In 1984, the Chicago Bulls picked shooting guard Michael Jordan as the third overall pick in the NBA draft. A shoe company named Nike decided that this shooting guard had strong skills and charisma and decided to offer him $2.5 million over five years plus royalties and fringe benefits. Converse decided they were too tied up in Larry Bird and Magic Johnson to worry about this young shooting guard, and Adidas expressed no interest whatsoever.
24 years and 23 shoe lines later, Air Jordans are still worn by celebrities and were made well after Jordan retired from the NBA. Vintage Jordans are big business. Air Jordans helped catapult Nike from being a running shoe brand to one of the biggest sporting goods company in the world.
Do you need Michael Jordan to be the next big thing? It doesn’t hurt, but making people feel like they are Michael Jordan when they “endorse” your products is a good start. What is the difference? Jordan was paid to wear shoes. If you don’t have $2.5 million to offer a superstar, simply valuing someone’s satisfaction and feedback about your product is a strong first step. Asking them to let others know about it is the second.
So who are the most eager “endorsers”? Here are just a few:
1.) Bloggers. If there is a subject to be blogged about, there is someone to blog about it. It helps to establish a relationship and understand a blogger before asking for a review. Find the blogs that you like and respect, begin to understand what makes that blogger tick, and then ask for a review. Signing up for a blogger’s RSS feed is a good way to start.
2.) Online magazines. You don’t have to go after the biggest ones, just go after the ones that would appeal to your customers. The web allows for so many niche sites, you can inevitably find some that want nothing more than to write about cool new products like yours.
3.) Social shoppers. There are dozens of shopping social networking sites that are completely based on user reviews. These reviewers want nothing more than to recommend hip products to other users. Do your products fit that bill? It cannot hurt to ask. Here are some of those sites:
4.) Your repeat customers. These are the most likely candidates to “endorse” your products, since they’ve already chosen to do so. Do not be afraid to ask for referrals.
Offer customers and industry influencers an opportunity to endorse your products. It could take you from just good to good and big very quickly.
Extra credit: Michael Jordan was the third pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Future Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon was first. Who was the other man picked ahead of Jordan in the draft that year?