Have you been wondering how to get duck hunting sponsors? I mean wouldn’t it be sweet to get a pile of free duck hunting gear? Heck ya! It absolutely would be so let’s take a look at some ways on how you could get sponsored duck hunting.
10 Tips on How to Get Duck Hunting Sponsors
First, you may want to consider that you are likely one of hundreds of people that are reaching out to these companies, especially if they are any of the big name duck hunting companies that have been around for years.
Don’t get me wrong, there are opportunities to get a duck hunting sponsorship but if you want a better chance at a sponsorship you must find ways to set yourself apart from the pack. Here is a compilation of ways you can use hopefully get sponsored:
Be Specific in What You Are Requesting
Ok, so you want to get a duck hunting sponsorship but you first have to decide exactly what you are looking for in the sponsorship.
Do you want free or discounted products?
Do you want to get paid to promote a brand?
Do you want to be a pro staffer?
These are just a few of the possible things you might be thinking that you want out of the sponsorship. So before you ever contact a duck hunting company about sponsorships you should be clear on what you want out of the relationship.
Let’s take for example you want to get some free or discounted decoys from a duck decoy company you should be specific about exactly what decoys you want and how many decoys you are requesting. Perhaps the company has a new style of decoy that they are releasing and you are very interested in trying this product. When you make contact with that company you should tell them exactly what decoy you are requesting and the exact quantity you are requesting.
This goes hand in hand with tip one when you are contemplating what you want from the sponsorship. A mistake I see a lot of people make when they reach out to these big companies for sponsorships is making too big of an ask. Wouldn’t it be sweet if a decoy company gave you 10 dozen of their top of the line decoys, 10 decoy bags, a full camouflage outfit and a layout blind for free?
Sure it would be sweet but let’s be real, is that a realistic ask especially if it is your first time working with that company? You need to remember that if a decoy company is going to give you a duck hunting sponsorship with free or reduced product it is very expensive to them. Any product they give away free or at a reduced price is a direct hit to their bottom line. Yes, the companies do mark up their products for sale but that does not mean they get the products for free. It is a common misconception that decoy companies are paying just a few dollars for their products.
There are a ton of costs that it takes to get that product to market including the cost of the product itself, packaging, shipping, business taxes, employees, buildings, marketing and a ton of other costs so just do not assume that decoys or any other hunting products are cheap. If the products were cheap or if it was easy to do everyone would either be in the business of selling hunting products or people would just manufacture the products by themselves.
So I encourage you to make your request reasonable to start until you can prove yourself. 10 dozen decoys and a bunch of other hunting products might be a stretch to start but maybe ½ dozen would be more feasible for your first request and then you can go from there after you prove yourself.
Provide Specific Detail on How You Will Use the Product to Promote the Company
Ok so here is one of the biggest things that will help you get a duck hunting sponsorship. It is to provide the company a detailed plan on how you will use the products to promote the company. You see, many hunting companies do have some budget set aside for sponsorships and give always but they want to use this money in the most effective manner possible that will help them spread their brand the most and bring them the biggest return on investment.
An example of what I would not recommend saying is “I will use your products in my videos and I will post your products to my Facebook page. I have a lot of friends who duck hunt.” Sure this gives them a general idea of what your plan is but it is not very specific. Here is a way you could try that would give them a lot more detail to make their decision from. “If you give me ½ dozen decoys I will be making 2 videos of me using these decoys. The first video will be of me unboxing the decoys and talking to my fans about how great they look out of the box. I will post this video to my Facebook page and YouTube channel on July 1st.
The next video will be me hunting with these decoys and showing my fans how they great look while hunting and how they helped me bag more ducks. I will post this video to my YouTube channel and Facebook page on August 30th. I have 1,500 fans on my Facebook Page and 3,500 YouTube followers. Any stats you can give them on how many people will see the content should help your sponsorship request.
Do something for the company in advance of reaching out to them.
If you want to really want to impress the company that you want a duck hunting sponsorship from you could do something for them in advance of asking them for a sponsorship. Let’s say you already own a product or two from this company and you want to get more products in a sponsorship.
