Misc 194How important is the internet to racing sponsorship

I went to a Joe Gibbs Oil seminar last week and someone was confused about the name of the blog. They said,”Hogan isn’t your last name is it?” No, actually this is Hogan when we first got him. He’s grown quite a bit since then. He’s no longer a lap dog. What I really wanted to talk about racing sponsorship and marketing.

After talking with racers throughout the racing season, I think there is a desire for help in creating an online presence for their race team. With so much media buzz coupled with the economic downturn, local businesses are scrambling to get on line everyday to try and get a piece of the social media pie. Websites like Twitter and Facebook are billed as the newest marketing hot spot to sell your product or promote your business. With race teams searching for some of the marketing dollars being spent by businesses. It only makes sense to get online and figure out what everyone is talking about.

This web 2.0 media phenomenon that everyone is talking about is mainly about social interactivity between the website and its viewers. A web page no longer has to be flashy and glitzy to be a positive focal point on the web. Look at Facebook. Simple and plain in style, but the social interactivity of it make it one of the fastest growing sites on the web. For a racer to give his sponsors the best package, he/she needs to have a good web site and social linking structure. I also think it is important to have a website that is up to date. With the system I came up with, a racer could update their website from the track if they wanted to do so.  When it is all set up, a couple of hours a week for maintenance of the network is all that needs to be done to keep it up to date. Let’s look at a couple of diagrams on how this will work.On a basic web page you have a main page or home page, then you usually have several off chute pages; one usually for biographical information, one for media and pictures, and one for some merchandise maybe. Sometimes people will include a page for all the sponsors, maybe with links to their web site. What I am suggesting is having a separate page dedicated for each one of the sponsors. I purposely left the sponsors cell the darkest in the diagram because I think that is one of the more important aspects to the page. Usually webmasters will charge by the number of pages they have to develop, or have a package of a flat rate and it only includes a certain number of pages.

The idea is to get linking back and fourth between the sponsors website and their page on your website or you home page. They may have customers that aren’t racing fans, but will get interested after going to your site, or you may have fans that have never heard of one of your sponsors. This is a very easy way for fans to get information about you sponsor at any time. The nice thing about the web is that it is passive. Fans can enjoy the experiences of the races while they are there and learn more about it at home when they are relaxing and just surfing the web.

The next thing that a racer needs to do is set up some free accounts at some of the social media web sites like Facebook, Twitter, and some popular racing web forums and get active. Putting links back to the website will create a funnel of new fans or inquiries as to what the team or driver is all about and link them through the racing  web page to a sponsors web page. This will help the build traffic and possibly new customers to a sponsor.

The final thing to really consider is getting some sort of measurable system in place so any traffic the racing team is driving to the sponsors can be realized. A coupon system is probably the easiest. A coupon page can be developed on the racing site to be printed out by customers and taken into the sponsors business. The sponsor will know that those coupons came from traffic driven the door by the racing team. All of these ideas can be implemented at very little cost to the racer and have a huge effect when cultivating new sponsors or trying to get current sponsors to renew.

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Kevin