Wondering how to approach a business for sponsorship as a rider and you’re not sure how? Read on! I get approached on a regular basis by riders looking for sponsorship. These are some of the things I look for.
This is written from my point of view as an online business owner who primarily advertises using social media. Other business might be different but hopefully this will give you some tips.
I often get messages saying, ‘Are you looking for sponsored riders this season?’. That is literally all the message says. Sending a message like that to a business asking for sponsorship is unfortunately not going to result in any sponsorship. This screams to me, ‘I want free stuff’.
I want to know who you are so introduce yourself. What kind of riding do you do? Tell me about your horse(s). I personally love pictures! What are your achievements to date? What are your goals? For me, you don’t have to be winning to be considered. You do need to be active and out there having a go. Attitude and work ethic go a very long way.
Tell me about what you can do for my business. Why should I sponsor you? What makes you different to others? The stock standard emails/messages that riders send out to a number of businesses stand out a mile. I want to know what you know about my business. Why do you want to support it? What can you contribute to my business in return for your sponsorship? There is nothing wrong with the main details in the email/message all being the same but tailor it for the business that you are approaching. This shows you know who the business is, what they do and have given some thought as to why you should be given the opportunity.
For a businesses like mine where I advertise mainly on social media, your social media following is important. What platforms do you use? How many followers do you have? What does your public profile look like? I will check your online presence. This is one way I can get a feel for who you are. Your social media account is yours and yours alone to do with what you like however you might like to check what shows as public on your page. Does it reflect who you are? Is it a good first impression for someone? Also be mindful of your conduct in groups. At the end of the day, as a sponsored rider, you are representing someone’s brand. A brand that they have likely spent a very long time, energy and money trying to build. Each and every interaction you have with others on social media makes a difference. Any sign of drama or not nice behavior towards others, sorry, you will be off my list. Your behavior reflects my brand that I have spent a long-time building. This goes for behavior at shows as well. You never know who is watching. It could be your potential sponsor!
Found a brand or company you are interested in approaching for sponsorship? Start interacting with their posts on social media. I for one notice the regular likers, commenters and sharers. If you see the owner or representative of the business when you’re out and about, go and introduce yourself. This shows me you like what I do and are interested in the brand when there is nothing in it for you. It certainly puts you way up my list when it comes to choosing someone to sponsor. Sponsorship is about creating relationships.
As you can see, there is rather a lot more to it than just sending an email or message to a business and saying, ‘Are you looking for sponsored riders this season?’.