Prove your (sponsorship) worth with real, hard metrics.

It might seem like sponsorship is harder to get these days, but when you think about it, there’s never been a better time to prove what your proposal is worth. Here are a few ways to start thinking about valuing a proposal:

1. Show them how big it is. (Your audience, duh.)

One of the most common gripes about social media is that you can’t link results with input. But one of the reasons that I love social media is that it’s easy to show people how big your audience is – and even where they live and how old they are – with some straightforward metrics.

Audience size. This is pretty straightforward – you can look at your Twitter follower count, your Facebook page likes, Instagram followers, etc.  Your audience size isn’t the combined number, and I’ll explain more on that below, but you can prove how many eyeballs you’ll reach on each platform to a potential racing sponsor.

Engagement level. It doesn’t matter how big your audience is if they don’t actually care about what you’re doing. That’s where engagement comes into play. And some platforms, like Facebook, are really good at measuring it. You can see what percent of your fans like your Facebook posts, how many YouTube subscribers watch your videos and more by visiting the analytics section of those platforms. That’s a great way to show a sponsor that your audience is actually engaged with your team and not just a bunch of drones.

Kevin Kelly maintains that, “A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.” He ranks engagement as more important than audience size. You can read the whole article here (I recommend skimming the first two paragraphs.)

2. Put a dollar on it.

Do you have any way of monetizing your racing business other than cashing those payout checks (also known as making it rain)? If you sell apparel or refer people to a business that gives you a percentage of sales, you can actually put a monetary value on your fans. It’s not something that I’d suggest focusing on in your fan-base-building efforts (we’re humans, and maybe one or two unicorns, not dollar signs), but it is a great measurement tool for how valuable your fans can be to a potential marketing partner.

Here’s how you can calculate it:

  • Write down all of the platforms that you’ve used to mention or promote whatever you’re selling.
  • Write down the number of fans and followers you have on each of the platforms. You can get a count on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Aweber or MailChimp…even YouTube.
  • Write down the total dollar amount of revenue you generated off the track.
  • Divide the revenue by the fan count and you have a dollar amount that every member of your audience is ‘worth’.

Now the obvious caveat is that you know there is some overlap – many people that follow you on Twitter are also your fans on Facebook and subscribe to your YouTube channels. I tend to estimate my ‘audience size’ by 60% of the total count – so if I have 1,000 Facebook fans and 1,000 Twitter fans, I estimate this at 60% of 2,000, or 1,200 total fans. If I sold $2,400 in t-shirts in 2013, I could put the value of my audience at $2 per audience member.

(There is a somewhat complicated way to find the overlap in Facebook fans and your email list that I won’t get into here. Not many racers have email lists, but if you do and want me to show you how, let me know in the comments and I can do a separate post on it.)

One of my clients only mentions his products and services through email, so it becomes easier to track. Although you make your purchase through his website and can find the information there, we’ve found that people only purchase after subscribing to his email list and opening a certain number of emails. In 2013, he sold $21,000 in products to 3,000 subscribers, so he can get a pretty accurate estimate of $7.00 per subscriber. We also took it further to see how many people visited the website over the year to get 3,000 subscribers and can put a value on every unique website visit. Pretty hot stuff.

As exciting as math as is, the payout to a sponsor isn’t going to be the same exact amount. But knowing how engaged your fans are and how willing they are to spend money to be associated with or support you can definitely be proven to a potential sponsor with metrics from social media.

Now, doesn’t growing your fan base seem like an even more important part of getting sponsorship and attracting marketing partners? That, combined with growing your network, is the most important thing you can be doing to become the no-brainer choice for marketing partners. And isn’t that what you want?

With love,


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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.