Main Photo Credit: Dave Wilson (used under the Creative Commons Attribution License)
Welcome to Part 2 in this 5 part series where I’ll explain everything you need to know to attract sponsors and become the rider that companies WANT to support!
In the last post I explained what sponsorship is and gave specific examples of the different types of sponsorship offers including links to apply for your own deals today. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, I recommend checking it out.
Here’s the breakdown of the rest of the series:
Part 1: What Is Sponsorship? – The 3 Main Types of Sponsorship Deals
Part 2: Who Would Sponsor Me? – Switch your Mindset and Think Like a Marketer
Part 3: Stand Out! – Get Noticed and Prove You Mean Business
Part 4: Your Sponsorship Packet – Plan Ahead and Create a Winning Sponsorship Packet
Part 5: Hustle – Seal the deal!
Part 6: The Perfect Promoter – Keep Your Sponsors Coming Back for More
Part 2: Who Would Sponsor Me?
Before we discuss who to ask to sponsor you we need to understand the “why”. To do this we need to get inside the heads of the companies who may be interested in supporting a sponsor to understand how we can create a win-win situation.
Every company wants to grow their business and make more money, and many of them are willing to pay to do that. But, if they are smart, they will only want to invest in strategies that promise a positive return on investment. In other words if they spend $500 on marketing, they expect to gain > $500 in revenue.
Of course a business’s primary goal is to make money, so you’ll want to show them how you plan to promote them and what exposure they can expect to receive by working with you, but there are some other benefits that sponsorship can provide that may also fit with their vision.
Here are a few ways a sponsorship campaign can help companies reach their goals:
- Word of mouth marketing – having you using and promoting their product/service to all your riding buddies helps reach more customers.
- Positive PR – “paying it forward” and supporting a local racer gains exposure and support from the local community.
- Corporate image – supporting a race team creates an exciting image that people will associate with their company.
Word of mouth
Word of mouth marketing is a very effective and coveted form of marketing, especially in this age of information overload, because people trust a genuine recommendation from a friend much more than a company promoting their own products – “of course they think their own products are great!”
WOM is also a very targeted form of marketing. Unlike a billboard or TV commercial that is VERY expensive and will reach a LOT of people but maybe only a few of them are potential customers, WOM may reach a much smaller audience, but if every one of those people is a potential customer, it can have a significant impact.
Word of mouth doesn’t have to be limited to an in-person encounter either. If you are seen as an “expert” and are active on social media, have a website/blog, or participate in a forum discussion, people will value your opinion when you make recommendations.
(Tip: make a list of all the websites you actively participate on to give your prospective sponsor an idea of the scope of your web presence)
What companies sell a quality product or service that you would use and gladly recommend?
All companies want people to like them (or at least they should), and one way to gain community support is to “pay it forward” and support the community first. With a sponsorship program they show that they care about local racers which will make local racers more likely to support them. Wouldn’t you rather do business with someone who actively supports your hobby?
What companies could benefit from positive PR and community support?
Even if a company doesn’t directly sell motorcycling products, they may be interested in supporting a race team simply to give their company a specific image. By sponsoring something fast, exciting, risky, and competitive the idea is that people will associate their company with those same characteristics.
Photo credit: deoman56 (used under the creative commons attribution license)
Red Bull is a good example of this. An energy drink is not directly related to motorcycle racing or free-falling from outer space and yet they sponsor all kinds of daredevil events and athletes in extreme sports because presumably they want people to associate their product with excitement, bravery, risk-taking, and pushing the limits.
What companies want to create an exciting, adventurous, edgy, or thrilling image?
Now that you know a little bit about why a company would want to support a sponsor, let’s use that same logic to brainstorm a list of companies that are likely to say “yes”. Don’t limit yourself to motorcycle related companies; I know many great sponsorship offers from companies that have nothing to do with the motorcycle industry.
Here are a few examples to get you started (I also added a few promotion suggestions to start the conversation):
- Motorcycle maintenance shop
- Autobody / paint shop (add their logo to your paint job)
- Leather repair shop (put their company name on your leathers)
- Engine Tuner
- Energy drink company (offer to take a case to the track and promote it in the pits)
- Local sports bar / restaurant (offer to invite your friends for a post-race celebration dinner)
- Action cam company (post your videos on YouTube and make sure to mention what camera you filmed them with)
Now it’s your turn! Get out some scratch paper and jot down at least 10 companies that you could realistically approach about a sponsorship program. If you can’t come up with 10 specific names, search online for local companies in any of these categories (or one of your own) to flesh out your list.
Have you ever had or do you currently have any sponsors? List them in the comments to help the rest of us get some more ideas!
Check out the next installment, Part 3: Stand Out!, where I teach you 3 key techniques to get noticed and prove you mean business.