How to be a sponsored rider

Would you like to be a sponsored rider? Read on…

Through my clients, I receive many, many, many sponsorship requests each week from people asking for rider sponsorship. Some sound like interesting propositions, some leave me open mouthed by the time I’ve scanned the first sentence. Being aligned with the right kind of a rider CAN be good for a company, it can be really good for a company, and I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve seen some of these great associations in action. However, these great connections are not common, they’re like rare gems that should be cherished, and I really don’t think the majority of riders asking for sponsorship understand what they’re asking for and why they get no after no after no after no. So, I thought I’d put together some thoughts for consideration that might help you increase your chances if you’re asking for sponsorship or, if you’re a company, might help you get the most from an association…

1. First impressions count. Sending someone a message through Facebook isn’t the best start to a relationship, especially if there’s an obvious way to contact the company through their website! Sir/madam is rather impersonal…get the name of the marketing manager or marketing director…put some effort in. Also be aware that messaging a number of Facebook pages at the same time is probably not going to end too well as a) you might find a PR admins a number of pages and sees the same message two/three/four times and b) you might get confused with who you’re writing to…I’ve received Facebook messages mentioning the wrong company. Can you guess what the response was?!

2. Why are you an asset? Saying that you enjoy riding and you have done well at your local show isn’t enough. I like Audi R8s. I think they’re really nice. I have spoken to people about my love for Audi R8s…but would I ask Audi to give me an R8 to use, for free, because I like them and I’d park it in Sainsbury’s once a week? No, no I wouldn’t. I’ve had people offering less exposure than that in exchange for the contents of a warehouse.

3. And you want?! Don’t be too quick making your demands. Think about what you can offer the company before you decide on the products that you want them to give you! What value will you add to their marketing? How are you going to get their name out there (wearing a branded saddlecloth is not enough!)? How are you going to promote them? There are some riders (at all levels) who do an excellent job, and some that make me want to cry. THINK ABOUT IT.

4. It’s only product. The chances of you getting paid for your support are slim unless you’re one of the top riders in the UK. BUT product does have a value, and although the RRP isn’t what it’ll cost a company to make, it is still costing them, so don’t be ungrateful.

5. Think outside the box. Really think about how you can be different to the other 100+ requests that hit someone’s inbox or land on their desk. Reading the same kind of letter offering the same kind of thing isn’t very exciting and is very forgettable.

6. Be honest. If I receive an email or letter that vaguely interests me, I go to Google and I do my research. If you say you’re the next Charlotte Dujardin or Mary King then you’d better have done something to suggest that you are!

7. Think about what you say. You’ve heard of Facebook? Well, if you’re looking to represent a company, you’d better make sure that your personal profile portrays you in a good light too! Yep…it’s amazing what you can find out on the internet. Say you’ve approached a company about representing their brand and you’ve explained how you’re a great role model for young people because of X, Y and Z. Now, imagine the company’s marketing manager has a look on Facebook and sees pictures of you at a party in a drunk state. Not many people like to align reputable brands with drunkenness. I’m not saying don’t have a nice time, but think about what goes on your public profile. Actually, that’s a tip for life too. Employers aren’t too keen on that kind of thing either!

8. Do you know the product? If you’ve never used the product a company makes, then don’t bother knocking on their door. A ‘I love your product and would like to use it’ just screams ‘I’d like free stuff…I don’t care who makes it!’

9. Read it back. People make mistakes, but checking back over what you’ve written and correcting the obvious spelling and grammatical mistakes will improve your chances of the person actually reading your letter/email.

See these pointers as a place to start…it’s not a complete guide, but it’s certainly a good starting point!

How to ‘build’ your website

If you’ve ever wondered how to build a website for your business, we’ve put together a quick guide of points to consider. It’s not a complete list, but it’s one that’s been created from our own experiences, from building our own website and working on websites for our clients. Websites are important to any business, and that includes any equestrian business. If you’re looking for something, whether it’s an equestrian PR and marketing professional (you don’t need to look any further, you’re home!), a riding instructor, the best supplement for your horse, or a bespoke bridle, the chances are that you’ll pop your question into Google. Google’s great, we love Google, but Google can only pull up websites and pages that exist on the web. If you business doesn’t have a website, how does Google and, by extension, the person looking for you, know that a) you exist or b) where to find you!

Here are our top tips on how to build your own website…or, at least, how to find the right person to help you…

1. Do a little research, but don’t let the numbers scare you. Websites can cost a fortune…but they don’t have to. We don’t think you need to sell a limb to get a really impressive website. There are lots of options- you can use a platform like WordPress and buy a template for pounds and do all the work yourself, or you can speak to a friendly website designer (we have one that we work with and we can help you!) and ask if they’ll customise a template for you. Or you can give the whole job to them and sit back and admire the view. There are lots of options.

2. Make sure you’re in control. Gone are the days when a web wizard would need to update your website! Not only was this expensive as each time you wanted a tweak, you needed to pay, but you’d also need to form an orderly queue along with all your web designer’s other customers. Let’s be honest. No one likes to queue.

3. Take inspiration from others. We’re not saying copy. That’s not what we mean at all. What we’re saying is observe what other people do…what do you like? What do you hate? Make notes and pass these onto your designer or keep them in mind when you start yourself. Listing things you hate can be as helpful as things you love!

4. Make a list. If you are approaching a designer, you’ll need a brief. The designer will base their price on your brief. Each time you chance your mind and deviate from the brief, you could get an extra bill. Take your time putting your website brief together…and speak to people whose opinion you value too…it’s always good to have a sounding board!

5. Pictures. Pictures can really add an extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ to a website…but don’t worry if you don’t have your own extensive library! There are some great sites out there like iStock and Shutterstock that allow you to buy really good quality images for a few pounds, depending on what you want to use them for.

6. Get writing! Providing clear, concise and informative copy is essential for any website. If this isn’t your area of expertise, you can either get in touch with a copywriter, or you can draft what you want and get someone to proof it for you.

7. Don’t be afraid! When you think your website is pretty close to perfection, don’t be afraid to press go and get it online. There will be bits you want to amend. There will be niggles that need straightening out…but you’re not going to know about these until you kick on and get people testing the site. You don’t have to announce your new site to the world to start with, but get some friends on it so they can have a look and iron out any problems.

 

If you need any help with your website, why not contact us? We can help you with all the points above, point you in the right direction if you want to ‘go it alone’, and work with you and our web designer to create something super special!

Welcome to our shiny new website!

We’re very excited to be able to show you our new website – we hope you like it!

We’ve been working on this for some time now, tweaking and adjusting it to get it just so…but there’s a point when you need to bite the bullet and stop adjusting…and this is the point we’re now at!

On this new site, you’ll find examples of our work, what we do, testimonials from our customers and the trade, and lots and lots more. We hope to keep adding to the site as we see fit, and utilise this, the blog area, to keep you updated on news, views and, also, tips and info that you might find useful for your business.

We’re proud to work in the equestrian industry and to work with the companies that we do. To us, it’s all about the client, it’s all about relationships…and we look forward to getting to know better too!