Offline marketing through sponsorship, why would you?

Your company’s name or logo on soccer shirts, or on a billboard at the basketball court of your local basketball team, or maybe you’ll shine as the proud initiator of a charity event. It’s great for your ego. But, does it really work, sponsoring local clubs like in these examples? Because isn’t digital marketing the way to go? It’s 2019 after all! Well, yes and no. It is, but it’s not always, and certainly not for every local entrepreneur and business. 

The key to success seems to be (hyper) local advertising, and this goes for offline AND online marketing. Every city or village is different, and we know that ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t have the future. The online marketing world has caught up by now too. So, it makes sense that local advertising, and so-called geotargeting, has become the new standard. 

Being online is important

Online representation is important, and it will remain that way, let’s be clear about that. We’re all ‘living’ partly online nowadays, some more than others. But as an entrepreneur, you want to be online too. A study that was conducted in the United States in 2017 showed that amongst 3500 local entrepreneurs, social media is most effective when it comes to local advertising (given 30 options to choose from). Ha! Embrosa at your fingertips! Google expressed – back in 2016 already – how local advertising (AdWords) has a return of investment of 2 dollars for every 1 dollar spent. Short and simple: research across the globe points in the same direction, LOCAL. Offline AND online! 

But, for local entrepreneurs especially, it seems offline and target group focused marketing is highly effective. Why? Because it offers a unique opportunity to engage in a relationship with your community, the locals, your audience. Why do you think successful webshops often start physical stores, or pop-up stores too?

So, offline you say?

When we think of offline marketing, we often think of advertising in a local newspaper, a weekly magazine, a flyer with coupons, or a radio ad. Honestly, we don’t really believe in those. All that does is ‘showing your name’, but it doesn’t create the ‘gun factor’ as we say in Dutch. Don’t think machine-guns and firearms. No, it’s positive. It translates to: likeability, wanting someone to succeed, wishing someone success and sales. If you sponsor a local sports club or a local event, you are helping people. And people will then be more willing to return the favor (gun factor). The owner of a furniture store that always visits the same hairdresser for example. When the hairdresser needs new furniture, they will first go to that store, because they feel connected (and maybe even obligated) to support that entrepreneur first. That’s also the ‘gun factor’ at work… 

By now, in your head, you’re probably imagining your name being printed on those volleyball shirts already, and that might be a good place to start. Especially if your son or daughter plays! But, if you really want to get that return of investment from this sponsoring deal, you need to create this loyalty and connection with a group that you want to see in your store. This could be a group that is involved in local charity, a local event, a local non-profit or association. 

So, why would you sponsor?

Sponsoring is so much more than ‘just’ advertising locally. You’re working on exposure, expanding your network, en you’re working, whether or not intentionally, on your image. More importantly, well thought out sponsoring is an investment inactivation. You want your community, your neighbors, to ‘give’ you their next purchase. You need them to wanna make their next purchase from you, likeability again. So, do wonder, how will sponsoring help me create this likeability factor? What will make that group of people come into my store?

The difference between a mediocre and a successful sponsoring campaign is hidden in truly and honestly knowing your audience. Your people, your customers. Who are they, what do they like, what are they searching for, where do they go to have fun, what do they have in common? That event, that association, or that charity, you’ll wanna sponsor that! When you help your customers like that, they’ll wanna help you, they’ll ‘grant’ you with their business. Likeability, gun factor! What connects your customers to your store? And how, in which way, where, can you re-enforce that connection? If you know the place, the time, and the feeling that your customers are after, through which you create ‘recognition’ for your customers than you’ve found THE offline spot! 

Could this be it for you?

  • Does your town organize an art festival or art assembly? Maybe you could sponsor a dozen reading glasses, magnifying glasses for visitors, that have your logo on the temples? Of course, you’ll have the organization hand out discount vouchers so they’ll easily find you…
  • New restaurants in town? There will always be people that forget their reading glasses and won’t be able to read the menu. Sponsor a restaurant with a few reading glasses with your logo on it, maybe wrapped in a nice case from your store, showing your information. Customers that borrow your glasses will be so happy, and it’s a great way to expose your name!
  • Is there a great play in the local theatre coming up? You could buy tickets for yourself and maybe another few for your most loyal customers. Take them along, make sure to let the press know about the show you’re going to see all together. 
  • Is there a fashion show coming up in town? See if you can get your store to be the supplier for all the eyewear and make sure your business and logo is on all the advertising material. 
  • Crowdfunding for a local singer, so that he can record his album. Yes, you’re in. But, only if he comes to play for your customers in your store on a Saturday. Send out a press release to your local papers. Remember, you can make sure word gets around, it’s in little things!
  • Is there a poetry session in your local library? How about having a specialist right there for those that might be interested in having an eye exam? Make poetry with your brands, be there and connect to those people with a passion for reading. Make sure the poetry association or library will announce your presence when they inform the press of their event. 

One last piece of offline advice: when you think of local sponsoring, be sure to also think collective partnerships! You could, for example, offer your store or part of it, to an association, as a meeting room/place, for their event or workshop. Or give a little shelf space to other local entrepreneurs, artists or associations, so they can present themselves. Ask them, however, to invite family and friends to your store. Or, partner with other local entrepreneurs, for example, with the hearing aid professional and gym that are down the road. Whip up a free health-check together. Or simply celebrate local partnerships, and join each other in sponsoring local? These new local partnerships may turn out to be great new revenue models! Creativity is one of the entrepreneurs’ skills (Thom, 2018) that characterizes local heroes in retail! So from some oldskool pics and offline tips now back to ‘newskool’ and online… Whatever you do, make sure to use social media to share your story! 

About Embrosa

Embrosa is a Dutch company that creates technological solutions to give local entrepreneurs marketing power. We call this ‘being #embrosapowered”! Embrosa does this by delivering marketing content from the brand manager at your brand’s HQ straight to the thousands of local retailers across the globe. From global to local, without lifting a finger. From a brand to a retailer’s smartphone. We call it ‘automagical’… Download the app that is filled with professional visuals from optical brands and ready-made general content for your social media marketing. Are you a local retailer? Use our app for free to download the visuals and use them for their online and offline marketing. Want more? For just 10 euro a month you become a Premium member and we make your social media planning for you. Talk about not lifting a finger… And for brands? Add your marketing content for free so your resellers and local retailers can share your story and by doing so, create brand awareness. Send an e-mail to our chief content Myrthe: to upload your content.

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