Let’s talk sponsorship

The galloping housewife has been on both sides of this relationship so has some shit to say.
 
There are no rules to sponsorship. Throw whatever you think you know out and grab a blank piece of paper.
 
Sponsorships are about relationships. Relationships between the sponsors and the sponsored and also the relationships between the sponsored and their audience.
 
Having an audience has little to do with how many ribbons you win, or how many awards you have. Having an audience means you’ve got people that trust what you say and want something you have, do, or represent. I’ve sponsored people from grassroots through to 5* legends. TBH the grassroots people often provide the best exposure for the least hassle.
 
4FS start with integrity. People in the equestrian world can see through bullshit. Only promote products and people you use and believe in and only sponsor those people who believe you are good value at full price. Which usually means they’re already a fee paying customer.
 
The relationship has to be a win:win. The sponsored person gets cash (not often!) or products or service in return for promotion and exposure, which means if you are lucky enough to get sponsored then you’d better do something for your sponsor!
 
Don’t be disingenuous and don’t, for the love of god, be tedious. Has anyone, anywhere, ever seen a picture of a rider they admire at a competition and even read through the list of businesses tagged? Much less clicked a link? Much, much less bought something as a result?? No, didn’t think so.
 
Post something interesting. Better yet, post something amusing.
 
'Bloody hell – last season I was struggling to make the time – this season I’m getting too fast time faults!!'
 
That sort of thing.
 
'Shit, Percy must be feeling well, he bucked me off three times last night!'
 
OK, this might be audience specific, but you get the idea. Who doesn’t laugh at the person they admire getting bucked off?
 
It’s not just about social media posts, it’s about all your interactions. It’s how you talk to your friends and your clients and your staff and the volunteers at the show. You don’t have to be selling – if the product or service is good, it will sell itself. Do you know how many times I’ve been asked about this saddle?
 
It requires honesty. If people ask you about something, don’t say it’s a magic cure all. Nothing is. Say what it does, say why you like it, say what its limitations are. Its limitations may be irrelevant for the person you’re speaking to, and if they get the thing and find out it’s not what you said, they’ll never believe you again. And they’ll never trust the company either.
 
Don’t think that because you’re a middle-aged galloping housewife you can’t be sponsored. The middle age galloping housewife market is a goldmine for businesses. We have disposable income, know what we like, and are always looking for something to make life easier.
 
We are far more likely to buy the pair of breeches that our 45-year-old neighbour looks fab in and wears from dusk to dawn whether they are riding or not, than the low waisted stove pipes that the straight up and down 20-year-old pro down the road can’t bend over in.
 
Middle aged galloping housewives have marketing value, believe me.
 
If you are looking to be sponsored, look around the yard and identify the things that you can’t live without. Identify the services that you already have a relationship with. Approach those people first.
 
If you’re a business, think about your target market. Think about your ideal customer. Where do they hang out, who do they aspire to be like? Is there anyone who is already loyal who fits the bill? Approach those people first.
 
Above all else a sponsorship should be enjoyable. You should love representing the company who provides shit for you and you should adore working with the person you support. If there’s any feeling of resentment on either side, it’s time to go your separate ways.
 
Ask yourself, is the juice worth the squeeze?
 
Finally – don’t think of sponsorship as something that needs to happen. From either side. The galloping housewife has enjoyed the support of a number of businesses (and a few friends) over the years. She currently has no sponsors. And while she wouldn’t say no to a purpose built property and a string of horses if it were up for offer, she’s quite happy to go it alone. All the way to the international arena if needs be.

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