Marketing, promoting and finding a sponsor
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Chapter 1 (3:05)
Chapter 2 (1:19)
Chapter 3 (2:53)
Chapter 4 (3:03)
Chapter 5 (2:51)
Chapter 6 (2:35)
Chapter 7 (2:00)
Chapter 8 (5:11)
Marketing, promoting and finding a sponsor
A guide for sport and recreation clubs and associations in Western Australia.
Getting the Word Out and Getting Some Help... Marketing, Promoting and Finding a Sponsor for Your Club. A Department of Sport and Recreation audio guide for sport and recreation clubs and associations in Western Australia.
All sport and recreation organisations do some form of marketing, even if they don’t now they’re doing it and attracting a sponsor may help you club to survive and grow.
Marketing can be as simple as listing your club in the yellow or white pages, getting an article in the local paper about registrations or providing membership information over the phone, it’s all marketing and it’s important for the success of your club.
And lots of different people within your club may be involved in marketing. If someone asks how to join your club and the secretary is really helpful in providing the relevant information, that is a form of informal marketing.
But while anyone can be involved with marketing your club it may help if you appoint an individual or small team as marketing officers to put some strategies into effect.
In the next few minutes, I’ll have a lot more information like this on the basics of marketing for your club or organisation, give you some tools and to take you through some simple steps that can help you develop a simple marketing plan.
This is Rick Curtis from the newly formed Fire and Rescue Football Club on why his football club sought sponsors.
With good marketing, you may attract sponsors as well as club members. Sponsors can help you hold an event or just provide assistance with the running of your club.
All sorts of companies are ready to provide sponsorship, it’s your challenge to show them how they’ll get value for money.
Wayne Firms from the Mount Lawley Tennis club makes sure their many smaller sponsors get good exposure through their regular club publications.
I’ve also got some great advice on targeting a sponsor, how to approach them, working out what you can offer them and how to get the most out of the relationship. I’ll cover sponsorship fully from chapter five, so skip to that if that’s what you’re after. But otherwise stay listening, and head to the department website dsr.wa.gov.au
That was Rick Curtis again, luckily they found sponsors ready to help, but it really helped him to thin about what club offers is important is marketing your club.
By doing this, it helps to set-out your club’s “marketing mix” or tool kit. Here I’ll put it into four categories to help:
The quality and accessibility of the services your club provides, like competitions, events and social functions.
The cost of membership fees and discounts that can be offered.
The clubrooms or facilities where competitions are held.
This is the advertising bit. Where, what and how the marketing is going to happen. Like a promotion in the local shopping centre, or an article in the community newspaper.
Developing a Marketing Plan
As with so many things planning can make a big difference to the success of your marketing. So here’s how you can develop a plan.
Oh, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive! These are some simple steps.
Clear goals certainly make training easier, and a marketing objective is no different.
Make it specific, measurable and achievable. Like recruiting an extra 20 junior members by the start of competition.
Use the “marketing mix” or kit-bag we set out in the previous section, and base your strategies around these. It’s also important to target specific markets.
So to target your market, look at your goal and direct services or events at them. If you’re targeting junior members, make sure you strategies are aimed at them.
Your marketing budget needs to be realistic and make sure it’s within the club’s budget as well! Low or no-cost strategies can often do the trick.
Look back at your strategies and see whether they stack up against the objectives you set. Some things are easy, a membership drive is successful if you sign-up more members! But also collect your press clippings or media coverage, attendance numbers at functions or meets and any feedback the group gets - positive or negative.
There’s an example of a marketing plan to attract junior members on the department website, head to www.dsr.gov.au
Some ways you can market your club are through, electronic newsletters, a website, competitions, advertising, functions or sponsorship... and we’ll have a lot more on finding a sponsor from chapter five.
A larger club or association is going to need a larger, more detailed plan. This type of plan will go into greater depth and will look at other aspects such as:
This is more detailed analysis including info on your club or group, an analysis of customers or members, a description of what services are currently on offer and a look at the competition in the wider environment.
This will use the info in the situational analysis and it identifies opportunities that need to be addressed.
The Australian Sports Commission has a booklet called ‘Marketing and Promoting Sport and Recreation‘ that has more on creating a detailed marketing plan.
You can also get the message out about your club or organisation by working with the media and don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you might think.
There’s nothing to stop you contacting the media about forthcoming events like the opening of new clubrooms or even put together a media release to get the word out about an upcoming or recent event.
And here a few tips about putting together an effective press release:
- use the first names of the people you’re writing about, if it’s the club President, put the title first and then their name;
- try and follow the style of the publication you’re writing for and use simple language;
- you should also check your spelling and don’t be afraid of double checking names and details to make sure you get them right;
- and you can also check media deadlines, it’s no good if your release and info arrives late.
- Presentation counts, so if you’re after an article in a paper or newspaper, provide a photo or make sure there’s a photo opportunity if a journalist attends. Your press release should be typed and double spaced, use wide margins and don’t make it a double sided document. Make it as easy as possible for the journalist.
- It’s also important that journalists clearly know who you are, put your club name at the top and label it clearly as a ‘media release’, right at the top as well.
- And once your release looks great and reads well you need contact details of someone at the club to provide more information or organise the logisitics. If the phone number you’re providing is a work one, tell the company so nobody gets stressed by calls from journalists.
Always keep in mind the six questions about the event: Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How? Your media release should cover all of them.
Well it looks like you’re set to start marketing your club. But please remember that it’s not worth spending your time and money marketing your club and attracting new members if you don’t look after and retain the members you’ve got.
If you’re after some assistance in holding a big event or covering running costs a sponsor really can help.
