In the age of influencer marketing, sponsorships are aplenty. This translates into the world of cars. If you enjoy things like building, racing and attending car shows, you might want to look into getting a sponsorship for your car. This means a company will pay you (or give you lots of free stuff and discounts) to promote their brand. There’s a method to landing a sponsorship, but it’s mostly a matter of self-promotion.
Have a Nice Car
It should go without saying that you need a nice car in order to get a car sponsorship. Remember that most car sponsors are selling car parts and accessories. As a sponsorship car, you represent their brand, so you need to have either an impressive custom build, a perfectly refurbished vintage vehicle or something that just looks really, really nice.
A Good Social Media Following Doesn’t Hurt
We’re in the era of social media influencers. In the current advertising climate, people get paid by companies to travel, wear clothes and promote makeup across various social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. A highly interested social media following is equally as attractive to makeup and clothing brands as it is to car sponsors.
You don’t need millions or even hundreds of thousands of followers like professional racers have to land a good sponsorship. In fact, Adweek claims that microinfluencers, social media users with 30,000 followers or less, are more beneficial to marketers than social media celebrities. Of course, if you’re aiming to get a sponsorship for your car, you should have car-focused social media accounts.
Show Some Auto Prowess
You don’t have to be a professional to land a sponsorship for your car. Not all of us are NASCAR drivers, and if you’re riding around with a company’s stickers all over your vehicle, you’re basically like a mobile advertisement anyway.
Nonetheless, you should still have some sort of skills in an auto-led industry. This could be as small as attending a ton of car shows with your hobby vehicle and getting your feet wet at local drifting competitions or as big as racing on a professional level and winning numerous car show awards.
Create a Car Portfolio
To impress potential car sponsors, you want to create an impressive car portfolio with the following information:
- Awesome photos of your car
- Any modifications you’ve made or future modifications you plan on making
- Past car builds on which you’ve worked
- A list of shows you plan to attend
- Which car parts interest you the most
- Any awards you’ve won, whether from races or shows
Based on this information, a company will opt to give you a full sponsorship, a partial sponsorship or no sponsorship.
Reach Out to the Company of Your Choice
Getting a sponsorship for your car is as easy as reaching out to a sponsor. Some companies have a contact listed on their website, while you may be able to connect with others at car shows and various car-centered events. For something like a Recaro or Mishimoto sponsorship, you can apply directly through the company website. Most sponsors accept a wide range of applicants.
For example, Mishimoto sponsorships include those who participate in professional racing, drifting, truck pulling, car shows and even people who just enjoy driving a lot. They work with drivers and builders of all skill levels, so it never hurts to try.
Unfortunately, not all car sponsors give out the same perks. Some might offer cash if you’re highly successful in a professional circuit, but most stick with things like free swag or discounts on car parts. The latter is still ultra valuable if you’re someone who does a lot of car builds since parts are pretty costly. A Mishimoto sponsorship, for example, typically offers discounted car parts, exclusive sales and free swag.
Use a Car Sponsor Website
If you’re not one to reach out to companies on your own, you might want to try using a website that specializes in finding car sponsors. They’re basically the influencer marketing agency of the auto world. Companies like CarSponsors.com search for sponsors in a number of areas like audio equipment, graphics, wheels, exterior parts and interior parts.
Some do sponsorships purely for the exposure. (Really, what auto professional wouldn’t want to be featured in a magazine?) Some websites offer a small fee in exchange for a sponsorship, though buyer beware: CarSponsors’ fee has landed them a number of complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
- YouTube, KleibVlogs: The Secret To Getting Sponsorship + How I Did It
- Andy's Auto Sport: How To Get Your Car Sponsored
- Driving Line: How To Get A Sponsorship For Your Next Car Build: Sponser Me! Please!
- Mishimoto: Team Mishi Sponsorships
- Recaro: Recaro Sponsorship Program
- Adweek: Micro-Influencers Are More Effective With Marketing Campaigns Than Highly Popular Accounts
- Better Business Bureau: Carsponsors.com
Mariel Loveland is a small business owner, content strategist and writer from New Jersey. Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous startups creating content to help small business owners bridge the gap between technology and sales. Her work has been featured in publications like Business Insider and Vice.