Car Sponsorship Using the Web

It seems like car sponsorship has become a lot more difficult to come by over the years. Companies actually want to make sure they get some type of return on their investment - crazy, right? So what does that mean for you? It just means you have to work a little harder to get sponsored. The deals are out there. You just need to position yourself to land them.

Of course, you need to determine what it is you plan to get sponsorship for. If it's racing or motorsports, which is what this article will focus on, you'll need to hone your driving skills and choose a series and class to compete in that you have a realistic shot at being successful in. Whether it be autocross, time trials, rallycross, club racing, spec racing, drag racing, land speed, etc - work on your driving skills. Otherwise there's no sense in reading any further. Check with organizations like NASA, SCCA and HookedOnDriving and get some seat time with instructors.

The nice thing is you have a very powerful tool at your disposal that will become invaluable in your quest to obtain sponsorship - the web. Think about it. In the past, the only people that saw the sponsor decals on your car were spectators at events. This meant that you had to attend lots of events and focus on events with large crowd attendance. The internet makes that all somewhat less important, as you now have a massive "virtual" audience right at your fingertips. With social media, social sharing, online forums, and the countless interaction tools available on the web, you're no longer limited by event spectator counts.

How, specifically, can the web help with landing sponsors?

1. You can quickly build an audience. If you're a car enthusiast, chances are you've spent a good amount of time in an online forum that is focused on the type of car you own. And you've probably come across some great build threads where a member posts photos and content describing the whole process. How about threads talking about racing events. Take notice of the number of replies those types of threads receive. That's how you create an audience. If you don't know the best forum to participate in for your car, simply visit Google and type in "My Car Make Forum" - replace "my car make" with the make of your car (e.g. Mustang). You'll quickly find all of the forum sites available for your car.

You also have social media at your disposal. Building up a following on networks like Facebook and Twitter can give you a huge advantage. And don't forget blogging - here's a great tutorial on setting up a blog specifically for car sponsorship. It's not that difficult to do and the potential payoff makes it well worth the time and effort. Sponsors will expect you to have a professional looking website/blog for your racing effort. It's almost expected. If you're lucky enough to own a GoPro in-car camera, you will definitely want to post those videos on Youtube and then embed them in your blog, share them on social media sites and in forums. The bigger the following you create, the more influence you will have. And that is gold in the eyes of sponsors.

2. Building your portfolio; In the process of building an audience you're going to be posting content. This will come in the form of write-ups, photos, videos, etc. What you're actually doing here is building up a portfolio. Your portfolio would be best viewed as a website/blog where you can organize everything neatly and easily point people to view, like potential sponsors. This means you'll need to fill it up your blog with a good amount of content before you can start distributing it. Document your events! The bigger your portfolio, the more sponsors can trust you to bring them exposure.

3. The web expands the sponsor pool. It used to be that we had to sell local businesses on the idea of sponsoring our race cars. You're no scrap car St Albans longer limited by geography! In fact, you might even find it easier to land sponsors outside of your area. Many have found that the best companies to target for sponsorship are those who specialize mainly in aftermarket parts for the make/model car they will be racing. Assuming you've done a solid job in building your audience and your portfolio, those companies will be far more willing to consider throwing free parts your way to help you win your class.

Keep in mind that not all small businesses (like those who specialize in aftermarket car parts) have the time and resources to market themselves effectively on the web. If they're able to ride the coat tails of a driver that is harnessing the web to share their racing efforts with the world, why wouldn't they want to consider partnering with that driver? It's essentially a way for them to contract out their web marketing. Be sure that your online activity includes websites where potential sponsors are known to frequent.

In the end it all comes down to this - racing is a business. Sponsors need to see that their investment in your sponsorship deal will result in more business for them. You can't just tell them to take your word for it. They'll need to see the potential for themselves. It would make a lot of sense to build relationships with potential sponsors early on so that when it comes time to send them a sponsorship proposal they already know who you are. It would make even more sense if you purchased products from them and used those products on your race car. Think like the sponsor and treat their business like your own. You'll likely do pretty well.