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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Eight ways to get a sponsorship deal off the ground

Sponsorship can bring significant commercial rewards, but it’s not always easy to strike a good deal. Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, offers eight tips to help you work out how to get sponsorship

1. Sponsorship isn’t about you!

Sponsorship happens because the event or organisation being sponsored can provide an audience that will help sponsors reach their objectives. Sponsorship is not simply about someone helping to fund an opportunity or great idea. You need to look at sponsorship as a product you are selling.

2. Sponsorship proposals should focus on benefits

A sponsorship proposal should focus on the benefits of the association. No matter how big or small the sponsorship deal is, it should focus on return on investment and commercial benefits.

3. Get the right fit

Whether you're looking for a sponsor for your event, or looking to sponsor a local team or charity to raise your profile, you should only approach prospects who share the same target audience and values as you. This ensures that both you and the prospect are reaching your key audience, and also creates an overall brand experience.

4. Internal buy-in is key

There is only so much one individual can do to make the sponsor feel like a partner. It is imperative that the whole business recognises the benefit of sponsorship and doesn’t treat it as a hassle - even unwittingly.

5. Look beyond logo placement

Sponsorship is about engaging an audience and creating a meaningful experience. By understanding the sponsor’s objectives you can work together to create this. Only then will sponsorship be successful.

6. Understand your sponsor

Tailored sponsorship proposals are the only option when you are looking to get significant sponsorship funding. Understanding a potential sponsor’s business and budget timelines is vital.

7. Account management

Account management is the key to a successful sponsor relationship. Ideally, you should be looking for long-term sponsors who continually fund your sponsorship proposals - because they enjoy and find value in the relationship.

8. Get help

Sponsorship is complex - it is not simply asking for funding because you have a great proposition. Done properly, it can not only fund your activities but also create a meaningful relationship between you, your sponsors and your audience - significantly adding value to your business. A specialist sponsorship agency can provide training and consulting to help integrate sponsorship successfully into your organisation.

Written by Jackie Fast of Slingshot Sponsorship.

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