What is preventing you from using those few existing products you already own to shoot a few videos and sharing your great experience with the products on Facebook or writing about them on your blog now? Showing the company that you already use some of their products lets them know that you are actually a fan of their company and that you have already spent money with them.
It helps the company know that you actually like their products and that you are not just some hunter trying to get something for free from any hunting company they can. Honestly, I think this could help set you apart from other people who contact them for sponsorships because you are showing them in advance that you are capable of following through with your commitment and you can show them exactly how you would use their products to promote them.
This way when you contact them for a duck hunting sponsorship you can actually send them the links to any videos, posts or other marketing you did for them in advance. I’m confident they will be impressed with your initiative and when you give them something first it will likely increase the chances of them returning the gesture with some level of sponsorship.
Provide Results of Your Marketing Efforts
Now that you have successfully got some free or discounted products and made your videos you should share the results with the company that helped you with a duck hunting sponsorship. For example, pull together the number of the video views you got on YouTube and Facebook as well as the number of link clicks that that you directed to that company’s website (you can use a free service called bit.ly.com to make a traceable link) and send it to the person you worked with at the company.
Basically any and all data that you can pull together on what specific results you were able to get the company by them sponsoring you is great. The data is powerful because they will want to see that you provided a return on their investment in giving you free or discounted product. The other great thing about this is it gives you some validity if you want to ask for more products. You might have got ½ dozen decoys to start but now that you have shown them that you will hold up your end of the bargain they might give you a few more dozen or perhaps provide you some other products to do more marketing for them.
Research the Company First
I highly recommend doing your research on any companies that you are going to ask for a duck hunting sponsorship before ever contacting them. The first reason is that you should make sure that the company is a company that you would feel confident representing if they did sponsor you.
My guess is that you would not want to have your name associated with a company who makes low quality products or conducts business in a manner you do not agree with so before you ever contact them make sure that you would be proud to represent that company. In addition, you should research the company and see how long they have been in business, who are the decision makers and to see if they have any existing polices for providing duck hunting sponsorships.
You can often learn a lot about the decision makers at the company by doing some online research first. If you can find out who the marketing director is then you can look up their social media accounts and see what common interests you have. Of course hunting is likely one but this way when you reach out to the decision maker you can have a better chance of making a personal connection with them.
Check for Sponsorship Forms & Policies on Their Website
Several of the big name hunting companies do have guidelines in place for sponsorships so you should be sure you follow exactly what they are looking for in their policy. However, it does not mean that you cannot go above and beyond to be noticed. For example, their policy might include you filling out some type of form and emailing it to some email address that probably never gets checked.
Sure, go ahead and do what they said in their policy but then use the other tips in this post to go above and beyond. Make a video of you promoting their products and post it several places online and on social media. Then call the company and ask for their marketing director or other individual that would be in charge of their sponsorships. Tell them that that you submitted the duck hunting sponsorship form a week ago and you are calling to check on the status.
Chances are they might say something like “we are still reviewing applicants” or “We have already filled up our sponsorships this year”. Then say “Ok, I completely understand. However, would it be ok with you if I sent you an email with the links of the videos and results that I have already done for your products?” In most cases they will say yes. Now comes the cool part about this. After you send that contact person the email with all of the promoting you have done you have a very easy thing that you can follow up with them about.
So a day or so after you send them the email give them a call back and ask them what they thought about how you promoted their company. Hopefully you did a great job in the videos and if you did they will likely say that you did well. Now you can ask them again about the sponsorship and say something like “I know you said that you are all full for sponsorships this year but would there be any way you would be willing to give me a chance and do a small sponsorship of just ½ dozen duck decoys so you can see more of the results that I can bring for your company”. With this type of follow up and persistence you have surely put yourself far ahead of many other people who are asking for sponsorships.
Pick Up the Phone
Ok so picking up the phone and calling the company might be the scariest of all of my recommendations I make for how to get duck hunting sponsors but trust me, it will likely be the one thing that will put you ahead of others who ask for duck hunting sponsorships. With technology today everyone has easy access to be able to send an email or send a direct social media message to duck hunting companies asking for a sponsorship.
