Companies and brands are forever trying to situate themselves at the forefront of consumers’ minds. Attracting new clients is the key to business growth, but the methods used to do so have changed dramatically in recent years. Well, not so much the methods – more the landscape. Endorsements from celebrities have been a part of the sales game for decades, but the rise of social media and the digital sphere has given rise to a new type of celebrity: the influencer.
Mirroring the rise of the Sith in Star Wars, the ascent of the influencer took place in the background, silently, until suddenly influencers had dramatically emerged and dominated the (online) universe. (Or Twitterverse, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.) Anyway, like the Emperor goes around telling everyone over the course of several films, the Dark Side ain’t all bad. Endorsements can have a lot of positive effects for your business, whatever the size. The question is: just how effective are paid endorsements in attracting new clients? And are they worth the cash?
Why Endorsements Work
Are paid endorsements an effective sales strategy? Or are paid endorsements a waste of money? Well, before we answer that, let’s first define what endorsements are. Not all endorsements were born equal. There are essentially four main types of endorsement: celebrity, influencer, customer, and other businesses. Whatever the type, endorsements are usually the keystone of an advertising or marketing campaign, following the logic that potential customers are going to trust existing customers. Failing that, they’ll just see a famous face and react on instinct.
It’s how human beings have always done it; we study other people’s reactions to things and use that to inform our own behavior. This is why endorsements are so effective. Given that many of us now spend a large majority of our waking lives online, the opportunity for businesses to spread endorsements of their products has grown exponentially. But which approach is right for you?
Customer Endorsements and Other Business Endorsements
These two types of endorsements can be very effective for businesses, but they’re only useful in large numbers. Consider Amazon. The five-star Amazon review for a product is an effective endorsement, and even comes free most of the time. However, having one lone five-star review is not going to sway people towards buying a product. Customers generally need to see a pool of good reviews before they’re swayed.
It’s the same in any business. A single quote from a happy customer might make people take you seriously, but it’s not going to clinch the deal for you. However, a page crammed full of venerating quotes can really impress potential clients. If you feel you’ve done a good job for a customer and they’re satisfied with your service, ask them for a sentence or two describing their experience. Most people will be happy to oblige, and over time, you’ll build up an impressive repertoire of compliments for your homepage.
Celebrity Vs. Influencer Endorsements
These two are the big money endorsements. The Sith Lords of the Empire, if you will. One single endorsement from the right source can catapult your business into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, this kind of vaulting ambition does not come cheap; this is where you really have to consider your resources and make informed decisions about what you spend your capital on.
Both celebrity and influencer endorsements have their pros and cons. Celebrity endorsements could be described as the “traditional” route. Because of their star power, they’re able to reach a large and diverse audience, with some even bringing international appeal and recognition to the table. However, all this tends to come with a hefty price tag. Celebrity endorsements are notoriously expensive; you also run the risk of mismatching the celebrity and brand, the ever-looming specter of scandal, and the pressure of only having one shot at the campaign. There are no rehearsals or do-overs when it comes to celebrity endorsements.
Influencers, on the other hand, come with industry knowledge. They practically invented the industry, and many of them are creators who live and die by their engagement with the online community. Speaking of which, many influencers come with an inbuilt audience thanks to their social media platforms, which means your product is guaranteed to be seen by a significant number of eyes. Celebrities don’t always have social accounts, which can make influencers the more instantaneous of the two.
However, the industry is young, so many workflows are not optimized. It’s evolving almost by the day, meaning that if you don’t have someone with experience on your side, you could quickly end up making a lot of bad decisions. In a similar vein, choosing the right influencer is a difficult task, again requiring someone with nuanced knowledge (i.e. already indoctrinated in the Dark Side of the Force).
When Should You Use Paid Endorsements?
The timing of your endorsements is something that’s important to consider. As you’ll likely be spending a large chunk of your marketing budget on them, everything about your campaign has to be planned and considered. Endorsements are ideal when you have a product launch coming up, or a new initiative that you want people to know about. They can create a buzz about an upcoming product or service, or even be the ones to launch it on the day of release.
The digital realm is all about the new. Something that’s hot off the press is much more likely to get a lot of eyes on it. This goes for other paid advertising methods, too, like Facebook advertising, newsletters, and targeted mailing lists. Endorsements will probably not provide a great ROI if your product has been out for a while, or if you have competitors with newer variants. Funnel all your endorsements towards a big campaign and let them build off each other; don’t just drop cash randomly because you think you need the boost.
Paid endorsements can be a nerve-wracking proposition, especially if you’re a new company trying to get off the ground. Agency management tool like can help you stay on top of things, sales pipeline feature can help you keep on top of fresh leads so you don’t let any slip by without a chase! On the report front, profitability analysis can help you keep track of how much time, money and energy are going into any one push. When it comes to expensive endorsements, this type of feature can be a lifesaver; you can manage resources ahead of time while making sure your ROI is up to par.
The Dark Side certainly has its temptations, and it can help you wield immense power. But, as with all things Force-related: balance is key.