How to Get Endorsement Deals (even without a Huge Audience)

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If you’re looking for guidance on how to get endorsement deals (even without a large audience), you’re in the right place.

Did you realize celebrities nowadays may earn more from endorsement deals than they do from acting, singing, being a politician, or their athletic careers?  In fact, celebrities are earning millions (maybe billions) of dollars annually from endorsement deals! People like Kim Kardashian or Beyonce can earn more than $1 million for a brand mention!

Isn’t that crazy?!!!

If you’re here, it’s likely you’ve heard the term “endorsement deals”. You might’ve seen celebrities mention “endorsement deals”, or maybe you noticed that some public figures get paid millions of dollars for simply mentioning products and services, and you want to know how it all works.

I mean, why would you want to get paid hourly when you could mention a brand a rake in a full-time income, right? 

You might also be someone who doesn’t want to commit a lifetime to “corporate-style” employment, and you want to know how to tap into the opportunities to make money thru endorsements rather than getting paid in exchange for your time. In this article, we’ll talk about what endorsements are, how they work, who can get them, and what they require.

Disclaimer: Making money with endorsement deals isn’t easy work. Celebrities may make it look easy, but those opportunities are presented after lots of hard work on their part to build large audiences and influence, so don’t expect it to be a “passive” process or an “overnight success” story. It requires work ethic and effort, but the returns can be amazing.

What are Endorsement Deals?

A sponsorship deal or endorsement deal is an arrangement between a person with influence and a merchant with products or services with the goal of commercial return on investment.

Alternative Names for Endorsement Deals

Endorsement deals can be called by many names like:

  • Working with brands
  • Brand deals
  • Sponsorships
  • Influencer marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Brand mentions
  • Pitching brands
  • and more

The behind-the-scenes arrangements of deals using these terms can be very similar, but just with different terminology.

The Traditional Way of Endorsement Deals vs. the Modern Way

Just a few years back when the internet wasn’t as prominent, endorsement deals were typically only offered thru major industries like the music industry, major publishing companies, and major media platforms. Mostly artists, political figures, major speakers, or celebrities that would be seen in arenas or on large platforms would be approached for endorsements.

Now, with the growth of the internet, there has been a rise in independent creators and companies are seeing value in working outside of the traditional scope of endorsements. Nowadays, advertisers see that they can get major commercial results by working with micro influencers and people with smaller audiences because they have the ability to influence their social circles more than a influencer with a large audience might be able to.

The definition of a celebrity is changing, and what it takes to become one is changing also as a result of social media, Youtube, and other rising technology. You no longer have to be an actor on TV, or a musician who “hit the charts” to get major attention and reach. As a result, the opportunity to get endorsement deals has opened up to people that weren’t able to get them previously.

Who are Endorsement Deals for?

Endorsement deals are for merchants and people who can prove they have the ability to influence an audience.

Why do Companies Pay for Endorsements?

Companies pay to get the attention of potential customers, and endorsement deals are one way of doing that. Without attention, companies know they can’t get customers, and they can’t make sales. Making sales is the life blood of any company, so they pay for things like:

  • Flyers
  • Business cards
  • Sales teams
  • Promo products and SWAG
  • Social media ads
  • Blogs
  • Endorsement deals
  • and mentions from Influencers

When you can get the attention of a group of people they’d consider as ideal customers, then advertisers may consider arranging deals with you.

How Much do Influencers Make from Endorsement Deals?

What’s possible with endorsement deals is astonishing. In fact, many celebrities (athletes, actors and actresses, politicians, and media companies) and influencers are able to make more from endorsement deals than they do from selling their own products and services, acting, playing sports, working in government, or running major media sitcoms!

My Endorsement Deal Story

Since 2014, I’ve been making money publishing books, and working with brands as an affiliate. I didn’t start with a large social following or with a major publishing deal. Instead, I used platforms like Amazon’s self-publishing platform and starting blogs as side hustles while I was active duty in the military–this enabled me to learn more about the industry and make a career for myself.

I founded How to Entrepreneur in January of 2018 without much internet marketing knowledge, and I’ve been able to grow the website traffic, so now, I get messages from brands asking for brand mentions all the time. My story shows that it’s possible to build an influencer platform (even starting as a side hustle), without a large social following, and to grow it into a sustainable business that generates a full-time income. At this point, almost 100% of my business income comes from endorsement deals arranged as affiliate partnerships, and I’m no celebrity.

Celebrity Endorsement Deal Examples

  • Tiger Woods earned $65 million on one tour working with brands like Nike, Rolex, Fuse Science, and Upper Deck
  • In 2013, Lebron James earned $42 million in endorsements (working with companies like Nike, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Sprint, State Farm, Glaceau, and Baskin Robbins) and 17.8 million from his contract with Miami Heat
  • and Kobe Bryant was making more money off of the court than he was in his contract with the NBA Lakers!

Everyday People who Became Influencers – Endorsement Deal Examples

Often times, we might not think of celebrities as “everyday people”. You might think they get the endorsement deals because of their agent, their audience, or other reasons, so it can be neat to see people who built their own platforms, and who got endorsement deals the “indie way”.

  • Me! (Tiffany Domena)
  • John Lee Dumas earned $168,787 in podcast sponsorship and $26,708 in affiliate income in May 2020
  • Roderick Brenes earns 6-figures per year in affiliate income from brand deals and sales made from his blogs
  • Cathy Heller is a mom of 3 who was rejected in the mainstream music industry, then went onto build a 6 Figure/yr Indie songwriting career that she later turned into a 7-figure/yr business (without childcare!)

