Aiming to go beyond the norm of just signing autographs for her fans or just showing up at events, Wee Wern Low, ranked top 10 in the world for squash and second in Malaysia, wants to reward her devout fans and supportive sponsors by bridging the gap between them.
Just yesterday, Wee Wern has launched a campaign on crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo to raise USD$20,000 for a website that will help her fans access and experience all the perks that she often receives from sponsors, while providing a platform for sponsors to market their products and services.
In regards to her website, she added, “Not just any website. It is a website that is trying to solve the problem between my fans following me and my sponsors who are endorsing me.”
“For you, my fans I want you to be able to enjoy great benefits like getting a good gym membership rates through my website, or perhaps purchasing an awesome digital watch.”
Not Just Any Website (Metaphorically)
The new website is supposed to be an ecosystem that bridges the gap between both the stakeholders—her fans and her sponsors. The campaign promises that the new website will offer irresistible offers and privileges from plenty of brands.
Her loyal fans will also be rewarded through a loyalty-based point system every time they share favourite posts that are created on the site. Once you get enough points, you can redeem them for a discounted purchase on their products.
The idea came about when Wee Wern realised that she gets a lot of questions from fans about the new products she uses, how it benefits her, where can they get the product from, and so on. “I will then need to share with them the links, info on the products and also let them know where and how to get it!” she explained to Vulcan Post. Instead of replying each question manually, she can use the website to share information with her fans directly. “A win-win situation for everyone, don’t you think?” she added.
Brands that are looking to sponsor or are already sponsoring Wee Wern Low can use the platform as a source of leads for their products. As a brand, you can directly target and market your products to her fans as they have a greater inclination to buy your products since they clearly already have an interest in squash (they wouldn’t be following her if they didn’t) and sports in general.
Perks You Can Get Your Hands On
You can sponsor the campaign with any amount from USD$1 to $USD15000. Each sponsorship package offers you plenty of perks that range from a digital thank you note (USD$1) all the way to towels, wallpapers, jacket hoodies, T-shirts, desk calendars and so much more.
But if you’re a true hardcore fan and you love the game of squash, you even have the opportunity of meeting Wee Wern Low herself.
The campaign also offers a squash summer camp of 4 days and 3 nights with Wee Wern Low where you get to indulge in high performance training to become a pro-squash player.
On the other hand, if you’re a brand that’s looking to generate more revenue you can opt for the company sponsor tier 2 and get the opportunity of brand placement on her website for one whole year, along with other marketable perks.
Wee Wern believes that in order to be successful one has to be dedicated to the cause. It all boils down to dedication, and hard work and spending the right amount of time during the day to go in and out of the squash center.
In fact, according The Malay Mail she gave up scholarships to further her studies in Harvard and Princeton, so that she can do everything in her power to be successful in the sport of squash.
Despite working her way to becoming one of the top 10 players in the world for Squash and the 2nd in Malaysia, the cost of building this platform is beyond her means. She’s been openly honest about it in her campaign and also in other publications.
Early this year, The Star reported that she only gets a RM100,000 annual grant.
She told The Star, “RM100 000 may seem like a lot of money but we (the squash players) have to use the grant to book our own flights and arrange our own accommodations when we go overseash to compete in tournaments (pro circuit).”
Crowdfunding helps founders to build products, services and features closely with their customer base, which is why Wee Wern opted to develop the website through crowdfunding. “Crowdfunding is something new to me and I find it very interesting and engaging at the same time. This idea has popped up a couple of times before, trying to find solutions to solve the disconnect between sponsors and fans but I have not taken the first step, until now,” Wee Wern said when interviewed by Vulcan Post.
Changing The Approach Of Sports Endorsements
Other than working on the challenge of creating a platform for her fans, Wee Wern also faces the challenge of changing the landscape of endorsements, or rather, sports endorsements in particular. Wee Wern shared that she always felt that the typical ways of marketing such as events appearances, putting her face on billboards and print ads, always seem to be lacking.
“This website is the medium for me to educate and slowly show my sponsors how invaluable digital is today. Now with this website I could. A reporting system can help me justify so much. Not to mention a reward system that gives back to my fans for every share or post they make which I could never do before, how amazing is that?” she said.
Wee Wern has a point in that most large-scale marketing campaigns are able to reach a huge audience, however, how many people from that audience are actually target consumers. Allowing sponsors to market on a platform that already caters to people who are interested in the products is a much more efficient. Although the success of this bold approach is not yet known, this sentence from Wee Wern fits the bill:
“It’s about leading by example and taking risks that many are afraid of.”
Sports + Entrepreneurship
Being a sportswoman is one thing, dabbling in entrepreneurship brings it to another level. Wee Wern said, “I personally think that athletes in the sports industry has a good image and healthy following, but we are more than just athletes and most do not recognise that.”
In April, Wee Wern twisted and injured her left knee and had to miss the 18th edition of the Asian Individual Squash Championships in Kuwait. Since then she has been recuperating and working on making a comeback. “I guess the saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ is somewhat true,” she shared, “This idea [of the website] has been bouncing off the wall but I have not seriously sat down and look into it in detail up until the time of the injury.”
During her recovery period, Wee Wern also discovered other things that led her to pursue what she is doing today. “I have also underestimated the value of digital media and how much it can benefit everyone when used efficiently. I am a firm believer in persistence, working hard towards your goals and I have learnt that this applies to every aspect of life. I want to extend my capabilities not just in sports, but as an woman entrepreneur,” she added.
The campaign was started 22 hours ago and the campaign will last for another 59 days. If you’re interested in supporting her campaign and help her evolve the endorsement industry, click here. You can watch her full campaign video here: