This article was produced by simracingloft.com
After starting Sim Racing Loft, not a week goes by without us getting a few emails from someone looking for sponsorship. The emails typically go something like this “Hey I know you’re probably looking for pros but I am pretty fast and just need a shot to prove it, will you sponsor me?” And typically our response sounds something like this “Thanks for reaching out! We aren’t always on the hunt for pro drivers, but we are on the hunt for drivers with something more than just speed.
Tell us a bit more about yourself and what would make us want to invest in you.” At this point we get 1 of 3 responses, the first begin silence, the second is defensiveness from being offended, and the third and least likely to happen is the response we are looking for.
10 years ago being fast may have gotten you a ride or a sponsor but even then there is still much more to getting a company to endorse you. (Full transparency the individual writing this is not a sponsored driver, however, the person writing this has been a sponsored athlete in action sports and the same principles apply). When you ask a company to sponsor you and you get a response similar to ours above, you are not approaching the situation as you should. This article is not going to teach you how to land sponsorships, but we are going to tell you what companies are looking for and how you can rethink your strategy.
What should be on your mind as you approach sponsors:
Your sales pitch
Your ROI (return on investment) potential
You need to be able to sell yourself
Ever wonder why athletes or drivers in any sport keep getting a shot even though they don’t excel in what they do? Well, there are a few reasons for that. In motorsports, it's a money thing but a lot of the time a driver is also an excellent salesman. The ability to convince and influence others is a trait that every modern-day sim racing driver needs. Instilling confidence in your potential sponsors that you will be a beneficial asset is key. They need to know that if they make any investment in you that you are confident in your ability to not only drive but to push, promote, and convert sales is the product or service that they provide.
How are you going to promote their brand? Before social media and twitch, it was up to the sponsor to provide you a platform and it was typically on them if you didn’t get seen. Now the roles are reversed, brands no longer need to provide you anything other than lending you their name. You need to come to the table with a pre-built platform that they can tap into because at the end of the day they want your audience more than they want you.
What makes you special and what audience do you have that they don't already have access to? There are dozens of niches in sim racing, most of which don’t require much driving talent at all. Your niche needs to be something that is sought after and one that you already have a decent hold on and have a solidified content strategy. Once again, do not expect your sponsors to provide you with things to do, they are trusting that you already have a strategy for them in mind. This is not to say that brands and companies don’t have their own campaigns and strategies that they want you to be a part of, but typically those do not involve the day to day grind work that they are looking for.
Your ROI (Return on investment)
How are you going to make it worth it for you? At the end of the day, business relationships are all about money. But this part isn’t about the sponsor's ROI, it's about yours. Before you commit to sending that email or doing free promos to attract attention, understand what return you need in order to stay happy with any sponsorships that come your way. Undertaking a sponsorship isn’t something to be taken lightly, you are essentially a member of their team and they are going to expect that you act like it. If you need to be paid then don’t commit to anything that isn’t going to reflect the effort that you have to put in to earn it. If you’re just happy with the free product, then that’s great but regardless of your decision make sure that your efforts don’t outweigh your own return. Remember when we said that the roles have reversed between who provides the platform? Well, the leverage flipped in your favor as well, if you have a strong platform with good reach you have the bargaining power to negotiate for better deals. As we said, brands want your audience more than they want you so if you have something they want, leverage it.
Chasing sponsorships isn’t something that should be done on a whim, you wouldn’t want someone trading on your name and giving a half-assed effort. Sit down, take a minute and understand what you and your prospective sponsors really need, make a plan, and sell it.
If you enjoyed this article, but are looking for how to develop and apply your strategies hold tight! The team at Sim Racing Loft is hard at work on developing an affordable guide complete with tools and strategies for prospective sim racing influencers! To stay up to date on when this will drop join our newsletter!
Sim Racing Loft (simracingloft.com) is a lifestyle and culture brand focused on bringing niche Sim Racing content to the masses. You won't find in-depth product reviews, regurgitated press releases, or on-track tips and tricks here. What you will find is original content focused on life, business, and pop-cultural aspects of Sim Racing. We feel that there is more to this industry than the typical hot lap video or pedal review, there is real substance to be discussed and we’re going to bring it to you. While satire and comedic energy run through our content, you can expect to see consistent quality entertainment. We know what you’re thinking “Sim Racing doesn’t need a ‘lifestyle and culture’ blog”, but respectfully, we disagree. All sports have an off-field side that is heavily influenced by the world around them and that’s where we come in by providing content that can be enjoyed by casuals and professionals alike. Want to gain access to exclusive content, offers, and updates? Join our newsletter!