Sponsorship marketing is an underutilized marketing strategy. Sponsor a local kids’ team, a charity event, or a non-profit organization—there are many opportunities.
You might think that only big corporations can benefit from sponsorships due to cost or scale. However, small and medium-sized businesses can also use them to great effect in their marketing efforts.
What is Sponsorship Marketing?
A sponsorship is your business funding an event or organization for mutual benefit. Sponsorship marketing is using your sponsorship in a planned campaign to market your business, especially in the local area.
When you fund a children’s sports team or league, you can get your logo on their uniforms for branding. When you give financial support to a charity organization or event, you can request a link on their website. Those are the sorts of mutual benefits that occur with sponsorships.
Being aware of the benefits and using sponsorships to enjoy them at a greater scale is the key to sponsorship marketing.
Sponsorship Marketing Benefits
Let’s look at the potential benefits of sponsorship marketing, so you have a better understanding of what you can achieve. It helps to know what results to aim for when you are making your plans. Here are 6 advantages of sponsorship in marketing.
#1 Increased Brand Awareness
The first and most obvious benefit of sponsorship marketing is developing your brand awareness among potential customers. This can be especially valuable if you are a local business, and you form sponsorships in your community.
For a business, the benefit of a sponsorship is having their logo and their brand in front of people. Whenever people visit or interact with the event or organization you sponsor, they will see your logo and branded materials.
#2 Gain Customer Trust
The other big benefit is the trust that potential customers have in your business. They become aware of your business because you funded something important to them, and now they have a positive impression.
The end goal is for customers to consider that when they shop around for a business like yours. This would be compounded if your competitors do not have any sponsorships to speak of.
#3 Grow Your Social Media Following
Sponsoring an event is one of the best strategies at the price. Why is sponsorship important for events? Because it gives you a great opportunity to generate a lot of interest on social media.
You can make tons of posts, get shares by event organizers and other partners, and have people comment and engage because they’re also invested in the event’s success. You can create your own branded event hashtag.
If a branded hashtag doesn’t make sense, you can ask them to tag your account and use your hashtag. The potential for social media growth and customer engagement is huge.
#4 Connect with Customers
Another big benefit of sponsoring an event is that you can directly interact and engage with potential customers. Whether it is online or in person, you can answer questions, give guidance, and talk about the event.
If you have a booth at the event, you can give out product samples and demo your services. You can give out coupons or promo codes for a later date. It’s just a great opportunity to get your brand and your message out to a large group of people.
#5 Get More Backlinks
Backlinks have long been the holy grail of any SEO marketing campaign. One of the best lowkey benefits is that sponsorship is an opportunity to get a backlink. Most organizations and events have a spot on their website that lists their sponsors.
You can request a hyperlink to your business website when they show your logo and mention your business. That gives you a high-value link from a website that has local relevance, and maybe topical relevance too. Both increase the value of any link in the eyes of search engines.
#6 Low Cost + High ROI
One of the reasons why small businesses don’t try sponsorships is because of the perceived cost. In fact, for local events and organizations you don’t have to spend a lot of money to be a sponsor.
You can pick sponsorship opportunities at a cost scale that fits your marketing budget. Local team often allow sponsors to make one-time gifts.
With the lower cost, it is a lot easier to get a good return on your investment for the marketing efforts. With all of the sponsorships you can try, it’s easy to plan a campaign that fits your ultimate goals.
Sponsorship Marketing Examples
The best type of sponsorship marketing is event sponsoring. We touched on some of the benefits of it above, but let’s talk about some real examples. South by Southwest Conference & Festivals (SXSW) is a big event held every year among the creative industry.
Esurance is an insurance company that was one of the event sponsors. They had a presence at the event itself where they held contests and were active on social media as well. The end result is people participating in the contests and talking about them in their posts at the event.
— Jose Israel (@SXSW2020) March 17, 2017
That is a larger scale example of a major event. For small or medium sized businesses, you can look for smaller and more local events. Food festivals, cultural celebrations, and events held in local parks or community centres are good opportunities.
The same strategies apply regardless of size: sponsor the event, have a booth, have contests, and be active online. There are plenty of other examples of good event sponsorship done right.
Another example is sponsoring a sports team. Many major corporations sponsor professional sports teams and/or the buildings they play in. They then have their logos and advertising in front of all the team’s fans. They can also add special perks, booths, and products or services in the stadiums.
At the smaller scale, a local business can sponsor the league or team of children sports. You can get your logo on their jerseys and on the website, and get links back to your website.
Sponsorship marketing is a low-cost but high-potential strategy that more businesses should be employing. It has many benefits and opportunities for both large corporations and small businesses.
It can help to increase your revenue, reach more customers, grow your brand, or just get some positive PR. Whether you sponsor an event, a team, a charity, or something else, you should add it to your marketing budget.