Although the whole notion of sponsorships has been around for years, it's only recently been gaining popularity in the online entrepreneurial community. Which leads me to 2 very important questions --
1. Should you as a business become a sponsor?
2. Should you offer sponsorship opportunities?
Let's look at the pros and cons of each and see if your business is missing out because you haven't fully considered sponsorships.
First, let's look if you should become a sponsor. Sponsorships are great if:
- You're going to be reaching a significant number of your ideal clients
- The person/biz/event your sponsoring has high credibility and influence with your ideal clients, thus boosting your credibility by connecting your name with theirs.
- You have a way to collect contact information so you can build your list and exposure
- You're okay if the sponsorship turns into a long-term tactic rather than making money in the short-term.
Yes, I would classify sponsorships as more of a long-term marketing tactic than a short-term, make money immediately, tactic. That doesn't mean you WON'T walk out of there with sales. But I would view any immediate sales as a bonus, and the point of why you're doing the sponsorship is to increase your exposure and visibility for the long term. That doesn't mean you shouldn't track your sales and make sure you get a good return on your investment, it just means you understand this is an investment in your marketing and your business and the pay off might come that day or next week or in 6 months.
If you need an immediate influx of money, sponsorships are probably not the way to go. First off, they're more expensive than just the cost of the sponsorship -- you're probably going to have come up with booth design, advertising, flyers, etc. And second, while you very well could walk out with immediate sales (especially if your sponsorship comes with some speaking or stage time) there's no guarantee of that. It could just as easily work out that the sales start coming in a month or 2 later, which may turn into a very big stress point for you depending on how much you need that cash.
So, now let's look if you should offer sponsorships. First, is your business offering something where a big group of your tribe is hanging out? Something like an event is perfect, but it doesn't have to be an in-person event. It could also be a virtual event. Or you could even offer sponsorships if you have a membership site or an association or you've created some other community.
Are there going to be enough people involved to make it worth your sponsor's money and time? Ask yourself if YOU would pay to be in front of your community? (Be honest with the answer.)
Now the other part of this is will the sponsorship interfere with your ability to sell your own products or services? If you think it's going to dilute what you're doing, then I wouldn't do it. But if it isn't, and your community is big enough to warrant it, offering sponsorship opportunities could be a great way to add an additional income stream to your business plus add value to your community by offering them products and services they need.