Do you remember that line from radio and TV advertising of yesteryear?
You don’t hear it so much anymore, but sponsors remain an important part of many companies today, both private for-profit and non-profit.
Have you ever stopped to think that your little solo business may have the opportunity to reach a lot of potential customers by becoming a sponsor?
Here’s what I’m suggesting:
Sponsorships are available both on- and off-line. If you pick the right company, agency, or charity, you could find yourself flooded with new customers and mentioned in growing numbers of circles.
Here’s the key: pick a company to work with that is heavily involved in the same niche as your business. It shouldn’t be hard to locate this company by doing searches on the Internet (within your niche) and maybe you’ll get lucky and find one that is physically located in your area as well, although that is not really a necessity.
Contact the company to inquire as to whether they accept small business sponsors. Let them know that your company is in the same niche and that you have an interest in working with them to further the goals, mission, acceptance, or promotion of the niche. Let them know that your business doesn’t not compete with theirs either directly or indirectly.
Don’t be shy. It’s perfectly OK to begin looking for businesses or agencies that have a strong web presence.
The idea is to eventually land a spot on the company’s web site with a link back to your business. Hopefully you will be able to get some press in the company brochure as well.
I’m sure you’re wondering what a large and powerful company or agency would want with a tiny solo business sponsor, right?
Tell them that you want to be seen as a contributing, responsible company in your niche and that you will work with them in whatever way you can to help their company be successful within the niche.
You probably won’t get top billing as “the” company sponsor without donating a large amount of money or committing a certain level or resources. However, you can still participate in lesser ways (like being a sponsor at local one-time events) or helping by offering your own company resources in your niche.
Maybe you can donate one of your products to the next company employee recognition event, or at the company charity auction. You’ll have to get creative to think of the ways you can “give” in the name of your company. But once you put your mind to it, you should be able to come up with at least a dozen ways you might provide value to your partnership (sponsorship).
Charities, especially those that may have some tie-in with the niche your company is in, are always on the look-out for companies willing to sponsor them and their events.
They usually acknowledge their sponsors and give print and on-line recognition for the contributions made on their behalf.
Think of your sponsoring activities as a way to give back to the community and forward the goals and promotion of the niche you are in.
Even though you may not have much cash to donate, there are other things you can do to provide “worth” or value to the partnership.
Whether you give of your means, your time, or your support in company name, you can look at this strategy as a win-win for both you and your target company. Your job is to see that the target company recognizes the value you have to offer.
I remember back a few years ago when the company I worked for was approached by a large local charitable organization. They were looking for sponsors.
They were even interested in companies that did nothing but agree to put the company name on the list of corporate sponsors. They didn’t require any kind of monetary donation. Why would they do this?
They told me that the large businesses in the community they were after (for the “big buck” donations) were more apt to sponsor charities that could show a wide base of local community support. Hence, this charity was after lots of small businesses to sign on without expecting anything in return.
Don’t give up on your search even if the first few companies you contact decline your offer. You will find one or more companies that will see the mutual benefit of your proposal.
To your online business success!