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How To Sell Sponsorships For An Event

I run a lot of events - everything from the Hacker News Seattle Meetup to Ignite: Seattle to Startup Weekends to the Seattle Customer Development Meetup. For most of these events, I end up selling sponsorships to cover the costs. My friend is planning a conference and recently asked me for advice on how to sell sponsorships. This is my email back to her:

The biggest thing you need to answer is "What does the sponsoring company get out of this?" For the tech meetup events I run, it's usually either A) They're recruiting and want to recruit people at my event, B) They're trying to promote their product or service and get more people to use it, or C) They recognize the importance of supporting the community, and they're successful enough that they can spare the resources (this one is extremely rare. People will often say this, but the real reason is usually more like #1 or #2).

Once you figure out what they company wants, you can tailor the message a bit to them.

Now that you know what they want, it's time to go talk to them. You need to figure out who the right person to talk to at the company is. A good hack to do this is find other events they've sponsored, talk to the organizer for that event (organizers tend to be very friendly people! Just shoot them an email if you don't know them) and ask who their primary contact was.

If the organizer doesn't know you, they may not be comfortable introducing you. Instead, try asking for the contact information and offer to cold email the contact and not mention the organizer at all.

Superhuman 2 Event

On Tynan

As I mentioned before, Superhuman #1 went extremely well. Everyone left not only with actionable steps to reach their goals, but also with connections to some other really great people. I was a little bit exhausted by the end, but it was really a great experience to get to do deep work with some of my most serious readers, and to get to know them on a personal level.

I collected feedback from most of the attendees. No one rated the event less than 8/10, and 95% of the critical feedback was on logistics and timing, which I admittedly did not do a great job of. Using their feedback plus our mutual experience, I am ready to put on a second event which should be even better!

The biggest change is that this event will be 2.5 days long instead of 1.5 days long. On the first event I was worried that I wouldn't be able to fill so much time with useful content, but now I realize that more time would have been much better. People also universally wished that we had more social time (with all but one person suggesting 70% work and 30% social vis the 90/10 split we had this time). So this time around we will have much more social time.

The goals of this event will be for each attendee to have actionable next steps on their most important goals, to be paired with a like-minded peer to hold them accountable, and to get to know me and their fellow attendees.

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