However, you have to remember that this is the exact same route that 99.9% of all other people are going to use as well. Now, I’m not saying that you should not try those methods as well but if you are truly serious about landing some type of duck hunting sponsorship you should be willing to put in the extra work and pick up the phone and try to make a contact at the company. So you might be wondering exactly how to do this. Well to start the department that will often handle sponsorship requests will be the marketing department, particularly if the company is relatively large.
If you are contacting a smaller company it could be the owner that you are going to want to speak to. Begin by calling the companies posted phone number and ask to speak to the marketing director. If they say they do not have one then ask who handles sponsorship requests at their company. Either way at this point it is extremely important to get the name of the decision maker.
Many good receptionists are going to try and screen these types of calls from going to the marketing director or the company owner. They will likely say something like “they are busy right now” or “we do not take sponsorship requests”. This is totally ok. Say, “I completely understand, you must get a ton of these requests. However, could I please at least get their email address so I can just send them a quick email about my request?”. Most likely they will be willing to give you their email address and here is where you have really hit gold in two ways.
First, you now have the email address to send them your request for sponsorship with any videos or promoting of their company that you have already done. Remember from before if you can show them you are already doing some promoting of their company you will likely stand out from the crowd.
Next, and the even bigger golden nugget is now you should have their name. You see, the email address will likely be something firstname.lastname@example.org. So now that you have their name you can try calling back to the company in a day or so and ask for that person by name. Receptionists often screen out phone calls when the caller asks for “The Marketing Director” or “The Owner of the Company” but if you call in and ask for “John Smith” your chances of them putting you directly through to the decision maker will be much improved.
Try in the Off Season
One big mistake for people who are seeking duck hunting sponsorships to avoid is making their sponsorship requests at the busy time of year. For pretty much any duck hunting company their busy time is going to directly align with the duck hunting season. That means the busy months will probably be from August to February each year. Of course there are some exceptions but as a general rule of thumb the late spring and summer months of April, May, June and into July will probably be a little slower around their offices than the rest of the year.
During the busy times of year these business are so busy trying to keep up with customer orders, marketing, inventory management and a million other things on their to do list that they are hard pressed for extra time to talk about sponsorships. In addition, most people who make their requests for duck hunting sponsorships are contacting these companies all during this time of year as well.
So if you really want to stand out and have a better chance of getting sponsored I would suggest trying during the non peak months. First off, you should have an easier time getting in touch with the decision maker because they should have a little less work on their plate compared to during the hunting months.
Also, you will be one of only a few people contacting them during this time for a sponsorship rather than hundreds during the season. It could be easy for the companies during the busy season to simply say that they have too many applicants and to not even take a second look at your request. However, if you are one of only a few people contacting them in the non peak times they will probably have less requests to look through so the chances of them looking at your request and responding are much higher.
Finally, it can be a great time to learn about any new products they are launching or products that they are overstocked on. For example, they may have a new product coming out to the market this season and this would be an excellent way for them to get their product in the hands of some hunters for some early reviews and promotion to happen on this new product.
Also, since the orders for theses companies are slower during these times it is possible that they might be sitting on some leftover inventory from the previous hunting season. This means that they may be slightly more willing to part with a few items that they will have to pay to store for a few months while they wait for the next hunting season to approach.
I hope that all of these tips will be useful for you if you have been considering reaching out to hunting companies for duck hunting sponsorships. Please do not get me wrong, this will likely not be an easy task. However, if you are truly serious about getting some type of duck hunting sponsorship the final tip that will give you is to have persistence.
With persistence I believe that you will have much higher chance of getting sponsored compared to the other 99.9% of people who will also be reaching out to the big brand name duck hunting companies for sponsorships this year. Don’t simply take the first no you get from the company as the final word, you must stay persistent and do not give up.
If you get a rejection from them ask them if they could please tell you what you could do differently in order to get a sponsorship next time. Take their feedback and improve. Or just make some more great marketing videos of their products and continue to tag them on social media as you post them. Then consistently email them the results of the marketing you have done for them even before you have been sponsored. The more you give to show them how much you love their brand the better. Remember the more you give the more likely you are to get something in return.
Scott – Owner – DecoyPro