CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Article/Photo By Tom Baker–
“Would you like to sponsor my race team?”
That question is the modern-day marketing equivalent of smoking a pipe or shaggy green carpet on the walls of your house.
It’s so 1970’s.
Stop asking it.
If all you have is a race car and a driver, you have a hobby. Sponsors will not sponsor a hobby.
Before you even approach a company about sponsorship, you must decide to run your race team like a business.
Once you decide to run your race team like a business, you must have the following three things, because you’re asking to put together a business deal, not a donation…
1 – A website.“But I have Facebook so I don’t need a website.”
Yes you do.
Facebook is not a website. Facebook or any social media is a platform for daily conversation with your fans. A _______ (insert social media platform name here) post disappears in an hour and potential sponsors are not going to have time to scroll for days to get to know your history and what you’re about.
A website is your hub for all things you. You own it. It is unique to you. You are in control of it.
You are never in control of social media. Others make the rules and decide what you can and cannot post and how many characters.
What should you have on your website?
You should have ongoing news about your racing on your site along with your merch store, photos/video, and a place where your fans can sign up for a Fan Club.
Then use social media to have fun with your fans and direct people back to your site for news and opportunities to engage with you and purchase things.
Don’t build a cheap site on Wix or GoDaddy. That tells the sponsor that you don’t invest much in your own brand, so you probably won’t invest much in theirs either.
Your marketing tools are the only part of your race team that might get you a return on your investment. Don’t skimp.
The more professional you look, the more professional potential sponsors will think you are.
If you treat your racing as a hobby, sponsors won’t have a reason to be involved.
Run it like a business.
2 – A business plan.This is not a marketing deck. This is a well thought-out, focused plan that lays out where, when, and for whom you are planning to race, demographics and how the sponsor interacts with that.
You should have a one, three and five-year plan.
For example, maybe you are going to run late model stock cars in a regional series in 2023 and 2024, run a few ARCA Menards Series races in 2024 and then transition full-time to the NASCAR Truck Series in 2025.
Lay out as much demographical information about each series as you can. Include current schedules to show the potential sponsor as an example, and lay out the deliverables they will get for the cost.
Again, run your team like a business.
3 – Time.If you just slap a marketing deck together and spray it out to a hundred sponsors hoping one of them will understand exactly what you want them to do and why, you will likely get nothing back but frustration.
Take the time to research the company, read their websites thoroughly and ask yourself how you and the company can effectively enhance the fan experience at your races.
Did I say run your race team like a business?
This is not an option if you want corporate support, even at the local/regional level.
Do you need help with building your brand, business plan or marketing tools?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s customize a brand-building plan just for you.