#1 Build your personal image and brand and find a way to stand out from the crowd.
#2 Build a following on social media.
#3 Get to as many races as you can and work hard on the track.
#4 Start looking for sponsorship locally and work your way up.
#5 Talk to as many people as possible. You never know who may know someone that can help.
#6 Build a great resume and submit it to as many places as possible. Consider using a pro designer to get the job done.
#7Promote your sponsors and be loyal and appreciative to them.
#8 Stay in contact with your sponsors as much as you can.
#9 Don’t be an asshole on or off the track.
#10 Be persistent and get used to being rejected by potential sponsors.
So you have turned pro and are looking to get sponsored by the big brands?
Well this article is for you! Sponsorship is the holy grail of professional dirt bike riders and having parts, gear and bikes partially or fully paid for is a dream come true for any aspiring professional.
The road to sponsorship though is very difficult and is not available to every rider who just puts up their hand for free gear.
There is a certain path that must be followed to become successful in this game.
Just because you are a great rider with consistent wins doesn’t mean that the brands will approach you for sponsorship.
Like anything worthwhile in life, you will need to be proactive and put in a lot of hard work.
You will also need a whole heap of persistence to make it in this highly competitive area.
In this article I will show you what the sponsors are looking for and I will show you the steps you need to take to land some decent sponsorship.
So here is the path that I suggest you take.
Take this step by step and don’t skip forward because each one builds on the other and is crucial to a successful outcome.
So What do Sponsors Want?
If you want to be successfully sponsored then you need to know what the sponsors want from riders.
Once you know what they want, you will be able to tailor your approach to suit them. Here is a list of things that sponsors like from dirt bike riders.
Winning 1st spot is great of course, but sponsors prefer a rider that turns up to every race and posts in the top 10 consistently.
Remember that the idea is to be in the public eye as much as possible so if you are in the top 10, this is where the exposure is and the sponsors look for that.
b. Be in the Public Eye.
Sponsors want riders who are always in the public eye and are comfortable with that.
Riders that are always looking for ideas to get exposure to the public are looked upon favorably.
c. Build a Strong Local Presence.
Sponsors love riders that have built up a strong local support base first as this demonstrates that you are doing whatever it takes to get noticed.
Sponsorship is a serious commitment and so it is important that you conduct yourself properly and respect the rules of the game, on and off the track.
Appreciation also goes a long way. Riders that are slack, arrogant or don’t respect contracts get quickly discarded.
e. Know the Product.
A Sponsor wants to know that you know their products really well and have used them for years.
What they don’t want is a rider that has no knowledge of their product and is putting in an application to get free products. Loyalty to brands is super important.
The path to getting motocross sponsorship>>
#1 Build Your Image and Brand.
Point to any successful sports person in the world and I will show you a personal image that has taken many years to develop.
All big identities, products and services have their own image that they are known for and this is what makes them super successful.
You will need to do the same. Building a unique image takes time and is what will make you stand out from other riders and be more noticeable in the eyes of potential sponsors.
The way you build your image is to think about your riding style, your preferred dirt bike, the brands and gear that you like to wear, your haircut, your personality, your preferred colors and the type of clothes you wear.
All these things together make up your image, your personal brand!
And the more that you own your image and brand, the more you will stand out from the crowd.
Want a great example of building a personal moto brand? Ever heard of a guy called Ronnie Mac? He’s not even a professional rider but everyone knows about him.
Why? Because his unique brand is wearing an open face helmet, a bandanna flag for a face mask and overalls.
He also has a cocky attitude is willing to race anyone in the world!
He gets massive media exposure and the crowds love him.
Do you think he gets sponsorship offers?? You bet he does!
Here is a video of Ronnie talking about how he was offered 1 million bucks to ride in an Australian event 😉
My point here is, if you are a great rider and have a unique angle, eventually you will get noticed.
Tips for Building Your Brand>>
a. Wear the Colors.
Wear the same colors of the brand of gear that you like when you are in the public eye.
If you love Alpine Stars, Rockstar or Monster, whoever it is, be consistent with the color of your hats, shirts, jersey and pants as that is the color that you will be known for.
If you want to get sponsorship, you MUST be highly visible to the public.
Wearing a consistent color is a good way of making the public remember and support you.
b. Sticker your Car.
