Charleston's Choice 2019_2

How sponsorships and event partnerships benefit businesses in quarantine

How sponsorships and event partnerships benefit businesses in quarantine

Sponsorships are a key pillar in any businesses’ ability to reach new audiences. In a world under quarantine, it can be tough to find relevant events and other sponsorship opportunities. But as the world figures out how to operate under social distancing rules, certain events are finding ways to thrive. 

It's important to consider the benefits that sponsorships can bring your business. Because as with all advertising right now, when the competition is low, it's a great time to put yourself out in front of audiences. So here are some of the top reasons you should sponsor events right now.

Build Consumer Confidence

Any customer that’s willing to attend an event right now likely has trust in the hosting company. Aligning your brand with a company that already has high customer confidence will also help build confidence in your brand. The public perception of your brand will be just as large as that of the event host.

There has been a misconception lately that sponsorships can only build consumer confidence if they are for charitable causes. While customers do value seeing brands align with charities right now, that doesn’t mean that traditional sponsorships are any less valuable for your brand.

Generate Leads

The potential for return on investment with event sponsorships is high. People are there to experience the event and will naturally learn about the sponsoring brands while they are there. Customers are more open to discovering new products and services. 

You have your audience’s attention much more than when they can ignore your ad at home or in a print product. These are all people that you need to follow up with after. Build a solid post-event marketing plan around the leads that you capture. Make sure your sponsorship artwork, video, booth, etc. has a solid way of either capturing contact info or driving people to your website.

Be sure to look at the ROI on your sponsorship and use that info to consider future sponsorships and where to invest your money. Getting in front of the right audience in the right way is something that comes with practice.

Reach your target audience

One of the more valuable reasons to sponsor an event is that you can reach a highly-specific audience.

Claire Linney

"For example, our Bicycle Across South Carolina event has an audience of people who are generally active, interested in outdoors and a healthy lifestyle," event sales manager Claire Linney notes.

"This audience matches well with a business like a chiropractic center who wants to reach active people in the community. We can create custom sponsorships that allow the client to connect with attendees one-on-one to build new relationships and generate new leads. In this example, the chiropractor can connect with “active lifestyle” potential patients.

Gather audience insights

Events are a great place to gather valuable information on your potential client base. You get to see what the spenders in your community value and how they like to engage with brands. Demographic data and audience preferences can help you build nurture campaigns. You can learn how and when to talk to your audience in the way they prefer.

Work with the event host to make a plan for capturing that data. Show that you have an active and growing interest in their audience. This will make future partnerships with the host business easier and more beneficial to both parties.

Our annual Family Expo attracts thousands of parents, and a previous financial firm sponsor saw strong return on their investment. "The in-person data collection allows them to have the contact information of these event attendees to re-connect with a follow-up about their services specific to families," Claire said.

"Because the consumer has already met the financial group in person, they are warmed up and familiar with the business, and more likely to respond. "

Increase Visibility

The bigger the event, the better the visibility you’ll get. As the world continues to open up and allow people to gather (at a safe distance), people will be hungry to attend events. Look at your opportunities throughout the end of this year and beyond.

Post and courier drive-in movie night

Your sponsorship plan doesn’t have to be focused on the present. Although there are unique events that are benefitting from the need to socially distance ourselves. Drive-in movies have made a resurgence, and are a great chance to advertise in a theater-like experience.

Build Partnerships

Event sponsorships are a good way to meet non-competitive companies in your area. Always be on the lookout for new partnership opportunities.

Look at the ways that audiences benefit from learning about all of the brands that are sponsoring the event. Maybe there are creative ways to partner with another brand that drives audiences to each business. 

Competition is low

As mentioned before, the world is in a unique place in which many businesses aren’t comfortable or able to spend dollars on sponsorships. Unfortunately, these businesses will continue to struggle when the COVID-19 crisis fades away, as they won’t have set themselves up for future success. History shows this has been the case whenever businesses stop advertising during a crisis, and eventually fall behind their competition.

Social media opportunities

Being a part of an upcoming event opens many doors on social media platforms that are great for capturing attention. There are tons of unique ways to promote your participation

And using the native tools that platforms like Facebook have for events allows you to become a full part of the event’s promotion. Facebook allows event pages or promoted posts to tag a partner business. Whether you are the venue hosting the event or just a paid sponsor, you can appear as an official partner on the event’s social media promotion.

This is a great way to gain new followers. As a part of your promotion, you can potential work out an arrangement for the event host to encourage their followers to follow your business as well. 

Social media users are ready for interaction, and are the easiest leads to warm up and get them to click over to your website.

Find sponsorship opportunities as they become available

If any of the reasons above sound like they would lead to higher sales for your business, then now is the time to start planning your event participation for the year. Event dates may have had to change over recent months, but the world will keep moving forward and people are ready to find a new normal.

To find out more about upcoming events and other sponsorship opportunities in the Charleston area, talk to your Post and Courier advertising sales representative, or contact us here.

