Make Money with your Blog – Monetising Social Media through Sponsorship 25th October, 2011

Monetising social media is a tricky business.  Although we are not experts in this (for social media experts, get in touch and we can pass on some recommendations!), we are however experts at sponsorship and utilising sponsorship to reap financial rewards for our clients.

These sponsorship tips can be utilised on a number of social media platforms, but more commonly can be found and developed on a blog. Freely available (see WordPress), blogs can not only drive conversations and showcase expertise, but can also provide the perfect platform to integrate new sponsorship revenues.

A great example of integrating sponsorship with social media can be seen with the DMA Email Marketing Blog.  A fantastic source for everything email marketing and written by industry gurus, this blog is read globally and has become one of the prime resources for email marketers.

Here are some of our tips for integration:


Sponsorship is only possible if there is an audience.  Fortunately, the DMA Email Blog had been going for some time and had a significant number of registrants already.  This not only proved that there was appetite for the content, but also that any sponsors involved with the blog would be guaranteed to reach an audience.

Do not try and sell anything until you have a proven audience.


A number of integrated benefits were provided within the DMA Email Blog sponsorship proposal.  These assets were tailored to reach the prospective sponsor’s objectives – the two most important included:

  1. Opportunity to write guest blogs – providing industry expert positioning
  2. Online display advertising – to promote the services or run competitions

Always think about your prospective sponsors before you look to build the assets into your sponsorship proposal.  What might be something key for you may not be of value to a brand.


Pricing for sponsorship can vary, but should always have a value attributed to the tangible benefits you can offer.  Tangible benefits typically include media rights, physical space (events), access to a database, etc.  As the DMA already provided online advertising on their homepage and throughout the site, there was a base CPM rate for the audience.  The sponsorship of the DMA Email Marketing Blog was based on this precedent.

In the case where you do not have anything to base your pricing on, refer to other advertising costs for online display in similar fields bearing in mind that your reach with a blog will be far less than with an online publication.


Ensure that you have analytics to back up the cost and show the value to the sponsors you are aligning with.  Without measurement in place, sponsorship will have no value and you will not be able to attribute ROI to the brand.

For more information on social media and sponsorship, make sure to check out the presentation Property Rights Owners Make Money with Social Media on SlideShare.

5 Tips to Sponsoring an Email Marketing Event 28th September, 2011

Sponsorship is a fantastic way for email marketers to stand out from their competitors.  If done strategically, sponsorship can not only generate significant leads, but can also provide a platform to showcase expertise and present client testimonials.  In such a small market, sponsorship can be one of the most cost-effective ways to differentiate an email service provider.

Sponsorship Options for Email Service Providers

There are a number of sponsorship opportunities for ESPs in a range of budgets.  From large exhibitions such as Ad:Tech and Marketing Week’s Online Marketing Show to smaller intimate breakfast sessions with the DMA Email Marketing Council and online webinars, how can you be sure you are not only choosing the best sponsorship opportunity, but also making the most of it?

In order to help you leverage your potential opportunities, there are a few things to consider:

1.  Do you even need to sponsor this event?

Sponsorship is a great way to access an audience and help build affiliation.  However, there are other ways to do this through marketing and just simply by attending the event in question with a couple of good sales people who can work the room.

But if your competitors are also attending the same events, then sponsorship is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
Based on the audience you are targeting, options can include:

  1. If the audience you are trying to reach is not familiar with your brand, I’d recommend exclusive sponsorship of the event ensuring that you also receive an opportunity to speak and present what you do best.
  2. If you want to create loyalty with an audience who is familiar with you, then consider sponsoring an element of the event that you are trying to target and align new product launches.
  3. To reposition your brand, look at alternative opportunities, such as sponsoring the photo booth or after party.  This can help reposition an otherwise ‘dull’ brand as an engaging and approachable one.

2. How much?

Ensure you take into account everything that is required to make the most of any event that you sponsor.   Your budget should not just include the cost of purchasing the sponsorship rights, but also any additional activation costs to make sure that your sponsorship is effective.

Activations can include:

  • Prizes or promotions on the day
  • Communications you want to send out to your current clients about your sponsorship
  • Secondary leverage options such as posters to promote your sponsorship
  • Follow up activity on those people you met through your sponsorship

3. Is your audience going to be there?

The best way to identify whether the audience you want to reach will be attending the event you wish to sponsor is to gather as much information about previous delegates.  Although the lists won’t be identical, they should provide you with enough information on the level of delegate.  Specifically ensure that the audience isn’t filled with organising staff and/or partners.

