5 Reasons Sponsors Ignore Your Emails

Email is a fabulous tool to help warm up cold calls…except when it isn’t! I hear from clients and colleagues all the time that their e-mails are not producing results. They send out 1,000 emails and hear nothing back.

I have had excellent results using email to help open doors and I see truly horrible examples of email marketing every day.

Let’s talk about why nobody is replying to your emails.


If you sell sponsorship for a living, you’ve had this dream – we all have: you write 10 emails, with attached sponsorship packages, get 10 responses, all yes with cash in hand.

A nice dream…but a dream nonetheless!

I can’t say this any clearer than this:

You do not want to make the sale on the first call.

If you do, you are leaving money on the table. Big time. What’s the goal of the first meeting? To get the second meeting. How do you get a first meeting? Phone call. How do you get a phone call? A well-written email (assuming no warm introduction, of course).

A well written email does NOT include a sales pitch, a sponsorship package, a one pager or any other tools to make the sale.

The focus of your email is to build rapport and get a phone call. That’s it. If you try to make the sale, your email goes right to the trash. Just like you dismiss the salesperson who greets you on the car lot with “Hi there, buy that car right there for the sticker price right now,” you too are dismissed when you send an email that intends to make the sale.


We all get these emails every single day. Typically from a web design firm telling you that they can turn your website into a million dollar machine. They tell you this in a 1,000 word email full of links and graphics and they spell your name wrong, or forget to change the font in the parts they copy and paste from an obvious form letter.

And when you get that email, you immediately call them and buy a website, right? Of course not!

We all react the same way to these annoying emails, but then when we are in a position to reach out to prospects, what do we do?

We write a 1,000 word standardised email, packed with information about what we want to sell, complete with useless information and links to our site making promises of fortune for our prospects.

If your email is longer than three sentences (yes THREE sentences) save yourself the time and don’t send one.


This is an extension of the first and second problem listed here. Attachments mean you secretly want a sale on the first meeting and that you want to send them even more information without having to talk to your prospect. It also means you make assumptions about what they’re interested in…which are almost always wrong!

I have a friend who works on the brand side and her job is to approve sponsorship requests. Her process looks like this:

  • She gets a request and immediately throws out every package that offers assets that they’ve deemed offside. How do you know what’s offside and what isn’t? Well…you have to talk to her!
  • She trashes anything asking for money and never, ever, opens attachments.
  • She responds, affirmatively, to every request asking for a 5-minute discovery call.
  • After the call, she sends a note to her boss to approve the request. That note can consist of one and only one sentence, no attachments.

If she can’t describe your project in one sentence and the benefit of being involved, you don’t get money. What good is a 1,000 word doc and one-pager when my friend will only work with you after a discovery call?

She gets thousands of requests every month and meets with everyone who asks and gives no money to those who don’t ask for a discovery call. What brand does she work for? A big one.


An email that sends as much information as it can in hopes that the reader will find at least one thing of interest is doomed for the trash. All you want from the email is a call to discover whether or not you should meet in person (or whatever next stage both parties agree makes sense). When you send an email, be clear about exactly why you want to meet, what day, what time and how long. If you can’t describe this in three sentences, then you don’t know your property well enough.


If you send out 100 emails, how many should get a response for a meeting? If you said 100, or even 50, then the reason you are frustrated with your conversion rates is that your expectation is too high. If you are getting a 10-20% response rate on cold emails, you are doing very, very well. If you ignore the best practices outlined here then you should expect a 1-2% response rate, if you’re lucky.

Conversion rates on cold contacts are terrible, which is why going in warm is always your best bet. When you have to go in cold, make sure you set your expectations accordingly.

This article was originally published on The Sponsorship Collective website