So you want to be Sponsored..
I remember growing up as a kid in the 80’s riding local motocross events with Moredon, Mid Wilts, Norton & Radstock, Corsham and so on.. I always remember following Team Green on the back of the TMX, I would have given anything to be part of Team Green back then. Paul Malin, Carl Nunn, Tony Marshall and Stephen Sword were just a few of the Team Green Riders at the time that dominated the scene.
Team Green worked really well as the riders dominated whatever class they were in and wherever they turned up they had the familiar M.Robert Team Green Kit. We’re talking of an era when we used Ford Sierras and trailers (This did happen). They looked like the elite as they came across as the elite, fast, cool and part of an exclusive club of very talented riders.
Sponsorship has changed significantly over the past 30 years with the introduction of the Internet, marketing and how Motocross has evolved in general. There are some great opportunities out there for people at all levels to get support, from your local dealer to your dad’s company, you have to start thinking outside the box though and be prepared to do some work. Nothing in life comes for free, you will learn that there is always a catch.
If you’re serious about sponsorship then you need to get your house in order now, it’s not about how fast you are (although that helps), its about how much you can offer. This guide will fit Pro Racers through to riders seeking some help.
What you need to do first.
First thing you need to do is get your house in order. As a sponsor the first thing I’m going to do is look at your Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile and do a Google search for your name and find out as much about you as a person as at the end of the day you will be representing my business. This search will give me a wealth of information all about you and as they say first impressions count.
What can you offer?
Think about this. A business doesn’t have to write off a chunk of money sponsoring you, there are a whole heap of other things they can spend their money on.
A business will look at any sponsorship as an investment and all investments need to produce a return, what return can you give?
A return can be provided in many ways:
- Exposure – Help assist selling the brand and products to friends and family.
- Content – Make your own content that a business can use for their own social channels or company website.
- Social Media – Every business is online now, you use Facebook & Instagram daily so do the maths!
- Local Press – Traditional still works Newspaper stories and PR
- Connecting businesses together and creating opportunities for them.
I’m not going to do your work for you or give you the perfect blueprint for sponsorship success (That’s another blog) but think about ways in how you can help a business first and yourself second. If your Dad, family member etc works for a company or owns his own company would any of the suppliers be willing to help? Loyalty plays a huge part in any serviced business so if a supplier helps out on a personal level it will build a bond between the supplier and business.
What can you offer? Photography, writing an article to put online, setup your own website with your racing experiences and blog about racing each week with links back to your sponsors website.
There are many ways in which you can help a business and when you start changing your mind-set to, how can I help them, rather than how they can help me? That’s when you’re ready to take the first step.
What you shouldn’t do..
I get around 20-30 sponsorship requests on average a week for Burfield, MX Vice and some of my clients, it usually goes like this…
Hey guys, I’m a local kid racing down in ‘Blah Blah’. Just looking for any kind of support in return for promotion for your company. Please let me know your thoughts and ill wait to here from you. Thanks.
So what promotion? Wait for my thoughts? Can you see where this is going wrong? You are creating extra work, you have not given any specific examples of you can help and what benefit it would be for me.
I am from ‘blah blah’, and I’m 15 years old riding motocross on a Yamaha 125cc, I think I would be worthy of sponsorship because I go over to France and stuff, I race a lot where i could promote ‘Blah Blah’ with maybe stickers or signs, i could get my van sign written with ‘Blah Blah’ on it, i also have a lot of friends from all over France on Facebook so i could promote to them and get the word out a lot over that.
I get the above constantly, no CV, nothing else just I’m rad, I’ll put a sticker on, sponsor me.
So just a few pointers on the above just in case you were thinking about dropping a line to any Motocross Brand, Shop, Business or anyone else. A couple of stickers on a bike really isn’t going to give any business a return, unless it was featured on TV while you are doing something either heroic or illegal.
- Get your Facebook Profile, Instagram and Twitter feed sorted for outside perception. No business will link to someone with racist, prejudice or has hate on their profile. How your perceived is an important factor.
- Pro’s get a linkedIn profile straight away! It shows you are serious about what you d and you presenting yourself in a professional capacity. It’s also a great way of connecting to the right people.
- Get yourself a website or even a about.me profile. Its free and you can customise it.
- Promote yourself through Social Media.
- Get a CV style brochure or even a nice typed up A4 to post or hand to potential sponsors, just in case spam blocks your email.
- Make yourself available, subscribe, update and post constantly, connect with as many people as possible online.
Hope this help provide a little more insight into expectations of companies and good luck for your 2014 campaign.