Tips on Making a Sponsor Happy
As a local dirt racer, I see social media posts all the time saying things like “How do I get a sponsor to help cover my costs?” Those are typically followed up by a plethora of comments along the lines of “Good luck, let me know if you figure it out”. There are also plenty of blogs and articles on this topic written by racers giving out tips. Well, being a racer and a business owner of Executive Auto Shippers, I feel like I might have a unique perspective on this topic. So for what it’s worth I will put on my CEO hat and dole out what insight I have.
Winners don’t always get the prize.
Don’t get me wrong, winning is amazing from the driver’s seat! But from my side of the desk winning is not going to make me want to sign that sponsorship proposal. Keep in mind that you’re not a NASCAR driver or being interviewed on TV to race at your local dirt track. The car running 10th place at your local dirt track passed the crowd in the stands just as many times as the one out front. So don’t sell yourself short, you have just as much to offer a sponsor as that 2-time track champion.
Sorry in advance for the corporate speak, but here it is. You need to be offering a mutually beneficial marketing campaign that is customized to the sponsor’s marketing strategy and offers a measurable return on investment. There are two very important messages to take away from that statement. First, your sponsorship proposal should be more about the benefits to the sponsor and less about your race team. When you get a chance to talk with a prospective sponsor don’t waste their time by listing off a database of your stats. Instead, engage that contact by finding out what challenges they are having with their marketing strategy. You must be prepared to discuss how you can assist them with those specific issues. Secondly, and in my opinion, the key to that long sentence is the phrase “measurable return on investment”. This is what really keeps the quarter panels covered. Rather than delivering that Thank You picture with your IMCA modified yawed out in the middle of turn 4, bring them stats. Specifically on how many people you reached, any demographics you are able to obtain and what platform you utilized. Marketing strategies are very diverse and it can be difficult to attribute sales to specific campaigns. Help that sponsor make a decision with facts and figures.
Be an Influencer
I think that the most overlooked strategy for the local race team wanting to get a sponsor is that of the online influencer. Create a separate race team or driver’s profile on the social media platform of your choice, then treat that profile like a business. Grow your social reach every chance you get. The more followers and interaction you get the bigger audience you can deliver to that prospective sponsor. Put together a detailed plan of online and social media marketing. Shares, Likes, Comments, are great and absolutely help sell products and services. Any company that is serious about their online marketing will love original content. You can generate value by creating some videos or write a blog, anything that can be used by the sponsor to engage new consumers. Use that reach to organize appearances, create a campaign that will bring in as many of your fans as possible to that sponsor’s location.
Getting that sponsorship proposal signed is dependent on how well you can promote their product or service. Make sure you remember that for the prospective sponsor, this really is an investment in marketing and not a fan donation. Proving that you can deliver a return on their investment is really all it takes to create a winning sponsorship package.