I suppose one of the good things about being in business is that people often just assume you are successful. That’s why business owners often find themselves on the receiving end of requests for a sponsorship. Perhaps a local Little League team needs uniforms. Or, a local non-profit is looking for a cash or in-kind donations to support a fundraising event.
Sponsorships are a great way to support your community. Also, they can help you promote your business. Sponsorships convey an image that you aren’t just in it for the money. They let people know that you genuinely care about the community and customers that support your business.
Although there are benefits to sponsoring organizations and events, there are some things to consider. Look for opportunities that offer the best visibility for your business. With ROI on your mind, you can identify the right sponsorships and say no to those that aren’t a good fit.
When you are approached with a sponsorship opportunity, ask yourself how it will help you reach potential customers or current ones. Take advantage of opportunities that provide you with a direct line to your target audience. For example, it might make a lot of sense for a pet groomer to sponsor a pet rescue organization or a charity dog swim.
If you know your customers care about the cause, give them a chance to get involved. If you own a café, consider supporting a local food bank. You could give customers a chance to get involved by serving as a drop off point for canned goods. Also, you could give them a chance to “round up” their bills to benefit the cause.
Leverage Your Benies
Sponsorships typically come with a list of benefits. It’s the stuff you get for being a sponsor. If it’s an event that you’re sponsoring, your sponsorship may include your company name or logo in a printed program, on a website and/or on event signage. In some cases, you may have the opportunity to place promotional material on event tables or in giveaway bags to those who attend.
If you have the opportunity to provide promotional material, be thoughtful about your approach. Find a way to tie into the event and connect with the event’s audience to drive customers back to you.
For example, my friend Christy is a massage therapist. Awhile back she sponsored the local MS150, a two-day, 150-mile bike ride to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. All of the riders were given “goodie bags” and sponsors were able to include giveaways in the bags. As her giveaway, Christy provided a sample size packet of BioFreeze, a pain relief gel that soothes sore muscles, a business card and a coupon for a discounted 1-hour massage. She successfully connected the dots between the event attendees and her business and provided a reason for the riders to get in touch after the ride.
When you consider a sponsorship, be creative and stay focused on getting a return on your investment. Think of sponsorships not as a charitable contribution but as a marketing investment. When you do that, you’ll get more value out of the experience. Plus, you will feel even better when you write that check.