Celebrity clients are a great way to leave your competition in the dust no matter how saturated your market is. It's the easiest way ever to get paid a lot more for what you do.
But it’s not just about landing the celeb. It’s about leveraging his or her star power.
Through my party-planning company The Party Goddess!, I’ve worked with celebrities like Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kimora Lee Simmons, Sofia Vergara, Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo. Every entrepreneur should care about celebrities, even if they don’t really care about them. Two things sell: sex and celebrities. Period.
Here’s the route to scoring success after landing celebrity clients:
1. Determine your "why." Do you want celebrities in order to lead an exciting life, hobnobbing with the rich and famous? Or do you want celebrity clients to bring attention for your brand?
2. Quantify the end goal. If you want celebrities to help your brand stand out, that’s great but figure out how much cash, time and product you're willing to budget for this endeavor and what kind of return on the investment you're expecting.
3. Be clear on how how success will be quantified. For example, I set for myself a certain quota of A-listers that I want to work with each year and here's why: Historically each celeb translates into a certain number of national magazine mentions. Those mentions in publications that the target audience reads translate into a certain number of hits on my blog, which net a certain number of inquiries. This, in turn, results in a certain percentage of closed deals.
4. Identify targets. For whom did I want to plan a rock-star-fabulous event and why? If your ideal customers are Kardashian-following, clothes-loving, latest-restaurant-type foodie hounds, landing a country western singer that Tinseltown isn’t super enamored with won't do you a bit of good. It will be a waste of your resources and might even turn off your audience.
I captured the attention of celebrities by sending them gift certificates that were beautiful, personalized and worth a significant dollar amount. Celebrities are used to getting everything for free. Just like in every other aspect of your business, even your gift must rise above the rest.
Here is my formula:
Celebrities = Press.
Press = Notice.
(Notice cuts through the noise, which keeps you chasing clients and your prices low.)
Notice = Expert.
Expert = More money.
The marketplace these days is so cluttered, crowded and noisy, it takes much more than having a great product to convince people to take a second look at your business.
Lately there's been a lot of talk about entrepreneurs needing to become experts. The bottom line is, if your target audience identifies you as the leader of your pack, the one who is really the go-to resource in your industry, you can command higher prices. Right or wrong, that’s just how perception works. Therefore, demonstrate that you’ve got the street cred and your customers will vote with their feet (right into your back pocket).
Identify top celebrities. Even if you don't live in the 90210 area, that's no problem. The optimal celebrity for you to target doesn’t have to be an actual Hollywood celebrity. Think of an influential person in your area: the mayor, say, a well-known family or a media person. Well-known people in a municipal area are seen as celebrities. So brainstorm and come up with a list. Create a plan. And then just go after them with a specific road map.
Once you have landed your celebrities as clients, it’s all about leveraging them. It’s not enough to just get the celebrity client of your town. That’s akin to a tree falling in the forest: If no one saw it, did it really fall? Creating notable events is the same. Your target audience must be made aware and reminded that this is the kind of clientele you have, seting you above the rest and making you good at what you do and therefore super desirable as their #1 vendor of choice. (This just happens to mean you can justifiably charge more.)
To leverage your hard-won celebrity cadre, secure these key things:
The client's name. The celebrity must sign off on something that states in effect something like Marley Majcher of The Party Goddess! gets to include Pierce Brosnan on her client list.
A photo. A picture speaks a thousand words. Enough said. Get a shot of you and the fabulous client.
A testimonial. If you can, secure a testimonial. It doesn’t have to be long or formal. Heck, it can even be a tweet, but try to get something. Eighty characters and a smiley face from George Clooney are as good as cash.
Now go and tell the world! Use the three key elements above to tout your success. In the beginning it will feel awkward, but you must do it or all your hard work will be for naught. Broadcast the news through social media, ezines, press releases and your website's press page, blog and client roster.
But remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. Protect your celebrity clients like you would protect your children. Assume nothing. If you gift them with your services, be clear and upfront about what’s involved so that everyone is clear from the start. The last thing you want to do is land a celebrity client and then sell them out.
The world of famous people, whether it’s in Hollywood or the local group of reporters in a small town, is usually a tight group and people talk. Your reputation for keeping your mouth shut is vital. Exchanging your services for having the celebrity appear with you in photo, be named as your client and provide a testimonial should be clearly spelled out. You wouldn’t appreciate someone abusing your trust, so don’t abuse the celebrities'. That means take your informal count of their martini consumption to the grave.
People do business with people whom they know, like and trust. Develop the relationship and that celebrity, and many other clients will be yours for the taking. You can still leverage the relationship by mentioning details of your upcoming event (or past event) without naming names or giving specific dollar amounts. Don’t risk your newly acquired elevated status with an overconfident remark to the press about someone being cheap or anything less than fabulous.
Now go draft up those gift certificates and shout your results from the rooftop.