There are lots of motocross competitors who would love the opportunity to be sponsored by a dirt bike manufacturer or another popular racing brand. Instead of shelling out a small fortune on all the latest bikes and gear, sponsored riders get them for free. What’s not to love?
The problem is that there’s a lot of competition when it comes to getting sponsorships. While pro riders in the upper echelons of the motocross world usually have no problem finding sponsors, relative newcomers tend to have a harder time. They can read on to find some tips for how to get sponsorships.
- Stand Out from the Crowd
Companies providing sponsorships want to know their riders will provide plenty of revenue-generating exposure. To attract potential sponsors, riders need to show up consistently to races and events.
Riders who want to attract sponsors should also take the time to make sure their bikes stand out from the crowd. They should keep them clean and well-maintained and might want to consider customizing them to get some added attention. Riders who want to make sure their bikes stand out and represent their personal brands can find decals and more at Senge Graphics.
- Start Small
It’s much easier to get sponsorships from local dirt bike shops than industry giants like Fox Racing. It’s important for riders to reach out only to companies they actively want to work with and promote, but those who are still new to motocross may not want to set their sights on industry giants. Instead, they can reach out to local companies.
It’s equally important to keep an open mind about appropriate sponsorships. Even non-industry-related vendors might like to see their logos emblazoned on a popular local rider’s bike. Think of these sponsorships as similar to the banners flown at Little League fields. They’re not always related to the sport, and it’s just as common to see local dentists or hardware stores advertising as it is industry name brands.
- Be Realistic
Novice riders just getting their first sponsorships should not expect to get a $1,000 check every month from their sponsors. Instead, they’ll likely be offered gift cards, discounts, or much smaller donations from non-industry-related companies.
It’s also important to be realistic about expecting some rejections. The real industry heavyweights get dozens, or sometimes hundreds, of applications for sponsorship programs each year. Many of them have current or former pro riders reviewing applications, and all of them want to make sure each new sponsored rider will perfectly represent their brand, so expect to get some rejections.
- Go for In-Person Introductions
Filling out applications online isn’t always the best way to get sponsorships. Instead, newer riders may want to start reaching out to and interacting with potential sponsors on a face-to-face basis. In-person introductions create a stronger first impression and allow riders to stand out from the crowd.
There’s a right way and a wrong way for riders to introduce themselves to potential sponsors. Before dropping in on the management, riders should call to schedule a meeting and communicate over the phone that they are looking for local brands to work with. It’s also wise to plan a pitch in advance and to personalize it based on what products or services the company provides.
- Show Up Consistently
Once a rider has found a sponsor, he or she will be expected to show up to just about every race and event. Remember, from the sponsor’s point of view, the cost of gear, gift certificates, or stipends is supposed to provide returns in the form of increased brand visibility. Companies won’t hand over discounted or free merchandise to riders who don’t show up consistently to showcase a company’s brand.
Showing up continuously won’t just help riders maintain relationships with their current sponsors. It can also help them get noticed by other local and national companies that may be interested in working with them. Riders don’t need to win every race, either. They just need to show up consistently to prove to current and potential future sponsors that they will be reliable.
- Be Professional
How ryders act both on and off the track is important when it comes to attracting sponsors. When a rider affiliates him- or herself with a company, that rider becomes a face of the brand. As a result, the rider’s behavior will affect how people view that brand.
It’s important to avoid being rude to other drivers or acting like a hothead. These kinds of behaviors can make it next to impossible to get sponsors, and it may even cause current sponsors to drop riders. Keep in mind that riders should maintain a professional bearing not just at races but also at non-racing events and in their personal lives, especially online.
- Build a Personal Brand
Sponsors aren’t the only ones that benefit from branding. Motocross riders who want to gain more exposure and encourage companies to work with them can also benefit from building a personal brand.
Riders can market themselves and their talents through social media, YouTube, and local venues. They should update their audiences frequently and try to keep fans interested by posting plenty of high-quality photos and videos. Riders looking for sponsors should do everything they can to foster a positive online reputation that will encourage sponsors to reach out or respond positively to applications for sponsorship.
The Best Time to Get Started Is Now
No matter where motocross riders are in their careers, it’s never too early or too late to start focusing on finding and working with sponsors. Try to remember that even the most impressive pro racers started somewhere, and don’t get discouraged by rejections. If riders maintain positive reputations both on and off the track, show up consistently for every race and event, and reach out to as many companies as possible, they’ll start to acquire new sponsors. It will just take some time, so exercise patience and focus on cultivating a personal brand in the meantime.
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