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  • Tony Paolella

How to maximize your sponsorship


Events have a ton of benefits. From getting in front of the right people, to having a captive audience to creating connections; it’s why I’m so passionate about networking. But there is one thing that has the potential to put yourself and company on another level: sponsorship!


Attending events are great, but you’re always limited to how many people you can talk to. Finding that right needle in a haystack takes time and expertise, but sponsorship allows you to jump the line. It’s like being a peacock in a flock of chickens, You’re going to get all the attention.


But sponsorship takes a strategy and a little legwork to truly reap the benefits. When used well, it can even generate results before the event starts, give your audience an opportunity to experience your product/service and of course build awareness for your company. Used incorrectly and you’ve wasted valuable resources that aren’t going to generate results. Here are a couple of my top tips and insights to help you maximize your opportunity so sponsorship doesn't turn into just another failed marketing tactic.


Sponsorship provides opportunity outside of the event.

Event promotion starts well before the event starts, and that’s when your sponsorship starts too! Make sure to get your information, assets, images, links and anything else to the event host early. You want to take advantage of all the pre-event promotions that you can.


When we start promoting an event, we always bring sponsors into the conversation early. Dedicated posts, images, and messages have generated conversations, leads, and even sales BEFORE the event even takes place. This has generated business for many sponsors and resulted in immediate ROI.


Find creative ways to maximize your exposure with videos or testimonials that highlight your brand early and often. This extends your reach beyond the event itself and opens you up to the entire audience whether they attend or not.


Results come in many forms

Yes, everyone likes to walk away from an event with sales calls on the books, but that’s not the only measure of success. Recruiting can be an incredible outcome from sponsorship and several of our sponsors have hired new team members after an event. Connecting with strategic partners, centers of influence and of course creating buzz can all be powerful results you get from the event that may or may not be the immediate sale, but can be even more valuable in the long run.


It takes 7 touches to generate a lead.

Those in sales know that the one hit wonders miss out on major opportunities. Because it takes so much repetition to get a message across, sponsoring multiple events and making a consistent brand push can have exponential impact. Don't get distressed if your first event didn’t bring in millions. Just like networking, it can take several experiences, and the right timing, to create a powerful connection.


Invest in your set up.

It’s going to take more than a table to gain attention. Get flashy, shiny, pretty and exciting with how you set up your section. Great branding, prizes, movement, and even videos create a memorable experience that makes people want to check out what you have going on. Of course it should connect to your company and offerings, but giving people a reason to want to connect and engage will create the kind of attention and impression you need to succeed.


Leave no lead behind.

If you killed it at the event, your work is only half over. Follow up is critical to getting the results you want. Consider varying your communication channels, leveraging more than just email, and include LinkedIn or even texting to make sure you connect.


But be careful. There is a fine line between assertive and aggressive and you have to read the person, situation and expectations to make sure you are appropriate. No one wants to get 15 calls, so make sure you stagger your response and always solicit those that are actually interested.


Tony’s best advice for sponsoring an event:

  1. Always bring breath mints ( I never leave home without them!). You never know what kind of food will be served, or how many cups of coffee you need to keep the pep in your networking step. Don’t let bad hygiene be the reason you don't get a meeting.

  2. Be EARLY. Showing up at the last minute puts yourself in a stressful situation, is rude to the host and when others show up early, creates a negative first impression.

  3. Follow up within 24 hours. We all have short term memories and if you wait too long the spark has started to fizzle.

  4. Bring the team. Rotate between working the room and managing the booth. This allows you to expand your reach, connect with more people and avoid burnt out.


After attending thousands of networking events, hundreds of trade shows, and hosting dozens of events, I’ve seen a lot of money get wasted. That’s why I make a special effort to prepare, strategize and inspire those that partner with Tony P Networking to sponsor our events. If your company could benefit from being part of the Tony P Networking experience, contact us, or apply now for Business Membership and get in front of your audience.