How to Create Feel-Good Virtual Summit Sponsorships with Chelsea Clarke

making money Jul 06, 2021

Learn the secret behind creating feel-good brand sponsorships for your virtual summit and how Chelsea Clarke landed $15k with them in her very first summit.

Landing sponsors for your virtual summit doesn't have to be complicated or feel slimy. It can be an experience that feels great for you and your sponsors while presenting incredible resources to your attendees.

Chelsea Clark is here this week to share her experience and how, in her very first summit, she landed $15k in summit sponsorships without uncomfortable sales calls or slimy tactics.

She's breaking down how to:

  • Approach your next sponsorship partners in a way that feels aligned. 
  • Take on a “transformation over transaction” mindset.
  • Ditch uncomfortable sales calls.
  • Feel confident pursuing brand sponsorships for your next virtual summit.

I’ll let Chelsea take it from here!

Fears and Feel-Good Virtual Summit Sponsorships

Summit hosts tend to have anxiety around sponsorships because asking for money can feel uncomfortable. Plus, the possibility of rejection is scary, too.

When pitching brands, remember you are not asking for money. Instead, you're offering the brand an advertising opportunity to get in front of their niche audience of potential customers. 

There’s no lack of funds in a big company’s advertising budget, so remember your summit's valuable to them, too. You have an engaged audience of attendees watching the sessions and giving their undivided attention. When you pitch brands whose products are the perfect fit for that audience, your summit becomes prime real estate to that brand. 

How to Create Feel-Good Sponsorships

My mantra throughout the entire summit-planning process was "transformation over transaction" and that carried into my sponsorships as well. I didn't want to run sponsored advertisements in between sessions, and I didn’t want my attendees to feel obligated to buy from the sponsors directly.

I took a few specific steps when choosing companies for sponsorships:

  1. I made a list of the tools and companies I use and love in my own business. 
  2. I reached out to those companies one by one and invited them to meet over Zoom. 
  3. On the call, I let them know how important the audience’s experience was to me. 
  4. I was strategic with the offers I made to that company.

Strategic Offers to Sponsors

Since I wanted sponsorships to feel good to the attendees as well, I was strategic with what I offered each company. 

The brands were offered a session during the summit where they were able to teach the audience something of value, pitch-free, or I recorded a session of myself using their tool to save time in my business. 

The best part is that each brand contributed a free trial of their products to my all-access pass. They didn’t have to pitch their product because everyone who was buying the all-access pass was already getting the products for free. This added more value on top of an already high-value all-access pass. 

Although we had a sponsored summit, it didn't feel sponsored because we focused on the transformation. When you focus on the transformation from the very beginning, you’ll make those all-access pass sales and host an incredible event. 

Create a “Heck Yes!” Sponsorship Offer

I pitched sponsors 60 days before the summit began with a professional-looking PDF. It was simple but included all the information a potential sponsor would need to know about the event.

Although I didn’t have a registration page ready to show, the PDF still gave me authority, showed the scope of the event, and set my pitch apart from others. 

When putting together a sponsorship PDF, include thing like :

  • Your summit’s mission - What’s your reason for putting on this event and why does that matter to you and to your sponsor?
  • Attendee demographics - Who’s going to be attending your event? What are their experience levels and backgrounds?
  • Sponsor involvement - What will the partnership look like for your sponsor? How can they see themselves and their products being a part of the event?

How to Send the Offer 

Now that the sponsorship PDF is created, send a simple, to-the-point email. Let them know you love their product, that you have sponsorship spots available for your summit, and that they’d be a perfect fit. Insert a link to the PDF, and ask them to jump on a Zoom call to discuss it further. 

I sent this to 6 companies. 

  • 4 said yes to full paid sponsorships right away, with 1 willing to pay $9k to be featured more than the others.
  • 2 declined, but I was able to down-sell those 2 and got them involved by contributing free trials of their products to the all-access pass. 

Instead of feeling defeated and let down by those 2 who said no, I approached their competitors with the opportunity instead and got a “heck yes!” If anyone says no to you, don't take it as no forever. Go find someone else that would give you a yes. Don’t give up.

Sponsorship Tiers vs Custom Offers

My sponsorship packages were presented to the companies as different tiers. I went with priced tiers in my pitch deck because I knew some brands would want to be featured more prominently at the event, want their own sessions, be mentioned as a platinum sponsor, and were willing to pay more for the exposure. 

So although I started with priced tiers, I also customized the offers to make it fit their unique needs that matched my goals. 

Chelsea’s Biggest Takeaway

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and get sponsors involved in your summit. It’s all about creating that transformation and incredible value for your attendees. 

About Chelsea

Chelsea Clarke is a Monetization Strategist on a mission to help creatives make more paper. She scaled her blog Her Paper Route to over half a million dollars last year, and shares marketing and growth-hacking advice to help other entrepreneurs at every stage.

In 2020 Chelsea hosted her first virtual summit and landed $15,000 USD in brand sponsorship from big-name companies - before the event was 10% planned. The summit earned over $58,000 USD and helped grow the speaker’s lists by thousands.

Chelsea has been featured in Business Insider, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, and Authority Magazine.

Chelsea's Website  |  Virtual Summit Monetization Bundle

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