How to Land a DJ Sponsorship

Have you always dreamed of having boxes of gear shipped to your front door?  Your first sponsorship is within reach if you put your best foot forward and approach the company with an enticing pitch.  Here’s my advice on how you can make it happen.

Formulate Your Game Plan

It’s a good idea to have a specific project that a potential sponsor could be involved in, especially if you’re just starting to rack up sponsors. Are you going to be creating a Youtube video that you could feature yourself using a mixer in?  Will you be having a photo shoot that you could place a product in? Are you going on a tour where you could use the equipment on the road? Perhaps you are a DJ/promoter who is hosting a club night, and would like to have a few door prizes to give away.

Before you begin to make any cold calls, you’ll need to decide on exactly what type of project you are working on. Set project deadlines and have a team in place that can help you execute your Great Idea. This is a good opportunity to get creative; companies will want to be a part of well planned projects with a solid marketing plan.

Approaching the right company

Once you know what your project is, you’ll need to think of what companies would be a good fit for you and your Idea. What kind of sponsorship is appropriate for the project? If you’re creating a live set, you may want to seek out an equipment sponsorship. If you’re creating a promotional video, you might want to look for a clothing company that makes clothes you like. Use your common sense, and associate yourself with companies that are the right fit for you and your DJ brand. If you already use ‘brand x’ gear in the studio or in your productions, then you may want to focus on reaching out to that particular company.

Make a list of the potential companies you would like to work with; aim high and shoot for the stars! If you have existing relationships with companies or brands, you may want to start working these contacts. When compiling your list, bear in mind that companies may not want to sponsor projects alongside their competitors. For example, if you’re looking to work with a company that manufactures headphones, once you get ‘brand x’ to agree to work with you, it might be a good idea to wear their headphones in your photos rather than approaching ‘brand y’.

How Can I Help You? Building Your Pitch

Now you need to formulate the pitch for your Great Idea that will gain you allies. Think of how your project can help the company, and focus on structuring your pitch by listing specific ways that it will benefit them. Companies need exposure, just like you and your projects do. How will your project help to market their product, brand name or logo to a larger audience, or target market? How can you help to promote them? Brainstorm every idea you have to include their brand in your project’s marketing campaign. If you need some creative suggestions, call your friend who studied marketing in college and ask him for his advice.

As both a dj with a lot of sponsorships and a manufacturer of dj hardware- I have a unique perspective on this topic that could be helpful to you guys. In your pitch to a company always keep in mind a basic marketing concept:

  • CPM or cost per 1,000 impressions- (can average $5-$40 and up for online ads)

The company, by giving you product is basically buying impressions with potential buyers. So, in order to make a pitch that lands you need to be prepared to demonstrate how many/what kind of impressions you are going to provide for the cost of providing gear. NO- saying “i’m famous” is not enough to warrant giving free gear.  Here is a basic example:

Dj Tony Tone  has a you tube channel with 5k subscribers and if we give him product it will be seen by 10k people eventually. The product he wants costs $200, so the math is easy to do: 
  • $200 Cost  {divided by} 10 CPMS = $20 CPM price.
Offer someone a sub $5 CPM with great brand recognition and a sponsorship deal should be a no-brainer

– Ean Golden 

A Game of Numbers

Unless you’re already a big name DJ or performer with a global following, (like Ean Golden) 😉 chance is you won’t be able to sell your idea to these companies on your reputation alone. You’re going to have to include some concrete facts in your pitch.

If you’re planning on having an event, and are looking for door prizes, be sure to have an idea of how many people will attend the event, how many people your promotions will reach and the demographic of your target market. Use your past successes to sell yourself and your Idea to new contacts. If you’re looking for a new synth to use in your studio productions, have a clear idea of how many downloads your last single received, or the number of Youtube hits from your last video, and include these numbers in your pitch. Make a list of your social media stats and blog hits. Don’t be discouraged if your numbers aren’t as big as you’d like them to be, it’s perfectly fine to start small and grow your fanbase over time.

Think Win Win

Make sure your Idea is mutually beneficial to both the company and yourself. If you play your cards right, you can develop your first sponsorship into a long term relationship. First, you’ll need to create a verbal and written pitch for the company, which should be clear, concise, and to the point.

You should have a short, 10-20 second verbal statement that you can use to approach new companies. Briefly tell them who you are, what your project is, and how it can help them. Practice your pitch until you’ve got it down pat. When you actually speak to someone, if they are interested in your Idea, give them more details. If they aren’t, simply move along and contact someone who is interested in working with you (They are out there!). Chances are, you will probably be asked to follow up with an email. Have an email or a a PDF document ready that gives them detailed information on your project, and your statistics.

Go Fishing

It’s time to dig through that good ol’ black book, and search for contact names at companies. You should try to find the marketing representative at the company, and contact them.

The Internet is a great resource; search through sites like LinkedIn, Xing and Facebook to find the appropriate contacts. You can also try asking the people you know for the contacts you need. Before you know it, that little black book will be full of new contacts (Sometimes success is a phone number!).

Companies are made of people, so always be polite and professional when you approach new contacts. Try to get to know the people who work at the companies you want to work with. Go to trade shows and conferences, and talk to the sales and marketing reps. After the event, follow up with emails to them, and stay in touch. Most likely, before anyone is going to send you anything really expensive, you’re going to have to build up some trust with them.

You’re a Hustler, (Baby)

The good ol’ fashioned way of hustling is to get on the horn. If you’re lucky enough to get someone on the phone, quickly pitch your idea to them. You’ll probably be asked to follow up with an email. How you choose to approach people is completely up to you – you may have better luck simply sending out emails, or even reaching out to contacts via Twitter.

Be Persistent

If you don’t hear back from anyone, follow up a few days later. It’s not that people don’t want to hear from you, they’re just busy. Maintain a positive and optimistic attitude as you continue to search for your sponsors for your DJ career and/or project.

Start by Doing

If you can’t seem to get a sponsor on board, start off on your own. Make a video of yourself using the gear made by the company you want to work with, then re-formulate your Idea or pitch, and send out another campaign to them. If you are capable of creating and executing great projects, and have a solid promotion plan, you’ll be able to find companies who would like to work with you. Companies need DJs to promote their brands just as much as you need them!

Follow Up

Once you’ve found a sponsor (and the boxes of new equipment are arriving at your house at high speed!) make sure you follow up with the companies. Complete your project on time, and send them the finished results, along with a polite thank you letter.

Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours

Once your promo material or project is completed, ask your sponsor to cross-promote your project on their website, social media or blog.

Now you’re all set to find some great sponsorships and formulate some long lasting and valuable partnerships. Go get ’em, tiger!


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