How to reply when a brand asks you for your rates

Being approached by a brand is an exciting opportunity to collaborate and *potentially* earn some extra income. However, the question of How To Reply When A Brand Asks For Your Rates can often be a tricky one to navigate. Do you give them your standard rates? Negotiate? Or perhaps respond with something witty and clever that sets the tone for a successful partnership and sets you apart from your competitors?  

Today we’re going to explore some fun ways to reply when a brand opens a dialogue about working with you as an influencer. So grab your coffee (or tea) and let’s get started!

how to reply when a brand ask for your rates
How to reply when a brand ask for your rates

How do you get brand partnership requests?

BUT, before we even get to how to respond to a partnership request email, let’s just have a little chat about a few things, shall we? Receiving a brand collaboration email is a BIG deal & I’m so excited for you. I’m just here, as your Fairy Talent Manager, to make sure you don’t let your excitement get the best of you. 

#1: Get brands to notice you

​​First things first, let’s understand the process. Brands don’t just randomly choose influencers to collaborate with. They look for creators who consistently produce high-quality content on their social media platforms, like YouTube, Instagram, or a blog.

Ensure the product you’re putting onto your social channels is top-notch — the photos are sharp, clear, and eye-catching; your blog writing is catchy and error-free; your videos are well-edited.  As a content creator, there’s a ton of competition, so this a great way stand out, regardless of whether you have 10 followers or a huge follower count. 

#2: Are there any red flags? 

It may seem silly but trust me on this one! Here are some q’s to consider:

  • Did they get your name, website and social profile correct? 
  • Does it make sense for this brand to reach out to you?

For example, I keep receiving an email from an agency on behalf of one of my clients who is in the baking space. The brand is an app to learn a language. Super cool brand, but not in any way related to my client’s work. 

A language learning app reaching out to a baking influencer? That’s a misfire. It might align with my client’s personal goals, but content about learning a new language in 30 days next to gorgeous pics of cupcakes? PASS. It’s important to partner with brands that align with your content and audience. 

The Good Brand Emails I Love To Get

The best brand collaboration emails are personalized and show that the brand has genuinely researched your content and understands your audience. They also include clear details about the collaboration, timeline, and compensation.

#3: Do your research  

Okay, so we’ve talked about the red flag of brands not doing their due diligence. But, have you done yours? Here are some more Q’s to ask yourself:

  • Are you familiar with the brand? 
  • Do you align with them? 
  • Have they taken a stand on issues that you care about and are important to you? 
  • Does it make sense for you & your brand to even entertain the idea of working together as a brand collab? 
  • Should you really be a brand ambassador for them? Why?
  • What about the offer or the company lights you up? 
  • Will this brand resonate with your audience? 
  • Are you good at converting if they’re expecting sales from the partnership?

Now of course, there are always icky spammy brands out there that just email vomit all over people. Trust your gut. If it feels icky, it probably is. 

Pro Tip: Always check the sending email. If it’s from a [email protected] or something similarly vague and unprofessional-looking, it’s a quick no and goes right into the junk folder. 

Keep this in mind as you research…

When you’re researching the brand, make sure to peruse their socials. Check out photos they are tagged in, which could showcase previous collaborations they’ve done. 

How is their social media presence and strategy? Do they have one? This isn’t to say that if they don’t have a clear plan, you immediately say no. BUT, in my experience, brands that don’t seem to have a clear social strategy generally have very low budgets for influencers. It’s likely you’re looking at a “gifted” campaign, or, put another way, content usage rights in exchange for free product.*

*If you’re just starting out, though, gifted campaigns aren’t all bad! In fact, if you’re wondering how to become a full time influencer, I wrote this blog article just for you.

How To Respond To Brand Collaboration Email Requests

Okay! Now that you’ve done your research, scoped out the brand, AND thought through how the collaboration could work for you, we’re ready to respond.

#1: Be punctual.

Sometimes – and I’ve noticed this a lot more recently – I’m getting offers for my clients with a deadline on when I need to respond. Sometimes that deadline is a very small window of time.

Side Bar for any brands reading this: The super short turnaround window is infuriating when we’re working across time zones AND I’ve got clients who are traveling and/or out living their lives. Sometimes I can’t always get a response from them even if they’re really interested! 