Free Coronavirus Guides from The Post and Courier

Free Coronavirus Guides from The Post and Courier

Free Coronavirus Guides from The Post and Courier

We are in this together.

During these uncharted times, it is essential that we do what we can to help our community and local businesses; therefore, we’ve created these free coronavirus guides. We are working hard behind the scenes to keep our readers informed and to provide our community with updates to support our state and its businesses as we navigate this unprecedented time together.

 

The Post and Courier COVID-19 Business Guide

In order to better support the resilient and creative businesses during this unprecedented time, The Post and Courier is offering a free way for businesses to connect with their customers.  This guide provides a place for businesses to share how to continue to shop and offer support. With options to provide updated hours, location, current deals, or send a kind message to the community, we're here to help!  SUBMIT YOUR BUSINESS HERE

COVID-19 Business Guide The Post and Courier

 

The Post and Courier Dining Guide

Looking for some take-out or delivery options for Charleston-area restaurants? We are  gathering and providing an active list of local food & beverage businesses that are open and providing take-out + delivery options. We’re here to help you support our local restaurant industry! SUBMIT YOUR RESTAURANT HERE

Coronavirus Dining Guide

 

The Post and Courier’s COVID-19 News Guide 

With daily coronavirus updates, coverage map of the virus, and useful resources like No Intermission, The Post and Courier has you covered. Our goal is to provide our readers with the latest news, community updates, and resources in an effort to support our state and its businesses. At this time, we are offering this COVID-19 News for free without a subscription as a public service. READ MORE NEWS HERE

Post and Courier COVID 19 News

 

Marketing Your Business in a Time of Crisis:  A Free Webinar Guide with The Post and Courier + Evening Post Newspapers 

The coronavirus outbreak has changed the marketing landscape for businesses. As a result, The Post and Courier wants to provide useful marketing resources for our clients. In early April we hosted a webinar with renowned marketing experts to discuss how to manage your marketing in a time of crisis. Miss the webinar? Don’t worry, The Post and Courier has you covered.  ACCESS FREE WEBINAR VIDEO + PRESENTATION HERE!

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Crisis Marketing Webinar Downloads

 

The Post and Courier Business Marketing Guide

As the coronavirus crisis extends further into 2020, The Post and Courier Advertising division is dedicated to providing your businesses with useful blogs full of marketing useful information and free resources.  We're discussing important topics like social media trendsemail marketing strategies, and sponsored events updates. READ MORE HERE

Post and Courier Marketing Blog

 

The Post and Courier Charity Guide

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, financial strain on some industries and the community is becoming increasingly heavy.  The Post and Courier wants to help. We are offering a free way to share your cause and spread the word. View our Charity Guide to contribute + submit your local fundraising opportunities for those in need. SHARE YOUR FUNDRAISER HERE

Post and Courier Charity Guide

 

 

 

 

 

Positive thinking during coronavirus

The Power of Positive Thinking During the Coronavirus

The Power of Positive Thinking During the Coronavirus

How to market your business without seeming insensitive

When tragedy and chaos strike on a global level, it is more important than ever to practice positive thinking - not only in your personal life, but also regarding your business. History shows that during times of recession, it is not beneficial to decrease your advertising efforts. Now what? How do you shift marketing and advertising strategies to stay relevant during a crisis? 

Before we unpack this crisis marketing strategy, we must begin viewing the current market as a cup half-full, despite the underlying situation. We acknowledge that we are experiencing a health crisis like no other. However, the US economy was healthy and strong prior to this outbreak, and it will return when social distancing concludes. Is important to stay relevant and prepare your return strategy.

Data shows that people consume more media during a crisis.

At The Post and Courier, traffic analytics including visitors + session length have tripled. As some businesses unfortunately are forced or decide to cut advertising and/or marketing spending, opportunity is present for surviving businesses to get in front of a large audience, with less competing ads.

Borrell Crisis Marketing Webinar
© 2020 Borrell Inc.
Crisis is not a time to decrease communication

Alternatively, companies should actually be communicating more with customers.  However, instead of an advertising approach, the conversation should transition into positive communication.

Keep the goal of your communication in-line with the company's new marketing goals.  Stay relevant with clients without seeming “pushy” or “sales-y” by being a helpful resource during this time.  Whether this is a small-scale effort by emailing helpful articles (like this one) you've found over coffee in the morning to clients, or building a resource online with free & useful business information for consumers to visit like our Charleston-area Takeout & Delivery Guide. Share your knowledge about a topic as a free resource via a virtual platform, like this Crisis Marketing Webinar.

The tone of communication should be empathetic, with a message that conveys a sense of togetherness. 

The goal is to position the company to be useful during this unprecedented time. Retaining current customers is key - their support will be needed throughout! This is also a great time to offer a hand to the community and clients, and gain new customers along the way through your thoughtful crisis message.   

Credit Karma founder Ken Lin recently shared the importance of choosing your customers when faced with doing the right thing for your customers vs increasing your bottom line. 

