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Cycling sponsorship basics

This is a post written to review the basics of securing cycling sponsorship.

What could your cycling club or team do with more sponsorship and funding?

Probably a lot!

At the high end maybe its new team vehicles, bikes, wheels or parts groups. Potentially it means staying in nicer hotels, eating at healthier restaurants, or having more gas money when attending races or events. Any way you look at it, having more sponsors and funding is a good thing; the more you have, the more you can do!

So, how do you get more sponsorship and funding?

First step: Understand why companies provide sponsorship, and particularly, why companies sponsor cycling. Knowledge of the 3 common motivating factors will help increase your chances of successfully engaging and securing additional cycling sponsorship and funding.

Why companies provide sponsorship & funding?

To make money: Anything that helps a company increase sales, revenue, market share, and profitability will contribute directly to their bottom line and be viewed in a positive light. Cycling provides a highly visible, and effective, marketing and advertising platform assisting companies in reaching their target audience. Your cycling club or team’s participation in events (races, rally’s, group rides), community activities, national and local initiatives (“Bike Sharing”, Commute to Work”, “Share the Road”) contributes to increased visibility, and ultimately, sales for your sponsors. Additionally, your club or team’s use  of the web, social media, blogs, newsletters, and news releases, can also deliver significant dividends in driving incremental increases in awareness, interest, traffic and sales for sponsors.

Lastly, cycling sponsorship creates new revenue opportunities for companies through Business-to-Business (B2B) relationships. The exposure companies receive from your club’s sponsors, as well as from companies sponsoring cycling events, can lead to mutually beneficial business partnerships that can help increase sales and revenue.

To save money: Cutting costs, saving dollars, and maximizing expenditures for advertising, marketing, and public relations directly impacts a company’s expense budgets, operating expenses and profitability. Cycling sponsorship provides an efficient and cost-effective vehicle to help companies augment existing marketing and advertising campaigns, to deliver messages to market, and reach consumers in new market segments and niches.

To project an intended image: All companies have a specific image portrayed to the public, their customers and target market. Consumer and market perception is extremely important and can often impact sales and brand loyalty. One way companies can bolster image is to demonstrate social responsibility & concern through support of emerging societal issues. Cycling addresses issues as health and wellness, environmental and ecological concerns, “green”, alternative transportation, and air quality/pollution. Sponsoring cycling helps companies demonstrate social responsibility, philanthropy and community involvement, which are key components garnering positive PR by “serving the greater good”, resulting in increased brand visibility and recognition.

Now that you understand the reasons companies sponsor cycling here are 6 recommendations your cycling club or team can use to increase success when engaging prospective sponsors.

01) Focus on addressing the sponsor or prospective sponsor’s needs: Think in terms of the business objectives companies are striving to achieve (ex: increase brand visibility, store and web traffic, sales). Aligning your club’s value with their business objectives enables you to create compelling sponsorship offers which help justify a company’s investment in your club.

02) Do the legwork: Take the time to understand a company’s mission, goals, objectives, and core values. Explore their website, blogs and social networking sites to gain insight into their core values, business and philanthropic goals, products and services, community and social initiatives. Performing research provides you with knowledge of a company’s priorities, market and clients, enabling your club to effectively position the value of cycling sponsorship.

03) Customize your content to your audience: Make sure your club’s sponsorship proposal areas of your website and all communications geared towards securing sponsorship and funding are customized to address the specific issues of the prospective sponsor. Sending a generic sponsorship proposal or letter is not the best use of anyone’s time, not to mention, it’s really not very effective. Customizing your messages, website and sponsorship proposal, by focusing on the business value cycling sponsorship delivers, gives you a better chance of securing sponsorship.

04) Get existing sponsors selling for you: There is no better endorsement than to have a happy sponsor talk about what you have provided for their company or organization. Quotes and references can help illustrate the value your club or team can deliver.

05) Leverage Social Media: faceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter can help you identify, research, and subsequently engage companies that might be potential candidates to sponsor your cycling club. Use social media relationships to identify connections that could lead to discussions and introductions with prospective sponsors.

06) Engage companies that are:

  • Headquartered in your city, town or geographic area: A headquarter location typically has decision making authority for sponsorship and funding.
  • Active in the community: Companies supporting various civic activities, sports clubs, or social initiatives may be more receptive to sponsoring your cycling club. Community involvement indicates a company understands the value of aligning their brand with issues that are important to local constituents.
  • Undergoing change such as expansion, merger/acquisition, leadership transition and new product announcements could signal potential sponsorship opportunities. Change might warrant a need for companies to deliver updated marketing or advertising messages to reach their target audience. Cycling sponsorship is an excellent vehicle for helping a company to “get the word out.”

Hope this helps your sponsorship efforts.

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, “Keep the rubber side down!”

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