How to Get (and Keep) Sponsors As an Independent Creator — 5 Lessons from Millions in Ad Sales
When it comes to sponsorships and partnerships, podcasters and creators are leaving money on the table.
The rise of the Creators' Economy and the recent changes by Apple's around privacy has created a massive gap in the market.
Brands are actively looking for podcasters, influencers and creators to collaborate and there's a multi-billion dollar ad market that's ripe for disruption.
This post will teach how to take advantage of this change, based on our experience helping creators generate millions in sponsorship revenue.
The best part, they've done this while keeping creative control and without feeling like they're selling out.
"PSA for podcasters: Learn everything you can from Sachit. His advice on seeking and getting sponsorships is spot on."
General Manager, Podcasts at Amazon
In this excerpt from our full program, we cover the following topics:
- How to find the right partner for your audience
- Understanding ROI and what brands are looking for
- How to help brands improve their ROI to increase your earnings
- How many partnerships do you actually need? (you'll be surprised)
- Why you should say NO to brands that don't align with your audience
Whether you're running a blog, a podcast, a newsletter or an IG/YouTube page, this excerpt will help you sign partnerships with top brands. Enjoy!
Here are 12 simple steps to help you grow and make more from sponsors:
1. How many partners do you need to earn a sustainable living? You can do it with less than 10... here’s the math for you (image) Surprised? This is a big one that most creators get wrong. One example: a client made $500,000+ from 14 sponsors in one year (!!)
2. Protip: Be mindful of who you partner with and aim for long-term partnerships, since you don't need that many (from #1). That means saying no to companies that aren’t a good fit for your audience... even if they offer you gobs of cash.
3. Develop the "I am the prize" mindset. I've worked with 100s of creators. I've seen creators say yes to $50 sponsorships.
I've seen creators basically begging to brands. That’s not how you stand out.
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4. Now: Who's your ideal sponsor? Remember — you are the matchmaker b/w your audience and partners. Get clear on your goals: 1. Who do you want to partner with? And why? 2. What product/service serves your audience? 3. What can "you" give your partners?
5. It's time to research. Narrow down potential sponsors. Questions to ask: a) What brand fits your niche? Example: You have a Fitness blog for millennials. Who is your ideal sponsor? - Health supplement companies - Apparel companies
b) What brands fit your audience? - What products is your audience already paying for? - What products would they potentially pay for? - What brands are similar creators partnering with?
c) What metrics matter to sponsors? Direct VS Indirect ROI. - Looking to create visibility? (They care about engagement, impressions) - Looking for tangible ROI? (They care about leads, signups, buyers) Task: Create a list of 100 companies on the basis of these 3 questions.
6. Create your pitch. 3 slides: The SSS framework. - Show, don't tell: Highlight the metrics that matter to them. - Secret Sauce: Why 'your' content? Why are 'you' the prize? - Success looks like: Show them the results you can get for them.
7. Lights, camera, action: Time to reach sponsors! A mix of inbound & outbound works like a charm. How do you build an inbound sponsorship system? Add a section/form on your website/socials.
8. Cold emails change lives. - Find out key decision-makers (marketing/partnership heads) - Keep your email short and precise. Cut all fluff. Follow this flow: a) Build credibility b) Solve a problem c) Make a small ask
9. Make that dreaded sales call. And aim for a long-term relationship, not a hookup
Show how you're going to make it a win-win for both sides. Brands don't like hunting for new creators all the time, so by focusing on the long-term, you're solving another problem for them.
10. How to price? Most creators are criminally undercharging. Pricing on CPM is BS. Instead, charge based on the value that you’re delivering. Value of your content >>> Impressions Challenge for you: Double your prices for the next 5 sponsorships and watch what happens?
11. Once the call is done, ensure the ball is in your court. Set the contract and payment terms as per your comfort zone. For eg, you can insist on payment upfront instead of Net 30.
