Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

"Can I Ask for Payment During Coronavirus?"

Yes, but you need to craft a very compelling, very targeted pitch.

By

During normal times, many entrepreneurs build partnerships, seek sponsorships or offer other paid opportunities. But what are we to do now, when budgets are tight and the future is uncertain? Can you still ask someone to pay for your partnership?

The answer: Yes, but you have to make a very compelling case.

To dig into the details, we arranged a coaching session between an entrepreneur and an industry expert—and filmed it so you can watch.

Anna Kachikyan is the creator of The Armenian Report, a news outlet that serves English-speaking Armenians around the world. Brands typically pay to advertise in The Armenian Report, but Kachikyan isn’t sure if it’s appropriate to pursue clients right now. Jason Harris is president and CEO of the advertising agency Mekanism, and author of The Soulful Art of Persuasion, and has some very helpful tips for pitching during a crisis.

Three major takeaways:

1. Make the case with data.

Businesses may be budget-conscious right now, but they don’t want to hit pause entirely. They want to make the smartest possible bets they can. That’s why, if you’re going to seek a paid partnership, you need to make a strong case for why now is a great opportunity.

For example, here’s Harris making the case for spending on digital advertising: “Digital usage is up 70 percent. Social media usage is up 46 percent. Brands that continued to advertise during the 2008-2009 recession were 45 percent farther ahead in market share, compared to their competitors overall.” If you put numbers and data behind your outreach, he says, you can entice your brand partners to work with you right now.

Harris’s company, Mekanism, produced a white paper on communication in the time of COVID-19, which contains a lot more of that data.

2. Create an opportunity they can’t find elsewhere.

Kachikyan serves a niche audience, and worries that it’s too small for brands to care about now. But Harris says that her niche audience is actually a great opportunity for brands — if she presents it properly. “This is perfect time for them to hit a new target demographic,” he says.

Here’s the thing: Brands want to expand their reach, and now is a great time to introduce themselves to new audiences. That way, when the economy recovers, that audience will remember the brand fondly and become even more engaged. The trick, Harris says, is making that opportunity as clear as possible to brands. “I think the pitch could go like: 'Here's who my target audience is. These are the things they care about, with some stats and data. Did you know that traffic to my page or my stories have been getting 200 percent more views?' Then, offer general stats about internet and social media usage, and say, ‘I think this is a perfect time to talk to a new audience.’”

3. Offer something free now, to build a relationship for later.

“When I started my agency,” Harris says, “I did about five free campaigns before I started getting paid, because it built a case study for me, and I had well-known brands that I could connect my brand to.”

Even if you’re past the days of offering freebies, you may want to consider doing it again (or running a 30 percent discount). Not every brand can pay to partner right now, but it's still an excellent time to build relationships and show your commitment to the community you serve. That’ll pay off later.

For more, watch the video above!

Latest

This Entrepreneur Maxed Out His Credit Cards to Build a Business That Helps Companies Protect their Data

The president and CEO of Data443 shares how his company secures and manages organizational data wherever it exists.

How This Doctor-Turned-Entrepreneur is Trying to Change the World Through Play

The CEO of In KidZ shares how she's trying to make inclusion a daily part of family life with her culture-focused company.

How to Lead Calmly and Effectively While Your Business Experiences Growth

The co-founder and CEO of Komodor discusses his company's journey and his advice for entrepreneurs who find themselves in the spotlight overnight.

This Meta Leader Has Interviewed More Than 300 Job Candidates. Here are Her Pro Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Job Interview.

Meta's head of Global Environmental, Social, and Governance Business shares her dos and don'ts when it comes to the phases of a job interview.

This No-Code Platform Just Closed a $55.5 Million Round B

The co-founder and CEO of EasySend shares how his company creates digital customer journeys and his advice for entrepreneurs looking to break through the noise.

This SaaS Founder Sold His Business to Oracle for $9.3 Billion

In November 2016, NetSuite was acquired for $9.3 billion. Founder Evan Goldberg explains how it happened.

These Founders Started Their Company With a $300 Investment. They've Now Done $1 Million in Profits.

Watch this exciting episode of 'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch' to learn about Canadian legging company Rose Buddha and see which hopefuls are able to land investor capital.

This Digital Campaign Celebrates the Fast-Growing Workforce of Web Creators

Elementor's VP of Marketing discusses the company's digital campaign and how web creators fit into the larger creator economy.

Watch the 60-Second Pitch That Landed a $500,000 Investment

Find out which companies impress our investors on another exciting episode of 'Elevator Pitch.'

Why This CEO Believes Entrepreneurship Is as Important to Learn as Geometry

Ayele Shakur shares her bold plan to make entrepreneurship education a requirement for high-school students and explains why business leaders should get on board.

How this Healthcare Entrepreneur is Disrupting the Fertility Space

The Founder and CEO of Inception Fertility shares how his family's road to parenthood inspired a brand that's making fertility treatment more accessible and the patient experience at the heart of what they do.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.

  • An original series streaming weekly where you can Click-to-Invest while you watch. THEIR JOURNEY. Your decision.
  • Your favorite pitch show is back with new entrepreneurs pitching Entrepreneur's investors.
  • Host Nicole Walters interviews small business founders to discuss their unique challenges and experiences running and growing a business. 
  • Jessica Abo covers the causes people care about, the powerful work they do and how they got to where they are in the first place.
  • Bestselling author, Ben Angel, takes his audience on a journey into the entrepreneurial mind to uncover why we do what we do through his powerful short films and educational videos so you can unleash your ideas and potential.
  • Watch our staff interview top entrepreneurs and report on location in these Entrepreneur.com exclusive videos.