Sponsors play a popular role in the economy of a band. Every band wants sponsors, but many bands don’t know where to begin to get them. Some bands count on their [future] management teams to handle the courting for sponsors for them. Unfortunately, many other bands think that handling sponsors themselves is too intimidating. As always, I support bands doing what they can for themselves. Even if you eventually hand the reigns over to a manager, handling economic issues like these yourself empowers you to take and keep control over your career. Keep reading and you’ll learn how to start building valuable relationships with the brands you love.
Build a following.
While the following points aren’t necessarily in order, this one must come first. You absolutely must build a following for yourself before any brand will (or even should) sponsor you. And no, I’m not talking about the family members you asked to like your Facebook page. I’m especially not talking about purchased likes/follows. I’m talking about real fans that regularly interact with you on social media.
Don’t try to get sponsors right away. Take the time to build a quality fanbase and to develop a quantifiable track-record that will help make you look attractive to a company.
Related → 6 Ways to Keep Your Fans Engaged Online
As I mentioned above, your fan base needs to be quantifiable. Keep track of how many likes/followers/subscribers you have on each of your social media accounts. Use their analytics/insights features in order to track the activity of users on your pages. You need more than just your number of followers. Tracking the impressions and engagements your average post gets can go a long way to help you prove that you’re a safe bet. You should also use google analytics to track activity on your website (because you do have a website, right?). In addition you should keep track of the number of fans at your shows, merch sales at shows, etc. Not only does this information show that you are a good investment for a brand, it is also vital for helping you make decisions for the future of your band (where to tour, what types of merch to carry, etc).
All of this information should be organized, backed-up, and updated regularly. A condensed version of your stats should be used to create a one page pitch that outlines why and how exactly your band would be an asset to a company. This sheet should be ready to send out at a moment’s notice. You could also have them available on your site on a page specifically dedicated to those who might wish to work with you, book you for a show, etc. An example of the blogger’s equivalent of this is my advertise page.
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Make a list
When you have a following and a record of your stats ready to pitch, you need to start looking for brands to partner with. It is unlikely for most bands that a brand will approach you. Be realistic with your goals. Every brand wants to be sponsored by Coke, but few ever will. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t go after those pie in the sky sponsors, but don’t make them your main target. Start your list by writing down the brands of the things you use every day. Be thorough. Include the things you really love, not just tolerate. Then, make a list of other companies/brands you are passionate about. These can include organizations of all sort, including non-profit organizations.
When deciding which companies to go after, try to think out of the box. The types of companies bands usually seem to think of when it comes to sponsorships: musical instruments and accessories, beverage companies, clothing brands, and other music related companies likely have already been approached by many other bands and may not have room for any more. Increase your chances of being noticed by going after more unusual companies like tech start-ups. They may not have large budgets, but they’re more likely to notice you.
A short note about sponsor budgets: Big deals that involve lots of money are few and far between. At least at the beginning sponsorship deals are likely to involve a trade of some sort, i.e. free guitar strings in exchange for the company’s logo on your website.
Pay it forward
Earlier I mentioned the importance of having stats available for potential sponsors. One way to make these statistics more attractive is to have the impression/engagement numbers available on posts that mention the brand that you are going after. Make yourself seem like a perfect fit for a brand by showing that you do in fact love their product(s) and that you know how to mention companies in posts in a way that keeps your fans engaged.
Don’t forget the locals
When going after sponsors don’t forget your local companies. They’ve likely been looked over by everyone else as well, therefore reducing your competition. They might be skeptical about the reward from sponsoring a band, so again, you need to have your numbers available to show that you are a good investment. There is also the benefit of representing your local community and helping stimulate your local economy. Even if you don’t get local sponsors right away, talk about the local spots you love anyway. Treat your community well and you in turn will prosper.
How have your made your band more attractive to sponsors?