Warm Up Prospective Sponsors (Snuggie not required)

Ever sent a cold email to a prospective sponsor? I have. And it’s not the crappiest feeling you can imagine – that’s a cold call – but you’re still interrupting someone’s day with a request.

And often all you hear is crickets. But do you think someone would be more likely to open that email or take that phone call if they recognized your name first?

Absolutely. There’s no doubt about it.

Whether you’re trying to chat it up with a reporter at a newspaper or a prospective sponsor, warming that person up before reaching out can be what gets your email opened and, eventually, your opportunity considered.

So how do you do it? Not with a Snuggie and a hot toddy. Unless it’s that kind of sponsor and, hey, I’m not judging.

You can warm them up via social media. I recommend Twitter, specifically.

Here are some key tips for doing it the right way (and not scaring them off in the process):

1. Know who you’re targeting (Hint: It’s not everyone with a wallet.)

This is actually one specific example of a time why you need to know why you race. It matters. If you stand for a Christian message and you’re looking for press coverage, locate a reporter for a Christian publication. If you’re looking for a marketing partner, find a Christian organization that already does some advertising and could use a way to further their message.

You can start really broadly and just identify groups of people – for example, publications in your local area or businesses that target dog lovers – and then narrow down as you dig deeper.

Bonus: Want an amazing way to keep track of your targets and what they’re tweeting? Add them to a private Twitter list. This will pool their content into one place, so you can be sure you’re using your time wisely to catch everything they’re saying instead of spending an hour clicking on funny cat videos.

2. Make sure they’re going to see something good

In other words, take down the wrong kind of topless selfies and get your feed in shape. Think about what that person or company would see if they clicked over to your profile right now. And ask yourself what you want that to be. Then, bridge the gap.

Make sure your profile is accurate and relevant, and your tweets reflect you and your program. Your feed should give information about you and what you care about, and content from the people and things you care about as well.

The content itself I can’t advise you on, because that’s different for literally every one of my clients. And that’s where the value lies – it’s what makes you you. Sponsors will either be attracted to your feed or disturbed by it. And hey, it takes all kinds.

3. Interact with your target’s content

Now that you’ve got the right stuff on your feed and profile, you can put yourself on their radar by following them. When many people get notified of a new follower, they will click over to that person’s profile and see who they are and if they should follow them back. At the very least, your name is in front of them.

By the way, if you get a 20-30% follow-back rate, you’re doing pretty well with your alignment.

Then, when you like something they say, you can retweet it. Take it another step further and RT with an interesting comment in front of the RT.

After an appropriate length of time, you may be able to confidently get to third base by using the @mention to notify them of your tweet. What’s an appropriate amount of time, you ask? It’s like dating – every girl is different. Use your very best judgment.

If you’re sharing an article they wrote, @mention them. If you’re using their product or service, @mention them (bonus points if you include a picture). If you think they’ll appreciate an opportunity or thought you’re sharing, @mention them.

Now, you should really be getting their attention, and maybe showing them you have something insightful to say. Even if it is about cookies. (What? Never mind. EVERYTHING IS ABOUT COOKIES.)

It’s getting warm in here.



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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.