Hopefully every year you put together a marketing (and business) plan for your business. There are travel nights, travel shows, advertising, direct mail, email, Facebook ads, and Yellow Pages—well OK maybe not Yellow Pages, I have not been listed in more than a decade! But here’s a thought for you. Are sponsorships part of your overall marketing plan? If not, they should be; and here’s why!
For many years, I considered sponsoring events and to be honest the risk was usually too big. I could not afford a $10,000 sponsorship and then hope that people would remember me. And then I figured out just how I could.
My first sponsorship was a wine and beer festival in my hometown. It was a first time event for the organizers and they approached me to be the “presenting sponsor.” When I explained that $5000 was a lot for me to spend on the sponsorship, they came back and suggested a trade. I would advertise the event on my website, market it to my mailing list, and donate a weekend getaway trip to be given away at the festival. So in reality, my hard costs were a pair of tickets to Asheville and a two-night hotel stay. That was doable. In return, my agency was printed on all of the tickets, all of the banners, and in all of their advertising. They sold 7,500 tickets and the event was a resounding success. I specialize in single parent travel and the prize was not restricted to single parents. A couple won the prize and had a great time; but the neat thing was that I added 120 single parents to my database who plan to travel with me because they had never known such a program existed.
It worked! And this will be my 6th year of sponsoring the event!
My second sponsorship was a similar deal with a film festival that came to town. This time, I approached them. The audience seemed to meet my demographic. For this sponsorship, all I needed to do was cough up a trip to Ireland for a prize and my name and logo would be on every screening, in all the books, and included in any advertising they did. For those that are thinking I paid for the Ireland trip out of pocket—not entirely. I worked with a supplier that I have a relationship with who was able to help me out with the land portion, and a consolidator is giving me the tickets for the price of the taxes and fees. All I needed to do was ask. This festival will be bringing in 5,000 people from all over the country and world and I am hopeful that it may expand my brand beyond my “home” audience.
Stay tuned on the success of this.
My point is that all events are looking for sponsors. Many are for non-profits so there is a minimal budget. But, get creative and find out what non-cash assets you have that might make sense. I buy season tickets to a local minor league baseball team and regularly give them away as donations. One perk for me as a long time customer is that I can have a mini-suite for one mid-week game complete with hot dogs, burgers, and non-alcoholic drinks. And yes, I have traded that out for a sponsorship to an Irish festival. They are hosting a pre-festival party at the ballpark for their other sponsors. There are plenty of opportunities and assets you have. If it is a local festival and you have a local mailing list—use it. If your list is a bit more broad and the event is looking for a wider net—use it. Do you have any co-op you can use? A particularly good relationship with a supplier? A favor that is owed by a supplier? Use what you have.
The only caution I might offer is to be sure you are tracking your responses and asking how they heard of you. There is no easy tracking code for a sponsorship, but they can bring rewards. Big rewards.
Are you sponsoring events? How has it worked out for you?