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How to get a cycling sponsorship now for your club, team or event? The timing is perfect with the Tour de France underway – exciting stage finishes, record crowds and worldwide audiences receiving hours of daily coverage via every medium possible. If there was ever a time to take advantage of having sponsorship conversations and discussing the value of cycling sponsorship to companies — it’s NOW!

Simple steps on how to get cycling sponsorship NOW!

Hit your social network hard: Take the time to review your social media connections. Finding prospective sponsors by through your social media network could lead to “warm” business introductions (you know someone in common vs. a “cold” call where neither of you know anything about each other).

Sponsored riders breakaway to win and to provide TV time for their sponsors

Use social media and social networking to find companies that could be prospective sponsors, and as a vehicle to help prospective sponsors find you. Effective use of social networking tools as faceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter can be used to provide your club or team with better visibility, particularly if you leverage the correct words and phrases (those your audience would use to find organizations to sponsor, or to help them solve a problem). Social media and social networking can help you identify, research, and subsequently engage companies that might be potential candidates to sponsor your club, team or event.

Research & engage companies that are active in your community or that might have a natural tie in with your club (offer products that can be marketed or sold to the cycling demographic, consumers in the healthy, active lifestyle segment, etc.). These companies will see the value of aligning with your club to support the community and its constituents. This is also excellent PR for companies which can lead to increased brand awareness and recognition, and customer loyalty. (Please see “How do you find companies or individuals to engage in cycling sponsorship discussions? Where do you start?” for more information)

Look for companies experiencing change such as expansion (as pointed out in 5-hour Energy post), a merger or acquisitions, a new product announcements or management changes. These could all be a signal for a potential sponsorship opportunity. New products might target a segment which aligns with cycling’s demographic. An acquisition or merger could mean the company needs to re-evaluate their branding. Cycling sponsorship is an excellent vehicle for helping a company to “get the word out.”

Understand your audience – Identifying how your audience views sponsorship, the importance they place upon it for achieving their business objectives, philanthropic goals, public image; gives you immediate insight into how to find prospective sponsors, and how to assist them in finding you. By using keywords, terms and phrases; in your sponsorship proposals, sponsorship letters, newsletters and news releases, on your web and social media sites; you automatically increase your ability to attract companies and organizations that might have an interest in supporting your club, team, or event. The key again is to focus on the prospective sponsor and their needs. (Please also see “Securing cycling sponsorship by understanding why companies sponsor?”)

Sell the value of cycling sponsorship as a marketing tool.

Cycling provides a highly visible, and effective, marketing and advertising platform helping companies reach their target audience. Many companies are implementing marketing strategies that take advantage of the continued growth of cycling, the health & wellness market segment and eco-friendly transportation. Innovative companies are aligning their offerings with these trends to fuel incremental growth and sales.

Cycling sponsorship provides visibility for companies, brands, products and services

Position your cycling clubs’ activities and initiatives (group rides, rally’s, races, and safe cycling campaigns), community service, and external communications (website, social media, and news releases) as an effective marketing engine to showcase a company’s brand, products and services.

Cost effective alternative to traditional marketing, advertising and public relations methods: Sponsorship of your cycling club will provide companies with an efficient medium for getting their key messages into the market. Chris Baldwin’s Reuters article “Sponsors see value in backing cycling teams” demonstrates the affordability, reach, and effectiveness of cycling sponsorship to promote a brand, increase brand visibility, awareness and sales, vs. traditional advertising, marketing and public relations channels.

Provides platform to generate positive PR: Cycling sponsorship creates opportunities for companies to demonstrate social responsibility while driving brand visibility and recognition. 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. Positive PR can lead to increased consumer loyalty, sales and revenue.

Cycling events can contribute to tourism and economic base for a community: Events are huge for communities. A community sponsoring a successful cycling event can benefit from tourism by bringing visitors to town, in a rapidly growing demographic, that would spend money and help provide a boost for the local economy. (Please see

Opens new markets and segments for sponsors: Cycling is a rapidly growing market segment and demographic corporate sponsors can leverage: The cycling demographic is continuing to grow as the second most popular recreational activity in the United States. According to the National Association of Sporting Goods Retailers study, in 2010 the U.S. had approximately 60+ million people participating in our sport (48 million adults; 14.3 million children). In addition, the study noted the total U.S. spectator base as 11 million people. Cycling sponsorship offers companies as Quiznos5-hour Energy, HTC and OptumHealth additional exposure in our market segment, while providing an opportunity to take advantage of the growing global trend of the healthy, active lifestyle market.

Customize your content to your audience: Make sure that your sponsorship proposal, sponsorship letter, areas of your website, and all communications geared towards securing sponsorship and funding are customized to address the specific issues of the intended audience. Follow the basic premise of why companies sponsor – to make money, to save money, for image! Sell your story by integrating your club, team, or events value with their goals and objectives, describing how you can help solve their problems. (There are several blog posts dedicated to Developing Effective Sponsorship Proposals III, and Sponsorship Letters)

Get your existing sponsors to talk about 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 to illustrate the value your club, team or event provided. Building a reference story describing how one of your existing sponsor views your value is even better! This lends immediate credibility to the value your club or team can deliver. Furthermore, quotes, references and reference stories, lend themselves very well to sponsorship proposals, sponsorship letters, web and social media sites. Not to mention, it also helps to spread the word, helping other companies find you! (See “Using Quotes and References” category for additional information)

Well, that’s it for today.

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

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