One of the most popular questions I receive from people is “How Do I Get an Endorsement Deal?”. Well, it doesn’t need to be a hair pulling experience! Let me break down some critical to-dos and not to-dos to get on the right track to land the deal you want.
There are many ways to get an endorsement. Sometimes a friend offers to get you an endorsement, other times you just send in unsolicited press packs, or in some cases you just visit music conferences
Don’t attempt a deal until you have a nice looking website, social media account, Youtube page, and play at least 2-3 well attended shows a week. Playing for a handful of people here and there does not count. They appreciate talent, but more so if you are working a lot and their gear is in front of many eyeballs. Touring helps a lot, they will definitely ask you that!
Once that’s in order, start off by visiting the website of the company you like. Find the section about artist representation or the contact us form. Many companies have a process you have to follow as far as what they are looking for and what you must submit if you want an endorsement.
In those cases, just follow their rules and send what they ask. Be sure to include a personalized cover letter. Make sure you are sending in quality and impressive media materials, and have your bio proofread by at least 2 people.
Wait at least 3 weeks, and if you don’t get a response by then, send a follow up email. Wait 2 more weeks and if no response, call their office and ask to speak with someone in Artist Relations. If nothing after that, move on.
Let me take a minute to explain what endorsements are really about.
Understand that an endorsement deal in the company’s eyes is simply a way for them to have you advertise their products cheaper than if they paid for advertising in your area.
It also has to deal with the manufacturer’s relationships with retailers and whether they want to participate in the program. Your closest participating retailer could be a state over, so you probably will not be able to just waltz into your local store and get discounted gear. Unless you are a big star, you would have to order off of a website and have it delivered. Almost all major deals will require you to make a purchase, so be prepared to have some money set aside.
They are not going to get you gigs or help your career.
Let me repeat that again: They are not going to get you gigs or help your career.
Ok now that that’s out of the way..
They may feature you on their website, but that’s all they will usually do, and most companies don’t even do that much. It’s more about your personal satisfaction having accomplished something great.
Some endorsements are more useful than others. I love getting cheap strings and accessories because I go through at least 4 packs a month. Amp deals are great because they can send you a backup when you tour, making travel easy. It all depends on what kind of deal you get – most companies have at least 3 levels of endorsing: Local, National, and International, with varying perks and discounts.
Just remember it’s all about being relaxed and cool, no one likes a person who is obviously only trying to help themselves. Make it about how you can help them.
And please, genuinely use their products. Don’t be a phony.
Once you land a deal, great! Do your due diligence and add their links and logos to your website. Make promo videos every once and a while using their products and share it with the company’s social media sites and your fans. Offer to display their advertising pamphlets at a show.
Stay in touch with your rep and say hello on holidays. If you have a milestone event in your career, let him or her know. They will be happy to see that you’re doing big things and you’ll be easier to remember. These folks are overworked and handle hundreds of players. Don’t be upset if they don’t remember you. Attend conferences and meet them in person. Networking and relationship building is what it’s all about.
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