We get an average of 10-15 proposals weekly. Other companies we work with in the industry are getting anywhere from 20-50 sponsorship requests per day. The problem is that we all seem to see the the same vague, scripted requests. Most are brief, with little detail about who they are, which series they race in, and how they would benefit the sponsor they are requesting sponsorship from. Let me share 5 tips on how to find sponsorships.
When you are looking for a sponsorship company, try learning as much as you can about their organization. Take time to browse their social media and web pages. Do they already sponsor other forms of motorsports? Get in contact with someone in their marketing department. Ask questions to find out where they are advertising. Do they have a product that is affordable to buy? Take some photos and/or videos of you using their products. Use this material to make a post on social media and tag the company. This will add value to your brand and grab their attention more than everyone else who is reaching out for sponsorships.
Video is everything right now and it can gain you great exposure. Not many racers use this form of marketing in the off season. Buy a GoPro, or something similar, or use your phone to start producing some behind the scene videos. This is so important to build your personal brand, along with your race program. Fans want to see behind the scenes of what their favorite teams are up to. This doesn’t have to be a high budget film, just get a friend to help you film some stuff, and interview you as a driver. Explain the ups and downs of racing, trying to find funding, or doing both while trying to raise a family. People want to see the real person behind the helmet. Some people might not feel comfortable on camera, and don’t want to look or feel awkward, but this is really important for your growth as a brand. The more real you are, the more they will feel connected to you. People naturally want to see into other people's lives, but they don’t want the scripted version. They want to see the real life as a racer, good or bad. If you really want to be at a pro level and make racing as a full time career, you have to have build your brand for fans and sponsors to know who you are and what your team is about.
Asking for a big check from a large sponsorship, only to put the company's logo on your car for exposure, really isn’t enough anymore. If the company wants to gain exposure, they can easily spend thousands in social media ads, and be seen anywhere. A lot of the sponsors are looking to make a connection with the fans at the track through you. Think how you can gain them exposure by having their product or service displayed in your pits, or using their product. Create videos in your pit area as fans show interest in the products. Also, by doing all this filming and photos, you now have footage to send to sponsors to use on their social media channels. That is huge! Companies spend thousands on advertisements. If you can give them something cool to post, it will be very valuable to them.
This tip is something all racers can do that is cost effective and can really make your race program look more professional. The majority of race teams are on a strict budget and need to invest as much money as they can into the race vehicle. The part that is often missed is the at race pit area. Take a second to think how your pit is laid out and how it looks for others walking by, including sponsors. This might not seem like a big deal, but when a sponsor is looking for a driver and they scope a pit that is messy, and everything looks run down, they are going to move on. They will look for a pit that is clean, showing coordinated colors matching with their program, and team shirts matching. They will look for details like having the pit cart, tool boxes, and jacks freshly painted, banners lined up evenly, and an all around clean pit area. I know some of you are going to think, "Why does this matter? I am way in the back and no one sees me anyway." You would be surprised by how many people actually see your pit, and if you do good on the track, sponsors might come to meet you and check your program out. Another big benefit of having a nice pit setup is having the ability to invite sponsors to a race to let them hang out and feel what racing is all about (especially if it's a company that has never been involved in racing). They could fall in love with it and want to invest more money into your program and series.
Start thinking of this as a true business, and you have to think as the sponsor. Not as you the driver wanting money from the sponsor. Show them the benefits of working with your program over anyone else.
These five tips are just breaking the ice on how to get sponsorships. I wanted to help get your mind moving and start thinking better on how to grow your program without breaking the bank
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