Sponsoring: Dealing with Sponsors

Concerts, tours or simply just album releases – musicians often make a few bucks on the side through sponsoring – or at least use sponsoring to cover some expenses. Today we will discuss how to look at sponsoring and how to actually deal with those giving their money.

Understanding sponsoring
Other than applying for taxpayer’s money in the form of state funding sponsoring is based on the idea of give and take. In other words, a sponsor is not someone who donates any amount for the fun of it – a sponsor actually expects some form of benefit. This actually puts a sponsor in the same shoes as an advertising client.

What can you do for your sponsor?
So one of the first tings to ask yourself is how a potential sponsor can benefit from you and how this benefit can be valued. Sponsors usually get public exposure through billboards, online banners, ads on playbills, flyers, posters or in CD booklets. Before asking a sponsor for money you should create a list of various ways to advertise and the costs involved for the sponsor (e.g. sponsor’s logo on 5.000 promotional flyers, full-page ad in 500 programmes etc.). Then call.

How to determine sponsorship costs and values
You don’t need fancy formulas to determine how much to charge your sponsors. Simply make a rough estimate on how much money your sponsor could make in return through his advertising with you: How many people will show up at your concert? How many of them might buy something from your sponsor? How much money will your sponsor earn from them? The amount you ask for should, of course, be smaller than what your potential sponsor can make through the sponsorship.

Addressing the right sponsors
When I called potential sponsors for 2015’s MusicBiz Madness Conference I made an incredible 20% turnaraound. No, I’m not that good at making sales calls (I actually dislike it, only dealing with authorities is worse), but I had picked the right ones to call. In my case these were companies who offered products or services that musicians can use. From the other angle, I’m giving the sponsors a very targeted audience to promote their stuff to. So if you can tell your potential sponsor “this can be good for you because our fans like stuff like yours” you’ve got a huge advantage.

Information materials
Hardly anyone decides during your first phone call. Usually sponsors ask for a little neat sheet that lists all the sponsoring opportunities, rates and of course their potential benefits. A good description of your target audience and their habits will help. Send that sheet via eMail along with a personal (!) cover letter (cover eMail) in which you thank your potential sponsor for her interest, the nice conversation and her time. Agree to a time during which to follow up. And then…

…follow up
It is okay and important to follow up until you get a clear response, a yes or a no. Whenever you talk to a potential sponsor on the phone, be sure to ask when you can call again. Please stick to the times suggested by your contact person.

Go out of your way
Never hesitate to help your sponsors with any questions, concerns or technical issues. If they cannot provide their logo in an appropriate format, take some time to get it right yourself. If they ask for an individual sponsorship, find a way, even if it’s not on your list. If sponsors would like to meet you in person, go see them, even if it takes a longer drive – provided the money could be worth it.

Proof and follow up
Once your sponsors have paid you and you have published their ads, printed the flyers, posters etc. send them a few copies so they know they got what they paid for. Also follow up with them after your concert (or whatever it is) and ask them how they feel about it and if they can already sense some good effect. Don’t just walk away once you’ve got the money. Establish a relationship. I always send a box of candy to the “bigger ones”.

Here’s to your success !!!

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About MusicBizMadness

MusicBiz Madness is a Music Business Conference made for musicians. Creator Julian Angel is a chart-noted songwriter and film musician with Hollywood credits.
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