That is the big question isn't it? The question that every race team, big or small, will ask. Let's face it, racing is an incredibly expensive sport. Any racer participating in a Nascar Weekly Racing Series can see the U-CAR (U Can Afford Racing) category and know that. Racing relies on gaining and keeping sponsors. In order to understand how to get more sponsors for your race team, you have to understand the sponsors' motivations, and then you have to meet their expectations!
What motivates a Race Sponsor?
Sponsorship in a race team is a mutually beneficial relationship. Race teams receive funding revenues in order to purchase and maintain equipment and so on, while sponsors want the associated advertising.Your success on the track is a sponsor’s marketing mouthpiece. Maybe they want to sell a specific product, increase their brand recognition (awareness), or they may have a desire to help a community that they sell to. But no matter what their specific message is, their goal is to have their message received. At the end of the day, marketing is all about Return on Investment (ROI). If your sponsors are not seeing their message being received, they will not get ROI. The bottom line for your race team is this: you have a duty to get your sponsor's message out there.
Meeting their Expectations
Okay, so we have the motivation captured: sponsors will only invest in your team if their message is received and their brand/message is being promoted. Next we have to figure out how we are going to get their message out there. In the racing world that can typically come down to one methodology: Win Races. That thought process makes sense: you have the sponsor on the car, big letters and all, you win the race, and you get the photo online with their branding in there. Maybe you get the interview and you can work-in how much you like their brand. Sponsors are happy. But, for most racers, that moment is fleeting. Not every driver wins every race. For the growing race team, this means a gap in message receipt. The sponsors are not seeing ROI when the teams aren't winning. But, You don't have to win races to retain and acquire good sponsors, you have to win at distributing their message. Don't get me wrong when I say that. Winning helps, and sponsors want to be a part of a winning team. But the key to elevating your sponsorship game, and ultimately how you get more sponsorships, is through effective social media marketing.
Let's run through a hypothetical scenario:
There are two competitive race teams who have a similar amount of wins throughout the season. They both have a few sponsors, but are looking to expand. The two teams (Team A and B) are nearly identical except for their media presence. Team A works really hard at cultivating a social media page, and their brand as a whole. This looks like a Facebook page, Twitter page, and an Instagram with a robust amount of followers. There are regular posts and engagement with fans digitally. Team A does a weekly post about their sponsors, or at least includes good sponsorship information in a related regular post. Team A has a good looking website, sponsors listed right on the front page, and they sell t-shirts to fans from all over the state. Team B has a small Facebook page, likes coming from family and friends, and a few fans. They don't really push social media, posting 4 or 5 times a season. They are sure to thank their sponsors whenever they win, and they share the posts from the raceway when they win on their page with the sponsors' logo in the background. They don't have a website. They sell some t-shirts, but only at the track.
If you had a message that you really wanted to have people in the race community embrace , where would you put your money? Spending time, money, or both on digital (socials and web) media outreach as a race team is a surefire way to get more sponsors. Organizations want an easy bet on where to put their marketing money. A team with a robust social media following is an easy bet for ROI as a sponsor. Circling back to the example above, let’s say that both of those teams have some issue getting on the podium. Team A is going to continue their social media outreach, and continue to interact with fans. But the free press that Team B gets from winning the races dries up. They don’t have those posts to share anymore. They are now behind the curve, comparably, to the other team. Sponsors can still see that their message can be received through Team A, but not through Team B. Even if you are having a down year, proper social media presence can make up for it with your sponsors. This means that you can continue to attract and maintain your sponsors. All through social media! So, the hurdle for the team is follower outreach and cultivation, consistent social media marketing, and finding the time to do it. If a team can tie those together, they are absolutely going to be successful in attracting sponsorships.
Just Outsource the Outreach
Crossing the hurdle of social media cultivation is where we come in. I would wager as you read through that scenario, you probably thought: "that is going to take so much time". Well, it might not have to. That is what we do here at Pole Pursuit Marketing. Race teams want to be racing, not click-clacking at a computer. So let us handle that. We can develop a custom marketing plan for your race team. Scale the frequency of posts and cultivation based on a budget that works for you. We will help you go out and make your sponsors happy. We can even work on finding sponsors for you.
We know that you want to focus on the craft. You want to be on the track or in the garage making your team better. You focus on the racing, we focus on the marketing.
If that interests you, please feel free to reach out to me personally: email@example.com and check out our website atwww.polepursuit.com
-Cover photo courtesy of Nick Fewlings via Unsplash-