WESOS Sponsorship: Don’t Overlook This Opportunity
One of the oft overlooked advantages of WESOS membership is the ability to sponsor a WESOS meeting for a minimal investment. Sponsoring a WESOS meeting presents a unique opportunity to not only reach the WESOS community, but to reach potential customers, connectors, and collaborators outside of WESOS.
In the summer of 2018, I released a new product called, Sprinkling Gratitude. They are packs of 15 small cards for writing quick little notes of gratitude. I decided to introduce them to WESOS through sponsoring WESOS Aurora. I wanted those who attended the meeting to not just see them on a table. I wanted meeting attendees to see how they were designed to be used and to experience their impact.
To do that, I filled up a tabletop trifold with about 30 of the cards. As each person walked into the meeting, I invited her to grab a card from the board, write a note of gratitude to someone in the room, and give the note to that person. Attendees enjoyed the experience.
That was my first sponsorship. Since then I have sponsored at least 15 meetings. Each time it was worth it. In fact, sponsoring WESOS meetings is now integral to my marketing strategy.
In order to understand how sponsorship has the potential to help grow your business, you must understand what sponsorship entails. Let’s break down sponsorship and look at 3 ways that sponsoring a WESOS meeting can shine a bright light on you and your business.
- Social media promotion
Let’s face it. Like it or not, for most of us small business owners, much of our marketing is on social media. Why? Because most of our customers are on social media. When you sponsor a WESOS meeting, WESOS leadership splashes your sponsorship all over social media!
WESOS has 5 social media accounts on 3 platforms on which the leaders promote sponsors: LinkedIn, Instagram, a Facebook page, the Facebook WESOS Group, and the Facebook Network Sisters Group. Combined, those 5 accounts have over 6000 followers. The number of social media accounts is 6 when you add the Meetup account for the chapter at which you are sponsoring. Plus, you can promote your sponsorship on your own as part of your own social media strategy.
Why is this significant? While we may not have 100% figured what is going on behind the social media curtain, there are a few things we have figured out about how the algorithms work. WESOS social media geeks like Mary Wu and Jen Hall will tell you that the more you and your business are tagged on social media, the more people—inside WESOS and outside of WESOS– will see your posts and learn about your business. That is huge! That is a business opportunity that alone is worth much more than the cost of sponsorship.
2. Extra time for your introduction
At WESOS meetings 30 seconds is the amount of time you get for your introduction. I admit that when I first started attending WESOS meetings, 30 seconds seemed like an hour. Now it seems like 5 seconds. In 30 seconds you want to state your name, your business name, what you do, who’s a good connection, what you are promoting, and so on and so on. That is impossible. Sure, with a carefully crafted intro, you can get the essentials out and entice listeners to reach out to you for more information. But what if you had more time?
If you are a sponsor you get more time! You get 60 seconds for in person meetings and 90 seconds for virtual meetings. That is a significantly greater amount of time. Why is this important? You get more time to give details about your business, about whatever specific thing you are promoting, to show off your product or do a short demo. If you are virtual, you may have the opportunity to share your screen and show a short presentation. Those extra seconds are gold.
At WESOS meetings, selling is generally a no-no. In fact, WESOS CEO Jean Lavallie describes “selling” at a WESOS meeting as a “4 letter word!” Yes, it is a big no-no…unless you are a sponsor. If you are a sponsor, you can straight up sell at a WESOS meeting. You can bring inventory or sign up sheets for your program, and you can straight up sell.
When and where to sponsor
Now that I have convinced you that sponsoring is a business opportunity not to be missed, let’s talk strategy. WESOS sponsorship should not be something you agree to on a whim.
There is a simple answer to the question of when to sponsor, but I am going to give you the answer in a roundabout way. A while back I had a conversation with Success Strategist and marketing guru Vanessa Cabrera. I was planning a promotion of one of my products and was trying to figure out when to do it. I rambled on and on about various considerations. When I finally stopped talking, Vanessa gave me this simple answer, “What does your marketing plan say?”
That simple answer that Vanessa gave me is the same answer to the question of when to sponsor. Sponsorship should be tied to your overall marketing plan. Here’s an example. For most of April and May I heavily promoted 2 products: my summer-themed journal, How’s Your Summer Gonna Rock? and my new product, Notes to My Kid. As part of my plan, I consistently promoted the products on WESOS Wednesday and on my social media accounts throughout April and May. Then, in June I sponsored WESOS Geneva. I brought with me those 2 products and displayed them prominently. I sold several of each of those items. Part of the reason those items sold well at WESOS Geneva was that my sponsorship was tied into my overall marketing strategy.
Think about what you are planning over the next 2-6 months and look into sponsorships in the appropriate timeframes. Keep in mind that because sponsorships are such wonderful opportunities, they get grabbed up quickly. Even if the thing you want to promote is months in the future, it makes sense to reserve your spot immediately.
As for the question of where to sponsor, that requires a close look at the chapters you are considering. WESOS has 22 very different chapters. Furthermore, each meeting is different. I admit that geography plays a big part into my decision as to where to sponsor. Most of the 15+ times that I sponsored have been at chapters within 20-30 minutes of my home. But, there are other factors to consider.
I also consider what the presentation will be about. While the speaker is not necessarily a deciding factor, if there is a synergy between the speaker’s topic and your product, service, or promotion, your opportunity to make an impact on your audience is greater.
Finally, I strongly recommend having a conversation with the chapter leader about the potential sponsorship. We have wildly creative leaders who understand how important the opportunity is to sponsors. They want the experience of their sponsors to be positive. Talk to the leader to learn how they plan to promote your sponsorship and discuss ideas for how you can maximize the opportunity.
Treat WESOS sponsorship like any other business decision. It is a great opportunity, but you must put time and thought into it in order for it to have the greatest positive impact on your business.
- WESOS Members can sponsor a single Chapter meeting for $25.
- Non-members can sponsor a single Chapter meeting for $50, plus the cost of a Guest Pass.
For further information Contact the Leader of the Chapter you’re interested in sponsoring.
Stacey Montgomery is an Aurora, IL-based social emotional learning innovator with a mission to empower kids.
She is the author and illustrator of a series of guided journals for kids and the creator of a social emotional learning curriculum for elementary schools.
Stacey is a WESOS Founding Sister and a Lifetime Member
You can reach Stacey at [email protected] and 630-803-1126.