12. This is where most creators stop. To ensure a long-term relationship, this is where the real work begins: - Create the ad: connect the brand product to an audience pain-point - Finalize metrics to track: impressions/signups, etc. - Check-in regularly (most creators don't)
We're gonna start with three M marketing, which is really understand the three basics of how when you whenever you do a marketing campaign, which is who's it for? Who's the market messages, like, What are you saying to them? And medium is like, how do you reach them. And it's really important to, to like actually like understand where where sort of like this like idea of like sponsorship partnerships and influencer marketing is and more importantly, like where it's going. So influencer expand is expected to grow to $13 billion in 2021.
Podcast advertising is expected to  percent of brands that runs run campaigns in house say that finding influencers is the most significant challenge for them. And I look at that this as a really big opportunity. I think another thing that's happening that people are sort of like not looking at is, Apple is making all of these changes in terms of like how like advertising works on the iPhone, right? Usually 30 to 40% of VC funding has gone to companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, for spend on advertising. And when adven sort of like the Apple, when Apple has sort of like broken Facebook ads in a way, companies are now not getting the same ROI they got on Facebook, in the past. And so they're increasingly looking at other ways to get distribution for their product. And a lot of companies are now turning to influencers, because influencers. And creators already have affinity with their audience. They already know what their audience wants, they have that relationship already. And I think for creators, podcasters influencers, this is a huge opportunity.
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Sachit Gupta 00:00
The other side of this is sort of like looking inwards. And let's say like you want to work with partners, right? It's like, understanding the basic questions like who is your audience? What companies are the ideal partners for that audience? What are those partners looking for? Who's the ideal person to speak with those partners, and really, like how many partners you so we're going to go through all of these in detail in the following slides. So let's start with who would make ideal partners for you. I think what happens usually is if you're a creator, or a podcaster, you get all these like emails in your inbox, I'm sure like you've gotten them. But like business, some some of this like is essentially spam, right? Where like brands are like, whoa, give you like $50 for one ad read or rule send you this free product. If you're like, sponsor for like, if you talk about us for like three podcasts or three ad reads.
And really like I think creators don't even take the time to think of who will actually make ideal partners for their audience. So in the case of Mixergy, when I started working with Andrew, we really looked at the audience, like our audience was tech entrepreneurs, or CEOs. And we tried to understand like, what kind of products would actually make sense for them? So some of the questions that we looked at was, where what products do we already pay for? What products do our customers pay for? What are the most popular companies or brands in our niche? What companies are already spending money on sponsorships. And really, like our goal was to create a list of 100 companies, that would be ideal partners for our audience. And one sort of like hack is, if you already have an audience, just ask them. So this is an example of a post that we did.
What online tools, products or companies you use every day, um, this week, I'm talking to some companies for mixer sponsorships for next year. So I want to ask you all who are your favorites, what company should be on the list? Thanks. And we got 71 responses just to that post, and just like gave us an idea of like, these are the kinds of products that our audience wants. And then we could actually go to these companies and be like, Hey, we're coming to you to like sponsor a podcast, because your people in our audience already love your product, and we can drive more customers to you.
That should be we have a question in Slack from Nancy. And she's saying that I'm just coding or it's like, I'm assuming you already had a Facebook group or a page where people followed me, which is why you were able to get these manual responses. But Nancy's podcasts gets about 502,000 downloads each episode. But her problem is she knows her demographics from ankle when she hosts the podcast, but she, she doesn't talk to her audience. And it's basically like, how so a question is, how can she talk to her audience to get to know them? And how do you get answers about what products do they lose, because you can't get to this step unless you know who your audience is in the first place.
Sachit Gupta 04:12
Exactly. And that's why sort of like referring back to like the week one stuff, you really want to do the work of like serving your audience, like defining like, customer avatars, sending service to your audience. In the case, like let's say, like you only have like $500, or whatever you can do like a little mini ad, unlike your podcast episodes, where you actually say, Hey, I'm looking to speak to some people in the audience. If you want, go to this form, fill out this form, and then I'll actually come on and hop on the phone with you so you can skip that work. But that's why I like that work is essential to like, then get to this point. Awesome. So let's continue. Actually, before we go to next point, let's do some examples. So let's say that someone has a podcast that targets business owners and the audience is entrepreneurs, CEOs and VC Who would be ideal partners for the show?
