Obtaining a sponsorship can be an effective way to enhance both your income and your visibility as an independent musician.
It can either turn into a whole new income stream or into a way to find the capital you need for your next project. It can be a powerful advertising tool or an efficacious way to communicate the values you share with the company you are working with.
With the advent of the Internet and the rise of niche acts, who can now build a sustainable career without record deals and the attention of the traditional media, it is easier than ever to get a sponsorship deal as an independent artist. However, it is not a simple milestone to achieve, as there are many factors to consider before even sending out your proposal to businesses.
This article is a sort of beginner’s guide on how to get sponsored as a musician. Let’s dive into five easy steps to make a start.
Be clear about your values and goals
There are tons of business fields out there and hundreds of thousands of companies you could reach out to in the attempt of obtaining a sponsorship deal.
However, not every business field or company will be the right match for your project or band.
First of all, be very clear about your values. If you end up endorsing a product or service you don’t feel comfortable with, it will do you more harm than good. You might earn money or visibility at first, but in the long run, you will either grow tired or come off as “fake”.
Before looking for a sponsorship deal, you should also identify your goals.
What are you hoping to obtain from this sponsorship? Financial help for your next album? Or a long-term partnership that could give you some visibility over a longer period of time?
Who is your target audience?
While the first step is directed at yourself (clarifying values and goals is an essential part of any business plan, at any level), the second step aims at identifying your target audience.
This stage is extremely important, as it will help you decide what kind of business you should work with to have the best chances of success.
Draft as many buyer personas as you can think of, identify your niche, make a list of the products and services it could benefit from and don’t forget to include this preliminary step into your business proposal. By demonstrating that your audience is in line with the potential customer type of the company you are targeting, you will be one step closer to a profitable sponsorship deal.
What can you offer to your sponsor?
The third step is probably the hardest one to take, as it will require some honesty about the results you have achieved up to today.
To close a sponsorship deal with a company, you will have to prove you can bring them some additional value. What can you offer them that others can’t? A standard requirement usually consists of more visibility for their product in a niche of potential clients. Are you able to provide it?
In other words, think about your following on social media, your ability to draw people at your concerts, and what kind of audience you attract.
If you can’t provide additional value to your potential partner, it would be useless for them to invest in you, so be honest about your numbers and be clever about the kind of product or service your audience might want to buy.
Target the right companies
If you are a DJ, there’s no use in sending sponsorship proposals to guitar manufacturers. Your audience will probably be less interested in guitars than, for example, a metal fan.
Before drafting your introduction, make a list of companies that could potentially share your target audience, values, and goals. Focus on them and your chances to be successful will be much higher, especially in the long run.
While building the list, make sure to visit the companies’ websites and social media, trying to get as much information as you can about their business model, their strengths and their weaknesses. When you’ll reach out to them, you’ll want to get to the point and shortly highlight how your project could either enhance their strengths or solve some of their weaknesses. That’s why information is power!
With your list of potential business partners at hand, you are now ready to draft a cover letter to introduce yourself and highlight how you could help them enhance their businesses.
The cover letter should be very brief and straight to the point. It should also prove you are familiar with the business, with their products or services, with their values, and with their style of communication.
Put yourself into their shoes: how would you react to the cover letter you have prepared?
Chances are, you would take more seriously and favorably a letter demonstrating some genuine admiration for your product.
Your cover letter should be short and leave all the detailed information about your project (and your numbers) in an attached one-sheet.
This document should contain your biography, a description of your music, a list of your biggest achievements, an outline of your buyer persona(s), and some real statistics about your online and offline presence. You don’t have to go into much detail about your stats, but you have to be honest.
Include any big achievement you can think of, but don’t overestimate yourself.
By following these five easy steps you can come up with an effective business proposal to find a sponsorship deal. However, you should be aware that there is no guarantee of success.
While it is easier to get sponsored now than it used to be in the past, companies still focus on their profits and they won’t be interested in you unless you can offer them some unique ways to improve their business.