I get a lot of unsolicited emails – okay, spam – trying to sell me sponsorship. Leaving to the side the fact that I’m not a sponsor, I’m often on the other side of the planet, my name isn’t “Dear Sir/Madam”, and the twenty-five other things wrong with this approach, they often refer me to a page on their website where I’m supposed to become so enthralled I can’t wait to cut a cheque.
With that in mind, I’m going to start this blog with how not to use your website to sell sponsorship, because from the alarmingly indifferent to the obnoxiously heavy-handed, I think I’ve seen it all.
- Don’t put wording like “Sponsorships now available!” on your home page or anywhere else. Sponsorship is always available. That just looks silly.
- Don’t bury your sponsor page – If someone is curious about sponsoring your organisation, but they have to dig and dig just to see who sponsors you now, that’s not good.
- Don’t make someone use a generic response form to enquire about sponsorship. Yes, I have seen this.
- Don’t publish sponsorship packages – Sponsorship is all about creating customised offers for individual sponsors, which are worth much more than fixed packages set up in levels. By doing this, you are tying your own hands and showcasing a lack of sophistication.
- Don’t refer people to a “sizzle reel” or some Powerpoint deck – These are uncustomised by their very nature and sponsors know you’re slanting all of the content for maximum… er… sizzle. They don’t’ want sizzle; they want substance.
- Don’t use words like “There’s still time to sponsor”. There’s usually not. The sponsorship sales window closes when there is no longer time for a sponsor to plan and implement the leverage program that will deliver their actual results, not when the event starts or you hit budget.
Okay, so that’s how you shouldn’t do it. This is how you should: Create a sponsorship sales landing page
You will already have a page or more dedicated to showcasing your sponsors to your target market (your audience, doners, etc). That’s not what I’m talking about.
You want a page titled something like, “Are you interested in sponsoring XYZ event?” This may or may not be on your main, audience-oriented menu structure, but would certainly have a prominent link from your sponsor page and would be searchable from Google et al. This page would include:
Your sponsorship “family”
List your current significant sponsors. If you have 40 rats-and-mice sponsorships way down at the bottom, you may want to leave them off.
Your approach to sponsorship
Keep it brief, but talk about how you get to know your sponsors’ individual needs and create bespoke offers for them, including plenty of ideas for how they can leverage the sponsorship to meet their objectives. You may also want to include something about what it’s like to be a sponsor. Do you host sponsor networking functions or workshops? Do you report monthly? Use state-of-the-art project management tools, like collaborative workspace, Trello or Basecamp?
Talk about how your sponsors have achieved a range of objectives and added value to their B2C and B2B customers (or whatever). Link to another, non-searchable page with a selection of 150-200 word case studies on how your sponsors have changed their target markets’ perceptions and behaviours. This will be your most powerful selling point. Why non-searchable? You want people to end up there with some context.
If any of your sponsors have won awards working with you, be sure to list them.
Tell them that your first step will be to conduct a short phone meeting with them to determine their needs. You will then provide them with a customised proposal, which you can work together to fine tune.
Introduce your sponsorship team, include photos, roles, and contact details.
Bonus points: Testimonials
If your sponsors are really happy, ask a few of them to provide short testimonials about how great it is to work with you and the great results they get. You can incorporate that on the landing page, with the case studies, or both.
In the end, it’s going to be you, not some web page, that sells the sponsorship. But it is part of the package. When it’s so easy to get it right, why would you let your online sponsorship voice let you down?
If you’re doing any of the “don’ts”, you may have bigger issues with your approach and may benefit from some additional reading. Definitely browse this blog, as there is lots of how-to for sponsorship seekers. You may also want to check out The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition, which will bring you through the whole sales and servicing process with support from many tools and templates.
Need more assistance?
For all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition.
If you could use some additional support, I provide sponsorship coaching, sponsorship consulting, sponsorship training, and if you need a fast, cost-effective start, you might look into the Jump Start program. If you’re interested in any of these services, please review the materials and drop me a line to discuss:
AU: +61 2 9559 6444
US: +1 612 326 5265
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