Back to timing. When it comes to discussing your rates, respond promptly. Don’t play hard-to-get. If you’re in a dating mindset and think: “I can’t reply right away because I don’t want them to know I’m available,” NOW IS NOT THE TIME. Do NOT play those games with brand collaboration offers. If you snooze, you will lose. 

Does this mean you have to stop everything and respond ASAP? No. Be respectful of their timelines, and aim to respond within 1-2 business days.

Could you miss a campaign because you didn’t respond to the brand email in time? Yes. But if they want you, they’ll wait. If you’re a good fit for the campaign and they’ve got their eye on you, they can usually pause their timing to hear from you. Or, at minimum, they will follow up a couple times. 

I’m a firm believer in that Imam Ali quote: What’s for you will find you. 

Pro Tip: If you are away from your email for a bit, putting up an OOO (“out of office”) message letting people know is considered best practice. If there’s someone they can reach in your absence, include that name and email on your note. For example, my clients always have my email listed for any brand inquiries or collaboration requests that are emailed to them. 

#2: Every response is an opportunity to negotiate.

When you reply, you’re essentially returning the email ball back to their court. Any and all conversations with a brand – whether they be about a blog collaboration, sponsored content or a TikTok video – are negotiations. The sooner you can embrace that, the better you’ll be at negotiation. 

How to respond to brand collab requests
How to respond to brand collab requests

Pro tips on how to respond to brand collab emails. How to negotiate brand collaborations like a pro

When negotiating your rates, remember, it’s a conversation, not a debate. Ask open-ended questions instead of ones with a simple yes or no answer. This keeps the conversation going and gives you more room for negotiation.

Want to get better at negotiating? I wrote this article about how to negotiate with a brand just for you.

Questions to ask before collaborating with a brand

Before you reply to a collaboration email with any sort of number, you have to know exactly what it is that you’re dealing with. What’s the project? The only way to know what you’re signing up for is to ask some questions. 

Wondering what kind of open-ended questions to ask? Here are a few to get you started:

  • How did you find me? 
  • What are the campaign goals and expectations for working together?
  • What’s the SOW (scope of work) for this campaign?
  • What’s the timing of the requested deliverables? When do I have to turn them in for approval and when are they going live?
  • What’s the desired usage rights of my content?
  • Should I expect any exclusivity working with this brand?
  • What’s your marketing budget for this campaign?
how to reply to a brand
How to reply to a brand

Asking these questions and sending over your media kit (with clickable links to all your social media) is a great first step to replying. Wondering what a media kit is? I wrote this blog article just for you.

Chances are good you won’t get ALL your questions answered, but hopefully you get a reply to know if the SOW includes a blog post along with Instagram stories and an Instagram post, or if it is just an Influencer campaign happening on TikTok.

With this information, now you’re equipped on how to reply to a brand collaboration proposal with your rates, interest and availability. The hard work of brand partnerships is just beginning! As you muddle your way through the negotiation process, remember that it’s part science, part art. We’re all learning as we go. You’ve got this & good luck!

The brand is interested and asked you to send your rates.

When you’re trying to come up with the words on how to reply to a collaboration offer email or how to reply to a collaboration offer on instagram, it will feel odd at first. That’s okay! The only way to get better is to practice. Flex that negotiation muscle! (And read about the 4 negotiation mistakes to avoid.)

Pro tip : Don’t be shy on sharing why you’d be a great fit for this brand awareness campaign. Do you love their product or service? Tell them that! Then toot your own horn.

Here’s how you start: “I would love to collaborate with you because….”

Pro Tip: If and when anyone is in your Instagram DM’s with a brand opportunity, always bring the conversation over to your email. Ask for their best contact email. Don’t negotiate or go back and forth with them in your DMs. 

How to reply when a brand asks you for your rates FAQs

How do I answer someone who asked me if my product is for free? 

It’s entirely your choice to decide how to reply. If you want to be a social media influencer who does gifted campaigns (which means you’re not financially compensated for your work), that’s okay. (And if you’re just starting out, this might be a good opportunity for you to build a portfolio!) If you want to get paid, though, it’s best to reply no and share your rates. 

What do you say when a brand asks for your rate?

Before you send your rate, make sure you understand the full scope of the project. As I like to say, what is the what? 

What is the project? What are their expectations of you? Ask all those questions I outlined in the blog post above to get you going in the right direction and to kick off the negotiation process. 

How do you tell a brand your rates?