“This is an unprecedented time and all Americans are being impacted — some more severely than others. ... As a business owner, your customers and their trust are paramount. You need to be willing to sacrifice short term profit gains to protect your customer,"

From a marketing perspective, now is the time to get creative.

Remember:  What a person decides to spend their money on should never be assumed.  What should shift in the business's strategy is how to innovate existing + future marketing efforts to adapt to the current situation. Take a look at your current campaigns from the perspective of the new normal.  Is this messaging still relevant?  

Brainstorm and implement creative promotional campaigns and strategize going forward based on your results.

Don’t be afraid to use some tasteful humor to relate - it is okay! Creative and relatable advertising takes businesses to a new level during times of crisis and recession. It is more important now in 2020 than ever before to be relatable with your approach. 

Unsure of how to do this in a helpful way? Your company could decide to launch a fun contest and in turn gain followers and capture email leads.  Or, capture email addresses of customers who’d like to be communicated with regarding company updates, new hours, promotions, re-open information, etc.  Include business information in FREE resources like The Post and Courier Business Guide. Submit your business listing for our COVID-19 Business Guide for free here. 

If business is currently closed or experiencing a decrease in sales, utilize this downtime to prepare a strategy for when social distancing ends. That marketing or rebranding initiative you’ve always wanted to start but haven’t? Now is the time to. Have an innovative business idea? Work hard and don’t be afraid to implement it. Many successful startup companies began amidst the 2008 recession including companies like Slack, whose innovation has landed them financial success again during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Whether your company is temporarily closed or ramping up advertising efforts, we are here for you. Continue to communicate and engage with your customers using empathy first. Shift your strategy to, “how can I be useful to my clients?” Keep in mind that your customers are generally stressed and will remember how your messaging made them feel during this crisis. Lend a helping hand, and prepare for the return. We will make it through this together.

How to Promote your Award-Winning Success

Award season in Charleston is upon us and we wanted to help winning businesses highlight their success. The Charleston community nominated and voted for the top businesses in a variety of categories. Now is the time for you to highlight your honors and give your business the extra boost that awards can provide.

Here in Charleston, customers are always on the lookout for Charleston’s Choice honors, as it shows a business is the best of the best. And this goes for all types of awards any business might be recognized for. Let your community know you’ve been recognized through these branding and promotional strategies.

Brag in your email marketing

You’ll want to make sure that you’re bragging about your award everywhere you can. Emails are a great place for that. You can make specialized emails focused on your award. Or simply add in the honors to your existing communications.

If you have a regular newsletter, dedicate a special edition to announcing the honors. Make an event out of it and catch subscribers’ attention by detailing how and why you won.

What makes your customer relations the best in the business? Why is your business the top tourist hotspot? Awards carry prestige by nature. But customers want to know just why you’re the best.

This is also a good place to start incorporating the award logo into your branding. This would be temporary and wouldn’t be applicable in all branding locations, so there’s no need to rework your logo. So find the best way to pair your logo with the award branding and place that naturally in your emails. Have employees update their signatures to include that your business is an award winner.

Show off the award with pride

Take advantage of this time to promote your award in the digital and physical space. SEM campaigns can show web searchers that you are a business worth looking into. And traditional web page ads catch the attention of audiences in your area, if you are employing geomarketing capabilities.

Businesses with a customer-facing storefront will have an easy time showing off their award. On-location signage promotes your success to all potential customers or clients. 

But businesses located within a large office complex in their own suite don’t have the opportunity to flaunt as much. Local billboards are a good substitute and open you up for even greater reach.

If physical ads by the side of the highway aren’t your thing, you should at least be showing off your victory on your website and social media pages. Update your website’s hero image and fancy up your homepage for a few weeks to celebrate. Maybe even run a contest to show you want to celebrate with your customers, not just tell them how great you are.

Other benefits of winning awards

If you haven’t gotten your business entered into awards, consider the added benefits outside of attracting new business. The prestige of being an award-winning organization affects all aspects of business.

Awards can bring growth to your business internally as well. It’s not always about showing off the award to the public. Current staff will be able to take pride in the work they do and the company they belong to. It’s an opportunity for a great boost in company morale. So even just putting up the award logo around the office can have great effects.

The celebration events for the awards themselves can also be a great opportunity for employees of winning businesses. Award parties can be a place to network with other winning businesses and build new business relationships.

Our Charleston’s Choice celebration brings together local businesses and gives them a chance to show the community why they were selected for the top honors. Restaurants and beverage companies can share their award winning creations with attendees.

There is always value in building your face-to-face engagement with your community. Event sponsorships can enable you to directly reach your community and professional peers. It is a great way to build your brand image.

Signs, advertisements and published announcements are the wide-reaching way to show off your accomplishment. But, an event sponsorship gives you a more intimate way to connect with potential customers or partners.

Finally, it should go without saying that a little time to unwind does wonders for everyone.