Sponsorship for small businesses
From festivals to charity events, local sports teams to community groups, there are countless ways small businesses can raise awareness and promote products and services without breaking the bank.
1. Define your goals
Setting clear goals is always the first step to success. Typical sponsorship goals include targeting a niche market, increasing brand awareness, driving sales, distinguishing your business above competitors, and generating goodwill.
Whatever your goals, having clear, measurable objectives will help you evaluate sponsorship opportunities, maximise their impact, and measure their success.
2. Know your budget
Generally, there are two kinds of sponsorships for small businesses — paid or in-kind support.
Paid sponsorship involves donating money to an event or organisation in return for recognition. The more you donate, the more recognition you will receive.
In-kind support means offering support in other ways, such as free or discounted products and services. For businesses with little (or no) marketing budget, this can be a great way to showcase your products and services to new audiences.
Run a mechanic’s workshop? Provide a free service to the local footy team bus. Got some old tyres laying around? Donate them to your local go-kart track or community garden.
Whether you invest time, money or services into a sponsorship, know your limits and stick to them. This will ensure any investment is not a wasted investment.
3. Choosing the right fit
Many small businesses decide what to sponsor based on the whim of the owner. While there’s nothing wrong with supporting a good cause, sponsorship is at heart a promotional activity, not an act of philanthropy.
Partner with organisations that promote your values, while also giving you the best chance to achieve your sponsorship goals. This means aligning yourself with events or organisations that are trusted, well organised, and good at what they do.
4. Know the details
When agreeing to a sponsorship deal, always read the fine print. This includes getting details about logo requirements and location, advertising exposure (broadcast, print and online), verbal acknowledgements, and how visible your business will be during an event.
Large organisations will provide these details in writing. Smaller, community groups may only give a verbal agreement. Either way, knowing exactly what is and isn’t included in the agreement will help you identify potential pitfalls, while also identifying opportunities to get the most out of the agreement.
5. Think long term
Your return on a sponsorship investment won’t always translate directly into dollars. Many benefits will be seen over time.
If you’re after a quick boost in sales, buy some online advertising. If you're looking to build brand awareness and customer loyalty, then a sponsorship might offer better value in the long run.