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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.

Make your presentations 237% more awesome with Twitterfall

On DROdio

I was recently at the MobileX conference in Cincinnati and in preparation for the conference I told the organizers to check out Twitterfall, which they did in a big way, putting it up on a side screen in the auditorium.  It was awesome, and although I just made up the 237% cooler figure, it is truly a powerful way to make your events interactive.  For example, in my keynote I referenced Twitterfall for realtime tweets to be able to work audience questions into my presentation in a seamless fashion.  It's also great for introverts (you know who you are!) who want to ask questions but don't want to disrupt the event by raising their hands.

Here's a video showing how the experience was for attendees:

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