It’s good to establish what it is that you want the sponsorship to achieve. You may want: it cover your entire event or activity; parts of the event - in which case you could attract more than one sponsor; so you buy uniforms or equipment; to help you prepare or print publications; to hire equipment, grounds and facilities; for travel or accommodation costs; advertising or promotional material or to help you develop programs within your club.
What your sponsors will want to know is exactly who your members are, what activities or programs your club offers and who it is you’re trying to attract to your event.
Essentially this helps work out what the “target market” of your club is. This is valuable information for sponsors as they use target markets to identify more precisely the group of people that they can sell a product or promote their services to.
Break down your target information into: sex, age, whether they’re family groups and where they live.
There really are a wide range of businesses and companies that can be potential sponsors, your challenge is to show them how they will get value for money.
Local papers will have info on local companies that may want to work with clubs within their area. If most of your members live in one area then pick up a local sponsor, they may be right on your doorstep!
I’ve got some great ideas for what you can offer your sponsor in just a sec. But it can be helpful to think about things from the perspective of a sponsor. They’re looking for ways to get in touch with people and your club might just offer an opportunity that you haven’t thought of yet. You know what, that maybe why they haven’t called yet!
Just like healthy competition on the sporting field, you’re in competition with other forms of promotion and advertising when attracting and servicing a sponsor. Sponsors, like clubs, like success and they also want a professional performance from you.
What can you offer a sponsor?
Here are some ideas that could be included in a sponsorship proposal. There’s lots of ideas here, don’t include them all and think outside the square. If someone in your club comes up with a great idea, run with it!
Here are some of the things you could offer a sponsor:
- area and perimeter advertising space; signs or banners;
- invitations to events or some free tickets;
- the chance to host lunches or dinners; a spot on an official guest list;
- a role in opening functions or at events like the toss of the coin;
- presentation of awards; their name and logo on printed material and advertisements;
- get their name on Community Service or radio announcements;
- a spot on club clothing - like caps, shirts or shorts; name and logo on awards and trophies or naming rights to events;
- on-site displays or sales opportunities;
- and company staff involvement - like discounted tickets.
And the naming rights to an event may be a great way for a sponsor to get their name known as well. Rick Curtis at the Fire and Rescue Football Club used club clothing as a great incentive for sponsors.
OK, now we’re getting stuck into the nuts and bolts of attracting your sponsor. I’m going to take you through what you need to do to prepare a sponsorship proposal and how to ensure that all you hard work pays off... literally!
Preparing Your Proposal
There’s no one way of doing this and having your own original approach really might help, but here’s a good starting point.
Write a cover letter thanking the potential sponsor for taking the time to have a look at your proposal. And make sure you’ve got it addressed to the right person.
Put together a cover sheet that’s got: the name of your club or group and maybe a logo; the patron or honorary figure’s name; the full name of the company you’re sending it to; the name of person you’re sending it to; the date of the proposal; and the name of the event or program.
With your marketing hat on, then provide the details of the types of people that you expect to attend your event, remember that target market the sponsor is after. Some sponsors are just after exposure to a group of people while others will want to actually sell their goods or services. So try and work out what sorts of sales that could make. Exclusive rights to make those sales may be an attractive prospect for them.
Make a Sponsorship Budget
Put together a budget to make sure it pays off for your club. Make a list of what exactly you’ll provide and assign a value to it. Then make sure it all adds up to the total you’re after.
Keep the language you use really clear as well, if you are only providing space for your sponsor’s sign, make sure your proposal and budget clearly says so. Relationships between you and your sponsor can get strained if disputes over who was meant to pay for the sign get started.
Communicating With Your Sponsor
Even before you secure a sponsor, it’s important to get the communication right.
Talk to potential sponsors, ring the companies and ask to speak with the manager, owner or marketing manager. Briefly tell them who you are and what your plans are. Be positive; and let them know that you’ll send them a sponsorship proposal - sometimes it’s best not to ask.
If no-one has the time to chat, find out who the right person to send your proposal to is, and do it! You’ve got nothing to lose.
Follow you proposal with a phone call, at least a working week after it’s been delivered. Try and find out when you’re likely to receive a reply and if they need any more info from you.
If your proposal is accepted arrange to meet in person to nail down the details. Personal contact can be helpful.
Gus Burges and the committee from the Westside Wolves Hockey Club learnt the hard way that staying in contact with potential sponsors is vital.
Servicing Your Sponsor
The simple rule for keeping your sponsor happy, is that if you’ve promised it, deliver it! It’s not worth it to try and save money by delivering less than you had agreed on! And if you can do a little more for your sponsor and it doesn’t cost any more money, do it! You know how nice it is to get something you didn’t expect.
Wayne Firms at the Mt Lawley Tennis Club thinks that the referral of business makes a big difference with smaller sponsors.
Mementos of a sponsorship might be a nice touch. It can be as simple as a block mounted photo but don’t be afraid of original ideas you come up with yourself.
Loyalty counts, so think about the products or services your sponsor provides and ensure you don’t go after another sponsor who is actually their competition. And when you’re purchasing products or services think about whether you can get them from your sponsor. Equally at your event make sure your sponsor’s rivals don’t have services or products for sales or being promoted.
It’s about attention to detail and looking after your sponsors needs. While you needs may be different together you can work towards success.
After the Event
You can provide your sponsor with a short report which can include things like:
- attendances - with an idea of what the mix of people at the event were;
- what can be improved;
- what were the successes;
- did your sponsorship achieve its goal;
- and did the sponsor and your club both get value for money.
This podcast is part of the Club Development Scheme, which provides assistance to Western Australian sport and recreation clubs and organisations to become better managed, more sustainable and to provide good quality services to their members and participants.