Sponsored marketing is a great way to get your message out and one of the only ways for smaller companies to compete with the likes of Coca Cola. But many small businesses don’t know how to find sponsors and how much money they should be asking for. So I’m going to explain in detail how it all works and how you can save money on your sponsored marketing.
1) Get a partner
A good way to get your sponsored marketing campaign costs down is to find a partner, particularly if you’re a new business. You can then create an integrated campaign where both of you gain from increased brand awareness and new leads. So when approaching potential sponsors, offer them access to your partner’s audience as well as yours.
2) Share the cost with other businesses
Another way to lower your costs is to get together with other businesses in the same industry and share the cost of the campaign. This allows you to pool resources and create a more powerful message. There are also networks designed specifically for finding partners such as Twellow which makes it easy to find local businesses that want to work together.
3) Look to alternative sources of sponsorship
If you’re looking for online advertising sponsors then don’t look at the big brand names, although they might offer you the most money. Instead, go for smaller companies such as competitors or complementary businesses that will still get your message across to a relevant audience but at a much lower price. To find these companies, look on sites such as the Advertising Media Buying Marketplace. This allows you to advertise in other people’s campaigns and works like a bidding process. The advantage is that you can pick and choose what kind of campaign or demographic you want to work with.
4) Don’t overprice yourself
Many business owners assume that smaller businesses can’t afford to pay for sponsored marketing because they already have so many costs. However, it’s important to remember that your biggest cost is people and whether you’re spending money on staff or their training and development, the longer you’ve been running the business the more expensive it becomes. If you’re prepared to spend money on advertising then the cheaper alternatives will be just as effective. So if you’re considering using sponsored marketing, ask yourself what is your most important cost – people or advertising? If people are more important than any other costs will become less of a priority.
5) Use the web to your advantage
The beauty of the internet is that you can cut out a lot of the middle men and go straight to the source. It’s a great way to find potential sponsors and it can also help you save money on overhead costs as it’s so easy to get your message across in an instant. You can use social media and website advertising to reach thousands of potential sponsors while building a reputation in your field.
6) Consider sponsorship as a longer term investment
For small players, the return on investment can be quite slow, particularly if it’s your first sponsored marketing campaign. Depending on the competition, it could take between three months to a year before you see any return. However, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean a monetary return. It can mean increased brand awareness and more leads which, while they don’t contribute directly to your bottom line, help you build on your brand recognition.
7) Learn the art of negotiation
Be careful when dealing with big companies because they may not offer you the best deal right away. Instead, they will test you with a small amount of sponsorship and if that bears fruit then they will come back with a larger offer. Don’t be afraid to walk away from negotiations because there will always be other opportunities out there.
8) Don’t expect sponsorship to be free
When you’re negotiating a deal with a big company remember that you’re always going to pay for the opportunity to do what you do. They will be charging an additional cost because they are advertising your business, but don’t discount that this is the cost of doing business. Moreover, a lot of companies will include the use of their brand name in the advert and this is not always included in other media such as TV or radio. If it’s important to you then negotiate hard but make sure that you are prepared to pay for it.
Sponsored marketing can be a very effective way to get your message out however it is important not to ruin your long term relationship with potential sponsors. The most important thing is to do what’s right for your business, and if you’ve worked hard to build a good reputation then you’re far more likely to gain future offers of sponsorship.