Sponsorhip - One that finances a project or an event (fully or partially) carried out by another person or group in return for advertising time.
Article written by Bon Cacho, VP of Operations for Fight Soap.
Even as a small business, we have received countless proposals for sponsorships. From MMA to BJJ competitors, amateur to big name professional fighters, we've gotten requests from almost everyone in the industry. We turn down a lot of these proposals.
It's not personal, it has nothing to do with your skills as a fighter, nor does it even have anything to do with the event (we've turned down fighters participating at UFC and Strikeforce events). It's just that 99% of the fighters who approach us just don't have what it takes to promote our small business effectively.
Promoting a brand requires much more than displaying a logo on your shorts or banner. Need proof? Name a company that sponsored one of your local fighters at a recent small MMA event. It was most likely a small clothing company, whose name you can barely even recall. Bet you don’t even remember how the ring girls looked like.
Businesses like us need fighters to be brand marketers who create the want in people to purchase our wares.
So how does a fighter become an effective marketer? With smart use of social media, it's actually easier to become one. Here's what you need:
Facebook or Twitter, or Orkut, or Friendster (if you're that way behind) or any social media that is the hotness of the moment. You NEED to have a social media account. There are no ifs, buts, or excuses not to have one. It is as important as the air that you breathe in this day and age.
This is the cheapest, quickest, and most effective way to promote your current sponsors, and even attract more sponsors. Learn how to use it well, and make it a point to update it regularly. Become a facebook whore. If anyone says anything about it, whoop their ass. It's part of your job. You'll be doing this even as a world champion one day so might as well start now.
You need to build up your fan base. If you are a highly-skilled fighter destined for greatness, you should be growing a fan base by now. Use your social media account to get all those fans together to give you a solid number for friends, fans, or followers.
The bigger the numbers, the better. Focus on adding people to your friends list whom you think would be most likely to buy the products of your sponsors. Feel free to ask your sponsor what their “target demographic” is, which is just a fancy word for the schmucks who are most likely to buy their products. Sponsors prefer fighters whom at click of a button can send a message out to promote product instantly, to tens of thousands of people (as opposed to just your 20 family members).
If this message gets sent out often enough, people become brainwashed zombies who yearn for the product or service that the company sells. Money from sales is what keeps you sponsored.
You have to be a fanatic of the product that you sponsors sell. Promote it every single day. Tell your fans how great it is. Post photos of you using or wearing the products on Facebook and Twitter. Even cell phone pics are fine. Do whatever it takes to find a reason to promote that product to your fans be it verbally or visually.
It's very easy and it only takes a few minutes of your day with social media. Do this in real life as well, at the gym or at the events you attend. This is what true marketing and promotion is about. If you can't find it in yourself to do this, then you have no business representing the brand. Remember that you are being paid (in cash or in kind) to do this job, and you are expected to do this well.
If you think that you're pretty much signing your soul to the devil, yes you are. You are now part of the company, and one of the key people responsible for making it grow. This is something that a lot of fighters don't realize. This isn't all about scoring free shirts and getting the bragging rights of "being sponsored".
If you can't do this, another fighter will. Small businesses need assets, not expenses. If you don't make us money then you are not entitled to any of it. If we can’t sell, we won’t make enough money to continue sponsoring you. We will choose fighters who have less than stellar fight records but can sell ice cream to an Eskimo, any given day.
When requesting for sponsorship, do not be all about yourself, your needs, and what you require from the sponsors. Don't be afraid to ask sponsors what they need from you in order to be a successful enterprise. It's one of the best questions you can ever ask them. Good luck guys!
Bon Cacho is VP of Operations and co-founder of Fight Soap (www.getfightsoap.com), a small business that manufactures a very popular lineup of combat hygiene products.
Originally posted at The MMA Truth.