The second way to ensure that the audience you want to reach will be at the event is to invite them yourself.  As a sponsor, you should ensure you receive a number of complimentary tickets to your sponsored event and co-ordinate those invitations with your sales team to set up an engagement programme.  These invitations can also be used to further promote your sponsorship of the event helping to reinforce your affiliation with your current clients.

In some instances you can also request that the organiser invite specific brands you’d like to target – it never hurts to ask.

4. SHOUT about it

Sponsorship helps build fan loyalty with your brand and fans are people we all want on our side.  If you aren’t telling people about your sponsorship then you aren’t getting the most out of the inherent rights that you’ve purchased – and best of all it doesn’t need to cost you a thing!

Depending on the sponsorship, it can and should be reflected in your client and prospect communications.  These can include:

  • Email signatures
  • Social networks
  • Blogs
  • Email campaigns
  • Promotions
  • Your reception area
  • Giveaways
  • Website

5. Get them working for you!

Typically the event will have its own PR team who will be trying to promote the event you are sponsoring.  Set up a meeting or at the very least send them your press kit so they can include your messaging whenever possible.  Find out about their communication and marketing schedule and find ways of linking in with it.  Typically providing a prize tends to lend itself well to being included with communications as the organisers also want to add value to their delegates.

Making sure that you really ‘work’ your sponsorship rights can add significant value over and above the rights that you have purchased with your sponsored event.  Most of these tips can be done with little or no cost, but just make sure you have the resources to make your sponsorship truly work for you!

This blog was originally posted on the DMA Email Marketing Blog.  For more email marketing articles, make sure to register here.

Happy Birthday Slingshot: Tips & reflections on starting a sponsorship agency 14th June, 2011

We’ve just had our first birthday – a very big moment for us all!

While waiting for our bottles of champagne to arrive on the table at our birthday party celebration, I thought about the past year and what I could have done better/differently through Year 1.  We’ve had many successes – our most recent being shortlisted for four awards at the upcoming Corporate Engagement Awards as well as a few hiccups, but all in all it’s been such a fantastic year and I can’t wait to start the next one.

Throughout the year, I am constantly asked how I made the leap and so I thought I’d jot down some of my own tips/experiences as a birthday gift to all those thinking about starting up a sponsorship agency (or any service based business for that matter).

  • TIP 1: Understand your agency’s value proposition

Without a full understanding of what your business does, it’s going to be next to impossible to explain, let alone convince others to buy into your service.  Clearly identifying what it is you do, who you’d like to work with, and knowing what you can’t/won’t do is incredibly important.  Do your research and find out what else is out there and what your competitive edge is.  And then, as a good friend and someone I regularly go to for business advice said, “Make sure you can explain all this in an elevator between the ground floor and the arriving on the first floor or else forget it.”

Our value proposition in plain English: We build/create things to make money.

More eloquently put, Slingshot identifies opportunities in businesses that new revenue streams such as sponsorship can be developed without having to change the direction or core focus of the business.  This creates partnerships and helps generate revenue for activity that is already being resourced.  It also opens up new audiences for your business to reach.

  • TIP 2: Use a cash flow

The number one failing of a business is not having enough cash flow.  Not only understanding how to put one together, but also using it to identify how to develop and grow your business moving forward.

With an educational background in finance, I thought I understood this fairly well, but a textbook understanding of cash flow and how it actually relates to your business turn out to be very different concepts when put into practice.  I’d highly recommend speaking to someone who has done it before and get them to help you tailor your cash flow to reflect your business objectives.

  • TIP 3: Shout about what makes you unique

If you are considering starting out on your own, I am assuming you already know what will make you different than your competitors.  If you don’t know, then it might be worth reconsidering whether or not you should be going it alone.
When you do know what you do better than the next guy, make sure to tell everyone you know.  This can be through your website, word of mouth, articles, profiles, credentials, your company blog and actively using social media such as Twitter.  Your unique selling point won’t ensure you’ll land every client that comes along, but it will help you get your foot in the door.

  • TIP 4: Outsource

Working until the wee hours of every night for the past year has not been my idea of fun, but I did anticipate it and assumed it was part of starting your own business.  However it did takes its toll, especially on tasks that I wasn’t particularly good at – such as invoicing and filing.  I finally made the decision to outsource some of our non-core activities and it has made a world of difference – allowing me to work on what I do best – being creative and building relationships between brands.