These examples just show that even those who earn in the top 1% of the world’s population with earned income can still earn more with endorsement deals!

How are Endorsement Deals Arranged?

Endorsement deals can be arranged in multiple ways. There are still many industries where endorsement deals are heavily guarded, and require legal advisors, long legal contracts, lots of intense negotiation, and more, however, there are opportunities where it’s become much easier and more streamlined to work with brands, and that’s what I’ll be showing you in this post.

It’s possible to complete an application, give details about your marketing intentions, and social following, get approved, and get information from major brands that you can use to promote them and get paid. I’ll explain this process more later in the post…

Types of Endorsement Deals

These are several different types of endorsement deals. You may hear them referred to as:

  • Celebrity Endorsement Deals
  • Sports Endorsement Deals
  • Actor/Actress Endorsement Deals
  • Artist Endorsement Deals
  • Political Endorsement Deals
  • Public Official Endorsement Deals
  • Clothing and Fashion Endorsement Deals
  • Influencer and Micro-Influencer Endorsement Deals

In terms of payment, endorsement deals can pay by:

  • One-off payment
  • Commissions for sales
  • A combination of one-off payment and commissions for sales
  • Split payments over a term (as a project commences)
  • Equity sharing
  • and, Ongoing free products or discounts

Do I Need a Large Audience for Endorsement Deals?

If you want to get endorsement deals, it’s best to be intentional about audience growth and engagement, but it’s not a prerequisite to have a large audience in order to get endorsement deals. For some opportunities they will request you have a certain size social media following, a certain size email list, or a certain amount of recurring traffic to your website, but for some opportunities, they won’t set those requirements, and they’ll even help you by giving you advice on audience growth!

What do you have to do to Get Paid from Endorsement Deals?

To get paid with endorsement deals, it comes down to getting results. Companies want:

  • More potential customers
  • More leads
  • More traffic
  • More brand awareness
  • and More sales

Before they do a campaign with you, they usually want to verify that you’ll be able to help them meet their goals. If they do a campaign with you, they want to see that results came from working with you. Of all of the options, affiliate partners are usually the most flexible because it doesn’t cost them to have you in their affiliate program, and they only pay for results, so usually, they may allow you to stay in their affiliate program for awhile, and you can get results over time.

How to Get Endorsement Deals – 7 Options that Work

Now, if you want to be able to get endorsement deals in the current market, these are 7 options that work.

1. Become an Influencer

Influencers are people with an audience and influence. Companies like to work with influencers because their endorsement usually means more sales, more engagement, and more brand awareness. Influencers are intentional about growing a social following, a website, and increasing their audience, so companies like working with them. As your audience grows, you’ll likely get more endorsement opportunities that suit you, and even companies reaching out to you!

2. Grow a Social Following

The more people that know, like, and trust you, the more people that might be willing to take a risk and follow your recommendations. When you have an engaged social following that you’re able to influence, this is a valuable asset. Brands want to partner with people who have influence to sell their products and services.

3. Build a Blog into an Authority Site

Building an authority website is one way to grow influence, grow a social following, and open the opportunities for endorsement deals. Websites can attract millions of visitors, serve as resource centers, and help to establish rapport and influence.

4. Create a Media Kit

As your social following is growing, your website traffic is growing, and you’re gaining more opportunities (that demonstrate your audience growth and reach), it’s nice to document this growth using a media kit. A media kit is one way to relay to a brand what your audience is interested in, what your audience demographics are like, what values and beliefs you represent, your audience size, and more.

5. Become an Affiliate (#1 Recommendation any Audience Size)

Affiliate marketing is the option for getting endorsement deals without lots of requirements, with great short and long term benefits, and with lots of income potential. With affiliate marketing, you can complete an application, and get access to affiliate tracking links that would ensure you get credit for each sale you refer.

Affiliate marketing deals are mostly revenue sharing deals where you make a percentage or dollar action for recommending potential customers to take action. Affiliate partnerships can pay for leads (without a sale), for sales, and for retained customers. You can find one-off affiliate deals and options where you get paid for the lifetime of the customer (in subscription offers or with companies that sell multiple products)!

So for example, Nike has an affiliate program where they offer a commission of 4.8% per sale. Saks Fifth Avenue offers 8% per sale. Both Saks Fifth Avenue and Nike’s programs are managed by the Flexoffers affiliate network, and you can join there for free. There are so many companies that have affiliate programs in place, and you can earn a percentage of each sale you refer!

Related:

6. Look for Sponsors

Similar to affiliate marketing, you can be paid for presenting commercial content with sponsorship deals. Sponsorship deals usually require certain audience sizes and they’re mostly one-off deals (unless they also have an affiliate program). The project may have very specific work tied to it. For example, the sponsor may want a brand mention on social media or on your blog in exchange for their money.

7. Offer Advertising Space

Once you have an audience, you can also be paid for advertising to the audience. You can place ads on your website, on your Youtube videos, or on other items you have that might gain valuable impressions for a merchant. Advertising is most beneficial for large audiences and high traffic websites.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the marketing industry is changing drastically, and opportunities for creators and influencers to earn substantially independent of major firms and agents are on the rise. You no longer have to land a major sports, music, or movie deal to get endorsement opportunities! If you’d like to learn more about how to get started with endorsement deals, I recommend you join me here where you can get free training, a website, and access to a networking community that will help to set you up for success.

Are you Ready to Start Finding Endorsement Deals?

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Join 2 million+ Entrepreneurs who are growing audiences and influence online. Learn how to grow a social following, build a media kit, and find brands who would love to work with you. Get endorsement deals (even without a large audience, or a major sports or celebrity contract).

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