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Motorsport Marketing: 8 Ways to Promote Your Race Team

Every motorsport driver aspires to someday reach the level of being on a NASCAR or F1 team, but right now, no one’s even heard of your team. You really want to begin promoting your race team separately from your motorsport organization’s marketing. How do you do that?

Here are 8 motorsport marketing methods for race teams:

  • Media partnerships
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Contests and giveaways
  • Product reviews
  • Crew marquees
  • Experiential marketing
  • Email marketing

As you can see, you have a variety of options for putting your race team on the map through marketing and advertising. In today’s guide, I’ll walk you through all eight options on the list above and explain how you can use them to the fullest to grow your race team’s brand awareness! 

How to Promote Drivers with Motorsport Marketing: 8 Methods to Use Today

Media Partnerships

Do you feel like your race team comes through town and almost no one promotes it? Well, you can begin promoting it yourself, which I’ll talk about a little later.

You can also find media partners to expand your media reach, especially in the early days of your motorsport marketing campaign. 

Media partners work at newspapers and popular sports websites. If they decide to cover your team rather than your sport as a whole, this could be the key to establishing your brand awareness. 

You might not know where to even start to find media partners since you’ve never pursued such an arrangement before. 

My recommendation is to begin with smaller magazines, newspapers, or sports sites. 

These sites would gladly welcome a chance for an interview or even a sound byte from you or another member of your racing team. 

Having you on their site or in their fanzine will get more people’s attention, and those people will in turn get to learn about your team specifically.

Gradually, you’d work your way up to bigger media partners until you can hopefully get in large sports publications and on major networks like ESPN.

I must stress the most important word in a media partnership, and that’s partnership. 

In a partnership, there’s a good amount of give and take from both parties. You can’t just expect to get a free promotion for nothing.

Sure, in the early days, when you were working with smaller media partners, agreeing to do an interview or be on the cover of their magazine might have sufficed. 

As you work your way up the totem pole of media partners, you’re going to have to offer bigger and better incentives to convince them to write about you. 

For example, maybe you let a new station’s photographers onto the track, or you grant an interviewer exclusive backstage access. 

You have to give them something they can’t otherwise acquire on their own, so think hard about what you can bring to the table. 

Paid Advertising

The next option at your disposal to promote your race team is to use paid advertising. 

You and your team can rally together and pay for advertising out of your own pocket. If you can create a sizable budget for advertising, then you might be able to launch a campaign that puts your team’s name in everyone’s mouths. 

Do be aware though that sports advertising is among one of the most expensive forms of advertising, and that’s because sports have such a huge audience. 

You don’t want to drop thousands of dollars–or, more than likely, tens of thousands of dollars–on advertising only to have to turn around and do it again in a few months. After all, a single advertising campaign might not be enough.

If it sounds like you’d be in over your head financially by paying to advertise for your race team out of your own pocket, you can always ask your motorsport organization to pay for advertising for you.

You’ll want to sit down with your boss or manager and explain that you want your team to have the same level of acclaim as the teams you see in F1 or NASCAR and that you think that advertising is a great way to get there.

Make it clear that you want to advertise your team specifically and not an upcoming race or the motorsport organization as a whole. 

If your motorsport organization agrees to fund your advertising, then you’ll likely have more advertising avenues at your disposal.

Now the question becomes which should you choose?

Well, it helps to know what kind of ad campaigns your sports audience is the most receptive to. This is information that you can easily glean from your motorsport organization. 

Perhaps it’s television commercials that catch your audience’s eye or social media ads. Maybe it’s a radio spot, a billboard (if you’re a local team), or pay-per-click ads online.

For many of the aforementioned forms of advertising, you can segment your audience so that only those who are potentially receptive will see it.

If, for example, you’ve learned by combing through your motorsport organization’s data that you have a sizable group of 40-to-50-year-old race fans, then you might mail out fliers to that group. 

Then perhaps you’d use Internet advertising to target the 18-to-30-year-olds who are chronically online. 