Don’t be annoyed with me, but you tell a brand your rates… by telling a brand your rates. When replying to a brand asking for your rates, be confident. Know your worth and stand your ground. Don’t undersell yourself.

I think everyone has this question because not many people are comfortable or like to talk about money, especially when it’s tied to something personal. 

Remember: You are not your rates. Your worth and value as a social media influencer isn’t defined by your rates. 

Your rates are your rates. What you’re asking for is in exchange for the SOW, content usage rights & exclusivity the brand is asking for as part of this project. In order to be a successful influencer or content creator, you have to get comfortable talking about your rates. 

You have to get comfortable saying the numbers out loud to strangers and having them accepted or rejected. Is it hard work? Absolutely. Is it helpful to get as much practice as possible? YUP. 

How do you politely decline a brand deal?

The key word here is “politely.” This is a small world. People change agencies, jobs, and campaigns often. Believe me when I tell you, people talk. 

Don’t be rude and burn any bridges. Don’t drag it out. Get right to the point. 

Here’s a sample response:

“Thanks so much for reaching out to me for this project. At this time I’m going to pass on this opportunity because (the timing doesn’t align/I’m not available for this campaign/it doesn’t align with my brand/I’m not taking on any trade opportunities). Please keep in mind for anything in the future. Best of luck with your campaign and I look forward to staying in touch.” 

How do you respond to a gifted collab?

Before responding to a brand collaboration email about a gifted campaign, ask what expectations they have of you if you say “yes.” 

Some gifts are given no strings attached. Other collaboration opportunities come with expectations that you’ll post something to your Instagram stories or do an Instagram post when you receive the product. 

Once you know that info, if you want to do the gifted collab, go for it. NOTE: If you’re a micro influencer, you should expect to do gifted collabs to grow your portfolio and build your network of agency connections.

What does it mean when a company wants to collaborate with you?

Congrats! This is so exciting. Your hard work at becoming a social media influencer is starting to pay off! 

It usually means the brand sees you as a possible brand ambassador & is emailing you to explore that option. What would it look like for both of you to work together? Jump back to the beginning of this post and work your way down.

How do you respond to a brand gift?

Very nicely, DUH! This seems like something your parents would have taught you ages ago. Be grateful, appreciative, and always respond to confirm you’ve received it and thank them for thinking of you. 

If it’s a gift sent out of the blue, there are no expectations (but there’s always hope) that you’ll post on social media about the brand or write about them in one of your next blog posts. If this feels like a natural, worthwhile thing to do, it could be a plus for your ongoing relationship with the brand.

How do you negotiate a brand collab?

You negotiate a brand collab by asking a lot of questions. (Scroll up because I’ve outlined a good helpful list of them). These questions will give you all the information you need to negotiate the collab. You can’t negotiate without knowing what the scope is, how they want to use the content etc. 

Make your rate pitch based on what they share. Best case scenario they say yes to your rate. If not, that’s okay — welcome to negotiating! They might either tell you they can’t meet your rate but have a counter or their budget is firm. If it’s either one of those options then you pivot to negotiating the SOW, usage, exclusivity etc. 

How do you ask for a brand deal?

Again, don’t come at me for this. But, you ask for a brand deal by asking for a brand deal. This usually starts with a pitch email from you to the brand, asking if they do influencer campaigns. (But you should look around their socials and Google them to find out yourself before reaching out.)  

From there you want to find out who the best contact person is, i.e. who is managing their influencer campaigns. Then ask if they’re open to receiving your pitch and, if yes, what information can you send over. 

Remember that brands and influencer marketing agencies get pitched ALL THE TIME! It’s best practice to ask how and when you can send over your information to ensure you’re sending the right stuff to the right person. 

How do you ask a brand for paid collab?

Start with the steps outlined above in the article. When you get to the part of pitching yourself, keep it very high level (i.e. don’t weigh them down with lots of details about what you want to do). Make sure to be up front that you’re only looking for paid opportunities at this time. When you’re making those initial outreach emails, you can also ask if they are doing any paid influencer campaigns in the next quarter or two, or if they have any paid collaborations on the horizon. If you’re looking for more information on how to negotiate with a brand, I wrote this article for you

How do you respond to a brand deal offer?

You respond very nicely and in a timely manner. You reply with answers to their questions (don’t be cagey & elusive in your responses!) and with some questions of your own for them, to better understand the project. For more detail, scroll to the top and reread the blog post above I wrote for you!