This is a guest post by Dave Huffman from The Indie Launch Pad. This is Part 2 of his “How To Get Sponsored” blog post. You can read Part 1 here.
Musicians- How To Get Sponsored Part 2: Corners, Trade, and Building a Proposal
Notice that small sea of people in the pic above? That's what I mean by eyes and ears. That is DIRECT attention for a brand.
Ok, let's pick up where we left off: "Corners"
Corners is just a random term I came up with on the fly in the last post to explain the areas of your art that are sponsor-able. The short answer to all of this is anything can be sponsored provided you can justify the benefit to the sponsoring agency.
Here is the most basic example of how this might work:
- You have regular attendance of between 350-500 people at your shows
- You approach a local beer/soft drink distributor with these numbers
- If they do not know who you are, you invite them to the next show and put them on the guest list
- At the show you promote their product, encourage the crowd to do the same, personally buy a couple of groups of people a round of the product, maybe change up the words to a cover tune to slip the product name in ("Sippin' on Budweiser instead of "Gin n Juice" - cheesy yea, but it works)
- Distributor thinks: "Wow, so these guys only want $2,000 in 2011 to do this for us?"
- In the new culture of connectivity and engagement distributor realizes this is much better than any money spent on pray and spray advertising and recognizes value in giving money to your band
CAUTION: I know the above sounds like you are hammering your crowd over the head, but this CAN be done in a genuine fashion if you really love the product. I'm not suggesting you whore yourself out.
In some cases your reputation will precede you and that will be great. It'll be an easy sell, you may walk out after the first or second meeting with signed proposal in hand.
However, as in the case illustrated above, you may need to COURT the sponsor. Court is an old man term for "date"...I know. But it's true, I've had to do this a few times. AND IT WORKS LIKE HELL. And offering this up front really shows you are in this to work hard. It shows you don't expect anything.
What can you ask to be sponsored? Well, like I said above, anything. Here is a short and what may seem like an obvious list:
- Your website
- Studio time
- Cd pressing
- Promotional Material
- Individual Shows
- Wrap #1-#7 up into an "Annual" and spread the dollars accordingly
YES, you can get a dealership to pony up on a van. I have seen it happen more than once. Again the trick is to justify why they should give you that van. Do you tour all over the state? Do they have dealerships in multiple locations? Yes? WHAM! Justified. In that case, you are a touring billboard for their product. Get turned down by a dealership? Don't give up. Go to the mom and pop dealership hocking used crappy vans if you have to.
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The van example is a form of "trade."
In exchange for eyes and ears, the dealership gives you a van. Trade is a win-win. Both parties end up with more than they had before - at a fraction of the cost.
This can be your best friend if you are open to it and it can also help stuff your pocket full of gear.
A couple years ago or so I fell in love with Dava guitar picks. So - I wrote the president of the company telling him how big of a fan we were, sent along a video or two that proved our following and boom, he sent us a thank you letter with an unlimited supply of Dava picks. All styles of them.
Sure, it wasn't a multi-thousand dollar deal, but with 2 guitarists in the band it gave us some extra dough in our pockets and one less trip to the gear store. Same goes with guitars, drum heads, drum sticks, strings...the list goes on and on.
Being "sponsored" isn't always about getting a fat check. It is also about covering expenses so when you get that fat check from elsewhere, it doesn't need to be spent on said expenses.
You could do a trade for any of examples #1-#6.
And when you get really good, you can recognize opportunities for Partial Trade.
Say you use a local company to press your t-shirts and it costs you $6 a shirt for a basic one color, one logo position shirt.
Offer to put their company logo on the sleeve/back of the neck, etc in exchange for knocking $2 or so off each shirt. Then ADD VALUE to the relationship by following up at later dates with free tickets to shows, stop in and drop off your new cd, give them stage mentions, and genuine personal testimonials in your email newsletter.
BUILDING A PROPOSAL
Alrighty, let's build out a proposal. Keep in mind, there is no one way to do this. This is just how I did it and how I had seen it done when I actually did trick a broadcasting company into hiring me as a salesperson. Or did they trick me? Who knows...moving forward.
Headline/Header: Put together a little header that explains what you are about to hand them. I liked to call it a "Partnership" of some sort (Annual, etc.) and then place our logo beside their logo.
What You Will Provide: Here is where you show them your value and what you plan to do for them. Below is an example of one I did close to 3 years ago. Had I been pitching this today, I would have thrown in Viral Video creation and possibly a social media campaign provided I could think of a non-spammy way to do it. Notice how I defined our value in a couple of places. First in the circulation of our newsletter. Secondly, when I threw in the "free" performance ($2,000) value. That wasn't a lie. That is what we were getting paid at the time in some places and made the sponsor feel like they were getting us on the cheap.
What the Business Will Provide: Are you proposing they get signage at your event? Then they have to provide that signage. Are you giving them "sampling" at the event? Then they need to provide product. Here is where I stumbled when I made packages. I didn't realize this until I ate up the very money they gave me to design and pay for their signage. I only had to do that once by the way. This is also the place where you ask for money. Below is how I would word that. Very simple...not as a "how much it costs" statement, more of a "This is what you will provide ie gechange for what we provide"
- Page Design: I say keep it simple. You can add some color and maybe a border or something, but don't get too crazy here. Save that for the media sheet that you can attach for the sponsors that do not know who you are.
- Format: I like PDF's.
- Signature Line: Almost forgot this. Wrap up the proposal with places for you and the buyer to sign and date.
That pretty much wraps it up. I really encourage you to check out some sales podcasts, books, and blogs from time to time. Do not get too wrapped up in it though, remember you are STILL an artist and you need time to create.
DO NOT FORGET TO SEND A HAND WRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE
One last word or two: Just keep in mind that companies have marketing budgets. A portion of this budget is usually set aside for "event marketing" or "promotions." In some cases a person on their marketing staff would have to put these together. But not if you come knocking. Which makes it so attractive to them. Think of yourself as an event marketer with a built in crowd. And remember that YOU CAN get a portion of that budget if you can justify why.
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