Every year, we get hundreds of sponsorship applications from jetskiers around the world that we carefully analyze and search through.
A sponsorship is an advertising partnership. It’s like a company paying you to be a billboard. If the billboard doesn’t do any advertising, or it does bad advertising, it isn’t worth the investment.
Whether you’re getting a discount, getting hook ups or are full-factory, the support you get from a company costs them money, regardless of if they are writing you a check. What a company is looking for is how you can make them more money, reach new customers, and make them look good. As a company looking for great ambassadors, there are some things we love, and some things we hate to see. Here’s our best tips for landing a sponsorship.
It sounds silly, but it’s the truth. A good attitude definitely helps you in the sponsorship game. A good attitude builds reputation, and lets a brand trust that you will represent them well.
Believe it or not — we have sifted through many sponsorship requests where riders demand big things, or tell us that they shouldn’t have to promote because they are “too good” for that. Results are great. We love seeing our riders succeed and get on the podium with our products, but — it doesn’t mean you’re going to get sponsored.
Whether you are a 10-time world champion or a beginner, a humble, work-hard attitude will get you much further with a company. For a brand, a sponsorship is a two way street, and you will get out what you put into it. Often times, when riders go above and beyond, we go out of our way to help them out.
2. STAND OUT
When we look at sponsorship applications, we look at advertising value. Value for us is results, unique and quality promotion or content, and how you promote the brand. This is similar for most companies, big and small.
If your social media posts are the same quality and style as 50 other riders, what makes you better than them?
Without big time television coverage, the value of a sticker on a jetski is very little. The value of a brand hashtag buried with hundreds of other hashtags isn’t very unique. And blurry pictures of you riding doesn’t show off a product. So sometimes you have to think outside the box.
We love seeing riders put together cool content, and go out of their way to do something different. Some of our sponsorships are centered solely around content creation, not racing results.
3. GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media isn’t the future — it’s right now. More than ever, brands are looking at the value of your social media presence when they evaluate your sponsorship potential.
It’s not just about your followers and likes either. Brands are looking to see who you are reaching, and the message you are sending. Brands that are serious about sponsorship won’t be duped by fake followers or likes, and will dig deep into your social media to look for quality, frequency, and reach.
Things we look for on social media:
- How often do you post?
- Are the posts good quality?
- Do they stand out from what other riders are doing?
- Do they promote brands well?
- Who are they reaching?
Often times, riders who do not use social media or have private accounts do not make it into the consideration pile. That is how important social media has become in our industry. Without television air time, and with the dwindling status of print journalism, brands are looking to partner with strong industry influencers to get the advertising they need.
When evaluating value, we also look at how much we have to share. If we see a rider with 45 sponsors, 45 stickers on the ski that are all the same size, and 45-brand long list of hashtags on every post, and we’re going to somewhere in the middle of the list…. That isn’t a great advertising investment.
Sponsors don’t want to have to fight for the spotlight – and that’s where you need to prioritize.
A sponsor that is giving you a 20% discount needs more love than a sponsor who is giving you a 5% discount. Always prioritize those who help you out the most. This pays off for your sponsor, and encourages them to continue helping you out — and maybe doing more. Give your best sponsors the most real estate, the most value, and the most love.
This also gives you an appropriate way to ask some of those sponsors who don’t help you out as much — to maybe help you more. If they wonder why that Pro Watercraft sticker is twice as big as yours, you can let them know that Pro Watercraft gave you a great sponsorship. Then maybe they’ll kick it up a notch if they want more real estate.
5. ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL
If you apply for sponsorship in hopes of getting a 50% discount, but end up with 30% — always be professional — even if you don’t like the offer. In the event the offer isn’t what you want, you should always be polite about it. You never know who you may partner up with the future, and you don’t want to burn a bridge.
This also applies when you’re at the races or at the beach. People love gossip, and if you talk trash about a brand or their product, it will likely make it back to the company — and maybe the person in charge of sponsorship.
Regardless of if you like a product/brand or not, you should always keep your comments and actions professional — you never know who will hear you.
A brand is always going to put their brand image first, and if they’ve heard you may have had something bad to say — how do they know you won’t say it about their products?
Always be professional.
THE BIG NOs
These are a few things that we see that are usually red flags when we are checking out applications.
- No interest in social media.
- Unwillingness to promote.
- Little to no posts, or posts that aren’t creative.
- People who don’t post or talk about jetskis very much.
- People who trash-talk other brands to us.
- People working with competitors (conflict of interest).
- People who demand sponsorship, rather than being appreciative.
- Applications with lots of spelling errors.
- People who don’t research or understand what we are selling.
- People who have no use for our products.
At Pro Watercraft, we’ve developed a tiered program that allows for a wide variety of riders to be sponsored. Whether you’re just starting out, or if you’re a world champion with a million followers, we have different options for everyone, and the opportunity to climb to new heights.
Our most supported athletes are what we call the “total package”.
These are riders who are well-rounded in all of the things above. They are hard workers who are dedicated to their craft. They have a fun, jetski-loving attitude that spreads through everything they do. They share their passion and adventures on the internet, and go out of their way to include our brand in fun, new ways. Not all of them are world champion athletes, some of them are just excellent ambassadors.
We aim to surround ourselves with people that are driven by passion, and that trickles down into our sponsorship program and team. When it boils down to it, we are just jetskiers with a crazy love for the sport — we eat, sleep and breathe it — and those are the kind of people we want on our team.
If you think you’re a great fit for the team, you can apply for sponsorship with Pro Watercraft by clicking here.