I don't know all products that one of the entrepreneurs would use. So it would be email automation products, blogging products, subscription of say, as a podcast, I would say, all CEOs do use a lot of productivity, SAS products, so those kinds of stuff.
Sachit Gupta 05:24
That's exactly right. And so so as you mentioned, it's like SAS products like project management, productivity, email marketing, accounting, you can talk to like legal companies like local law firms, you can also talk to recruiting companies and platforms like Upwork and topped out. And in the case of Mixergy, that was actually what we identified. We looked at recruiting companies. And one of the projects I got from sandbar at the hustle was look for companies that have have higher long term value, which we'll get into later. And realize that like recruiting companies have massive sort of like long term value in the customers. And so we started targeting them. And then obviously, like, top towel, became a sponsor and was a sponsor five years running. That's how good that meant. So now let's do another example. Let's say you have a baking blog. Your audience is baking beginners and moms who would be ideal partners for this. And that should say blog, not podcast,
companies that have baking products or something like that.
Sachit Gupta 06:17
That's exactly right. So like you want to look like like baking products and suppliers. You can look at like kitchenware, you can look at like healthy DTC brands. And this is this was actually the example for in the case of Tessa, she was able to partner with with companies like KitchenAid, Ghiradelli, and other baking companies that I don't remember the name. What was one another one called a Bob's milk, something, because it's like a product that like goes into making cakes and stuff. Okay, let's see what like a last one. Let's say you have a fitness blog that targets millennials, who would be ideal partners for that blog, or influencer?
Sports apparel companies are people companies that do gym equipment. So even like protein products, or something like that, but if you're a fitness like free, you eat those, you have a routine and stuff like that. Also, maybe gym subscription companies or because with COVID, we have a ton of gyms that are online. So that could be a useful model.
Sachit Gupta 07:14
I wish that you hit the nail on the head on this one supplement companies, apparel companies. That's exactly right. And the all these companies by the way, clutter greens, ascent, protein GymShark actually do sponsor a lot of creators influencers and podcasters. So let's do a quick exercise. And really, the purpose of this exercise is to right now, identify 10 companies, that would be ideal partners for your audience. So what we're going to do is we're going to break up into small groups. And basically, we're going to go through this exercise where, first quickly introduce yourselves to each other. And then separately, create a list of 10 companies that you would want as a partner, here's three prompts that might be helpful, then share your list and brainstorm products for each other. And by the end of 15 minutes, you should have a list of at least 10 companies, that would be ideal partners. And obviously, if you're watching this at home, you can pause the video, grab a notepad and just like write down 10 companies that would make ideal partners for you.
Right? It's such a such a wide, like people in Slack are doing that. Could you just like have a two minute session on what? Not 10, but maybe two or three companies that you pay for that would be a good audience for your
Sachit Gupta 08:22
for sure. So so my podcast is called Conscious creators, right? And I'm targeting people like artists, people who are podcasters, obviously, people who are influencers and so so like, mine is kind of like meta, but some of the products that I pay for, I pay for camera to like make like social media stuff. We're paying, we're gonna start paying for software to manage Facebook ads and stuff so that companies like I'm blanking on the name of like needles and Kuya, like marketing companies, email marketing companies like ConvertKit. Productivity companies like notion because everything we do is like based on notion.
And then Personally, I use products like brain.fm. And that was one of actually the proper the sponsors that we first had when we started the show, because I love using that company. Actually, that's another pro tip, which is look for products that you already pay for. Because when you do that your ad is much better than something where you're just like, reading off of a piece of paper. Like, Have you have you listened to ever like listen to a podcast, where the host is reading an ad? And you know, the horse has never used the product?
