If you’re looking for a great way to expose your local community to your small business, one way to go is to leverage the fame of a local celebrity. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that people place a higher value on the opinion of a celebrity than they do on the rest of us regular people. Wheaties doesn’t pay athletes millions for endorsements just for fun, after all. But since you (I’m guessing) don’t have Wheaties money to spend on celebrity endorsements, you’ll have to get a little craftier and maybe think a little smaller.

As a small business owner, you likely can’t afford to get afford to write an endorsement check. So what you should aspire to is a real endorsement from someone who has a connection with your product or service — which is often more believable and effective anyway. The good news is, local celebrities are much easier to access than big names because they don’t have teams of people between them and the public (you). Local celebs likely run their own social media, read their own mail, and answer their own emails. Which is where you are going to try to access them. The first step is to be clear about what you want to them to do. You could:

– Ask them to promote charity event or fun activity that relates to them and their audience

– Request that they wear a promotional item from your business when they make a public appearance

– Ask them to appear at a promotional event you are hosting

When selecting the celebrity you’d like to work with, make sure that your product or service clearly relates to them, their place in society, and their audience or fan base. This will really improve your chances of success in getting their ear. Once you decide who this person will be, and what you would like them to help you with, the next step is to figure out how to make your request with the highest chance for success. Here are a few ideas:

– Traditional contact is always worth a try. If you can find contact details like a phone number, address, or email address, a personalized call or note can go a long way.

– Social media gives the public unprecedented access to celebrities. Not only access, but access with an audience. If you have a charity event and you request a celebrity’s attention by tweeting at them, all of your followers have seen it and that adds a little extra pressure for them to agree to participate.

– Think of something that you can provide that they really need or would enjoy. Say you own a local bakery, and there’s a local radio personality in your area who offers gluten free recipe ideas to their audience. A good way to get that person’s attention would be to send a batch of your gluten free cookies and say that you’d love to share the recipe with their audience if they’d be so kind as to have you as a guest.

Whatever you ask for, and however you ask for it, make sure that you make it clear what your goals and expectations are. An article by the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses), shares an example about someone who successfully asked that a football star wear some promotional gear they sent. This was successful partly because they clearly stated that if he did wear it, he should send photos back to the business owner for them to use in their own promotion. Point being, you should never approach someone without a well thought-out plan. And once you have that plan, you must share it with the celebrity you’re approaching to make sure everyone is on the same page and your outreach has the intended effect.

Have you every had success with a celebrity endorsement? Tell us about it below!

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Webs. Loves branding, marketing, whales. Get more from Sarah on Webs’ Blog and Google+.

2 Responses

  1. Reply
    Sep 17, 2013 - 12:43 PM

    Whet if you give a celebrity items and they keep them and do not endorse your store?

    • Reply
      Sep 17, 2013 - 12:59 PM

      It’s always best to be gracious and just let this kind of thing go. Be flattered that they kept it, and hope that they’ll mention it in the future. Just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean they haven’t told someone.

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