What Exactly Are We Talking About?
In a nutshell bikini sponsorship is when a business or brand helps a bikini competitor with the cost of competing.
The most common form of sponsorship is basically a trade where a company will give their products in exchange for the bikini competitor promoting them.
Some top bikini competitors can be paid as part of a sponsorship deal but its very uncommon when you first start out.
So, why get sponsored?
Firstly, competing is expensive. Sometimes you could win the first place prize money and still end up behind! So clawing back a bit of money is always a good idea.
Secondly, being a ‘sponsored athlete’ can help promote your status and credibility as a model or athlete. It also feels good to know that someone is prepared to pay you for your athletic appeal. You’ve worked hard on your body and sponsorship is recognition of that work.
Some examples of sponsored bikini competitors...
How To Get Sponsored As A Bikini Competitor
Which Brand Should You Approach?
Start by asking yourself… which type of product or brand would I like to be sponsored by? I know some of you are thinking ‘I don’t care, I just want to get sponsored.’ and I totally understand that. Ideally, however, you should approach products or businesses that you actually use and really like.
It is always easier to work with a Brand that you know something about. Its also easier to promote a Brand that you like and believe in. Things always sound more authentic when you actually believe it.
Besides, if you start approaching companies that you’ve never used then it can just sound like this:
“Hi, I think your products are amazing, even though Ive never bought any of them, ever. But if you give me some for free Id be more than happy to tell everyone how good they are.”
A Useful Test
Typically bikini competitors seek sponsorships from relatively small Brands / Products / Businesses in the fitness industry. Nothing wrong with that, it obviously makes sense. But I think its a good test to think of the Brand as a non fitness industry brand. Would you seriously walk into your local café and say: “Hi, I really love your coffee. If you sponsor me with a cappuccino every day Id love to tell everyone about how amazing they are.”
Why don’t people do this? Because most businesses cant be sure that you would generate enough business to justify ‘sponsoring’ you. Just remember this when you approach people for sponsorship… you have to convince them youll do a pretty amazing job promoting them.
As it happens most coffee shops ARE willing to give you a free coffee… they just want you to get 9 stamps on the coffee card first. In other words they will ‘sponsor’ you but they want you to get some sales for them first!
Try to Prove Yourself BEFORE Seeking Sponsorship
I get a lot of sponsorship requests that are essentially saying: ‘IF you sponsor me THEN I will promote your brand.’ Sure this sounds like a reasonable proposition but im sure a lot of business owners would be more responsive if you could say: ‘Ive ALREADY been telling everyone about your brand…’
I know you cant realistically do this for every brand you may want to be sponsored by, but it is a way of standing out from the rest of the sponsorship requests. Its also another good reason to seek sponsorship from brands that you already use and like.
Make Yourself Marketable
Sometimes a better sponsorship strategy is to focus on making yourself more marketable. Its typically much easier to attract attention and opportunities (including sponsorship) with a high profile, charismatic, passionate and persuasive persona.
If you actually want to be a presence in the fitness industry then it might be best to focus on that goal first. Remember that sponsorships are only one way of making money.
What do sponsors want?
Always remember that a Brand’s motivation for sponsoring you is to make money, either directly (through more sales) or indirectly (brand awareness / promotion / events).
Put simply… sponsorships are a business proposition for a brand.
Some key things to remember:
- These days businesses can advertise to large numbers of potential customers through targeted online ads. Just remember that you have to compete with this when you ask them to spend their marketing money on you.
- Always ask yourself, what do you bring to the table that will help your sponsors. Eg Promoting them on your website, blog or social media. Events you attend or promotions you can organise etc
- Your attitude, personality, and how you present yourself are all important to sponsors.
- Your knowledge of the sponsor’s products is also relevant. Eg If youre trying to promote your sponsor’s supplements it obviously helps to know what youre talking about.
Personality and Trust
Brands will probably want you to do more than just use their products and tell your fans and friends about it on Facebook. Remember that most brands can do that themselves by spending a few dollars. What you can offer is your personality. If you’ve got a decent following on social media its probably because people respect or trust you and like your persona. Use this to promote your brands! If you have lots of fans it usually means you have something to say and people are listening.
Personally Im not a big fan of refering to ‘my sponsor XYZ’ when you post to social media. Sometimes it can just sound like: “XYZ are paying me to say the following…”
I believe the best references are the genuine ones that aren’t paid for, but are from real, happy customers and clients. Why not try and sound like that? I know everyone loves to say they are a ‘sponsored athlete’ but perhaps ask the brand whether they want you to promote yourself as such. Some do. Some don’t. Ultimately they want you to promote their brand. You don’t necessarily have to tell everyone youre being paid to do it.
Writing a Bikini Sponsorship Letter
How you ask for sponsorship can make a difference. It is important to come across as a serious athlete with a real proposal, rather than just someone looking for a freebie.
If youre actually really keen to represent a brand and work hard promoting them, but only have time to write “Hi, im wondering if you sponsor athletes?” then you may not come across as particularly serious or committed.
Yes, I completely understand that you need to start a dialogue somehow but there are some key things that you should get into the conversation pretty much up front:
- What you will do for them.
- What kind of network, connections, social media you have to offer.
- What you look like might be relevant, as well as your competition history.
I suggest looking at the Brand’s website to see if they have information regarding sponsorships and then write to them via their website, email or social media.
Conclusion: Is it worth trying to get sponsored?
Upside: You get to say you’re a sponsored athlete! Yay!
Downside: Your sponsor may actually expect you to do something for them. Uh oh!
Yep, sponsors will want you to be effective in promoting them. This is likely to require some time or effort one way or another. Typcially sponsors will give you product (and very occasionally money) but they will be looking for you to contribute a similar amount in time and effort. Before you approach companies for sponsorship make sure you a willing to contribute a similar amount to what they give you.
Sometimes I think its easier to make money from your day job (ie what you do best) and just buy your own products without getting sponsored.
The reality is that there are a lot of amazing bikini competitors out there and there aren’t huge numbers of sponsorships going around. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, just be realistic, don’t be disappointed with the rejection and try to offer something a little different or extra to improve your chances of getting one.
I hope this information has been useful, and I wish you the best of luck!