  • TIP 5: Love what you do

It is not always easy working in sponsorship and there can be a lot of rejection – both from prospective clients as well as prospective sponsors for projects you are involved with.  If you don’t love what you do, then you won’t make it past the long hours and what seems like an extraordinary amount of copywriting that I never knew existed (website, blog, articles, emails…) to find yourself sitting in the VIP room at the Hammersmith Apollo realising that you helped build this.  And hopefully in a month’s time admiring those first few awards in our office’s reception!

Make sure to keep track of our progress in Year 2, by signing up to our weekly eNewsletter & Facebook page.

Email List Growth: Reaching New Audiences through Sponsorship 7th June, 2011

I recently attended the DMA’s Email Customer Lifecycle Breakfast Briefing with sponsors Silverpop and came away with some refreshing ideas about how to grow email lists.  Working in sponsorship, accessing a list/audience is one of the vital benefits within a sponsorship proposal.  Most often, the audience has not opted in to receive 3rd party communications; however, it is perfectly acceptable and the norm to incorporate sponsor branding within the sponsored event communications.  Options on how to do this successfully were in my last blog Email Newsletter Sponsorship: Who is Getting it Right?

However, badging logos to an email is not always the best way to organically grow your list through sponsorship within eNewsletters.  More integrated approaches can be taken if both parties are flexible, which can create a more engaging relationship with the customer you are trying to reach.

Case Study: A Small World & Boujis

A Small World is similar to a private members online network where the audience is fairly exclusive and difficult to access.  By invite only, a Small World has generated a unique and large enough audience that can become an attractive partner for luxury brands.  Typically this has been done through display advertising.  However, more recently there has been an increase in jointly supported events that are supported by communications sent by both partners to their respective database.  The most recent partner through A Small World’s email newsletter promoting an event with Boujis – a nightclub located in London.

This email was sent by A Small World to their London members.  By avoiding looking overtly commercial and sending communications which the audience has not agreed to receiving, A Small World has promoted their own event showcasing Boujis in the format and copy of the email.  When tickets are reserved, guests are then asked whether they’d like to receive communications and similar invitations to events held with Boujis.  This provides benefit to both parties – enhancing both the A Small World member experience through an exclusive invite specific to their city of residence as well as providing an exclusive audience for Boujis to build brand awareness and showcase their venue to.

In terms of using sponsorship for list growth, this is a great example illustrating how to grow your list organically through a partner – avoiding purchase or rental of data lists.  Instead of spending the money trying to jump start building a new list of customers, Boujis have wisely spent the money in a tailored sponsorship opportunity.  This not only provides them organic list growth, but also alignment with a trusted brand and a tangible event attracting new customers.

I can’t wait for more inspiration and email marketing tips at the second session in the Email Customer Lifecycle sponsored Silverpop  on Conversion,  12 July 2011.  Free to all DMA members, book early to avoid disappointment by emailing [email protected]

To find out more about email marketing, make sure to check out the DMA Email Blog.

Silverpop appoints Slingshot Sponsorship to manage events and sponsorship 14th April, 2011

Slingshot Sponsorship, the thriving new sponsorship agency, has recently signed new client Silverpop®, the only provider of a scalable, integrated email marketing and marketing automation platform.  Slingshot Sponsorship will assist Silverpop with their event management and sponsorship efforts.   

 As an industry thought leader, Silverpop has a strong presence at UK events and has chosen to work with Slingshot Sponsorship in order to optimise these opportunities.  Slingshot Sponsorship will be working with Silverpop across the top level digital marketing events they are sponsoring such as the Marketing Week Awards and Internet World London.

 We are delighted to be working with Slingshot Sponsorship in order to ensure that we are effectively connecting with marketers at key industry events in order to share with them our expertise in helping them take their marketing efforts to the next level.

Richard Evans, Director of Marketing – EMEA, Silverpop 

About Silverpop

Silverpop is the only marketing technology provider that offers a powerful marketing automation solution built atop a scalable email marketing platform. The company has more than a decade of experience empowering marketers to deliver highly relevant communications that efficiently drive revenue while also building brand loyalty. Companies rely on the Silverpop Engage platform to create and manage sophisticated multichannel marketing campaigns that nurture customer and prospect relationships from interest to conversion and beyond. Silverpop’s industry-leading thought capital, strategic counsel and customer service, combined with an extensive ecosystem of world class partners, allow its customers to quickly and cost-effectively automate even the most complex campaigns-improving marketing results and increasing ROI. With a presence in the United States, Europe and Australia, Silverpop is trusted by leading brands around the globe. Visit for more information.