You can’t segment who sees a billboard, which I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. Direct marketing ads such as catalogs or fliers also make it impossible to track who saw the ad. 

You don’t know if the ad ever reached its recipient, and then, if it did, if the recipient bothered looking at it or tossed it in the trash.

That’s why so many marketers across all industries use Internet advertising. You can hyper-target your ads, produce several ads at the same time, and monitor their success from the minute the ad goes live unless and until you decide to end the ad campaign. 

Social Media Marketing

The next form of motorsport marketing at your disposal is social media marketing.

This is a great avenue for a race team like yours to take advantage of, and here’s why.

Most companies that use social media marketing only want to promote their own products and services. Rightfully so, might I add, but that can get so boring to the average social media user. 

You’re supposed to provide value to your audience. What an audience finds valuable depends a lot on your niche and industry, but it’s a lot easier for your race team to provide value than it is for the average company.

For example, maybe you strap a Go-Pro on your head or body and record yourself doing a few practice laps before the big race.

You could go live on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram and show off your footage, or you can upload the video after the fact across all social media platforms, including YouTube.

You can showcase your pre-race routine, give your audience an exclusive sneak peek of your new uniforms or race cars, and post at the event before the big race starts.

You can also provide post-race content such as your own thoughts and views as well as those from your fellow teammates. 

Win or lose, your audience will appreciate getting this glimpse into who your race team really is. 

This is the kind of content that can grow your social media following significantly, and sometimes rather quickly as well. 

As people leave comments, try to make it a habit to reply as often as you can. If not you, then have other members of your race team do it. Take turns.

This not only increases your visibility as individuals but forges a connection with the fans that they won’t soon forget. They’ll think your whole team is a swell bunch of guys (or girls) and support you even harder.

They might also screenshot the interaction and post it elsewhere on social media. Others will see the post and get curious about your team and look you up on social media as well! 

Contests and Giveaways

Social media marketing can be fun, especially when you’re part of a motorsport team. This next motorsport marketing method is fun as well, as your race team can always host a contest or giveaway.

For a contest or giveaway to be effective, you want to make it clear that it’s your race team that’s sponsoring the contest. 

Obviously, your motorsport organization is going to have to be involved, as they may be the ones to provide the prize, but this is your contest.

Make sure that you and the other members of your race team promote the dickens out of the contest on social media. 

When you post about the upcoming contest, encourage your motorsport organization to repost your original post rather than make their own post about it.

That again makes it clear that you’re the one in the driver’s seat here and that your motorsport organization is acting in a supportive role only.

Okay, so let’s talk a little more about what your contest or giveaway will entail. 

You want the contest or giveaway to be related to motorsports, obviously, and it will be most beneficial if participants entering the contest can somehow benefit your race team.

For example, you can do a giveaway on your Instagram account. To enter, participants need to follow at least two Instagram accounts of your race team’s drivers and comment on the post. 

You can also host a contest where participants need to sign up by email, which then gives you contacts to populate an email list. I’ll talk a little later about using email marketing to grow your race team’s clout, so be sure to give that a read. 

When it comes to the contest rules and entry, simpler is better. Photo contests are always popular, as your audience can share photos of their favorite tracks or make their own race uniform with what they have at home in their closets and then photograph it. 

People love to take photos on their phones, so this is fast, easy, and fun for them. 

Making people jump through five hoops just to join a contest is going to lead to a lower rate of turnout. 

Now comes the most important question when it comes to hosting a contest or giveaway, and that’s this: what’s the prize?

Well, it has to be something valuable to drum up interest and engagement in the contest or giveaway. That said, value does not always have to mean it’s expensive.

For instance, maybe the prize is a meet and greet with a race driver on the team. That doesn’t cost a thing except a couple of hours of a driver’s spare time. 

Even still, a prize like that would mean the world to a race fan, as they could get to meet their idol! 

Product Reviews

Now, I’m not saying that doing product reviews is a guaranteed way to gain motorsport sponsorship. What I am saying is that it could help. 

From the motor oil you always fill up your race car’s tank with to the shoes you race in or the brand of helmet you trust, you can make short videos name-dropping brands. 

