Corporate Sponsorships Are Available For Small Businesses

By Shannon Cherry


Most individuals think that corporate sponsorships are only for nonprofits, associations and little leagues.  But here’s the thing:  if you are doing any kind of promotions or marketing for your business (and you better be!), you may be leaving money on the table if you aren’t benefiting from sponsorships.

Most individuals think that corporate sponsorships are only for nonprofits, associations and little leagues.  But here’s the thing:  if you are doing any kind of promotions or marketing for your business (and you better be!), you may be leaving money on the table if you aren’t benefiting from sponsorships.

Even big name celebrities have sponsors. People including Madonna, Kobe Bryant, and Justin Bieber…  And we know they aren’t charities.

Okay, so you’re not nearly big rock star or sports legend. Is it possible for you, a small business owner, to get sponsorships? Yes!

You see, the reasons why a company would sponsor a celebrity are the same reasons they would sponsor you.

It used to be that companies would underwrite the costs of a sponsorship for good will. Times have changed. Today, sponsorships are now a valuable marketing tool, and corporations looking for a better return on investment than just that it ‘feels good’ to help out.

The sponsor’s goal is often to get to a specific target market, so if you can answer these questions, you can get a support for something you are already – or planning on – doing:

1) Do you have a visible following? Think about your subscriber list, your social media, your connections with traditional media. If you can clearly prove you have a following makes a sponsor interested. This doesn’t mean you need huge numbers of followers and subscribers. It’s the quality of the following not the quantity that makes a difference. (See the next question to understand this more.)

2) Can you show an affiliation with your following? Sponsors will want to see if you have a bond with the people in your ‘tribe.’  Can you provide evidence that you can influence these fans? Influence means you can give them a call to action, and they will respond.  (and a call to action doesn’t necessarily mean a sale. It could simply be a comment.) This is exactly why the quality of your following is more important than the quantity. There’s no return on investment if you have 50,000 followers on Twitter but only 2 people are actually reacting to your tweets.

3) Are YOU willing to invest in a sponsorship relationship? If you think the sponsorship is over as soon as the company has handed you the hard or soft money, then you’re ill prepared for sponsorships. The key is building a lasting relationship.

4) Can you verify that your sponsors will get a quantifiable return on investment? There’s a right approach and a wrong approach to this. And without help, it can be hard to see what will work. (And by the way, what will work for one potential sponsor may not for another).



© Copyright 2011 Shannon Cherry, APR, MA

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