If you’re an equestrian business using sponsorship as part of your marketing strategy, here’s 5 Smart Strategies to Turn your Sponsorship into Sales.

So often I’ve seen brands spend their valuable marketing budget on sponsorship without getting any real value in return.

Perhaps you’ve been offered a last-minute opportunity for class sponsorship at an event, which looks like great value or you’ve been approached with a proposal from a rider who promises to review your product and promote your brand across all their social channels.

Both of these opportunities CAN work for you but this is usually when they have been strategically planned and decided by YOU in advance.

# One

Successful sponsorship takes preparation and planning so it’s important to formulate your sponsorship strategy. Spend time planning your sponsorship portfolio in advance.

What will your ‘mix’ look like? Event sponsorship, rider sponsorship, awards sponsorship, title championship series, associated print or digital media sponsorship? Which disciplines will you invest in?

Analyse each sponsorship opportunity and carefully consider your objectives ie. raise brand awareness, educate a new audience, elevate your reputation. Not every opportunity will result in immediate sales.

# Two

Low cost additions. Alongside every sponsorship arrangement there is a huge number of additional opportunities that don’t have put too much extra strain on your budget, however they do need to be planned in advance.

Event and Show Sponsorship. Make the most of every opportunity to make direct contact with the competitors. These competitors are your target market and can easily to turn into customers.

• Show up at Prize-Giving and present awards to the riders yourself. If you can’t be there personally, ensure you have a representative who will make the most out of the opportunity.

• Include vouchers for freebies, samples or prizes that competitors have to collect in personal from your trade stand.

• Offer something of value to all competitors ie. free product trials or personal demonstrations on event.

• Use the opportunity to offer something of value to spectators, whether they are attending in person or following online.

• Increase sales and attract interest with a limited-time offer which is only available during the event and a short while afterwards.

• Include a show offer or discount code in all of your advertising promotions; on your trade stand, online promotions, e-newsletters and programme advertising.

• Use event sponsorship opportunities to reach new audiences and collaborate with other businesses. For a small businesses, this is a great opportunity to associate yourself with larger brands who are fellow sponsors. Remember, they have invested like you to reach the same target audience. Don’t pass on any opportunity to network!

# Three

Over Deliver. If it is included in your contract and you are asked to provide your sponsorship partner with brand adverts, social media content, videos, offers and discounts, ensure that you do!

Make it easy for your sponsorship partners to use and share your content. Make your content memorable – use great imagery and include links and tags to your website and social pages.

# Four

Rider sponsorship. If managed well, rider sponsorship can be a hugely cost effective way to promote your business and increase sales. However, good communication is key, together with having a clear understanding of the expectations and obligations of both parties in advance.

• Run short term promotions with personalised discount codes for your riders’ followers.

• Honest and genuine product reviews make engaging content for you to share and promote.

• Build your brand’s following and gain new potential customers by running online competitions with your riders offering unique personal opportunities.

• In the case of high-profile and well-known riders, use every opportunity to shout about your association!

# Five

Finally…. REVIEW

Take time to review every activity you have allocated your sponsorship marketing budget to. Whilst sponsorship should be considered as a long term commitment it’s essential to review each arrangement regularly and make adjustments if necessary.

It’s only then that you can truly understand which sponsorship activity resulted in sales.

If you need help planning your sponsorship portfolio GET IN TOUCH or why not DOWNLOAD my Sponsorship Planning Template.