Slingshot Sponsorship Wordle & our 3 Key Terms 7th February, 2011

Although not shocking, I recently created a Wordle that highlighted the most commonly used words on our blog.  Unsurprisingly, three key words outside of the word sponsorship came up: Audience, Brand, and Marketing.


Without an audience sponsorship cannot exist.  An audience is the most relevant part of a sponsorship as it is the key reason why brands use the sponsorship platform as a marketing tool.  Although the benefits and perks of sponsorship are always great – exclusive access to unique events, such as the pit at Formula1 and tickets to private concerts – these no longer are the key reasons brands choose sponsorship. 

Sponsorship creates access to a brand and builds relationships faster than straight forward advertising through the built-in goodwill and association.  The audience is typically already engaged with the platform and presents a prime opportunity to slowly enhance this through brand relationships or dramatically change brand perceptions through positioning.

The audience is key and should always be the core focus of how brands can cleverly positioning their marketing and experiential activity with their sponsorship rights in order to create an impactful campaign.


The brand fit is also crucial to a successful sponsorship.  As noted, brands can utilise sponsorship for a number of reasons – launching a product, brand awareness, changing positioning and changing perceptions to name but a few.  Depending on the rights and activation strategy, the brand health needs to be considered to ensuring that sponsorship doesn’t intrude on the rights purchased.  Many consumers, especially in the charity or government sector, can sometimes view sponsorship as a commercial ‘sell out’ against the brand, which may turn into a lack of audience, which then negatively influences what the brand sponsor set out to achieve in the first place.  These issues need to be considered from both parties when purchasing sponsorship rights and when bringing on board sponsors.


Sponsorship is a form of clever marketing – or we think so at least!  However, basic marketing techniques need to be applied when using sponsorship to ensure that value is delivered for both parties.  One of the key things that I think the sponsorship industry continues to fail in comparison to the marketing industry is measurement.

Historically, sponsorship has been difficult to measure and therefore became an afterthought.  However, with more red tape in the sponsorship industry, ROI and measurement is vital and needs to be built into sponsorship activation strategies at the outset.  Measurement in sponsorship can be as simple as focus groups and surveys to as complicated as consumer purchase behaviour patterns with brands. 

Whatever the strategy, it should be discussed and built into whatever sponsorship you are developing in order to comparatively show how sponsorship can truly outperform standard marketing campaigns.

Email Newsletter Sponsorship: How to do it and Why 17th January, 2011

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels available, ensuring a wide reaching audience and proven results.  E-Newsletters are particularly useful for organisations as a tool for communicating with customers, building engagement, driving traffic, and directing customers to key content.  And, with a groundswell of readers behind it, an email newsletter can be used as a platform for sponsorship –  providing a great revenue opportunity as well as a great marketing opportunity for potential brand partners  to create new engagement opportunities with your audiences. 

Sponsorship of e-Newsletters can be a powerful way to tap into a new customer segments and  aligning your brand to relevant and complimentary  topics or propositions.  It helps increase exposure in a receptive environment (your customers’ inbox) and can subtly promote your brand whilst gaining goodwill through association.

For the converted, there are a variety of e-Newsletter sponsorship investment levels to consider, which vary according to type of audience (mass market B2C vs niche market B2B), frequency (daily vs monthly), and style of content (promotions vs editorial).  From a cost perspective, most range between £1,000 and £3,500 a campaign (which may translate to a one off, mass market hit, or a monthly ‘takeover’ of display ads). 

A great example of an e-Newsletter sponsorship opportunity is eConsultancy, who offer a prime position on their daily alerts for £2,250, which is sent out to a 10,000 to 12,000 opted-in subscriber list. 

However, not all e-Newsletters are appropriate for the task.  There are a few points that we always take into consideration when talking to clients about before considering this style of sponsorship.  Here’s a quick overview:

1.  Audience: an e-Newsletter can only be sponsored if it attracts an audience that is either sufficiently large or very niche.  To state the obvious, B2C e-Newsletters require a large audience to be of interest, whilst B2B e-Newsletters can deliver value with smaller audiences with greater purchasing power.  If you have an e-Newsletter that might be attractive to sponsors, but you don’t yet have a sponsorship sales strategy, you will need to demonstrate value in your audience through proof  of size, quality and engagement of your audience.  Most email marketing applications will provide you with basic analytics tools to generate this information.

 2.  Measurement: ROI is key to sponsorship and vital for brand sponsors when choosing who to spend their marketing budget with.  Analytics tools will also provide publishers and sponsors with all of the necessary metrics to understand views, click throughs and open rates; and it is this data that will ensure that pricing and value for money are maintained at the right level.

