Marketing & Growth

Why Your Small Business Should Consider Sponsorships

By Gina Hall

You might be surprised to learn that your business could sponsor a big event, even if “big” isn’t in your budget.

Sponsoring a local or industry event allows your brand stand out against your competitors and generate some goodwill among your clients. Sponsorships have been shown to be effective in increasing sales, driving traffic, launching a new product and attracting new talent

But where to start? If you’re the one trying to convince your company to get on board with a sponsorship, here are a few compelling reasons that will help you convince your colleagues.

Branding

Your personal presence at conferences, trade shows and other industry events is important, but handing out your business card can only get you so far. With an event sponsorship, you can get your products and marketing materials into more hands via program books, information kiosks and gift bags.

An event sponsorship can familiarize people in your industry with your brand, which has the potential to boost business with the potential for a greater return on investment than running an ad in a trade publication.

Target audience

If you choose events wisely, the audience in attendance is already primed to hear your pitch. Your business likely has plenty of sales materials (or at least the ideas to generate them). An event sponsorship can help those materials get into the hands of potential clients.

New partners

In addition to finding new customers, networking with fellow sponsors might also uncover new partnership opportunities. Industry events offer the chance to meet individuals with similar, but not competitive, interests in your business.

Also remember sponsorships don’t always take the form of cold hard cash. Consider these options when scrutinizing a sponsorship opportunity.

Prizes

Does your business offer consulting services or some kind of cool product? Offer it up as a prize at an event. Not only will your familiarize everyone who enters the contest with your brand, the winner will have the opportunity to experience your service first-hand and recommend it to others.

Free services

Trade your expertise for a sponsorship. Ask the organization holding the event if you could provide a service or product for them free of charge in exchange for prominent sponsorship placement at their next event. If your business doesn’t have a lot of cash set aside for these opportunities, this is an excellent way to gain recognition.

Cash

How much you have to spend matters in these situations. Event organizers assign levels of visibility to donation tiers, so attendees may see very little of the lowest level donors.

Even if you do opt to send a sponsorship check, don’t just leave it at that. Make sure you or one of your staff attends the event to take advantage of meet-and-greets and social media initiatives.

And don’t be afraid to turn down a sponsorship that isn’t right for you. If it isn’t audience you seek or you don’t believe the event organizer will deliver on its marketing opportunities, opt out.

But if the event meets your criteria, find one of these creative ways to make it happen.

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