Event Marketing Ideas for using Sponsor Contests to Attract New Attendees

One of the biggest mistakes event organizers make is that they keep on promoting to the SAME AUDIENCE. You’ve developed a great database of prospects. You continuously update your list, but the majority of your list consists of the same people that hear basically the same message.

You need a new audience of prospects. Always. They might be right under your nose, even if you don’t readily see them.

We have 6 event sponsors who also happen to be great marketers. So here’s what we do to gain a whole new audience very easily:

  • We provide each of our sponsors with one full pass to one of our conferences (that they are also sponsoring).
  • Value is approx $1,300 to attend our event, so this is a super-cool prize!
  • Each sponsor runs a contest to their audience for a “Free Full Pass Give Away” to the event.

Then we set up a coordinated schedule so that every two weeks, a different sponsor is sending out 2 efforts to their list for the contest. Sponsors love this idea, as contests always increase their audience engagement.

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The results? Normally we get between 150 – 250 contestants per contest. So we make out like bandits since our treasure is new audience. At some point, the sponsors pick their winner randomly. The sponsor and our company promote the contest heavily on social media and everybody wins.

Here’s how it is so good for us: The sponsor also provides us a list of the contestants. Then we send contestants an email about who won…or didn’t. The good news is that they can still be a winner by signing up at a discount rate and going to great conference!

The stats: Almost 50% of the contestants are new to us so we can add them to our prospect list. About 6% of the contest losers end up signing up for our conference! And many of these other new prospects end up signing up for future events.

It’s truly a win-win for the sponsor and our event. The sponsor gets to offer a free registration to our niche event and we get a new audience and maybe even some new registrations.

The math:  1 free event registration + 1 great sponsor + 1 contest = a whole new audience!


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