“You gotta spend money to make money” is an old business mantra, but definitely still a true one. Any real estate agent worth their salt knows it takes some financial investment to make headway with a marketing strategy and, more specifically, bolster their real estate branding. However, taking advantage of sponsorship opportunities, donating to worthwhile causes, and making a positive impact in the community are great ways to get maximum exposure with often minimal financial outlay. Here are a couple dozen sponsorship ideas that can help with your real estate agent branding.
1) Make a donation to a local charity.
This is the most straightforward way to get your name out there, but is only suited to agents and firms who are well-established (and flush in cash). Find an organization that supports a cause you truly believe in and support that project or program with a charitable, tax-deductible donation — a win-win situation for the organization, the people they work to help, and your agency. Don’t be shy about asking for recognition. A blurb in their newsletter, a mention on their blog, or some social media posts about your donation are all reasonable requests if you make a significant donation.
2) Sponsor a local youth sports team or league.
Youth sports leagues in your area are prime sponsorship opportunities. Your money can go toward funding their uniforms (or even the league itself), while you gain recognition among the crowded stands full of proud parents and potential home buyers and sellers. Plus, reporting on the team’s games is a nice way to bring some human interest to your blog or email newsletter.
3) Finance a charitable marathon, bike race, 5K, or fun run.
Events like these are regularly looking for sponsors to help out. Additionally, if you’re up to it, you can even partake in the event in question, which will allow you to meet new people. Snap some shots with participants and share them on your social media accounts and blog, and bingo — you can show how you’re involved in your community.
4) Contribute money to building projects.
No, you don’t need to shell out millions of dollars to help a hospital get a new wing, but you and your firm can offer to pay for a portion of an addition or renovation to a notable building in your area. Have a modest budget? Don’t give up. We’ve seen a plaque in the bathroom of a local non-profit thanking the donors who paid for the faucet, paper towel dispenser, and toilet paper holder. (But you might want to pass on that last idea.)
5) Place ads in program books for local events.
School plays, dance recitals, community theater — there are seemingly endless types of events in your area that need sponsors to help fund their undertakings. Plus, getting a full page ad in programs for these events likely won’t cost too much and offers you the chance to showcase listings you’ve sold. And while being in the program book for the opera might look classy, you’re better off targeting more modest options where you can stand out with a bigger ad.
6) Offer courtesy coffee at a farmers market.
Everyone appreciates a cup of joe, and providing one for free is a great way to make a friend (or secure a lead). Ask your local farmers market or craft fair if you can set up a table and provide complimentary cups of coffee. Cups and a few carafes won’t set you back much, and you’re sure to be the most popular table.
7) Sponsor a real estate–related podcast.
Podcasting is slowly but surely becoming a new go-to marketing trend. Hop on the bandwagon and sponsor a podcast series from mortgage pros, housing professionals, real estate bloggers, and the like. Who knows? You could even learn a thing or two from the pros you work with that can help you develop your own podcast.
8) Promote your brand at a local karaoke night.
In addition to making your presence known at the local bar karaoke night by belting out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” make it known you’re the person who helped make the night possible with some banner ads and flyers. Whether you decide to go by “The Karaoke Agent” is your call, however. This is a great place to meet those elusive Millennials too.
9) Bankroll a “theme night” at the community center.
Local organizations often put together nights like these (e.g. “Casino Night,” TV show-themed parties, etc.) that feature funky costumes, fun games, and intricate designs. Sponsoring a get-together like this can show you have a relatable personality, good sense of humor, and fun nature (in other words, someone who’d be enjoyable to work with).
10) Sponsor a local pet adoption event.
Help our feline and canine pals find forever homes by sponsoring a local pet adoption. Contact shelters in your market to see what’s coming up on their calendars. Even if they don’t have any adoptions coming up, propose a place, date, and time to host one.
11) Take part in a wildlife conservation event.
