No small business can soar without steady streams of income. Yes, the bulk of your revenue will come from your product or services being sold, but when the relationship is mutually beneficial, some small businesses can raise capital through corporate sponsorship. There is a growing trend in developing this type of deal - in 2013 $18 billion was spent on this kind of funding. Let's consider how your small business can procure corporate sponsorship.
1. Offer Value. Sponsorship comes in many forms, including:
- Sponsored posts from the corporation on your blog
- Giveaways of their products to your audience
- Product reviews
Come up with a few packages that offer a mix of these activities, or let your potential sponsors pick items a la carte. Remember, you want to build a long-term relationship with your sponsor, so it's in your best interest to come up with ways to engage them and work with them for years.
2. Know your platform and the companies that match it. Companies are interested in reaching audiences they typically do not have at their fingertips. It's less expensive than purchasing traditional media advertising and helps them target these individuals through an intermediary that already has their attention and trust. Make sure you can articulate exactly who you serve. Are your customers male or female? How much income do they make? Do they have children? Do they travel frequently?
Once you identify all the characteristics of your customer base, start researching companies that advertise to or want to reach that group. For example, if mothers are your primary customer, look through the pages of parenting magazines and research parenting websites. What companies advertise on those sites? Then make a list of those businesses as potential corporate sponsors.
3. Ask for your worth. Many small businesses make the mistake of not asking for enough money in sponsorship. Remember that you are offering these corporations value and direct access to the customers they want to reach. In addition, many of these corporations are used to making deals in the tens of thousands. Don't ask for $1,000 from a company that has the pockets to give $10,000. Value your connection to this demographic and charge accordingly.
4. Follow up! How many times have you ignored an email or phone call because you're busy or on a deadline? Corporate executives feel the same way. So many people lose sponsorship deals because they do not follow up. If you don't hear back from an organization after you've submitted your proposal, pick up the phone and check in.
5. Write a compelling proposal that makes it clear why a corporation should sponsor your business. You want to write a story about you or your business that is exciting and meaningful. Don't simply state what you sell; explain why you impact lives. Remember, sponsorship is not just about your business: the company you want to partner with will want to know what's in it for them. How will the company reap benefits it wouldn't otherwise get? Also include in the proposal your target audience demographics and discuss your reach as well as how you'll help the corporation reach its target audience.
Connecting with corporations wanting to target specific audiences through sponsorship can become a win-win relationship, and in doing so can also give your small business a healthy income boost.
This article was originally published under the title 5 Ways to Get Corporate Sponsorship for Your Small Business at www.succeedasyourownboss.com
Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog, www.succeedasyourownboss.com which is syndicated through the Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.