Amateur event rider Chloe Ammonds-Nutt gives her advice on getting sponsored — from standing out to a prospective sponsor to being a walking, talking advert for the company
Equestrian sport is expensive so every year hundreds of riders go on the hunt for sponsorship.
In these strained economic times companies are looking to get the most from their sponsorship, whether their chosen rider is a world beater like Michael Jung or a dedicated amateur like me.
If you are wondering how to get a sponsor, remember that while it may not easy, it is possible if you know how to go about it in the right way.
Get yourself noticed
What is going to make your letter, email or phonecall stand out from every other rider asking: “Will you sponsor me?”
What is unique about you and what are you willing to do for your sponsor that other riders can’t or won’t? Sponsorship is a two-way agreement. Companies will want to see a return on their investment so be clear about what’s in it for them.
Do you or your horse have a quirk or interesting story that might make you more appealing? For example if you are Irish and compete Irish-bred horses then try targeting Irish companies. Play up the connection, because if you can be in some way relevant to the company you are contacting, you will instantly become a more appealing sponsorship prospect.
Show me the money
The holy grail of sponsorship is financial support, but this is the hardest type of sponsorship to secure. More typically companies are willing to provide product sponsorship, which in itself can be beneficial to your pocket. Gaining product sponsorship that means you no longer have to buy rugs, competition wear or tack can lead to considerable savings.
The benefit for your sponsor is that you are now effectively a walking, talking advert for their brand, with you and your horse clad in their products from head to hoof.
|Airowear offers exciting sponsorship opportunity
Following Airowear’s successful sponsorship of amateur rider Beatle Payne, the company is on the lookout for another ambassador to join their team in promoting a safer sport.
The lucky individual will have the opportunity to feature in Airowear’s advertising campaigns, take part in photoshoots with Harry Meade and be one of the first to receive Airowear’s new safety products. In addition to this, Airowear’s new ambassador will also receive a hamper of exciting products from Airowear, Charles Owen, Euro Star, Sergio Grasso and Roeckl.
Airowear is looking for someone who is genuinely passionate about the brand and in promoting safer riding during 2015. Find out how to apply.
The value of sponsorship lies in a rider promoting a brand that they genuinely like. There’s no point accepting sponsorship from a company whose products or services you have no need for, or don’t use. Trying to promote something you don’t believe in becomes a chore rather than second nature, and ultimately the sponsor becomes deterred from sponsoring future riders because of poor past experiences.
Draw up your own ideal ‘wish list’ of companies you would love to have as sponsors, and contact them first. In your application communicate to them in a genuine (not cheesy) way that you are already a fan. Including images of you and your horse with their product is a great way to grab their attention.
Don’t be deterred by rejection, it’s par for the course. Simply dust yourself off and try again.
Remember: ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get!’
Relationship over results
Don’t worry if you don’t pick up red ribbons every weekend, sponsorship is not all about your competition results — although the odd good result now and again is obviously a bonus! You can effectively promote and support your sponsor without having to be winning week in, week out.
Communicating regularly with your sponsor is key. Take responsibility for keeping up to date with the brand’s developments. Checking their website and social media is an easy way to do this. Think about how you can help your sponsor promote their brand. Sponsorship only works, and gets renewed, when it’s a 2-way relationship benefiting both parties.
I help to promote my sponsors via my blog gifthorseeventing.co.uk, social media, and word of mouth but it doesn’t end there. If you have a great idea how you could help promote your sponsor — no matter how whacky — tell them about it, you never know what might happen! As a result of this approach I have ended up taking part in photo shoots, producing product reviews, writing testimonials and magazine articles.
In short building a genuine, proactive, two-way relationship can lead to long term sponsorship arrangements that are worthwhile for both yourself and the company sponsoring you.