Doug Auld
Doug Auld

AULD: Websites

A funny thing has happened in the age of social media. It seems that many drivers (and teams) no longer feel that websites are necessary.

Sure, websites are an expense, but they are still a first go-to for car owners who are considering hiring a new driver, for potential sponsors/marketing partners considering signing on to a new team, for journalists who are considering subjects to cover, and for fans who are trying to figure out who that driver or team is that they saw one night or maybe just heard about.

When you hear about a new restaurant, or want to find out about a business, what’s the first thing you do? You pull up their website. And, being a driver or team is no different.
That website bio is invaluable to anyone looking to find out who you are, and Twitter and Facebook accounts almost never have a useful biography showing a history of big races a racer or team has won, or championships, or anything else that can help make an impression to stand out from the thousands of others out there.

If someone (or some company representative) is looking to reach out to you, the most obvious – and simplest – way for them to do so is through contact information found on your website…unless, of course, you don’t have one.

These days, almost every racer, and many teams, offer merchandise for sale. And, again, aside from merch sales at the track, the most logical place to sell that merchandise is through a store on your website. That’s where fans expect to go if they’re looking for your shirts, hats, etc. There may be opportunities passing drivers by because it’s just not simple to find out more about them.

Every driver used to have a website. The ones who are at all serious about marketing and developing their careers still do. Most of the World of Outlaws have websites, so if you want to run with the big dogs and be treated like one of the big dogs, it’s probably a good idea to do what the big dogs do.

Racing isn’t cheap. Car owners are spending big money. If you’re a driver who expects a car owner to invest in new equipment and in regular engine rebuilds, etc., do your part and invest in your own brand as well. When that team owner pitches his or her driver to a potential sponsor, someone in that company’s marketing department is going to immediately Google that driver’s name and determine whether or not they’re impressed. A driver who takes his or her career seriously should invest in that career and make sure there’s at least a basic website with recent news and a bio for anyone looking to find out more about them. Otherwise, you’re expecting people to spend time scrolling through your Twitter feed?

Somewhere along the line, many racers stopped maintaining websites, thinking that free apps like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram could take the place of a real website. While I’d certainly encourage anyone racing today to take advantage of free social media platforms, they are not a replacement for a simple webpage that lets people quickly discern who you are and why they should be interested in you.

Even some racing series are now trying to make due with just a social media presence. However, as with racers themselves, you need to make it simple for potential marketing partners to find out what your series is about. A simple webpage can show your schedule, your current point battles, previous series champions, and updates regarding who wins your races or other interesting facts about upcoming events, etc. If you feel that letting fans, potential competitors, current competitors, promoters, or potential or current sponsors of the series or your racers know about any of those things, then you probably aren’t the best person to be running a series.

The bottom line is this: In racing, you never know the opportunities that have passed you by. For example, people often move forward with offering sponsorships, or don’t, or hire drivers, or don’t, based on very simple things. Sometimes, someone simply making your phone number or email available to the right person at the right moment can make a huge difference in an entire career. So, it seems pretty silly, frankly, to not invest a few dollars in your career – whether you’re hoping to go fulltime or not. If anything, the fact that many others aren’t currently doing so should make it even more advantageous. Why not be the driver or team that makes it simple for the right person to get ahold of you in that moment…so they don’t just move on to one that does?

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