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So you’ve signed a contract and made the decision to invest in sponsoring an event.

What’s next? Well firstly, put that pitchfrk down. After investing in the conference itself, no one wants to hear the hard sell once they finally get there. To get the most out of your sponsorship investment here’s some tips to help ensure you generate real ROI before, during and after the event.

1. Keep delegates wanting more. It’s important to know the right time for the sales pitch. We often see sponsors going for the hard sell at the wrong time. Use the pre-event marketing as an extension of your content marketing plan. If you’re lucky enough to take the stage, beware that delegates switch off to sales pitches. So make sure your strategy for the event keeps delegates wanting more .

2. Become a content creator. Get visitors to your stand because they value your content and expertise. Give them some tips for free in the form of a white paper, sample or eBook. Once you’ve got their attention, then it’s time to engage.

3. Introduce yourself to everyone. If you have exhibition space, take the initiative to ‘network’ and don’t wait for people to come to you. Often we see exhibitors hiding behind a desk.  Think about it. You’re not approachable sitting on a chair hiding behind a desk, iPad or laptop. So make sure your onsite staff are engaging, energetic and confident.

4. Enlist the organisers. They can help you identify prospects and introduce you to the attendees you want to target. It’s in their best interest to make sure you’re happy.

5. Obtain contact details and business cards and follow up with every one of them. A business card draw for a prize can be a great way to obtain contact information. But it’s been done before. So get creative, what else can you do?

6. Don’t be just another booth or stand. You will be face to face with potential new clients. So it’s your chance to differentiate yourself from every other sponsor or exhibitor. Be different; make your space attractive, engaging and appealing.

7. Set smart goals for all your staff. Examples include the number of business cards collected, introductions made, conversations had, follow up meetings organised, demonstrations performed etc. Track the results against any sales made in the weeks/months following the event and determine best practice tips as a result, which you can then use at the next event you sponsor.

This is a guest post by John Burgher. John is the Marketing Director at criterion conferences, with over 12 years of B2B experience in the UK, Asia and Australia. He’s an ideas guy and a gadget geek who is always looking for the next ‘big thing’. For the hottest news, updates and industry content visit criterion blog

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