Maybe a cute kid comes asking if you’ll sponsor their baseball team or a neighboring village wants you to put your brand on their big weekend festival. You know the drill… write a check, provide your logo, and you’re out, right? WRONG!
If you’re just throwing money at something because it’s a good cause or your friend asked, you’re not doing your business ANY good. Will it warm the cockles of your heart? Sure. But let’s think about this more strategically.
Ideally, in exchange for providing funding or products and services to support events, trade shows, teams, nonprofits, or organizations, you get business exposure and a chance to connect with new customers and clients. But are you making the most of your investment?
- Get brand visibility
Sponsorships put your company in front of large audiences who may or may not have heard of your business. The bigger the event, typically the more attention you can get before, during and after the event. Since most events offer print material for their attendees, your business can be featured to boost brand recognition. Ask what else you can get for your investment – featured ad on the event/team website, banner displayed at the venue, logo on the t-shirts?
- Generate quality leads
Sponsored events often cater to niche audiences and organizations. Becoming a part of these events helps generate quality leads for your products and services. ATTEND THESE EVENTS IN PERSON! Don’t just send your check and call it a day. Being there not only helps to humanize your brand, it creates trust and allows people to connect with your company on a different level. Create a plan before you attend a sponsored event to talk to as many people as possible!
- 3. Strengthen community partnerships
Strengthening your business image is one of the most valuable benefits of sponsorships. Customers love brands who spread positive messages within their community. Getting involved with the community gives customers an invested interest in supporting your brand.
- Build B2B relationships
When sponsoring an event, you will most likely get a list of the other non-competing businesses that will be attending (if you don’t, ask for one!). You obviously already have something in common so find out more! Prepare to meet these business owners and discuss how you can support each other or work together.
- Realize return on your investment
Ultimitely, you want to see a benefit to sponsoring events. Follow up with everyone you met. Keep track of what you gained from your involvement, keeping in mind that it isn’t always financial. Creating new partnerships, building goodwill, and name recognition among a targeted audience are all key indicators that your investment was worthwhile.
So the next time someone comes and asks you to just write a check, ask them a few questions first. You can still be generous and help out Suzie’s Girl Scout troop – just make sure there’s something in it for you too!