 3.  Resource: sponsorship is not just about attaching someone else’s brand to yours.  For this style of sponsorship to be successful there needs to be a dedicated team behind it that understands data, brand synergies, and the ability to unearth unseen co-branding opportunities.  This is no small task, but this kind of attention to campaign management can turn e-Newsletter sponsorship opportunities into gold.

Slingshot Sponsorship signs The Institute of Direct Marketing 4th January, 2011

Slingshot Sponsorship, the thriving new sponsorship agency run by Jackie Fast, has recently landed new client, The Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM).

The IDM is Europe’s leading marketing training and qualifications provider for direct, data and digital marketing professional. Since it was founded in 1987 the IDM has developed a worldwide reputation by training more than 45,000 marketers and providing more than 10,000 programmes across 28 countries. However, the Institute is also an educational trust, for which sponsorship funds are vital.

The IDM has chosen to work with Slingshot Sponsorship in order to supplement its existing, and ongoing, sponsorship programme.

Lisa Turner, Marketing Director at the IDM comments, “We’re very pleased to be working with Slingshot Sponsorship. Sponsorship is vital to the IDM, not only to help us continue to deliver the very best professional development programmes for marketers, but, crucially, to help fund the charitable IDM Education Programme. Without it, we’d be unable to continue our essential work with UK universities and ensure that a stream of bright young graduates continue to enter the direct and digital profession.”

Slingshot Sponsorship will work with the IDM to provide sponsorship opportunities across some of their larger events in 2011.

If you are interested in finding out more information on being involved with IDM activities as a sponsor or an exhibitor, please contact Jackie Fast, e: [email protected]

About the IDM

The IDM is Europe’s leading training and qualifications provider for direct and digital marketers. It assists the lifetime professional development of marketing practitioners – from before they enter the profession (via the IDM Education Programme) and at every career stage afterwards. The Institute provides over 40 different marketing training courses and is the awarding body for 7 professional marketing qualifications in order to help professionals develop the essential skills for today’s accountable marketing. It also runs world-class thought-leading conferences as well as a series of knowledge and networking events. The IDM is a not-for-profit organisation, an educational trust, a membership organisation, and a registered charity.

To find out more about each of the IDM’s areas of activity, visit the following:

IDM Training:

IDM Qualifications:

IDM Education programme:

IDM Events:

IDM Membership:

Scally Rally Adventure: looking back 3rd October, 2010

I recently took part in one of our client’s exciting marketing campaigns – the Scally Rally.  An adventure all in itself with teams participating in a four day race across Europe raising money for charity. Our team consisted of three cars with teammates from the Pure360 email marketing team in addition to their friends – the DMA, Content & Motion, and myself.  Throughout the Scally Rally, Pure360 was stopping along the way fighting spam and providing fantastic email tips, which you can check out on Pure360TV.

Starting Out

On September 23rd we set off in our car that, by Scally Rally rules, had to be purchased for under £100 – our first stop was Calais, France.  Needless to say, it was not surprising that our car broke down as we were getting on the ferry to Calais and we had to push it on.

Fortunately, our car named Bel, started miraculously and we were able to get to the starting point.

Our Journey

Our journey took us from Calais to Basel, Basel to Lake Como, Lake Como to Cortina, and finished in Rimini.  Along the way, we were able to take part in the Scally Rally challenge, although most of the time was spent trying to overcome our own ‘challenge’ of learning how to read a map and inputting foreign postcodes into the sat nav (which most other Scally Rally teams considered cheating, although they still always seemed to make it to the finish point of the day before we did).  Pure360 also managed to shoot a significant number of email tips, my favourite one can be found here.

We finally made it to the finish point after an exhausting and yet very exhilarating four days of driving.  I am exceptionally grateful I did not hit another car and also that I took part in an epic over 40s disco night.  We also saw some amazing sights.

Including the not so amazing sights of hairpin turns on the sat nav and flat tires, which conveniently turned out to be the same day our car Bel broke down.  And the day we got lost.  And the same day I was in a car for a total of 14 hours.  On the positive, we did have a Michael Jackson tribute sing along!Special thanks goes out to the entire Pure360 Scally Rally Team for inviting us along on this adventure as well as their fantastic company during the entire trip!

For more on our Scally Rally, be sure to check out the Pure360 Blog, Tristan Garrick’s blog posts on the DMA’s Email Marketing Blog, and the hilarious blog post by Content and Motion.

For all those that donated and supported Slingshot Sponsorship on this journey, thank you.  And for all those who have not yet donated, be sure to help support us by donating here.