Add real value to your sponsorship rights with a simple change to the way you include their brand in your email campaigns.
Those of you who know me, will be aware I “cut my teeth” in the sports industry selling sponsorship. This went on for another 25 years. And those who have attended one of my workshops will have heard me say “if I’d known then what I know now, I’d have earned a lot more in commission.” After the laughter’s died down (yes my workshops are fun), I caveat that comment by admitting that the reality’s not quite true – back then we didn’t have the technology to generate the data and provide the experience that we can now, but my intent is to make a point.
And the point is that when we think about the way we use data – to sell more tickets, merchandise, stadium tours, content, memberships, etc. – we should also consider how we apply the use of CRM and data to our sponsorship strategy. Because when we do this. the result is more sales, and higher fees.
When we advise our clients on this, we refer to two areas of opportunity:
1) to help us improve the efficiency of our sales process: more leads, more qualified leads, and more sales.
2) to help us better leverage our sponsorships, providing us with the opportunity to increase our fees.
There’s a third opportunity and that’s to enable us to speak to the sponsors’ marketing team as opposed to their sponsorship team, providing us with access to a bigger budget and a greater conversion opportunity, but that’s a subject for a separate post.
This post is going to share with you a tactic to support point 2 above and it involves demonstrating and delivering real, quantifiable value to your sponsors. It’s easy to apply as it focuses on email marketing, although it can be applied across any form of targeted marketing. Note: if you’re not currently using email marketing this post won’t mean anything to you, but you should get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can get you started…as soon as possible! Email marketing is the foundation of any CRM approach and if you use the right platform, it can teach you so much more about many principles that you will continually use as you progress in your use of data.
Let’s start with the basic premise that ALL companies sponsor you to sell more products and services. That fundamental goal may be dressed up in a different way – they may refer to the need for brand exposure, staff, and shareholder value, recruitment plans – but whether directly or indirectly, they’re in business to sell something, and it’s your role to help them do that.
One of the most valuable things you can do for your sponsors is to drive your fans to their website – hand-holding them as you take them from your environment to the sponsors. Once your fans are in your sponsor’s website, it’s down to them to then convert them to a sale (or whatever objective they have for website visitors.)
So, here’s a tip for improving the value you provide to your sponsors, by tweaking your current processes as opposed to introducing new ones.
Instead of including “x number of inclusions in our email campaign” or “x solus email campaigns” in your contract, change that commitment to “x number of visitors to your website”. The point is, putting a sponsor logo, banner, or content in your email campaigns is o.k. but when you convert that obligation to driving your fans to the sponsor’s website you’re doing two things:
1) Acknowledging the role of their sponsorship – to leverage the relationship you have with your fans to help them create a relationship with your fans.
2) Delivering a tangible benefit that can be measured with accuracy – and depending what data you hold on your fans not only could you tell your sponsor how many fans went to their website, you could tell them what they look like. (Additionally, if you use UTM tracking, the sponsor can see what they do once they’re in the website.)
So how do you calculate that magic number – the “x” number of your fans that will visit your sponsors’ websites? And how do you guarantee you can deliver it?
We’re going to be using a very simple form of “predictive analytics” – that is, analysing historic data to predict what might happen in the future. This will ensure you don’t over-promise and can comfortably deliver the “x” that you commit to.
You need to start by looking at your current email campaign metrics, specifically your click-through-rates (CTRs) across the different content areas in your campaigns.
As with any form of data analysis, you can go long or you can go short, – it’s up to you to decide – so at a minimum you need to focus on one content area in one campaign format, but ideally you want to look at all the different clickable areas, and all the different campaign formats you use.
You could look at one year’s worth of campaigns, or multiple years – the more historic data you use, the more accurate your results will be – the term of reference is entirely up to you: so long as the processes you used to send the campaigns were consistent across the term you selected, your data will be valid. (Look out for unnatural spikes in your campaign metrics caused by external factors such as a great win or new signing, a major news occurrence or a national holiday as these outliers will skew your data.)
What you’re looking for here are your average, highest, and lowest click-through rates, based on variables within the individual campaigns – where was the content placed, when was the campaign sent, what type of campaign was it (newsletter, transactional, triggered, etc.) Once you have these numbers, you can then identify that comfortable “x” number that you can guarantee. You’ll know that if you include a sponsor’s content, in certain positions, over a quantity of campaigns – and assuming that content is relevant and interesting (as all content should be, sponsor or not) – you can expect to generate a similar quantity of click-through’s as that position did over the term you analysed.
Once you’ve set up your campaign schedule, identifying which sponsors will be included in which content areas, and with what frequency, you then track your progress.
With every campaign you send, check if you generated the number of click-through’s you predicted. If you didn’t – whether it was higher or lower – you can then adjust your plan to accommodate this: more insertions or a bigger segment if you’re under-delivering, fewer insertions or a smaller segment if you’re over-delivering (unless of course, you want to over-deliver!)
Keep doing this across the term of your contracted commitment, specifically making sure you’re compensating for any under-delivery – adding more insertions, increasing the size of your segment, etc. – and so long as you’ve worked your numbers properly, are paying close attention to progress, and have given yourself enough time to deliver, you won’t go wrong.
That’s the beauty of data and digital – you can watch your progress and adapt your actions to hit your targets.
Assumption: the way you include your sponsor content in your email campaigns is relevant to the audience and in context with their role.
If you can take half a day out of your busy week to run these numbers and come up with a plan, you’ll immediately add value to your sponsorship leverage programme. You’ll have gone from delivering “nice to have, but quite intangible” to giving your sponsors some real added value that can be tracked at both ends.
And that’s just the start of it.
More to follow soon or get in touch if you want to start adding value to your sponsorship programme NOW!