Very rarely can you watch a televised competition, or attend a charitable event or business expo without seeing some form of corporate sponsorship. But sponsorship isn’t just for big firms and large scale events, it can be beneficial for small businesses to build relationships with big corporations too. This article will look at how to get corporate sponsorship for a small business by delving into the following areas:
- What is corporate sponsorship?
- How can corporate sponsorship help small businesses?
- How to get corporate sponsorship for a small business?
What is corporate sponsorship?
Sponsorship is a relationship between two companies where they mutually benefit one another. Usually, the company being sponsored will receive funds from the other business for a specific purpose such as an event or project. The sponsoring company in return will get brand exposure, low-cost marketing, and sometimes goodwill from consumers (depending on the cause they have sponsored).
This is quite often seen in charitable organisations, where large corporations will fund their cause in return for being included in marketing materials. This builds trust in the larger corporation with the public because consumers like to support businesses that look to do good, support worthy causes and are making a difference in environmental and social issues.
How can corporate sponsorship help small businesses?
If you do gain corporate sponsorship you might benefit from:
- Added credibility. If you include your sponsor’s logo on your website, social media and marketing materials you show other companies, competitors and customers that you are playing at a high level of business.
- Extra resources. The obvious benefit of sponsorship is that a larger corporation is offering your business money, and you can use this to fund events that you want to put on, research into new products or ways of doing things in your industry. This allows you to build audiences and gain customers on a larger scale because you have the funds to back up the activity.
- You may also get access to people from the sponsoring business, such as their PR or social media team. The resources you might have access to can support your activity and provide you with materials or access to technology that you may not have had before.
- More sales. Depending on the sponsor company, you may benefit from a more consistently full sales funnel if your corporate sponsor offers products and services that complement your own.
How to get corporate sponsorship for a small business?
So what steps can you take to gain corporate sponsorship for your small company?
Identify your valuable audience
One of the main reasons companies may want to sponsor your business is because you have an audience that they want to get their business in front of. For example, if you have a really loyal audience of parents under 40 years old, who are very active on social media then a business that wants to target that demographic would benefit from having their brand attached to yours.
In order to utilise the audience you have to gain sponsorship, you first need to do thorough research. Find out who your customers are (age range, interests, gender) by using marketing tools and Google Analytics. Then look into what their spending habits are, the power they have in the market, the average income of your buyers and the level of education they have. For example, women are a very lucrative audience for digital retailers, because women influence 85% of purchasing decisions. If you are able to leverage this audience for another business, that would be very attractive to potential sponsors.
Next, find out about some of the publications your audience reads. Then ask those publications for their media kits. This is a free way to get loads of data and information on the demographics you’re researching, that you can then use when pitching to potential sponsors.
Create a sponsor proposal/pitch
Then find some businesses that would be an appropriate sponsor. Look at companies that could benefit from your audience – for example, if your audience is mainly women, you might find companies that sell to men but are struggling to break into the female demographic. Then approach their marketing or sales department as a first step to finding the right person in the organisation.
Here are some steps to follow when creating a pitch presentation, that you’ll use when speaking to potential corporate sponsors.
- Tell a story. Using the story of your business, or the reason you’re asking for sponsorship is key, as making an emotional connection can make you more memorable. Give the sponsors an emotional reason to invest, and it could resonate more.
- Detail your demographic.
- Then talk about the benefits that sponsoring your business will bring. Use data or numbers to back up the promises you make about what the corporate sponsor can gain.
- Create a menu of prices. Don’t be shy about asking for the amount you want, so give them options for funding (whether it’s across a year or for one single event) as it makes it simple for potential sponsors to grasp the scale of their investment quickly.
Always speak to the right person in the company (the person who makes the decision) as this can impact the length of time you’ll wait. Make your introductions in person, or over the phone, it’s best not to use email until you have established a connection as tone of voice isn’t read as easily in text.
Always follow up
Many people might miss out on deals because they don’t want to seem pushy. But don’t forget the power of following up with your potential sponsors, either by phone or email. Ask them if there’s any more information you can provide, as well as sending over any new data that you think might help influence their decision.
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