Ensuring dogs and cats in your community are taken care of is important, but so too is helping your area’s wildlife. Back an awareness event for wildlife conservation and inform area residents about their natural surroundings. As a bonus, this provides great fodder for blog posts that inform those relocating about the natural features of your area.
12) Throw a BBQ or picnic for the community.
Reserve some space at the most popular park in your market during an upcoming weekend and host a cookout for local community members. Nobody said sponsorship opportunities couldn’t be fun (or delicious).
13) Promote your brand at a local bowling league.
Hit the lanes to spread awareness of your business. If you’re looking for great corporate sponsorship ideas, this is certainly one of them. Talk to the head of your agency or brokerage to see if they would want to sponsor an entire league.
14) Give discounted cleanings at a nearby car wash.
Step one: Provide a discount to the first 50 people to come through your local car wash. Step two: Give them a brochure featuring information about your business, the local market, and listings you’ve sold. Step three: Grab their contact info and add them to your customer relationship management (CRM) database.
15) Donate money to a local school’s scholarship program.
Along the way, most of us got help with tuition costs and book expenses via scholarships. Head to the local high school to offer up cash for kids in need of financial aid as they prepare to head off to college. One great thing about scholarships (from a branding perspective) is they tend to be widely publicized, so your name will reach plenty of eyes.
16) Sponsor a portion of the local highway.
Ever see those signs on the road saying “This stretch of [highway name here] is sponsored by …”? Why not have your name (and perhaps even a headshot) featured along a nearby roadway.
17) Advertise at a local golf tournament.
Get in touch with local golf courses to determine if any sponsorship opportunities exist for tournaments, which can bring about a hefty amount of foot traffic. Tournaments bring in thousands of people, and just like conventions, some tourneys allow for promotional station setups. Many clubs even offer ongoing sponsorships, so your name can be seen by everyone at the 18th tee.
18) Promote at restaurant tastings and pub crawls.
Do you live in a culturally vibrant area with lots of great restaurants, bars, and clubs? Contact the owners of these establishments to see if they’re hosting any pub crawls. Spending the day hopping from one place to another can help you connect with locals. Similarly, you can work with breweries, wineries, and restaurants to learn about their events, like tastings, and inquire about potentially sponsoring them.
19) Help support a local beach or park cleanup.
Regardless of whether you live in a rural, suburban, or urban market, there are parks and other public grounds that constantly require cleanup and upgrades. Work with your local municipality and community organizations to help fix problems. For instance, you can help restore an abandoned lot into a new park by devoting time, energy, and money to the project.
20) Sponsor a student in an educational competition.
Help kids with travel costs for events like regional or national spelling bees, debates, or DECA or mathlete competitions. Parents of these students will take notice of your helpful investment and turn to you when the time comes to buy or sell.
21) Advertise at a local art gallery’s exhibition.
Not all gallery owners may like the idea of a brand sponsoring their events, but when they get financial assistance that helps get food and drinks for their openings, they may not mind the idea of art and business mixing. Make sure you are recognized at the opening and in any promotions.
22) Support a seasonal event, like a festival or parade.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a town in America that doesn’t have at least one big festival, parade, block party, or similar large-scale event held annually. Sponsors usually line up to support these celebrations, so throw your name in the hat. If they plan to give out a gift bag or information packet to attendees, ask to put your business card in each one.
23) Aid a local theater’s movie marathon.
Believe it or not, there are people who enjoy spending several hours in a dark theater to watch film anthologies. Email the operators of your local cinemaplex (chain, independent, or otherwise) and offer to help pay for popcorn and treats for moviegoers who attend. More and more theaters will acknowledge your contribution with an ad on screen before the previews start.
24) Assist local radio programs with funding.
Radio may be part of “advertising past” for many companies, but it still has its uses for real estate agents. Identify local radio stations in need of funding and get some ad time in return. Moreover, you can get some attention via a station’s website and email marketing campaign.
What other sponsorship marketing opportunities could agents use to bolster their real estate branding? Share them with us in the comments below.