Recently, I received an email with two commonly asked questions about sponsorship that I’d like to address:
1) How much can you ask from a sponsor?
2) My project costs X dollars, should I mention that in my pitch?
In my book, I talk about a new way of looking at sponsorship: a partnership. Approaching a business with the mindset of a partner rather than a sponsor changes a few things. First, you’ll begin looking at how the relationship can be equitable and benefit both parties instead of just your group. Second, sponsors won’t be seen as underwriters for expenses but rather investors in your music.
So in answer to these questions, I’d recommend thinking about the following things:
How Much Value Can You Offer?: Instead of thinking about how much you can get from potential sponsors, think about what kind of value you can offer and how much it is worth. It’s fairly common for first-time sponsors to offer $500 to bands (either in cash and/or products) for little in return. However, businesses are willing to invest more if you can prove that you can provide a good return on investment. If your sponsorship package is worth more (because the amount of exposure, the creative co-branded promotion campaigns you have, or the leverage you have with your audience), then you can ask for more. If you can’t prove that you’ll provide that return on investment, then you won’t be able to ask for much at all.
How Much Is Your Tweet Worth?: I know several hip hop artists who get paid $10,000 per tweet that they send out because they have millions of followers and high levels of engagement. For these sponsors, it’s more of a well-placed ad than anything else. Look at the ad rates of places around you: how much are they charging? What’s their audience/circulation like? Can you provide a better value because you command higher levels of engagement or a niche audience that business can’t otherwise reach? You can use sites like FBME or Vitrue’s Social Page Evaluator to see how much your social media presence is worth. Influence charting sites like Klout also offer some selling points that you can use to show your worth.
It’s About Engagement: It definitely helps to have large quantities of followers or web visits but what sponsors really care about is the quality of followers. Do you know the demographic data of your fans? How much are they interacting with you? How much time are they spending on your sites? Try reading my article on How to Develop a Hardcore Fan Base for more information on growing engagement.
How Creative Can You Get?: If you want to command higher prices, you’re going to have to offer a lot more than putting someone’s logo on your website or tour van. Go the extra mile and get creative. For example, my band did the following things for one of our premium sponsors:
- Product placement and storyline built around their brand for a music video that received nearly a quarter million views and was broadcasted on tv stations in 81 countries.
- Wrote an exclusive song for the company that fans could only get through their website. In addition, we passed out 10,000 postcards throughout our tour promoting their product/the unreleased song. 30,000 free mp3 download tags were attached to their products that were distributed across North America.
- Opened up new distribution lines for them in an underrepresented market by personally selling their product at promotional events and acting as spokespeople.
- We created a series of video blogs showcasing their product throughout our tour (which they were the title sponsor).
- Logo placement on our tour vehicle, the back of the official tour t-shirt, on the tour poster, on a banner that appeared on stage every night, on our website (which receives 1.2 million hits per year) , on all social media sites, and in an exclusive souvenir book for fans.
- Performed several private company parties for VIP clients, staff, and distributors.
We are always thinking of new ways to build on the relationship. We’ve helped grow their company immensely and in turn, they’ve opened up additional doors for us and have recommended us to their partners. That’s how you build a winning sponsorship/partnership!
Remember, because they are not underwriting your expenses, you shouldn’t worry about how much your project or endeavor costs. You should focus on the value that you can deliver for them and how much that is worth. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get much more than just money – hopefully, you’ll get a partner that is genuinely rooting for your success and will help provide whatever is needed to make that happen!
If you’ve found this article helpful, click here to read all of my other articles on sponsorship. You can also click here to purchase my book, How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, for less than $4 for the ebook on Amazon now.
Simon Tam is the President and Founder of Last Stop Booking, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements , and performs in dance rock band The Slants. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at http://www.laststopbooking.com. He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam