UK Gaming Computers receive dozens of requests for sponsorships on a daily basis so have decided to put together a small article advising you guys on how to go about making a successful proposal for a sponsorship. If we find the time then we may have simply pointed you to this article to have a read so you can understand a potential sponsor’s position.
First of all in our case, UK Gaming Computers are rarely interested in a sponsorship. Unless you have millions of Twitter/Facebook or Youtube followers, or come up with a proposal we could not say no to (see last section) then it makes no financial sense to enter into a deal of some sort – After all anyone that gets involved needs to ensure it ultimately makes financial sense as at the end of the day a sponsor is a business and business’s need to see a return on their investment.
We won’t be alone here in our thoughts and this article will apply to many industries but given we operate in a industry that is so close to social media platforms and the biggest social media tool is a powerful computer combined with our reputation, we receive a very high amount of requests for basically free computers!
What we get
9 times out of 10 the requests we receive is an email along the lines of;
My name is Mr Bean,
I run a YouTube channel and aspire to become huge – please give me free stuff and I will give you a link on my YouTube videos.
Now before deciphering these kinds of messages, ask yourself, would you walk into a Ferrari garage and ask for a free Ferrari if you told your mates that you got it from Ferrari? If you were insane enough to say yes, what do you think Ferrari would say? Just in case you are a potential nut house candidate the answer would be no. The same applies with asking for £1000 worth of computer gear, give us a question like Mr Bean, and the answer is simply no (if you are lucky to get a reply), it does not make financial sense.
Before you become outraged at such a simplistic stance, ask yourself, why should someone give you something? What has that someone got to gain? More often than not people think that having 50,000 YouTube subscribers gives them the right to ask for free gear and whilst the saying “if you never ask you never get” it becomes rather monotonous with dozens of daily requests. The issue is that generally requesters over value their “following and influence”, this more often than not is unintentional as most people don’t understand the scales involved, so thankfully we don’t take offence.
For this we are going to use ourselves as an example to help explain. 50,000 visits to our website takes just a few days organically so even if all 50,000 subs did watch your YouTube video with our link and everyone clicked on it we would acquire that amount of traffic naturally anyway. It is likely that whoever you approach will be in a similar position.
When you sit down to really look at the numbers properly it looks less appealing. In a week, at best 50,000 subs will only equate to around 10,000 video views. How many of those viewers will actually click the link? Again this all depends on how relative the link/video is – Through the power of Google Analytics we can tell you. In a best case scenario – IE the video/link is exceedingly relevant it’s about 2%. Think about how many YouTube videos you yourself have watched, and then think about how many times you have clicked a link in the video description – it’s not many is it? Our 10,000 views, from 50,000 subscribers now only equates to only 200 site visits.
Visits to revenue
Getting someone to visit a website does not equate to a return on investment. Digging further into the numbers the majority of websites the amount of people that make a purchase from an ecommerce site is around 2% so 200 visits would be around 4 purchases which is actually not bad, whilst this still is not financially viable a potential sponsor would actually see some orders from a sponsorship . The problem is that the 2% figure only applies to low value purchases (under £40), naturally our average sale price is £1200 which falls into a conversion rate of around 0.2%. 0.2% of 200 is just 0.4 meaning that a fan base of 50,000 would unlikely result in a single order.
In order for a sponsor to gain a single order for your efforts you would need a YouTube following of around 125,000. 1 order from a potentially large investment will soon cause the sponsor to go out of business very quickly. In our case, we would need a lot more than 1 order to cover the raw costs of giving away an average priced £1200 PC!
These calculations of course come with huge variables – Times, target audience, amount to sponsor, the market as well as many other so do be aware these numbers are very much so rough but it gives you an idea why your request are simply ignored – the business you have approached have nothing to gain and maybe completely swamped with such requests.
What should you be doing?
First up, do the numbers. For many of you these numbers won’t work for you and if they don’t work for you then they won’t work for the potential sponsor you are approaching. This being said, you may not be approaching us or someone else in our industry so immediately you have a better conversion rate to work with. You may only be requesting an item of lower value or you could be approaching a global behemoth of a company who can afford to make a loss on a giveaway. All of these factors could work in your favour.
If the numbers don’t work then you are going to need to do some extra leg work to try and make the deal happen, more on this at the end of this article.
The most important thing to do when requesting sponsorship is to be clear with what you want and be clear with what you can offer. If you are going to offer things like intros, links, banners, mentions then state how many and how long. How exclusive is the deal? What guarantee will you offer? Where do you see the future?
Be clear and upfront about what you want in exchange too.
There is nothing worse than receiving a request where the reader has no idea what is exchanged. More often than not it will be a senior member of staff calling the shots too and they won’t have time to be chasing you for answers that should have been stated in the first place so your request will more often be ignored.
Offer options too – going in with one request may not be suitable but other options may open up your target audience.
Be quick – Do not fluff out your request with unnecessary information, you are likely to be dealing with top dogs here that most likely know more that you do in the first place so try not to act smart. Outline what you want, what you will do and get out quick.
This rule is very similar to being clear about what you propose is exchanged. If you have fans, subscribers and followers – link them! Tell your potential sponsor where they are, how you have grown and what your plans for the future are. It’s unlikely that your reader is going to spend the time to attempt to find your following and thus another ignored request so make sure they are easily accessible. If you have it, provide the demographics if your following – there is little point in a UK company that sells car parts partnering up with someone who has a following compromised of women that are aged 60 or more.
Be upfront about who you are, things like our address, age, qualifications, employment status all help a potential sponsor make a decision – being local is a good asset as it can potential bring local advertising as where being in a different country is a negative asset. If you are qualified and employed in a field related to the potential sponsor then it install confidence in the potential sponsor so that they know you know what you are talking about if you were to do a review on one of their products. If you are looking to review something that you have little knowledge about then the review is going to be as useful as a chocolate tea pot to your following and thus will not install confidence in yourself let along passing through to potential revenue for the sponsor.
Rule one – Be polite! Please and thank you are your best words here but don’t over doing it. If you come across desperate then your request will soon end in the bin.
Rule two – Spelling and Grammar! If you can’t promote yourself correctly then you can’t promote your sponsor correctly. Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes like the plague, get someone to proof read your request if need be. Whilst spelling and grammar are not everyone’s strong points (myself included) make the effort to get it close to spot on as possible otherwise your recipient is not going to make the effort to read your request let along reply.
Finally, sign whatever you are sending. It adds that personal touch and looks like you have made that much more effort.
Sending your request to anyone you can get your hands on which shows, will have your target dismissing your request immediately if they cotton on. You must identify your target(s) carefully. Good examples of getting caught out are generic requests with things like a web address for the addressee or a generic proposal. Taylor your proposal or at least make your proposal like it’s tailored.
Spend the time finding out about your potential sponsor, take a look at their website, go and visit them, get a name of who the proposal should be made out to. Not only does it help you look like you have targeted them specifically but it also personalises your request – if you show effort in the proposal your sponsor will believe you will provide effort when fulfilling your side of the bargain.
Don’t bombard your target with multiple requests, you will just get added to their spam filter.
If you find yourself making contact with more than a dozen targets then you are targeting too many. Filter your list down until you only have up to a dozen targets. Your requests will show this and you run the risk as being tarnished with the spam hammer and no one will read your request let alone reply.
If you are looking for sponsorship to get your hands on free stuff then you won’t get far. Your goal should be to promote yourself and sponsor in a way that will grow your following, if you have free stuff at the end of it then consider it a bonus. If your sponsor produces products then ask them for a product to review – you then have something you can create content in the form of a video, blog, Vlog, article etc which your follows will find interesting and thus increase your following organically. Asking for products to review isn’t always straight forward but sometimes it’s easier than just asking for a wedge of cash that you can do and please with yourself. If you are asking for a low value item then you stand more of a change but asking for a more expensive item is just too much of a risk for your potential sponsor.
Going the extra mile
Putting it bluntly most of the time you are unlikely to get a response, even with all the extra effort you put in. Ultimately if you could be of use to a business they would have already approached you but don’t let that put you off. Business’s like to see initiative and small risks. The only way you may be able to drum up interest is to come up with a proposal that a potential sponsor can’t say no to. Ultimately this equates to you proving you should be sponsored by your target which is near on impossible. Even if you ran the numbers and they add up the risk is still 95% on your sponsor, you need to reduce that risk to as close to 0% as possible.
The best idea you can come up with is offer something for nothing in return. Offer to purchase something in full, give out banners, links, reviews and mentions and let the feedback do the talking. Provided the feedback generates business for your potential sponsor they can then measure how well your efforts work – if it ultimately generates business then you are in a prime position to strike a good deal. A good tip would to perhaps do a YouTube review but ask for a small discount code to use, that way if anyone uses your video to make a purchase they will use the discount code and the potential sponsor can then 100% track your efforts as it would generate unique discounted code orders.
If you don’t have the funds to go buying something outright then make another proposal where you make the investment to use as collateral. Remember if what you are asking for is of high value how does the sponsor know you won’t go clearing off with the product and never hear from you again? Offer to give the sponsor something of equal value whilst the item is in your possession – usually this would be cold hard cash – do what you want to do with the product – and then once you are done get it back to the retailer and they can give you your collateral back. This is a win win for everyone involved – the sponsor has zero risk whilst in the meantime you have your hands on something that will enable you to product content to your fan base. Don’t forget the discount code and ask if the sponsor will cover your raw costs like shipping at least one way.
If you have zero funds and no option to put down a collateral “deposit” then the only thing you can hope for is to get a chance at trying to show what you can bring to the table. Try to use the power of advertising to your advantage – go ahead and put up links, banners, reviews and mentions without any support from your potential sponsor. Same applies again, grab a discount code and inform your still potential sponsor where this content is. You have invested nothing but time and there is zero risk to your potential sponsor. If it works, you then have your foot in the door and are in a good position to work out a good deal for both parties involved.