How to Use Facebook Ads to Sell Sponsorships and Booths

October 17, 2019

Jared Laidlaw

Jared Laidlaw is a digital marketing consultant and co-founder of Ellaw Digital, a boutique digital marketing agency. Jared helps event companies across the world achieve their attendance and ticket goals using Facebook and Google Advertising so that all the effort and stress put into event planning actually pays off.

If you’re not using Facebook advertising to reach potential sponsors and exhibitors for your next event, you should be. You can use the social media platform as an effective tool to gain key contact information for sponsorship and booth leads for your next event, either through Facebook Lead Ads or your website contact form page.

How to Target Potential Sponsors and Exhibitors

Start with an email list of past sponsors and vendors emails, as well as prospects who were interested but did not convert into sponsors or exhibitors. Next, you’ll want to create audiences of the people visiting your website pages related to sponsorship and exhibiting. You’ll need to install the Facebook Pixel (see how here) for this and create separate audiences for sponsorship and exhibitor pages.

Use the look-a-like audience feature to create audiences of people similar to the email lists you have already, this is the best type of targeting to use for finding new prospect leads.

One final way to target is with interest-based targeting. Use Facebook's ‘detailed targeting’ at the ad set level to find interests related to your potential sponsors and exhibitors. For example: If you’re wanting people from banking, insurance and other financial institutions, enter each sector into Facebook’s targeting section and see what options appear in the drop-down in your geographic area.

What Ads to Use

There are four types of ads to consider: single image, carousel, video and lead ads. Each has its own pros and cons, but the best practice is to use a mix of the first three in the awareness phase of your campaigns, with the Lead Ads format being used for retargeting as a way of getting contact information easier.

What Goes on the Landing Page

Create separate landing pages for sponsor prospects and exhibit prospects that communicate at least three main benefits that prospects will experience by partnering with your show.

Use emotive language to turn your show ‘features’ into benefits. For example: “Secure your peninsula booth today! Get in front of our 4,500 high quality attendees so that you can keep growing your business in the next three months!”

One tip to creating emotive language is to write using “so that.” Do this so that you can achieve this, or so that your business does that.

Make your contact form easy to fill out by only including the necessary fields for the prospect to complete. Name, phone, email and business name should be enough, because as you’re about to read, you’ll be speaking to them very soon and will be able to find out more information then.

Following Up

When generating sponsorship and exhibitor leads, the most important thing you can do is to follow up ASAP with the prospect, ideally within an hour. Experiments have shown that responding to an inquiry within an hour results in a sale roughly 70 percent of the time. The conversion percentage drops significantly as time passes, and it was found that if you wait longer than 24 hours, you might as well not bother reaching out to the prospect.

Set up systems in your backend so that the appropriate team member is notified and acts on any leads that come in, and does so in a timely manner. Tools like Zapier can integrate with your email software and reduce response times dramatically, which will enable you to increase your sponsorship and booth sales for your events.

Campaign Setup

Ensure the Facebook Pixel is set up on your website and a conversion event is registered when someone fills out your contact form (either on the thank you page or on the button click).

Use a conversion optimized campaign so that Facebook knows to go out and find people who are likely to convert, then set up a different ad set for each of the audiences you will use. Separating audiences will help you identify which targeting is performing the best.

Within each ad set, you’re going to have at least five different ads each communicating a unique benefit that a sponsor or exhibitor will receive by partnering with your event.

Make sure to remove the ’audience network’ and ‘marketplace’ placements, which should not be used when targeting potential sponsors and exhibitors.

Set your daily budget at a minimum of $20, and you’re off!

Not many events are taking advantage of Facebook’s powerful marketing platform for sponsorship and exhibitor lead acquisition, which is all the more reason for your event to take advantage of the open playing field.

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