In the last two years, the SHOT Show increased their event app sponsorship revenue by 169%, and then achieved another impressive doubling after that!
So what’s their secret?
They changed their entire sponsorship approach, bundling booth sales with event app and digital packages that are a winning combination for organizers, exhibitors and sponsors. (See the video below for more info on this case study.)
For trade show and conference organizers looking to drive revenue gains like the SHOT Show, the following includes how-to tips for securing mobile event app sponsors and ideas for creating attractive sponsor packages that generate new event revenue streams.
Why event app sponsorship is important
Event app sponsorship is important because it provides sponsors with a number of benefits, including:
Increased brand exposure
Event apps are a great way to reach a large audience of potential customers. With an event app, sponsors can display their branding prominently throughout the app, including on the home screen, in the agenda, and other high-traffic areas.
Direct contact with potential customers
Event apps also provide sponsors with a direct way to connect with potential customers. Attendees can use the app to learn more about sponsors’ products and services, and they can even contact sponsors directly to schedule meetings or demos.
Event apps can also be used to collect data about attendees, which can be used by sponsors to improve their marketing campaigns. For example, sponsors can track which pages in the app are most popular, which sponsors are most clicked on, and which attendees are most likely to convert into customers.
Event sponsorship can help sponsors to associate their brands with positive events and experiences. When attendees see a sponsor’s logo on an event app, they are more likely to have a positive impression of the sponsor’s brand.
In addition to these benefits, event app sponsorship can also help sponsors to:
Event apps can be used to collect leads from attendees, which can then be followed up on by sponsors.
Event apps can be used to promote sponsors’ products and services, which can lead to increased sales.
Improve brand awareness
Event app sponsorship can help to improve brand awareness among attendees.
Overall, event app sponsorship is a valuable way for sponsors to reach a large audience, connect with potential customers, and collect data that can be used to improve their marketing campaigns.
Why event app sponsors are attractive to organizers
Anytime I’m with organizers and talk about the SHOT Show story, there’s a little flash of envy in their eyes. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to report an additional – and potentially significant –revenue stream for their event?
It’s a given most events use an app to make it easier and increase engagement with your exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees. But keeping up with all of the latest event technology developments – from beacons and wayfinding to gamification and chatbots – can sometimes be a costly investment for organizers.
By securing event app sponsors, organizers benefit. In our experience, many events are able to completely offset the cost of the overall event technology investment cost solely by signing event app sponsors!
Our CEO, Jay Tokosch, shares another compelling benefit. “Securing renewals is always a big concern for organizers. Event app sponsorships are a powerful value-add that allows a sponsor to expand their physical footprint into the digital realm – which ultimately helps them expand brand awareness.” And when they see hard data from the app’s reporting about the value of their investment, there’s a greater likelihood they’ll renew to participate again.
Unlocking the benefits for app sponsors
Event app sponsors are typically seen as innovative since they’re taking a multi-channel approach to their event marketing. And your sponsors and exhibitors are already investing to participate in the event or conference. There must be value for them to be there physically. So why wouldn’t they want to build on their physical footprint with a digital presence too?
Matt Hurt, National Account Manager at Daniel Defense, one of the SHOT Show’s biggest sponsors sums it up perfectly. “As technology has come on board and people use apps at trade shows…it’s really important that attendees can see our brand wherever they go – whether that’s in the lunchroom or in the app.”
Another big benefit is sponsors finally have access to what matters most – hard data. Clicks, views and even conversions can all be measured through the event app. So sponsors know exactly what they received in return for their investment. Number of brand impressions delivered through a splash banner? Done. Total clickthroughs to a lead form capture page? Check. Talk about getting ROI!
And one more benefit—especially for companies who want sponsorship exclusivity, or those that have a smaller budget. Event app sponsorship packages can be tailored for one single sponsor, or created with multiple options that create an affordable buy-in. Many organizers like the idea of being able to get new sponsors to test the waters with an entry-level event app sponsorship. And with the hard data we talked about earlier, they can grow that newbie into a long-term sponsor!
Best practices for securing app sponsors
Organizers can use the “halo effect” – a psychological principal that refers to our tendency to form an impression in one area that influences opinions in another area — to secure sponsors. With the halo effect, a strong presence in an event app tends to positively influence attendees’ opinions about the sponsoring company, which in turn can increase brand or product awareness, leads and traffic.
Another tip? Promote bundled sponsorships early, like the SHOT Show does. Instead of starting sponsor sales a few months before the show, start a dialogue about event app sponsorship options while next year’s booth space commitments are taking place. Take it a step further by bundling traditional sponsorship opportunities with event app sponsorships. As the SHOT Show success demonstrates, a simple change in timing can have a big pay-off!
Building better event app sponsorship options
There are many different ways to plan, package and promote your event app’s features to make them appealing for sponsors. Here are several common options:
App launch screen banner ad
With their high visibility, banner ads are one of the most popular and cost-effective paid sponsorships to increase brand awareness. When an ad is tapped, an attendee is taken to a full-screen app landing page with additional product or service information. This page then links to the company’s exhibitor listing or another link.Sponsors like the ability to see metrics like engagement and clickthroughs, plus the flexibility to link to whatever content they’d like to feature.
Highlighted sponsor/Exhibitor listings
If exhibitors or sponsors really want to stand out with their brand, go beyond the standard company listing by offering a paid upgrade to include a company logo. Another option to create an additional revenue stream is by offering paid sponsorships that highlight their position on the exhibit floor map or in the sponsor area.By making it easier to find select sponsor or exhibitors’ booths, this wayfinding add-on becomes very valuable for exhibitors concerned about driving traffic.
For any sponsor who wants to make an important announcement or share a special offer, these sponsored messages/alerts are an effective way to reach a large group of attendees.Since push notifications appear on an attendee’s mobile screen even if the event app is closed, it’s a prime way for sponsors to deliver a timely message.
An attractive option to secure numerous sponsors, this sponsorship uses gamification to drive attendees to visit multiple booths or other conference areas. With encouragement to visit specific participating sponsors, sponsors benefit from increased awareness, traffic and leads.
New product showcase
Similar to a Scavenger/Treasure Hunt, except this event app sponsorship is geared for companies wanting to promote their new products.Whether the sponsorship is used to drive traffic to individual exhibitor booths, or to a special dedicated product showcase demonstration area, sponsors enjoy the additional opportunity to market their products to more attendees.
An up-and-coming sponsorship option that several of our clients have found great success with. For example, the Coverings Show mobile app gave first-time attendees a specially curated and crafted pre-recorded audio tour designed around key topics. Sponsors were featured in the event app and benefitted from increased attendance at their booths.
And of course, while all of these can be individual options, we recommend making it completely turn-key for sponsors by bundling multiple event app capabilities into tiered packages.
No matter how you package an event app sponsorship, don’t lose focus on telling sponsors the tangible benefits they’ll receive for their investment – whether that’s impressions, views, likes, shares or leads.