The Benefits of a Local Community Sponsorship
Being a small business has many benefits, one of which is being a part of your community. Solidifying your ties is an important task as you work your way to becoming a fixture in the community. Local sponsorship is a great way to help you do this. For a small business, a community sponsorship such as a hockey team or a charity marathon could be a risky proposition that comes with little perceived return on investment. That being said, choosing the right local sponsorship opportunities can be essential to your company’s growth.
How beneficial can a sponsorship be?
In short, a sponsorship can be extremely beneficial. Nevertheless, if the sponsorship is not placed and executed properly it can fall flat on its face. Let’s use the sponsorship of a local soccer team as an example to understand a few of the ways you can see a return on your investment. If you are a family restaurant, this could be the perfect placement for you as you are getting your brand in front of the right people. The children see the logo and ask to go after their practice and their parents sitting on the sidelines are being faced with the branding the entire time.
Taking this one step further, let’s say another team is visiting from over an hour away. After their game they want to go out to eat as a team before the trek home but barely know the area. While watching their sons and daughters play for the last hour the choice because evident. It’s important to realize the impact a strong community tie will have on your business. People want to support a business that supports them and invests in what they invest in.
How much money should you allocate to sponsorship opportunities?
Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to this question. We will see later on that it is very difficult to measure the success of a sponsorship and thus without knowing the return on the investment, deciding what that investment is becomes a real challenge. Every business and every sponsorship is unique and you need to do what feels right for your business at that particular moment. Don’t put yourself in a bad position but be willing to extend yourself at the same time; it is all about finding that happy medium.
How can you measure the success?
As we just mentioned, this is definitely not the easiest of tasks. There are a few ways to do this but none of them are perfectly accurate.
- Attribute all business during the period to the campaign
- This means that is you sponsor an event on the weekend of April 16th & 17th, any and all customers during those days are assumed to have been influenced by the campaign. This method will almost always give you inflated results so take them with a grain of salt.
- Ask customers how they heard about you
- This method is extremely time consuming. Not only do you need to verbally or electronically ask each customer but you need to spend time recording and tracking the data. In theory, if you are indeed able to gather the information from every customer (which is nearly impossible) this will be the most accurate method.
- When customers submit the coupon relating to the campaign you can be sure that the campaign played a role in bringing them in. Sponsorship at community events that give away coupon booklets or other handouts are a great method to get coupons in customers’ hands. This method also requires a fair amount of manual tabulation and may underrepresent the effectiveness of the campaign as not everyone who was influenced by the campaign will redeem a coupon.
- Press mentions and earned media
- This method involves tracking and associating a dollar value to the media exposure you gain from the sponsorship. For example, if the local newspaper features the event you are sponsoring on their cover and your branding is prominently featured you could associate the cost a front page ad to earned media.
What are examples of good sports teams/events to sponsor?
- Children’s sports teams
- Not only are the players exposed to the sponsorship but so are all the parents who attend.
- Sporting tournaments
- This is a great way to get visibility from potential customers who are not familiar with the community as they have travelled in for the tournament.
- Educational events
- Community ties are especially strong with educational events. By sponsoring an event in the category you are seen to be investing directly in your community.
- Events that fall in line with your mission statement
- You can think outside the box with this one, if the event matches up with what your business stands for then go for it!