The power of a celebrity ambassador has been proven, but asking a superstar to support your product can be pricey – rumours are US$150 million for David Beckham. But there’s an alternative that won’t cost you anything. Here’s how to get a celebrity endorsement… for free.
1. Find a match
To find a star with a genuine interest in your product, there are websites where brands can search for a celeb pairing (think of it as the endorsement equivalent of an online dating site). In Australia, the subscription service Social Diary allows you to post shout-outs to celebrity agents, explaining that you’re looking for relevant stars to align with your product. The websites Diary Directory and Help a Reporter Out (HARO) offer similar services in the UK and US.
2. Prove your worth
No star will want to be aligned with an unprofessional organisation, so don’t approach a celebrity until you have ‘online real estate’ to show them – a well-populated website, a YouTube channel or a thriving social media platform that ideally contains reviews from happy customers. Remember, a star wants to expand their profile too – how can your existing network help them?
3. Identify your desires
It’s all very nice telling a star how much you love them, but what do you want from them? Options include listing their bio on the ‘ambassador’ section of your website, requesting their attendance at an event or launch party, using their image in an advertisement or on your packaging, or simply asking them to tweet about your product if they genuinely like it. Be specific – exactly how much of their time would it take up? They’ll need this information to see if it fits their schedule.
4. Can you barter with them?
This should be broken down into short-term and long-term currency. It’s perfectly acceptable to explain that you’re a start-up and are currently looking for a ‘contra’ arrangement (offering free product in exchange for using their profile) but that, in the future, you’d be open to looking at a monetary arrangement, when you have the budget. Be transparent and don’t offer more than you can afford right now.
5. Amplify the arrangement
So, you’ve sent out a product and a celeb says they like it – how do you get sales on the back of it? With their permission, send out a press release, ideally containing a photo of said star enjoying your product and service, to media organisations that might be interested. Once again, Social Diary, HARO and Diary Directory have services which allow you to send out press releases to journalists and bloggers.
6. Add to your army
The hardest step is getting a ‘yes’ from your first celeb endorsement. Once you have one star supporter, getting more will come easy. Do research on Twitter within your chosen field – if you’ve signed up a health blogger, find out what other health bloggers they’re friends with (this takes a bit of social media stalking) and then reach out to them too. “I believe you know our ambassador…” Suddenly, one celeb supporter is two.
7. Don’t get fame hungry
It’s not all about hooking a megastar. Normal, everyday people can make powerful ambassadors. (The Collective has an ambassador program where we recruit readers who love our magazine to help us expand our movement.) Don’t underestimate the potential of one passionate customer promoting your product on their Facebook page. Even if they attract five new customers, it’s five customers you didn’t have before.