If you work within sport you will understand the massive importance of sponsorship. The investment of other businesses into your club and your brand. That injection of cash will help you to not only run your club but also to grow your club and it remains one of the biggest areas we are asked to help our clients with.

Our next series of blogs are going to focus on sports sponsorship and we’re going to look at everything from writing proposals, adding value, servicing and finding your perfect sponsor.

For our first blog though we’re going to look at how to generate as much income as possible through your sponsorship offerings.

There are a couple of key things to consider when you start looking at this as a bigger picture.

Safety in numbers – A lot of people get bogged down with the idea that they have to have a big name paying them a big fee. That that is the goal, the pot at the end of the rainbow that everyone is chasing. Whilst it is great to have that big title sponsor on board we always recommend it isn’t always the most secure way of working. There is safety in numbers.

It can often be better to have 30 businesses pay £1k each than one business paying £30K. If you lose one of the smaller businesses they are easier to replace than finding another £30K investor. In an ideal world you would obviously like to have both but having a steady, reliable and slightly safer income stream can certainly be less risky especially when you are just embarking on securing this income.

What does my sponsorship inventory look like? The biggest mistake we come across with our clients are clubs looking at traditional packages and putting those out to tender. Print advertising, perimeter boards, kit sponsorship. What’s wrong with that I hear you ask? Well…nothing on the face of it. But there are always more sponsorship options available than the traditional and the obvious.

Think outside the box. Ask yourself ‘What else could I sell?’ and sit and price up what that inventory looks like. And be realistic when you price it up otherwise you will lose your potential partner before you’ve even tried. Look at what other clubs in your league are charging. Look at what other teams in your area are charging. If you get the pricing right that is absolutely the biggest step.

Why would people sponsor us and not our competitors in the area? There is huge competition for marketing spend. It is always the first thing which is tightened when budgets get stretched and times get tight. You cannot just expect people to spend their precious marketing budget with you as a club just because you get X amount of people at your games and are in the local press twice a week.

So what?! Ask yourself – what does that mean to a potential sponsor? How can they use us as a vehicle to promote their business. THAT is the key. It is the added value you can give them over and above their printed ad or their logo on your kit. That’s just a branding exercise. How can they get in front of your supporters to sell their product. You must have marketing activations to add value to your packages.

If, at the end of your season, your sponsors can say that your fans spent X amount of money on their products and you can physically prove and see that then it’ s a tangible return. Most of the clubs we work with do not have the luxury of just being able to put their branding out there and see a return. It’s the hard work behind the scenes which will make ALL the difference.

Who is our ideal sponsor? I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Just getting your sponsorship brochure out to local businesses or cold calling and emailing is NOT the most effective way of generating sponsors. You need to understand what type of businesses would work well with you and your club.

Think about local links. Think about businesses who would benefit from getting in front of your fanbase. Think about which businesses would benefit from doing business with companies who already work with you. There must be a reason for you to approach them. Generate case studies of sponsorships which have been successful already and use those to prove how being involved can be effective. Ask for referalls from businesses you work with and enjoy working with you.

You can easily double your inventory and therefore your target for sales (we recently identified an additional £70K worth of inventory for a client so it’s absolutely possible!) and retention of over 95% sponsors returning is an easily achievable feat.

The ideal situation is to retain the majority of sponsorships and generate more income year on year through small increases (as long as you can ensure servicing and return this is more than acceptable to businesses) and adding new businesses each season.

If you are stuck in a rut with sponsorship you absolutely can increase income simply and easily by following the above steps however if you do need help and support why not get in touch and see how we can help!

Email us sally@mahersconsulting.co.uk or call 07887552888

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