Maybe these aren’t reviews in the traditional sense, per se. You’re not really going over the pros and cons and pricing, but you are briefly talking about what the product is and why you like to use it so much.

You can’t make these kinds of posts on social media all the time, as they can get too salesy and preachy. Your audience will think you’re being sponsored even if you can swear up, down, and sideways that you’re not.

That means you only get so many chances for this type of review post to be effective, so use those chances wisely. Be sure to tag the manufacturer or product in your posts, and again, do avoid being too salesy. 

You’re trying to frame it as giving the average fan a glimpse into what you use as a race car driver rather than pushing products.

After being tagged in your post, who knows? A racing product manufacturer might see it and reach out to you about possibly getting their name on your race vehicle. 

If you can snag a sponsorship deal with a big enough brand, that’s going to do wonders for increasing the visibility of your race team! 

Crew Marquees

Marquees make a race more exciting, but the next time you have the staff place them near the track, perhaps you can ask if you can add some extra marquees.

More than likely, people don’t know your race team and crew, and you’d like to change that. Getting the names printed on marquees is inexpensive and a great way to promote your team as you travel from location to location. 

Experiential Marketing

Another option for raising awareness and engaging fans is experiential marketing, which you’ll often hear referred to as an activation. 

Experiential marketing is an immersive marketing strategy that connects fans and your motorsport organization. 

You most often see experiential marketing at live events, such as a contest booth, an interactive display showcasing the history of a company or product, phone charging stations, branded photo walls, and the like. 

It’s about more than having a sponsored logo or a brand name on your race vehicle. Those things are cool but ultimately do very little (if anything) to engage with your audience

Now, what if your team had a sponsored refreshment station before a race on a hot summer day? Or a short walk-through exhibit showcasing your past team uniforms and the most illustrious racers on your team?

Those kinds of experiential marketing opportunities are going to make a much bigger impact on your audience than a brand name on a car. 

Since activations are technically a form of marketing, I would again tell your race team to go through your motorsport organization and plan what kinds of effective experiential marketing opportunities you can use!  

Email Marketing 

I said I would, so I want to wrap up by discussing email marketing and how it can benefit your race team in your quest to build awareness. 

According to marketing resource 99Firms, email usership continues to hold steady, with 4.26 billion email users across this vast globe. Not all are racing fans, but if even a quarter of a quarter are, you can build a seriously robust email list.

I already mentioned contests and giveaways as one option for growing your race team’s email list. 

If your race team has a website (which really, it should), you can also use a well-known marketing trick known as the opt-in form to capture more emails.

An opt-in form is a pop-up that appears on your website asking for a lead (so someone who isn’t quite a customer) to share their email address and name. 

In exchange, you’re giving them something free and valuable, such as an upcoming race schedule or access to a waiting list for tickets.

Once the person signs up, they’re part of your email list.

As you generate an email list, you need to begin engaging with that list. You should issue a welcome email that tells people what to expect by subscribing to the list. 

In the case of a race team, there will be a lot of news about where you’re racing, what kind of car you’re driving, current race standings and stats, and maybe even a little about what your drivers do in their spare time. 

This email list for your team should be separate from the email list your motorsport organization maintains. 

The two email lists will naturally have some of the same subscribers, but the content you send is centered around your team only and not the motorsport organization as a whole. 

Conclusion 

Motorsport marketing is the ticket to establishing your race team. Once you’ve built brand awareness, you can operate within your motorsport organization but separately since you have the recognition and clout to do so. 

I hope these marketing tactics and suggestions help your team achieve its goals! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Baylis is the President and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective and a self-confessed sponsorship geek.

After several years as a sponsor (that’s right, the one investing the money!) Chris decided to cross over to the sponsorship sales side where he has personally closed tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. Chris has been on the front lines of multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements and has built and coached teams to do the same.

Chris now spends his time working with clients to value their assets and build strategies that drive sales. An accomplished speaker and international consultant, Chris has helped his clients raise millions in sponsorship dollars.

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