A tight budget is no hindrance to a successful celebrity endorsement. The key is to know where it is best to put your money. Using strategies like considering newer celebrities or social media presences, utilizing social media fully, and finding alternative reimbursement methods for your endorsement partner can give your campaign just as big an impact as campaigns with larger budgets. With a few tips, you can create an excellent ROI for your business. Take a look at these ways to best make use of a tight endorsement budget.

Know your budget

Before you even think about an endorsement deal, you should know exactly what you can afford to spend. The price for hiring a celeb can vary significantly. And there’s no point in reaching out to an individual you can’t afford. When you are ready to start negotiations, know your number and do not exceed it no matter how well you think the celebrity will fit your campaign.

Make sure the celebrity is the right fit


Speaking of fit, there are three basic criteria to analyze when selecting the right celebrity to endorse your brand. Choosing the wrong individual will mean that you spend money on a campaign with little or no ROI. And that is definitely not what you want when you are already concerned about budget. The three criteria are how the celebrity matches your brand, their reputation or credibility, and how they resonate with your audience. You can use a tool like our celebrity endorsement database to pick a celebrity that is a good fit based on previous endorsements, their interests, and charities and causes that they support.
Matching a celebrity to your brand does not mean the match has to be completely obvious. For instance, an athlete is a logical choice for lines of sports clothing, athletic shoes, and gear. But athletes could also very well endorse products that signify speed or strength, like a car, or products related to general health, like a particular food. One way to find matches is to look for celebrities who would be likely to use the product you sell, or who have fans with interests that overlap your target audience.
Credibility simply means that your target audience can trust the celebrity and they feel like the endorsement is honest. The celebrity’s reputation does not have to be squeaky clean—many people have made mistakes and continue to have lucrative careers. But you do have to use good judgment about what would make your prospects uncomfortable or less likely to accept the endorsement as sincere. How the celebrity resonates with your audience has to do with their fictional life rather than their actual life. It is the feelings or images their characters or public personas bring to the campaign.
There is no one perfect celeb for your campaign. But doing your research ahead of time will ensure that you don’t waste your already tight budget.

Consider Up and Coming and Social Media Celebs


As you look for the right celebrity for your campaign, keep in mind that many different types of endorsers are available. You don’t need Hollywood A-listers or Super Bowl champions to have a successful campaign. Sure, big celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith do endorsements, but usually only for the really big brands with large budgets. That is not to say you can’t find ways to make a deal with a well-known celeb. But before you do, consider whether an up and coming celebrity or social media influencer might be a better option for what you are trying to achieve.
This is especially true if you plan to use a social media endorsement. Social media personalities are already adept at getting posts noticed and shared. And their expertise plus their existing following can be a huge advantage if they fit right with your branding. Additionally, their followers are often a tight-knit community of like-minded individuals, so if you get the fit right, you can have a huge impact within a particular niche. In fact, you may even have stronger engagement with an influencer than with a bigger celebrity because a social media personality’s followers often feel a more personal connection, whereas big celebrities can feel distant to followers.
Up and coming celebrities also have their own distinct set of advantages. They are often willing to do more to help your campaign succeed because the more your endorsements are noticed, the more they are noticed. That means they are acutely aware of the mutual benefits of making the campaign work. Investing in an up and comer can have big pay-offs, too. If you choose your endorsement partner well, your business can enjoy the advantage of growing your brand as the celebrity’s popularity grows. The bigger their influence gets, the more notice your campaign will receive. If you retain the partnership over time, that means you could see a huge ROI.
Note that an up and coming celebrity could be a musician, an actor or actress, or an athlete. All of them are likely to have a social media account, which makes spreading the word faster and easier.

Add a social media campaign


It is entirely possible to hire a celebrity solely for a social media campaign. On their own, social media endorsements are among the least expensive to work out. That’s because they require the least amount of effort from a celeb. The endorser can share and comment on your brand’s posts from wherever they are, and typically at a time that is convenient for them. But social media endorsements are also highly effective at reaching large amounts of people, especially if you can get your endorsement to go viral.
Keep in mind that how much you pay for a social media endorsement will likely depend upon how many followers your endorsement partner has. Having more followers often means that the celeb will negotiate for a higher fee. When planning for what kind of budget you can afford, remember that more followers does not always guarantee social media success. Check for how much engagement the celeb gets through comments and shares. Engagement is a much better predictor of success than number of followers alone. For instance, a celebrity with 1,000 followers who all interact with their account regularly will have more impact on your brand than one with 100,000 followers that aren’t invested in what the celeb is sharing.
The bottom line with social media campaigns is that you may get better results with a lower budget partner than with a celeb that would have costed you twice as much, if you make smart decisions about who you work with.

Consider offering equity


If you really feel a big celebrity is the best fit for your company’s campaign, you may still be able to fit them into your budget. Instead of paying the entire fee upfront, you can offer the celeb equity in your business. Paying with equity also feeds into your long-term plan. When the celeb has a stake in your company that is bigger than just how the ad effects their reputation, they are more likely to do what they can to see your business succeed, thus increasing both their profits and yours.
Remember though, that equity deals are best made with established individuals who can provide a lot of exposure and will stick with your brand. If the celebrity doesn’t ask about equity in the company, consider offering it in negotiations.
Product licensing can also stretch a thin budget. It creates long-term traction and can often include profit sharing as part of the celebrity’s payment. That makes it another decent option for paying less upfront.

Build traction

Consumers often go with a brand that they feel familiar with. Even with a tight budget, don’t skimp on getting your campaign out in front of as many people as possible. And you really don’t have to spend big money to get more traction. Word of mouth and getting people to share on social media are inexpensive ways to build traction. So make sure you are using those to their fullest potential.
We all deal with budgets that require trimming. Just make sure you’re choosing your costs wisely and making the most of each expenditure. Follow our blog for more tips on making the most of celebrity endorsements for your business.