I have I have and I guess when you're talking about this, I guess on the other end of the spectrum is if you have ever listened to The Wolf of Wall Street podcast, and like Jordan Belfort that he does. I mean, there are times when I'm listening to the podcast and he has been like talking about a product for the past five minutes and in a six minute I'm realizing that this is an ad he's literally so good at it.
Sachit Gupta 09:57
He I mean, he is the Wolf of Wall Street.
I mean, yeah, certainly
Sachit Gupta 10:03
sell me that pen. But let's let's, let's keep moving. So the next part is really understanding why companies are sponsoring you and what they're looking for, which is return on investment. And I would say like 99% of companies usually look at creative partnerships and foreign suspense from two different perspectives. It's either direct marketing, which is, if I spend $100,000, how much money will I make and what time? And then the other side is brand sponsorships, which is, if I spend $200,000, how will that affect my brand visibility, positioning, and engagement. And then for each of these, they're looking at different success success metrics. So let's say like in terms of like direct marketing companies, in this case, mostly care about a financial return.
So they're looking at things like customer acquisition costs, which is how much does it cost to acquire a customer. So for example, a company spends $10,000 with you, and they get 100 customers, that means their acquisition costs was 10,000, over 100, which is $1,000. In long term value is how long sort of like the value of like, how long does a customer safer. So for example, let's say we look at like a subscription product that cost $100. And on average, a customer stays the same for seven months. So that's a $700 long term value. And like I said, like a protip, from Sam for the hustle was look for companies that have really high, what's called Marketing Kakin, LTVs. Because there's just like, it's much easier to be successful with those kinds of companies versus like,
I'm going to stop you for a second, how do you find these companies that have high CAC and LTV?
Sachit Gupta 11:46
Do you mean, how do you find out if a company's LTV is
low? Yeah, yeah.
Sachit Gupta 11:52
You literally ask them. So like, once, like you start talking to companies, or they reach out to you. And we'll go over to like the questions to ask companies. One of my first questions when I worked with sponsors was always like, Okay, so what's your CAC and LTV? And the funniest thing is, in a lot of cases, they actually had no idea. And so we would refuse those sponsorships because we knew that like, even if he drove customers to them, they actually didn't have a way to measure if it was successful or not. So what's the point? So on the other side, we have like brand sponsorships. And in this case, companies really care about engagement.
So the metrics they usually look for is impressions, likes, and stuff like that. And in this case, the pro tip is, if you're already a creator, and you already have content that and you can kind of like, look at what the engagement has been. So for example, in the case of Instagram, right, like, let's say, you post on Instagram, can you export, basically all your data from the last like five years, sorted by engagement and like, look at like what kind of content your people already like. Because chances are, if you have a sponsor sponsored that kind of content, it will resonate with your audience. And then in this case, for example, Tessa had the baking challenge that was already working, so she got sponsors to sponsor that. So again, this is the the big shift, which is, you really want to spend time understanding ROI.
Because unless you know what the partner is looking for, how can you actually deliver them a result, because we want partners for the next year, not just the next month. But actually remember the story, I talked to podcasts in the conference. And they were telling me how they were basically, what they were doing is like they would get a sponsor. And then every month, the sponsor would not return. And then they would get a new one. And so there was just like turning sponsors, because they were never getting them a result, right. And I was like, at some point, you're just gonna run out of companies and your audience is gonna be like, Why do they keep changing sponsors? Why not do all this work of actually like, understanding what they want? And then giving them the results of that? That's the name sponsor keeps coming back, instead of like managing a new sponsor every month. Yeah. Any other questions?
Oh, we have a few questions. But I guess we can move ahead with the slides, and then we can punch up a bunch of questions.
Sachit Gupta 14:01
That sounds good. So as you were asking, so here are questions that I would ask potential partners, when I got on the call with them. So first is like, we were like, What is your goal? And a lot of times what will happen is like a partner might not have an understanding what their goal is. So they'll like say something like, yeah, we just want like customers, we just want some impressions or whatever. So that's when you start like digging deeper.
