“A selection of endorsements of you and/or your product or service is absolutely essential for a strong platform. Endorsements are used extensively in all forms of marketing – and for good reason. They provide third-party validation and social authority. They make it easier for potential gatekeepers and customers to say yes.
Easy access to social media, review sites, and product comments means we depend more and more on what other people say about a product or service before we make a purchase. If several people you respect recommend a product, you may make your purchase decision on that alone.
In fact, you have probably endorsed something recently yourself. If you’ve ‘liked’ something on Facebook, you have effectively endorsed it.
Relying on endorsements has become commonplace in almost every area of life. Why? Because with so many options, few of us have time to do the evaluation ourselves. Instead, we rely on the opinions of people we trust. This reduces the risk and helps us make a decision more quickly.
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This is why – if you are going to build a successful platform – you can’t afford to ignore endorsements. You must try to get them for every product or service you create. While the process is sometimes difficult and time-consuming, it is absolutely crucial to getting the visibility and credibility you need.
Endorsements fall into one of two types:
1. Celebrity Endorsements. These don’t have to be movie or television personalities. They may simply be the well-known experts in a narrow field. For example, if I wanted to buy a new pair of running shoes and saw an endorsement from Chistopher McDougall, that would mean something to me, because he is a leading authority on barefoot running.
2. User Reviews. These are important too. I want to know what kind of experience mere mortals have had with the product or service. The celebrity endorser may have all kinds of motives for endorsing a product or service, but individuals are more likely to be candid.
By the way, some negative reviews from ordinary users can be helpful. If all user reviews are positive, I get suspicious. When a few are negative, I assume they are all honest and put greater stock in the positive ones.
So how do you get endorsements? Here are the five steps I recommend:
1. Create a great product. People who matter are not going to endorse a mediocre product. They can’t afford to. Why? Because their brand will be hurt by the negative association. So you must be committed to excellence. (Note: I did not say perfection. You do the best you can, then launch.)
2. Make a prospect list. In an ideal world, whom would you like to as endorsers? Think big. (When I wrote my e-book, ‘Creating Your Personal Life Plan,’ I started with a list of 40 people. I ended up getting endorsements from 25 of them. Ask yourself, Who are the recognized authorities in my field? Don’t be too quick to rule out someone because you don’t think you have access. You may not know the prospective endorser, but you may know someone who does.
3. Leverage your endorsement for more. It’s always difficult to go first. Sometimes prospective endorsers need an endorsement themselves in order to get comfortable with your product.
With my e-book, I looked over the list and said, ‘Who is the most likely to say yes because of my relationship with him or her? I then asked this person for an endorsement. Sure enough, I got it. I included that endorsement in all my other requests. (It also gave me the courage to ask the others.) This made it easier for everyone, because someone else had already gone first.
4. Ask for the endorsement. Don’t be around the bush. Busy people – the ones you want endorsements from – don’t have time to read lots of emails. Get to the point. Also, try to ask them when they would be most receptive. For example, I always ask for speaking endorsements (and I always get them) right after the engagement, while it is fresh on their minds and before they get too distracted with everything else.
5. Provide guidance, samples and a deadline. Include a brief description of your product and perhaps a sample. Then offer to send them the entire product. Tell them the kind of endorsement you are looking for. The most specific, the better.
I always tell them I am just looking for two or three sentences. They might write more, but this sounds doable. I then provide a recent endorsement or two and a deadline. I ask for it within a week. In my experience you are more likely to get an endorsement with a short deadline rather than a longer one.
When you get the endorsement, thank the endorser and then display the endorsements prominently on your product and in your marketing. I have also started distilling the endorsements into sound bites, similar to what studios do with movies.
For example, after I spoke at the Gathering, Ted Dekker, a best-selling author and sponsor of the event, said:
‘People in their twenties and thirties are inundated with messages and entertainment, making them a hard crowd to please. Michael’s keynote… cut through the clutter and beautifully illustrated the power of a superb storyteller. It was the kind of speech audiences hope for but rarely get.
I include the full quote in the sidebar of the Speaking page on my website. Then I use an excerpt in the body copy itself: ‘The kind of speech audiences hope for but rarely get.’ If you string several of these together, you create the same effect movie studios create in their marketing materials.
Bottom line: endorsements can make a huge difference in whether or not your product gets noticed by the gatekeepers, trendsetters, and your target market. Take the time to get them. It is worth it.
– Michael Hyatt’s book, ‘Platform: How to Get Noticed in a Noisy World‘ is available from Amazon.com.