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beginner's guide to sponsorship

The complete beginner’s guide to sponsorships

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Sponsorships can be a big boost for business. You get access to an audience you may not have been able to reach, you can build your network and benefit from extended PR that your budget may not stretch to.

But, before you run off and spend your money on the nearest sponsorship, read my beginner’s guide to sponsorships to make sure you spend your money wisely.

1.  Shiny, shiny

Don’t jump for the most fashionable thing to sponsor. If you’re an accountant, think about how sponsoring a local music festival is relevant to your business. What you decide to sponsor needs to fit with your brand and your company’s objectives for you to make the most of the opportunity.

2.  Don’t pay over the odds

There isn’t one time when I haven’t negotiated and got a deal that fit my budget. You just need to present a win-win situation for you and the sponsorship organiser. Can you give them access to an audience they don’t have? Is there something in the sponsorship package that isn’t relevant to you that they can remove? Take a look at all the options, and then agree on a cost.

3.  It’s all about your goals

Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, you need to set some goals that you want to achieve through the sponsorship. Doing this will help you understand whether the money you spent was worth it. Whether it’s sales, adding to your mailing list, or trials for your product, write them down and put a number against them.

4.  Make a plan

You’ve paid your money and in return, you get a number of things. These are usually related to your brand. You may have a number of blog posts you’re going to write, you might be able to deliver workshops. Whatever you’ve agreed, make a plan of how you’re going to deliver it, and how it all fits into your existing plans. If you don’t know how to create a marketing plan, read this post.

5.  Are your details correct?

The organisers will ask you for all sorts of company details. Make sure they have your latest logo, your website address, your social media profiles and anything else you want them to promote. They will use these details to tell people that you are sponsoring and you want to make sure all the details are correct.

6.  Get to know the other sponsors

There are bound to be other sponsors. If the organisers don’t introduce you, find a way to meet them. They are sponsoring because they have similar objectives and target audiences as you do. It’s a great way to meet companies that you can work with outside of the sponsorship.

7.  Don’t set and forget

The thing about sponsorships is that you have to put in work throughout. If you don’t, you won’t reach the goals you set. So regularly review what’s happening. Are there opportunities for you to share posts about the sponsorship on social media? Can you say something in your newsletter? Can you put a banner on your website? Think of all the ways you can leverage what you’re doing to get you that extra bit more.

8.  Keep in touch with the organisers

To make the most of any sponsorship, you have to keep working with the organisers. You’ll find you get so much more, and sometimes for free. So have a regular catch-up with the organisers. They will feel you’re really invested in their objectives and be open to new ideas. Together, you’ll achieve more.

9.  What worked and what didn’t?

If something went wrong, write it down at the time it happened. If something worked really well, write that down when it happened too. Keeping a log of things as they come up will help you remember them when you come to have a debrief with the organisers. Any good organiser will want to hear your feedback. They want you to sponsor again, so will make the time. Save yourself some time and write things down as they happen.

10.  Did you hit your goals?

At the end of the sponsorship, don’t forget to go back and work out whether you met your goals. This is really important for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll want to know whether the money you spent was worth it. Secondly, it will help you to decide whether to do that particular sponsorship again.

So, there you have it. Follow the 10 steps in this beginner’s guide to sponsorships and you will have a great first experience. Who knows, you may decide to do even more! Let me know how you get on. I’d love you hear your experiences.

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