Okay, you want customers, how many customers that you're looking for? If you're looking for customers? How many leads are you expecting? And if you don't care about any of those, you only care about impressions? What does actual success look like? What else are you doing for promotion? What? And this is one of my favorite questions, because these are the last year like my two favorite questions, which is, let's say you spend $10,000, right? How many customers would you want at a minimum for this to be a success? Or what would need to happen for this to be a success? And then the other one is, which is what needs to happen through this campaign for you to come back to us and renew on the spot?
Because with that question, You're showing the partner not only that you're like thinking about the long term, but you have their best interests at heart. And the interesting thing I found, too, when we did this is most creators are not asking companies these questions. So when you start, like asking these questions, you automatically separate yourself from everyone else. Because a sponsor is like, Oh, wait, you actually, like, want to do this, right? And you, you want to deliver a result for us, which, like, a lot of creators are just not even like thinking about, right. And like I say, at the end, it's like, it just makes it easier to create, like long term partnerships,
we have a question from Lloyd in the previous slide. So we have gone through, like, who are the ideal partners for podcast or newsletter or during Instagram, whoever that whoever, whatever that is, and you have a list of a bunch of companies that you would like to partner with? And now you have a set of questions. How do you reach out to those companies or that make the decision makers in those companies in first place?
Sachit Gupta 16:00
I love that question. So there's actually two parts to it, which is, how do you find the right decision maker? And then how do you reach out to them? And that's going to come in the next few slides? Oh, okay. So let's do a quick exercise, which is, we already spend time like thinking about like, ideal partners, right? Now, what we're going to do is, pick one of those companies, and then based on the company, start brainstorming, let's say you are able to get on a call with that company, what are questions you want to you want to ask them to make sure they're a good fit for you, and you're a good fit for them. So Alicia, let's get you actually an example here like for you with your podcast, like what is a dream partner that you have in mind? And what are questions that you want to like? Ask them before you agree to like, take on their their sponsorship?
Yeah, so my podcasts intellectual software, and the underlying philosophy is that we have schools and universities that teach you subjects to like learn and stuff. And we don't focus a lot on people's specific learning where you're like learning from great entrepreneurs or great artists, and how they think and stuff like that. So basically, like going into their software and what they consume, and how that how they see the world through their eyes and stuff like that.
So I guess an ideal partner for, for me would be a newsletter. And it's by Paulina Marino, and she has this newsletter, where she talks about, it's basically the people specific learning is a term that he took it from her where it's like, she sent you feel like people provide every single week, and she talks about how to think and stuff like that, and their mindset, and all these things. And I think she would be a very ideal partner for me, because she has this newsletter, where she's doing it in the text format of our newsletters, mostly focused.
She has a very diverse range of like, people focus there. It's like sometimes actors, sometimes musicians, sometimes it's entrepreneurs, and it's very uniforming Sunday, whereas on my podcast right now, it's very specific to entrepreneurs in most cases. And so to be like the partner, I would reach out to her. So, I guess, what do you want to know from the partner before? Okay, so I guess such as your question was, how to how to, like,
Sachit Gupta 18:21
what questions you would want to ask her to, to sort of, like get an idea of like, how you can deliver them results and if she would be a good partner for your audience.
Oh, so I know that Polina collaborates with a lot of other newsletters, and she sometimes even pays or newsletters to put out there. So first ask her what what is she paying? And in terms of getting like email subscribers to our newsletters, what is the dollar amount she's being posted, scriber, and stuff like that? Also, like if, and she has this paid newsletter thing, so I guess she has a mathematical evaluation of if I get X number of subscribers and B, amount y, I can get a few percentage of those subscribers into a list and in a very profitable ways, I would like to know that as well. And see if I can, if a collaboration can help convert my podcast listeners to her paid newsletter subscribers, that would be the goal.
