How to Respond to a Brand when they “Don’t have budget” for an influencer campaign

Has a brand ever reached out to you and asked to collaborate over Instagram? Has the brand informed you that the collaboration is a trade and there isn’t a budget for the campaign?

If you’ve received this response before and aren’t sure how to respond to a brand, this blog post is for you.

respond to a brand - we dont have budget response - how to reach out to a rband - how to work with brands as a blogger - brands who work with bloggers

Over the last 4 years, I’ve worked with a ton of brands both paid and unpaid brand collaborations. I landed my first paid brand collaboration after 10,000 followers in 2017. While most of my brand collaborations are paid, I still accept gifted campaigns from time to time.

I’ve also heard the phrase:

“I’m sorry but we don’t have budget for this blog/Instagram collaboration”.

I know this phrase might be frustrating to a lot of people trying to figure out how to get paid as an influencer. So today I wanted to share a few ways I’ve learned how to professionally respond to brands when I learn there’s no budget for their campaigns.

Before I dive into email response ideas, you should ask yourself:

“Do I want to still work with this brand even in a gifted campaign?”

Emma's Edition - Scottsdale Arizona - Sugar Bowl Ice cream shop

Depending on what your gut or heart tells you to do, you’ll respond differently to the brand.

If the brand reaches out to you without budget and you DON’T want to work with them, here’s a few ways to respond to a brand:

Brand email response #1:

“Thank you for informing me that there isn’t budget for this campaign. At this time, I’m only accepting paid collaborations so I’m going to have to pass on this opportunity. Thank you!”

Brand email response #2:

“Unfortunately I’m only accepting paid collaborations at this time so I’m going to decline this opportunity to work with the brand. Thank you!”

You don’t need to go into a long winded speech about how you need to get paid for campaigns. Brands know they should be paying you for your work. Simply stating that you’re only accepting paid campaigns will clearly communicate that message.

Emma's Edition - Scottsdale Arizona - Ice Cream Shop

If the brand reaches out to you without budget and you WANT to work with them

You should find different ways to ensure that you both can benefit from the collaboration. The brand is gifting you product in exchange to be featured in your Instagram, blog, YouTube, etc. You can also take the opportunity to gain from the brand collaboration.

Here are a few ideas you can still propose to the brand even in a gifted brand collaboration:

Gifted Collaboration Response #1: Ask to be featured on their Instagram/social media

“Hi brand! May you please let me know if the brand would be open to also sharing 1 Instagram post and 1 Instagram story on the brand’s page? I’d be happy to accept the gifted items and feature the brand on my page.”

Gifted Collaboration Response #2: Ask for more gifted items

“Hi brand! May you please let me know if the brand would be able to gift X more items? I’d be happy to create the requested content for the brand if the brand is able to meet this request.”

respond to a brand - we dont have budget response - how to reach out to a rband - how to work with brands as a blogger - brands who work with bloggers

If you’re debating whether or not you should take the gifted brand collaboration, you can check out my experience with doing gifted brand campaigns: 5 Lessons I’ve Learned from Gifted Brand Collaborations.

I wanted to give a quick shout out to @nikkagabrielle for sending an IG story question in: “How to negotiate deals if you have a small following and you usually get “no budget” responses?”

I hope sharing a few ideas on how to respond to a brand when they don’t have budget for a blogger collaboration was helpful!

If you’re looking for more tips and email templates to negotiate with brands, I highly recommend checking out my course:

How to Negotiate (Paid) Brand Collaborations

I share 10 email negotiation templates, 3 bonus email templates, 3 real life examples, and tips on negotiating & pricing. I used the same email templates to secure $40,000 in revenue from my blog and Instagram in 2019.

respond to a brand - we dont have budget response - how to reach out to a rband - how to work with brands as a blogger - brands who work with bloggers

For more blogging tips, you can check out:

The 5 Ways I Batch Content for My Blog & Instagram

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Top Earning Brand Collaborations of 2019

7 Ways You Can Ask to be Paid for a Brand Collaboration

Let’s connect on Instagram: @emmasedition!

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Emma

Photos: @madcrayy

3 Comments

  1. January 14, 2020 / 4:40 am

    Such a useful and informative post. I love the ideas on how to negotiate when you still want to work with a brand despite a lack of budget and ensuring a collaboration is mutually beneficial.

  2. February 1, 2020 / 5:40 pm

    Definitely needed this post! Will keep these tips in mind the next time I communicate with brands! 🙂

    XO, Elizabeth T.
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