Whether you have a van, car or truck, sticker your car with your favorite brand.
Also, get a sticker made up that has your social media handle as well so people can look you up and follow you online.
c. Bring out your Personality.
Are you an edgy motocross rider? Or are you an enduro rider that does rides for charity?
Do you love pulling freestyle aerials? Do you have long hair and a massive beard?
These are the things that you will be known for! so make sure that you amplify these points as much as possible in the public eye.
d. Become the Local Riding Hero.
Locals love to get behind a local sports hero and dirt bike riders are no different. The more that you portray yourself as the local dirt bike riding underdog in your town, the more chances you will get for some tidy local sponsorship.
#2 Build a Following on Social Media
Building a following on social media is a great idea because it lets you build support from your local community and abroad from scratch at little or no cost.
It also helps you build your image.
Once you have figured out your personal image, amplify that as much as possible on social media.
To do this, get heaps of photos made up of you standing by your bike, resting in the pits, riding and celebrating up on the podium.
These photos will become your brand and will give you a boost when it comes time to submitting your applications to potential sponsors.
Social Media Tips>>
a. Get Great Photos Made Up.
You will need to think creatively with this one. Do you have a friend, family member or relative that likes taking photos?
Go have a chat with a local photography college, as the students are always looking for exciting content to snap and they will work for nothing to build their experience. Give them a shout out on your social media pages.
b. Post When You are Riding.
Post to social media whenever you are riding and ask that followers come out to support you and meet you after the race for photos.
c. Post Consistently.
Once a month won’t cut it in the social media world. You need to be on it a few times a week.
d. Post about Your Favorite Brand of Gear.
Talk about why it’s your favorite and how long you have liked it.
e. Post any Local Sponsors.
You will want to promote local sponsors as much as you can and link them in on it. They will really appreciate the promotion.
f. Post Funny Stuff.
If you have funny photos then use them. Place your hat and glasses on your pet dog or cat and post that.
You will be surprised how many followers you will get from doing crazy stuff like that.
Social media loves animals and funny stuff above everything else.
g. Use Paid Advertising.
if you can afford it. Facebook has boosts which are only a few dollars and increases your reach to more potential followers.
h. Use Instagram.
Instagram is a shit hot place to promote your image and if you do it right, you will have many thousands of followers on Instagram really easily. Did you know that 71% of businesses in the USA are on Instagram? Wow!
g. Start a Video Blog.
Video content is the most valuable online. Even if you start with a GoPro on your helmet, this content can help to promote yourself Youtube.
#3 Get to as Many Races as you can.
You will never get sponsorship if you don’t turn up to races. You need to be in the public eye as much as possible and to do that, you need to get to every race you can.
A sponsor wants to see a whole heap of races and qualifiers that you have attended on your resume to even be considered.
The motocross sponsorship money goes to riders that are working the hardest and being in the public eye the most! So be as consistent as you can.
#4 Start Local.
The big sponsors want to see that you are already successfully sponsored by your local supporters. This is a big indication to them that you are doing the hard yards to build your racing career.
Here are some tips for finding local sponsors.
a. Come up with a Pitch.
Figure out what it is you want from a local sponsor and what it is that you can offer them in the way of promoting their business (why your social media page is really important).
b. Look for Sponsors.
Look for sponsors in your town that would consider sponsoring a local rider.
You have to think of businesses that appreciate dirt bikes to begin with. These will be mostly ‘blue collar’ businesses (but you just never know).
Think bike dealers, hardware, mechanical, engineering, fabrication, courier.
Also try local lawyers, they aren’t short of a buck and always appreciate exposure in higher risk industries.
c. Setup a Meeting with Local Business Owners.
introduce yourself and shake their hand. Business people will always appreciate a person that has the balls to walk into their business with a unique offer.
To do this, book a time with the receptionist and tell them that you are a local dirt bike racer and want a 5 minute meeting with the head of the business.
You might probably get 1 yes out of every 10 calls with this approach. Bring a friend or a family member if you get nervous.
d. Put an Ad in the Local Paper Looking for Local Sponsors.
Despite what everyone thinks, newspapers are not dead yet, especially on a local level and you would be surprised at the people who still read them.
#5 Talk to Everyone!
The sponsorship game is just like marketing a product, the more people you talk to, the more likely you will find sales.
