When is your time well used by attending an unplanned conference, speaking engagement or workshop and sponsoring a table? Let’s take out of the equation the well planned out annual conference that is a budgeted item and 100% your target market. It was “Practically free” is a term I have heard people say in defense of a poor response to sponsoring an event. Really? Free?? Having a Vendor Table “Go bag” (an easy to grab bag with items you would use at any and all events…business cards, note pads, bowls for card collection, pre-printed promotional items) is always a good start for these “opportunities” that spring up. However we need to really be sure it is a good use of our time. ALL of the time, energy, and expense we will use for the event.
So let’s pump the brakes…this “practically free” event is your target market, right? And you can be assured I will give you a hard time if you tell me there “might be” a few in attendance. You must be able to gain insight and numbers from the host of the event on the attendees. Remember to apply your own business’ conversion performance to make sure it will be worthwhile for you to be present. If your conversion is at 50% and there will “probably” be 3 people in the audience of 100 that are your market, will it be worth 2 sales (I’ll let you round up because I am sure you will be on fire that day) to spend your time and money there? Of course, this assumes you will actually have focused access to the correct 3 during the event sometime.
So let’s talk preparation. Do you have a way to gather prospect information? Do you have a piece for them to take away to remember your company. How much time did you put into personalizing a sales page or the marketing flyers that were created? How much expense went into the giveaways and the printing costs? Don’t forget the candy! This will always be a way to bring people to your table to give you a possible opening. Now add up the cost of your hours, the designer hours, the printing and the candy expense. Is this still less than the 2 possible sales? Good. Let’s add in the final piece.
Consider the “day of” expense. This should include driving time, gas and tolls, time and energy to drag in your marketing materials, the time required to be set up BEFORE the event starts, and then you will have to decide what is more valuable to your business – missing part of the talk or missing people at the table? How we are doing? Is the expense still outweighed by the potential income?
Here is the real killer rule I give to ALL of my clients. Did you schedule follow up time the next day? I mean truly do you or your staff have calendared time set aside to follow up and make sure your company is remembered from within that sea of information your prospect just waded through? I am sure you had dedicated time to make a significant impression and they are never gonna forget your story about the stubbed toe that was bleeding through your shoe…but let’s make a plan for follow up just in case!
Going to these events, spending time and the money required to be professionally stocked and ready is likely for not if you are just going to play the wait and see game. I know you don’t want to seem salesy. I know you don’t want to be pushy. But educating a prospect that showed interest in your services or products by stopping by your table (even if it was the candy…they DID drop their card.) is the whole point of doing this!
Add that in…how might you do at this “free” event?
When the audience is your specific market, you have decent access to them and have something to sell now and intrigue for later, THAT is a definite YES for sponsoring. Sponsoring does contribute to your marketing strategies but “practically free” usually is sooo costly in the end!
Talmar It Up is an operations and management firm that was founded by Talmar Anderson. Working with business owners and corporate teams, Talmar It Up works to bridge the gaps in business education and management experience. Whether working on projects to build teams or one on one through monthly consulting to grow businesses, Talmar Anderson uses energy and enthusiasm every step of the way. Got more questions? Jump over to www.TalmarItUp.com!