Sachit Gupta 19:21
I love that because you've identified like, actually three things in that. So I'm gonna like just highlight those. One is that you're coming at it from you come and come out, you're coming at it from knowing that she's already thought through what the math is, like, she already has numbers. So based on that, you can then like, decide if your podcast would be a good fit for her, right? Because like, we also don't want sponsors where we know we won't get them a result because even if they pay us for like 30 days, if you're looking from a long term perspective, that's actually a waste of time.
Because that's the slot that could have gone to a sponsor who will end up renewing instead of someone who you know is going to leave, right and the third thing is You identified is this idea of like sponsoring other newsletters. I think this is actually something that, like a lot of creators don't do and should be doing, which is doing partnerships with other creators. And instead of maybe like giving money, it's a swap, swap deal where you're basically swapping distribution. And that goes back to the earlier thing of, you can get partnerships where you make money, we can also get partnerships where you get distribution.
So now this is actually I think, one of the key mindset shifts for a creator, which is this idea that like, if, if you want to have like a successful sponsorship and partnership, part of your business, how many partners do you need? So so obviously, how often do you publish your podcast? Two times a month? Two times a month, right? So so let's say like you, you're publishing two times a month, how many partners do you think you'd need to like have like a successful sponsor side of your business?
I would assume somewhere around 50 to 60. sponsors. So assuming I'm due to sponsor outs per episode. And what if you were weekly, I would almost double the number of sponsors in that case, or maybe some, some of them are returning, I would say because between 70 to 80 sponsors a year,
Sachit Gupta 21:13
I think that's the mistake a lot of creators make, which is like, we think that we need to, like talk to like so many companies, and so many sponsors, because like we just like we need, we need like filler inventory, right? We actually looked at the numbers, so let's do some math. Let's say you have a weekly blog, or podcast and you publish 52 pieces of content a year. For those 52 pieces of content, you do two sponsors per piece. So that means for the entire year, you're going to have 108 partner slots. You're right, our math is wrong over there, we're gonna change that 104 partner slots.
And then you have let's see, like on average, a company does like 12 slots per partner. That means that over the course of the year, to fill this inventory up, need less than 10 partners. Oh, please. That's like when I remember, like when I first figured that out, I was like, This is insane. Because we could sign one partner a month. Yeah. And then just keep them happy. Right, just like deliver results for them, and really work closely with them. They just kept saying yes.
And then even if we have like a 60% success, success rate, we have six partners and go on to the next year, and then do the same, and then your inventory is full. And this is actually an example from a client, where we had 319 slots. That's a lot of slots for a year, we had a total of 14 companies. Really, because we like kept delivering results. 64% of sponsor slots were just filled by two companies. And it was over half a million in revenue.
And comment from Nancy the slide. She's like, when she said 50 sponsors a year I was like, oh my god, it's so much work. And then such it just lifted the weight off my shoulders by saying it's less than 10.
Sachit Gupta 23:04
Right? Because yeah, in your mind, when you think of like sponsored, you're like after talking to all these companies, and there's so many companies and blah, blah, blah, but it's like, if you do it, right, you might only have like 10 relationships to manage. And guess what, if you're delivering results for them, renewals get easier. It's like, again, when we worked at Mixergy, we had two sponsors that continue on for like five years, they just kept renewing year after year, because they kept getting results.
Yeah, this is again, this was the biggest mind shift for me. And here's what it led to. It led to me realizing that you don't need that many partners to make a sizable reminder revenue, which means as a creator, you're the price, not them. I want to repeat that, as a creator, you are the prize, not the sponsor. Because what happens right now is a lot of creators are sort of like beholden to these brands and companies, and will do anything to like, get a brand sponsorship, right? Because they're like, they kind of like see themselves as here and like brands is here. And that influences like every like conversation to have every sort of like, deal design and all these different things because they'll take whatever they want.
