Sponsorship Marketing: 10 Ways to Market Your Business by Being a Sponsor!

Sponsorship Marketing

Being a sponsor involves giving money or resources to another company/organisation in exchange for sponsorship marketing. It benefits both parties as one gets much needed funding or support for their project while the other receives promotion to help build brand awareness. 

The first examples of sponsorship can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Events like gladiator games and athletic tournaments were often funded by rich individuals who would often receive a reputation boost as a result of having their name and contributions mentioned throughout the event.

Today, sponsorship is more popular than ever as a result of the increased possibilities provided by the internet. This post delves into some of the various forms of sponsorship and how to take advantage of these sponsorship marketing methods.

1. Sports events/teams/athletes

Sports sponsorship is the oldest form of sponsorship and is still very popular today. Companies offer to help provide funding for a sports event, team or an athlete. In return, the event or athlete promotes their brand. This typically involves displaying the company’s logo somewhere such as:

  • On banners and signs around a stadium
  • Directly sprayed onto the playing pitch
  • On digital screens displayed around the event
  • On a football player’s uniform
  • On the side of a race car

Bigger teams and more famous athletes will typically demand a large paycheque in order to be a sponsor. It is therefore typically only larger brands who can afford to sponsor these teams and athletes.

Smaller companies can still get involved in sports sponsorship by focusing on smaller local teams and athletes. By talking to representatives at local sports venues or representatives working for teams and athletes, you can see what options are available.  

2. Concerts/music festivals

Concerts and music festivals often get a lot of their funding through sponsorship deals. As with sports events, you get to have your brand visually promoted throughout the concert or festival venue – often in the form of banners or adverts on digital screens.

You can approach music venues and festival organisers and ask to be a sponsor. Some festivals will even advertise that they are looking for sponsors online, which is worth looking out for. Of course, you can also host your own concert or festival and have total control over advertising (and potentially even name the event after your company). 

3. Community events

Beyond sports events and music events, there are many other community events that you could help sponsor. As with sports and music events, you can visually promote your brand throughout the event through banners or posters. Examples of such events could include:

  • Food festivals
  • Film screenings
  • Gardening days
  • Swap shops
  • Treasure hunts
  • Talent shows
  • Barbecue nights
  • Light shows
  • Firework displays

On top of offering funding for these events, you could offer other support such as donating your product/service for free as a competition gift, donating your premises for use of the event or helping to get involved in organisation or running, 

4. Charity events

It’s also possible to sponsor charity events. Many companies find this to be a very rewarding form of marketing because they are not just getting some promotion but supporting a charitable cause in the process.

The promotion that your company gets out of a charity event may even be more valuable than that of a community event – many socially conscious consumers love to purchase from brands that have worked with charities, because it means their money could be going to the same cause.

Donating money isn’t the only way to sponsor a charity event. You could also donate your premises or donate services/products for free like catering services.

It’s also worth noting that there are other ways to sponsor charities beyond events. For example, if you sell clothes, you could donate some of these to a homeless charity. In turn, the charity could then promote you via various marketing channels. 

5. Trade shows

Trade shows are an opportunity for lots of businesses to get together and promote their products/services via individual stalls. They can range from local farmer markets and craft fairs to large scale boat shows and high end art exhibitions. 

Sponsoring such an event could allow you to promote your own brand alongside the companies at the trade show. This could include not just a stall of your own but marketing around the premises such as banners and posters. 

6. Newspapers/magazines/blogs

Many written publications accept sponsored content in the form of articles, reviews and adverts. This content typically needs to be relevant to the subject matter of the publication (for example, a fashion magazine is unlikely to publish an article or advert promoting a video game, but may be willing to promote a makeup brand). 

When it comes to sponsored articles, some publications may be willing to accept content written by a guest (which could include content written by you), while others may insist on getting one of their writers to write content. Publications that prefer to write their own sponsored content may do so to make sure that it is not too heavily promotional so that it still appeals to their readers. 

In some cases, promotion may be as subtle as a hyperlink to your site buried in an article. Generally, you won’t have to pay too much money just to have a publication post a link to your article (in fact, some publications will do it for free). Those who do charge for this service are likely to be high authority sites that get lots of readers.

It’s possible to leverage high authority sites like this to improve your search engine rankings using a strategy known as a parasite SEO. If you’re lucky, you may even get some direct traffic through these links that could even convert into extra sales. 

You can approach publications directly for sponsorship deals. There are also sites that provide listings of blogs that accept sponsors that you can apply directly through.  

7. Social media influencers

Many of us have heard of ‘social media influencers’, but what exactly are they? Basically, an influencer is any social media user who has a large following. Many of these social media users are willing to accept sponsorship payment to promote brands via their social media account. Such a promotional tactic can help expose brands to a huge audience making it well worthwhile.

When choosing an influencer, you should consider whether their audience is the type of person who is going to be interested in your brand. You should also take a look at exactly what level of promotion you get for your money – are they willing to share one of your posts or is the most you get a small mention in the comments beneath one of their posts.

You should also take a look at their audience size and average level of engagement to determine how effective your sponsorship is likely to be. An influencer with a half a million followers that regularly gets hundreds of comments is going to get you more exposure than an influencer with 1000 followers who only gets one or two comments per post (although the former is also likely to charge more).

There are online platforms that can allow you to connect with influencers. Not all influencers may be willing to sponsor you and you may need to approach a few different influencers.

8. YouTube channels

Many successful YouTube channels also accept sponsors. This sponsored content could include anything from a full video review of your product to a small mention at the beginning of a video. 

As with social media influencers, it’s important to do your research when choosing a YouTube channel to sponsor. Your product should be relevant to their content and audience, and they should ideally have enough engaged subscribers to give your brand a decent amount of exposure. 

You can connect with YouTube channels by directly messaging them, or you can use online platform directories for connecting with YouTubers. 

9. Podcasts/radio shows

Many podcasts and radio shows are also willing to promote your company in exchange for payment. This could take the form of a radio advert, an interview or a shout-out on their show.

Radio shows will typically accept all kinds of sponsors, whereas podcasts may prefer to only promote companies that are relevant to the podcast theme. Generally radio shows will get you more brand awareness but are more expensive to sponsor than podcasts.

10. TV shows

Finally, there’s the option of sponsoring a TV show. Advertising is the most popular way to do this, however some TV shows may also accept sponsors in the form of prize giveaways.

TV sponsorship is typically something that only larger companies can afford to do – especially when it comes to shows on major channels. However, it may be possible for some relatively smaller companies to sponsor shows on local TV networks. You can find more information here on TV sponsorship and how to apply. 

Sponsorship Marketing article and permission to publish here provided by FatJoe Publishing. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on July 5, 2023.