That’s what it’s like where I live.
But like everywhere else in the country, our high school sports teams are always looking for ways to make a few extra bucks.
Enter the high school baseball sponsorship program.
For a nominal fee (really nominal), businesses can display a banner around the baseball field for the season.
To me, this is a perfect example of a win-win situation for everyone.
Businesses get to advertise to parents (who purchase products and services) and to kids (who will soon be purchasing products and services). They are able to control their messaging, because they choose the banner (one of the strengths of advertising). And, because the parents and kids viewing the banners know the proceeds are going to help high school sports, they tend to view those businesses more favorably (one of the strengths of community relations).
Best yet, high school sports benefit from an influx of cash.
See how this works? As a business owner, you get the best of all worlds: control of your messaging (advertising), frequency of your message being seen (advertising), affiliation with a good cause (community relations), AND the good feeling that comes with knowing you’re supporting a worthwhile cause (community relations).
When you get off the beaten path, you may be amazed at the low-cost marketing opportunities that are also a win/win that open up.
Sounds great, right?
So how can you make something like this work for you and your business?
Complete the following exercise, to start.
Creativity Exercise — How to Find Win-Win Advertising and Community Relations Opportunities
Grab some paper and pens (I’m partial to those fun gel pens), and start with some brainstorming.
Answer all of the following questions.
• What advertising opportunities does the association offer? (You’ll want to make sure they offer some sort of advertising or sponsorship package.)
• Is it a cause near and dear to your heart? (Or even just something you believe in?)
• Does the cause reach your ideal client?
This is important. In the above baseball team example, as cool as I think the opportunity is, I’m not personally racing to sign up.
Because chances are, I’m not going to be in front of my ideal clients enough to make it worth my while. And since there’s a limited number of these opportunities, I could potentially be taking something away from a business that could really benefit from it.
However, here’s something else to think about: When it comes to your ideal client, you have to decide: Is the cause more important than getting business out of it?
The more closely aligned the cause is to your ideal client, the more likely you’ll see results from your participation.
But again, if it’s a cause you’re passionate about, then even if it reaches absolutely none of your ideal clients, you may still want to participate simply because it is so important to you.
(I would still look for ways to get something out of your investment — see my How to Use Community Relations to Grow Your Business article for more ideas. There’s nothing wrong with reaping some reward for your time and/or money!)
Now that you know what you’re looking for, start digging around for opportunities.
Begin by calling the local Chamber of Commerce, networking groups like the Rotary and Kiwanis, and any other organization that has its fingers on your community’s pulse. Ask about high-profile events and those “off the beaten path.”
And make sure you research them both—high-profile events may seem too pricey on the surface, but dig deeper and you may discover it’s perfect for your business. And, you may strike gold with smaller venues.
You can also try calling your local area school sports coaches, band directors, and fine arts program teachers—all frequently offer programs that might include sponsorships and/or underwriting and/or various forms of advertising. Ditto for programs outside of the school, like dance, gymnastics, Pop Warner football, AYSO soccer, Little League, YBL Basketball, etc.
With any luck, you’ll discover your own win-win situation.
If you like this article, you may also like my Love-Based Online Marketing book.