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Sponsoring or Hosting an Event this Holiday Season? 6 Ways to Maximize Your Return

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Sponsoring or Hosting an Event this Holiday Season? 6 Ways to Maximize Your Return

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: November 8, 2012

Autumn and the holidays are the high season for events, from holiday parties and private shopping events to turkey trots and fall festivals. It’s time to consider hosting or sponsoring an event this holiday season as a way to stand out from the crowd during this busy time. But how do you get the best return on your investment? Here are six tips:

1. Sponsor events that matter to your customers

If you sponsor an event this season, pick something that matters to your customers. Who attends the event? What are their interests? If they don’t care about what you’re selling, then you’re wasting your time. For example, my hometown hosted an end-of-summer kids’ fun run. The chief sponsor was a hugely successful local orthodontist business known for its great customer service, commitment to family values and a fun and informal, even jazzy, atmosphere. A kids’ fun run fit perfectly with its brand and aligned the business directly with its target market.

2. Choose events that create an experience that reflects positively on your business

If you are planning on sponsoring an event, whether it’s your local Little League tournament or your town’s annual community health drive, you need to have clear goals and you’ll want to partner with events that reflect positively on your brand. If people are having a good time, then it’s likely that experience will rub off on your business through association. Consider events with a good track record that will attract the kind of customers you’re targeting.

3. Pick events that are well run

This may go without saying, but it can be easily overlooked. If the event is badly run it will reflect directly on your business. Talk to other business owners who’ve participated in the event and target events that have a good track record of participation and success. Remember that quantity isn’t always better than quality – if the event doesn’t play to your brand, no matter how many people attend, your return on investment will suffer.

4. Understand sponsorship levels

Many events offer different levels of sponsorship. While it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting for your investment, be sure to select a sponsorship that plays to your strengths. For example, a gold sponsorship may come with all the frills but if you can’t scale or provide the right resources to take advantage of it, go for a lower sponsorship tier and up your own marketing efforts to raise awareness of your involvement.

5. Don’t just show up – engage

Think about ways to become an integral part of the event.  Align your tactics with the event’s goals. If all you can afford is logo placement, it might not be worth participating. Be creative, offer discounts to attendees, offer branded giveaways, get your logo on the event host’s giveaways (for example, branded water bottles) or host a contest or other experience that gets attendees interacting with your business.

Bring your employees along, too. Encourage them to get involved, both as staff and as participants. Whether it’s running in the turkey trot as a mascot for your business or bringing their kids for a photo opportunity with Santa Claus.

6. If you’re hosting a private event, invest in your VIPs

Private events are a great way to make your valued customers feel special. Whether you host a private in-store sale or an invitation-only holiday party for your loyal customers, you’ll get more from your investment with a little research and a plan of action. Here are a few tactics:

  • Offer customers the opportunity to bring a “plus one.” This will make them feel more comfortable and help you reach new buyers.
  • Do some customer research. Use your CRM tools, social media conversations, and email marketing responses to gauge what your VIPs are interested in or have purchased lately. This will arm you with conversation starters.
  • Use the event as an opportunity to refine your mailing lists and outreach efforts. Find out how your VIPs prefer to hear from you, whether it’s email or social media.
  • Send out thank you notes and follow-up with a special offer, just for your VIPs.

Have you hosted or sponsored any events lately? How did you ensure you got the best possible return on your investment? Leave a comment below.

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About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Thanks for sharing the inventory for maximizing the returns. I found the tips quite impressive especially the one in which you have mentioned that one should invest in VIPs.
I like point no.5 the best. I suppose you need to put your heart in even if it's just running some random events for your customers.
I guess the world is round, and what goes around comes around. Sponsorship, or charity work, does come a long way in retaining customer loyalty and increase exposure.
We did something like this in November. My company took their clients to New York City. Everyone loved it, and we are going to do it again next year.
Great post. This is the time of year to capitalize on people's generosity. I definitely believe in doing so, and then passing on the generosity to even more people. Tis the season. Thanks for the great post.
This is the right time for all entrepreneurs to do some extra investment for their benefits as these days are considered as most attention consuming days not only by local customers but also by tourists.

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