But once you have the shift, where you're like, instead of this, it's actually this, or maybe this, at least you're on the same level, you're going to start creating every conversation, every negotiation, every brand deal completely differently. And then once like once you like get that like swagger, the brands are going to notice and they're going to treat you differently. And that's going to create a feedback loop where within like a few months, the relationship will completely change. That's actually one of the things that happened with Tessa was when she started out. She didn't like dealing with sponsors, because she was thinking of herself as like a hobby blogger, I'll take any deal about the law. And then once she made the shift was like, I don't need that many of you. So I just need like a few sponsors. Like let's actually make sure you're a good fit for my audience.
And then that completely again, that changed the game for so let's actually talk about like how to evaluate partner fit and see like if a sponsor is a good fit for you, right. And really like what you're doing here is You're you have to think of yourself as a matchmaker between your audience and the sponsors. And you really have to like, find out, you're the conduit and like make the match. And is it actually a good fit? So the first question I always start with is, can you actually deliver deliver results for a sponsor? Because if you cannot, if you don't think you can deliver results for them? I don't care for the offer, like a million dollars, say no, because it's a waste of time, right?
And it's gonna just like, you're going down the wrong road, you want to find partners that are actually a good fit, then you want to look at like, what will the working relationship look like? Are you actually enjoying the conversations and emails with them? So a lot of times, like we'd had partners would be like, meaning this by like, today, and I was like, do you actually want someone like that, like, working closely with him? I was like, no. So if anytime like a sponsor was like, I need something today, like by 3pm, not a good fit for us.
How much are they already spending on marketing besides sponsorships? Because one of things we found was if a company is already spending on marketing in some other area, it usually means to have metrics like CAC and LTV, which we talked about, because then they when they start spending on sponsoring for you, they can very quickly understand if they're actually getting the results that they want, what percent of their promotion budget is being spent with, you know, obviously, like you want to start low with the company.
And then like, if you start getting them results, like you want to go high. So again, when we did sponsorships with Mixergy, they're actually the companies that like we started, when we started, they were like, maybe doing like, 20 podcasts. And within a few years, like we were the only one because they were getting results from us and not anywhere else. What other success had happened, Mark marketing, what other podcasts are they sponsoring? And this was another this was a big shift for me, which is, I remember actually, like, we had a sponsor that was working with us. And then they asked me about like other podcasts.
And I was like, Wait, if I send them to other podcast, Will this stop sponsoring this one, right. And I was like, Oh, this is actually wrong. Because if a company is seeing an ROI in terms of marketing from one place, it'd be really stupid to one shut that down. But what they're actually doing is like, okay, like this is working, Let's replicate this, and do another one. So one way to find like, ideal partners is literally like, look at other podcasts in your niche, and listen to them and see what companies are sponsoring them.
Because there's a good chance, if a company sponsoring one, I feel like sort of like complimentary podcast, like for for a while, it means it's working for them, and your audience will probably also be a good fit for them. Like, the other things we're looking at is like company age, investors revenue, customer profile, you just like really trying to, like, get a very good idea of what the company is.
And the big thing I also look for is like, I look for companies that had like prior success promoting and other channels, because partners were spending on ads, like, you know, places are easier to deal with, rather than someone who like comes to you and is like, hey, we have like $1,000 marketing budget. It's gonna be our first time sponsoring podcasts. And we're gonna sponsor you. And if it doesn't work, our company's done, like you don't want those kinds of companies. You want companies who already like have had some success?
Right? Yeah. So the other question from John, and his question is, it looks like from this particular slide, we are looking for companies that have a decent marketing budget, that have worked with other podcasters and stuff. And so they have a good measure of all the metrics that they are looking for. If you have a podcast that has never done sponsorships, and the company asks for, like, do you have buy results or something? Or we're looking for podcasts that can deliver results, but you have never done a sponsorship? Like how do you navigate that?
Sachit Gupta 28:28
What I would do in this case is I would try do whatever I can to de risk it for them, for example. And again, like first of all, you really have to believe in your short, right? Because if you don't, you're not going to say this. But what I would do is like, Hey, okay, we don't have like prior results. Let's do this. Why don't you sponsor three episodes? As a test? This is what it's gonna cost. And if you don't get results, we'll give it three more episodes to get your money back, right? Because it's like a no lose for them. Yeah. And then that's what you want to do when you're starting out, because that's how you start getting results. And then once you have results, and you can take that to other companies, and then be like, Hey, we did this for this company. This is where you're gonna pay us now. Yeah.
