How to Negotiate An Email Sponsorship

When you need an instant influx of web traffic, try to negotiate an email sponsorship.  Simply, use another brand’s email list to send traffic to your site. This article outlines exactly how to negotiate an email sponsorship. Keep reading to find out more…

What Is An Email Sponsorship?

An email sponsorship or “email drop” is essentially where you “rent” a particular email address owned by someone who would have many contacts. Essentially, you negotiate with the owner to convince them to send an email on your behalf.

You achieve two things from this.

(1) You can transfer the success of their brand to yours.

(2) you can reach a lot more people than you typically would otherwise.

A common misconception, you don’t buy the email names on the list.  Rather, you buy access to that list, so you can advertise with it.

7 steps to Negotiating An Email Sponsorship

Step 1: Create a list of potential email partners

Who will likely be willing to negotiate an email drop?  Make a list of these people by using a Google search with keywords pertaining to your brand or industry.  Look at the top results and find evidence of a site with content matching yours.

You want to look for appropriate and relevant content. If they collect emails from visitors, great!  Do they have advertising or sponsorship opportunities? Fantastic!  Include it in your list of potential email partners.  You’ll then want to track down their contact information and save the link to their advertising opportunities page.

email sponsorship

After that, use Google’s similar site extension to find sites that are similar.  You could also use other tools to find similar sites like:

Similar Sites

email sponsorship

What Runs Where

email sponsorship

DBI TIP: You should create a list of 5-10 sites as it increases your chance of finding the best partner.

Step 2: Send email sponsorship outreach email #1

As soon as you have your list of potential partners, send an introduction email.  This email will allow you to figure out if they have advertising opportunities or not.

With outreach emails, you want to be convincing, and you want to use this one opportunity to make it count because you may only get one.  Capture their attention.  Make it so that they cannot afford to say no.

5 Rules for Sending Email Sponsorship Outreach Emails

1. Don’t let them delete your email!

Start with a subject line that sucks the potential partner in. When you go to your inbox, you probably don’t read every email you get in there.  However, some capture your attention and you’re compelled to open them.  Consider this while writing your email.

2. Don’t Beat Around the Bush

Nobody wants to read an email that doesn’t get straight to the point.  If you want something from someone, just say it. It’ll annoy the potential partner, and you’ll lose a sponsor.  Plus, these people are typically very busy, so they’ll most likely not read your entire email past the first few lines unless you really grab their attention. So, stick to the point that you want to make.

  • Who are you?  – What sets you apart from everyone else? This is important as most brands want to include sponsors that add value to their subscribers. Consider this when elaborating on who you are and what you offer.  Also, when you send this in your email, link your site to your site name.
  • What do you want? – Don’t leave them guessing what you want.  Tell them straight off in one or two sentences what you want.
  • Close it Off – By now they know what you want (and are probably interested if they kept reading).  Give them a plan of action.  A potential partner should be informed of how you plan on getting what you want.  Set it up step by step.  Let them know how you intend to do this email sponsorship and what exactly they can do to help.

3. Flatter Them

A little flattery never hurt, but it sure does go a long way.  Let them know how much of an authority they are in your niche.  Talk about a particular author on their website that you won’t find on the homepage, or find a post you liked, and tell them why you loved it.  Still, keep it brief and to the point!

4. Don’t Spam the Potential Partners

This is just bad practice to spam potential partners.  It’ll reflect badly on you.  Give them some time to respond.  Or they might just not be interested and say nothing.  In that case, you may want to wait until you can provide undeniable value to them and send them an email at a later date.

5. Reach Out Realistically

If you’re just getting started with growing your digital brand, don’t try and go after the larger brand at first.  Go for the brands that are your size, around the same authority and fall in your niche.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Content Marketing to Build Your Digital Brand

Step 3: Send Email Sponsorship Outreach email #2

By this point, sites have responded to your first email.  Now you have to follow up with a few questions like “who is the email sent from?”   You ideally want it to be a person, not the company.

Also, ask questions like if they personally endorse the promotions or not.  You want them to say something like “it’s our friends…” or ” it’s a product we really enjoy….”

Figure out if they regularly email content and what their emails look like.  Basically, find out how it’ll look when they endorse you because the last thing you want is an endorsement that’ll hurt your brand.

Step 4: Send Email Sponsorship Outreach email #3

Now, you’ve gathered all the information you need and have a better idea of who you want to work with.  Send the third email asking if they allow A/B split testing.

This basically means sending two versions of an email to different parts of the list to determine which performs better.

Next, you need to know the size of the list.  However, don’t go simply looking for quantity over quality.  Some smaller lists have more active subscribers than bigger lists.  Finally, ask them how much it costs for one dedicated email and get an estimate.

Step 5: Negotiation Email

With all of that taken care of, and everything checked out, it’s time to negotiate the advertising rate and terms of the email sponsorship.  Consider the following.

  1. Can you get a reduced rate since you’re a first-time sender?
  2. Can you do a test send to a part of their list, rather than the whole list?
  3. Do they have a 30-day payment term?
  4. Will they give you free or discounted rates on other advertising options?

A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.  You’re only hurting yourself by not asking.  If they’ve carried on with you this long, I’m sure they’re willing to negotiate.

Step 6:  Schedule, Set-up, and Test Your Email

Now you’re ready to go!  You have your deal on an email drop and are ready to schedule, set up, and test your email!  Before you start, keep a few important questions in mind.

  1. What days and times are optimal mailing times for their lists?
  2. Do they charge more for their best open day/time?
  3. What dates do they have available for your email?  Make sure you are the only advertiser scheduled for that day.

Step 7: Track performance

Never ever do anything for your digital brand without following through.  Following through usually refers to tracking performance.  Every effort and ounce of time you put into securing your sponsorship must have some positive result to make it worth your time.

So, with this, you’ll want to track its performance with Google email tracking.  If the list owner would allow you to do so, you can set a special google link in the email.

3-5 days after the email has been sent, ask the list owner for the number of emails sent, open rate, click through rate and other available information that can help with tracking performance.

SEE ALSO: 10 Engagement Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Email Sponsorship Alternatives

If you’re not interested in these steps, it’s not your only option.  You can always go through a third-party list broker. The price is usually high but if you want quick results without having to go through the aforementioned process, this is an alternative.

Here are some brokers to consider.

Kantar Media

Next Mark


Borelli Direct Marketing, Inc.

Final Thoughts

This is a technique with untapped potential. It’s not easy.  It’s not quick.  But, it’s so worth it.  Through email sponsorship, you instantly gain access to hundreds if not thousands of eyeballs you did not have.

Start with a list of potential email partners, and give it a shot!  Let us know below of your email sponsorship success!  

Written by
Juntae DeLane

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