It really comes down to a game of numbers.
Use every opportunity to talk about what you want to do and how you want to do it.
Be upfront with your intentions about seeking sponsorship and talk to as many people as you physically can.
Talk to the local butcher, to your doctor, to your employer, talk to your dentist, to the local priest!
Everyone!! You will be surprised how something can pop up out of the most unlikely of places. All it takes is one good referral and you are in!
#6 Submit Your Resume.
Don’t just skip straight to this step!
I know it is the easiest step but you need to build your foundation first before even being noticed.
There are quite a few companies that accept resumes from riders who are looking to get sponsored. Just do a search for dirt bike sponsorship on Google and you will get quite a few results.
Start with these –
Submit your resume and gain access to hundreds of dirt bike companies that are looking for potential riders to represent their brand.
These guys get thousands of applications every year so you have to make sure that your resume is red hot!! good before submitting.
Here are a few ideas for submission.
a. Get a nice resume template or pay a professional to design a great resume for you. You can try places like upwork.com to find skilled designers.
b. Include your Bio, discipline, class, bike info and all race results.
c. Include information about why you are the best candidate to represent their brand and why you love their brand so much.
d. Include all your social media links.
e. Include all your local sponsors
Recruiters get thousands of applications every year so it’s really important that you stand out from the crowd. Consider putting together a video resume and submitting that to potential recruiters.
Videos have never been easier to publish and there is a wealth of tools and information to create cheap videos for YouTube.
Alternatively, you can get someone to create a cool video for you based on all the information you give them. Take a look at Upwork.com for this job. There are plenty of video publishers out there that will create a decent video for you on a budget.
#7 Promote Your Sponsors, be Loyal and Appreciative.
Sponsors aren’t giving you cash and gear out of the goodness of their hearts.
They are doing it in the hope that you gain big public exposure and they get big exposure and sales.
Once you get sponsors, treat them right!
Promote them at every opportunity and always talk about your sponsors in a positive light.
Always wear their clothing as well if they have any.
If you aren’t willing to promote and trash talk them, word will get around and you will quickly lose them.
Also, be loyal! Don’t jump from sponsor to sponsor just to get cheaper gear.
Sponsors hate this and it shows them that you won’t hang around for very long.
Be loyal to sponsors for the long term!
If you have to switch over, be courteous and write them a letter explaining your situation and why you need to move to another sponsor.
They will appreciate this a whole lot more than just a quick text.
#8 Stay in Contact.
Stay in contact with your sponsors!
If you make it into a dirt bike magazine or are in the media, send the article to your sponsors with a thank you note.
If you have a podium finish, get a photo taken and send it to your sponsors.
Always send your sponsors race results,reports or just send them anything relevant that you can get your hands on.
This will demonstrate to your sponsors that you appreciate their sponsorship and are serious about the relationship.
I know of a pro motocross rider that will send a big photo after every season to his sponsors and will thank them for their help in a hand written letter.
In turn the sponsors love him and they have a really strong relationship.
#9 Don’t be an Asshole on or off the Track.
This is another piece of really good advice. If your plan to get ahead in riding is to be a dirty rider then you will get the wrong reputation and sponsors won’t want to work with you.
Its surprising how quickly a bad reputation can spread so it’s just not worth being an asshole on or off the track.
Stay courteous and polite to fans, sponsors and other riders and ride within the rules.
#10 Be Persistent and Get Used to Rejection.
Remember that companies get offers from rider by the thousands and so expect to make many many applications before you are chosen.
If you give up after the first few rejections, you will just not make it.
Sponsors are looking for a certain rider with certain features to represent their brand so if they don’t choose you, don’t take it personally and just move on.
Commit yourself to making hundreds of introductions and resume submissions before striking gold. How badly do you want it?
The path to sponsorship is not easy but by applying these principals, you will have a much better chance at success.
Let me know what you think below. What has been your experience of sponsorship? Is there any pointers that I have missed? If you liked this article please like on social media and share with your friends.
- How to Whip a Dirt Bike. A Beginners Guide to Getting Sideways. - September 23, 2019
- The Best Dirt Bike Tool Kit for Trail Riding [that Won’t Break]. - August 6, 2019
- How to Wash Dirt Bike Pants. 5 Tips for Making them Last Longer [and 5 things to never do]. - August 5, 2019