And the last thing that you're looking for is like, really? Like, are they a good fit for your audience? Because again, this is, this is another important point I've seen, which is, like, most creators, and podcasters will take any deal that they get, right. So like, Joe Schmo company like that creates like a random product that it's very clear is not a good fit for like their audience. And as we were talking about, like, they don't even use becomes a sponsor. And then there's actually let's do some graphs and math here. So so let's say like, we're talking about trust here. So let's say, actually, let's not even talk about a podcast here.
Let's talk about matchmaking. Because it's very related, so yeah, let's say you're single I'm shaking like I'm sending you matches right now send you like three different partners like Partner A like trust, like is like is good partner be like very low. See is like kind of high. And then like, all the other ones are like, B, right? How what would happen to sort of like your trust in other people that are sent to you over time?
Such that if you send me a ton of these, I'm not going on a date with them.
Sachit Gupta 30:16
Exactly. Because that trust will fall to the level of the lowest sort of like, sponsor rate. And this is no, no, the thing I found, which is your recommendation is as strong as the weakest weakest partner you recommend. And Warren Buffett in one of his one of his biographies, or I think like movies, has, has this quote, which is like, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.
And there's actually I think it's a really funny story about, like Tony Hawk, when he was coming up, he was just kind of like signing like, all kinds of like, brand deals. And then one day, he went to a factory, and it goes into the factory. And like, he sees all these like products being printed, and then he like, looks around. And then he sees in the corner somewhere. They're making toilet paper, and they're making toilet paper with his face on it. And he's like, that's fine. I'm not like recommending toilet paper, right?
So like, you really want to like be very clear, like, what kind of products and how you're recommending them. Because as soon as your audience like, I feel like as soon as an audience feels that you're just doing it for the money, then they're gonna start questioning like, do you actually like the product or is just for the money? And I'm sure like, have you? Have you taught them and listen to certain podcasts where like, it's clear the person just like reading from a page and doesn't care about the product.
Right? It's very visible in a lot of cases where it's like, Dude, you don't use that. That's the yes
Sachit Gupta 31:44
Want to learn more? In the full program, we cover the following topics around sponsorship:
- How to find the right partner for your audience
- Understanding ROI and what brands are looking for
- How to help brands improve their ROI to increase your earnings
- How many partnerships do you actually need? (you'll be surprised)
- Why you should say NO to brands that don't align with your audience
Covered in the program:
- Why you should focus on sponsorships and partnerships
- Understanding your market
- How to find the right decision-makers
- How to price and what to offer sponsors
- How to reach sponsors
- Building your sponsor pipeline
- The Sales Call
- How to get partners results
- Closing the loop and following up
- How to manage renewals (this trick helped us start years with 60-80% of the year already committed)
- Finally... how to put this into action with tracking sheets, guided workbooks and examples of sponsor decks
How We Grew Mixergy Sponsorships from $50,000 to $500,000+ a Year
Mixergy was missing out on sponsorship opportunities and the advertising side of the business wasn’t working well, ads weren’t producing much revenue to the point where they wanted to shut ads down altogether. Over 5 years, we helped Mixergy grow sponsorship revenue 10X while reducing workload and helping the team partner with amazing companies.
“When it comes to advertising, it’s hard to find someone who can think strategically, but is also eager to roll up their sleeves to implement the nitty-gritty.
Sachit has deep domain knowledge of how Facebook fits into the picture of what you’re trying to accomplish, what to expect, and nuances to be mindful of. In our experience, he cares relentlessly. He never phoned it in. He cares about his craft, about doing a great job, about thinking flexibly, about what’s best for the client."
Feel free to ask any questions about the CreatorsMBA through email or Twitter.