your mission

  3. There's built-in marketing and media exposure

  4. It's a chance to build personal connections and grow your email list

  5. Supporting your community builds your reputation and your business

By the end of this blog, you'll feel clear about what an event sponsorship can offer your business. And you'll have a better sense of whether it's a good fit for you.

1. It's an easy branding opportunity that puts your name in a positive light

Sponsoring an event can show you're in alignment with the event's topic and host. This gives you great publicity and builds your prestige with the host's audience.

Plus, it's a seamless way to get your brand's name out without much work. As a baseline, you'll see your brand's logo/name — hyperlinked directly to your website when possible — in these places:

  • Event website/landing page

  • Paid promotional ads

  • Social media posts (plus tagging)

  • Fliers

  • Emails promoting the event

  • Signage/live links during the actual event

  • Recap/thank you emails that go out after the event

This puts more potential customers' eyes on you, and they're an easy click away from learning more.

Depending on the sponsorship level and your expertise, events can incorporate other creative ways to get your message to attendees. For instance, you could:

  • Take part in an exclusive Q&A session

  • Provide expert advice in content promoting the event (videos, articles, etc.)

  • Host sessions aligned with your expertise

In each case, you're building your recognition as a trusted resource — before, during and after the event.

2. You can connect with a new audience aligned with your mission

Event sponsorship gives you a great chance to reach new people that might be interested in you. Ideally, when the event host is aligned with your priorities, you reach more of your ideal audience.

So be sure to ask the event organizer questions. Sometimes it could be an obvious match. A school or kids health provider might be a natural fit to team up with a parenting media company, for instance. Other times, it might not be as clear. 

Don't hesitate to ask the event organizers questions about their audience. This will help you decide if sponsoring their event aligns with your target audience.

Consider factors like age, location, gender or specific interests. And consider these three ways of connecting with this potential audience:

  • Personally chatting at a booth during live events

  • Reaching out to them via email after the event (more on that in #4 below)

  • Catching their eye with your logo (since they'll see you in all those promotions)

3. There's built-in marketing and media exposure

Event organizers want to draw as people to their event as possible. That means they run muscular marketing campaigns. They also want to get media attention. Here's a closer look at these two efforts:

Campaign hype

Remember that list of places where your logo/tag might appear? That's all part of a broader marketing effort. It includes promotional social media, digital/print ads, emails and more.

These campaigns are often detailed and high-volume. Event organizers have dedicated promotional budgets. And they use them to reach their attendance goals.

  • Expect at least a month of heavy advance promotion — if not several months or more.

  • As the event draws closer, emails go out many times per week, with social media posts 5-10 times per week or more.

Publicity push

Organizers also hustle to earn media attention. This includes local TV spotlights, newspaper coverage and inclusion in top web calendars. They'll often send out previews or press releases to these outlets (of course, as a sponsor, you're mentioned prominently).

Again, this is a great way to boost your brand's exposure and "piggyback" your marketing investment for more mileage.

4. It's a chance to build personal connections and grow your email list

Event organizers also gather "first-party data" to learn more about their audience. So, when people sign up for an event, that means providing at least a first name, last name and email address. It can also include details like ZIP code, city or age.

Email access benefits — and responsibilities

Sometimes, the organizer will share the attendee registration database with the sponsor — a big perk. This opens a direct door to your new audience. After the event, it's a chance to email them to thank them, offer relevant details and nurture new leads.

It's also critical to be targeted and respectful. Email your newfound contacts sparingly. Keep your message relevant to their interests — and always give them an opt-out option.

Consent is essential

Keep in mind: The event organizer must get attendees' permission to share their information with you. This is a best practice to ensure you reach out to people who genuinely want to learn more about your brand. On a digital registration form, this looks like:

  • A checkbox people can click (or un-click) giving permission to have the event sponsor contact them

  • Language on the form that says something like, "By signing up, I understand that I may receive emails or information from this event's sponsor"

Be sure to ask the host if you can have access to registrants' email addresses in advance. 

Collect contacts in person, too

If you have a booth at an in-person event, ask for attendees' names and emails on the spot — in exchange for a special perk or to be added to your enewsletter list. Nothing beats getting direct consent right from the source.

5. Supporting your community builds your reputation and your business

By investing in event sponsorship, you're supporting your event partner. They're able to run a successful event that benefits the community. And, as a result, attendees are more likely to see your business as one that cares about them.

Plus, your partnership can grow with time. Often, event sponsors keep their titles for years. This builds recognition and a chance to connect with more people and businesses. And it keeps you in a positive, high-profile position.

What are my next steps for event sponsorship?

Sponsoring an event is an investment that can pay off in esteem and brand recognition. In this blog, you discovered some of the key ways this happens.

It's a low-lift branding opportunity that puts your name in a positive light. Sponsorship can also connect you with a new audience aligned with your mission. It offers ready-made marketing and media exposure, too, as organizers spread the word.

There's also the big perk of first-party data access and personal connections. And finally, it all supports your community — which builds your reputation and your business.

Zoe Marketing & Communications has several events with open sponsorship levels if you're in the southeast Michigan or Chicagoland regions. Talk to your advisor to find out what might be a fit for you.

And remember, event sponsorship isn't for everyone! If you're unsure, explore how digital marketing help you achieve your business goals — and find out what tactics are best at each marketing funnel stage.

Katina Beniaris

As audience development manager, Katina Beniaris digs into data to help the Zoe Marketing & Communications team learn about our audiences and tailor better content for them. She has more than five years of experience in content creation.