Not seeing the sales figures you expected? Or perhaps you are not getting enough traction with your marketing campaigns. No matter what drives you to think about influencer marketing, we appreciate your decision.
The age-old marketing strategies of shiny and over the top ads now hardly grab the attention of today’s consumers. In the techno era where any information is just a click away, any manipulation and exaggeration are likely to fall flat.
Today’s smart consumers rely on their own trusted sources and verify the authenticity of the product before making any purchase.
This is why Influencer marketing is quickly gaining ground over many other marketing tactics especially in the ecommerce field.
It is the hot new marketing strategy that has proven to be unbeaten in driving a higher marketing ROI and better sales. Wondering how to use this game- changer strategy for boosting your ecommerce sale? Read on to find out.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Let’s get started with the very basics. Influencer marketing is a technique used by businesses to drive a brand’s message to the larger market. Instead of promoting the products or service directly to a large group of consumer, the businesses instead hire influencers to get the word out for them.
The Influencers can be any blogger, celebrity, or ordinary people with a huge number of followers that trust their word or opinion.
At its core, it is a word of mouth-style approach usually delivered using social media platforms.
Whether it is a single celebrity with millions of followers or dozens of ordinary people with just a few hundred followers, having influencers spread the message you’re your service or product is a potential form of a peer-to-peer recommendation that can be highly beneficial for your e-commerce business.
Why should you rely on Influencer Marketing?
Before diving deep into the importance of Influencer Marketing let’s consider the following statistics associated with this strategy.
- 51% of marketers believe that influencer marketing helps them to get better customers.
- 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions more than other traditional celebrities.
- Businesses make $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
- 81% of marketers judged that influencer marketing is effective.
If these statistics are not enough for you to invest in influencer marketing, here are some benefits of influencer marketing to consider.
From the above figure, it is easy to see why influencer marketing is heating up. When done right the benefits of influencer marketing are endless.
It can give the extra boost that your ecommerce sale needs to meet your goals and get ahead of your competitors. Promoting your brand with influencers is totally worth it.
Better trust and credibility
Having influencer for your brand is like having someone to brag about your accomplishment and ability. Using influencer makes a difference as when you speak about your product or service positively, people think that it is your job to say good things about your product.
Even if it is the best thing in the market till now, most of the audience may not be convinced by your words.
Meanwhile, when you partner with someone external to your business with high popularity, it is usually trusted by the target market. The confidence and credibility factors are higher with influential marketing.
When people get convinced with the genuineness of a message, they are more likely to respond. Nothing can drive as many sales as word-of-mouth.
The Nielsen Analytics Company Nielsen Analytics Company survey revealed that 92% of customers believe in such recommendations more than other types of advertising.
This clearly shows how powerful the influencer marketing is in comparison to other advertising channels.
As influencers with their expertise in the specific field make a reliable source of getting recommendations for the people, it will allow your brand to benefit from this strategy and use it as social proof.
More brand awareness
More brand awareness is the most significant reason behind the increasing popularity and adoption of influential marketing strategy by several brands.
This incredible tactic is an effective way to reach a wider audience and promote a product or service.
The influencers are already popular among the audience, so people value influencers for their authenticity. The opinion and endorsement of the influencer matter to them and this is what helps the brand amplify its human element on the wider marketing strategy.
The brand can build trust with their targeted audience with the help of the right influencer.
The higher volume of sales leads
One of the most tangible benefits of influencer marketing is the generation of more leads. As people trust in the word of the influencer and pay attention to their message, there is a high chance of them to respond positively towards the brand.
Expands your reach
The startups need to attract a massive audience which is not that easy. So, using the Influencer component, it is quite simple to borrow a relevant audience.
Moreover, when you have established experts in the relevant field as your influencer, you will get accurate feedback and suggestions for your product and ideas. This will create a powerful feedback loop which can also help you enhance your product features.
Influencer marketing may lead you to an extended reach, but then it is up to you to use the right strategy.
Here is how you can use the influential marketing strategies effectively to improve your ecommerce sales.
Start with creating an influencer persona
The first thing that you need to figure out is what type of influencer you are looking for before scoping out influencers. After all, not everyone will make a perfect match for your brand. In fact, it is like to have only a handful of influencers that are apt for your business, and that’s okay.
It is better to have one influencer who meets the brand’s vision instead of 100 who don’t.
So, deal with this in the same way you would do for customer research. Creating influencer persona will give you a clear picture of exactly the type of influencer you want to work with. Consider some factors like age, location, and industry.
However, focus more on goals and values instead of typical buyer persona. If the influencers don’t go with your brand or product value, they’re not going to be a good match for you.
So, before putting extra effort into scouting social media for hundreds of influencer, it is worth putting in the extra work to create an influencer persona for your brand. Remember, opting for the wrong influencer can lead your way to a lack of sales.
Next, pick the best platform
There are many platforms to choose from the obvious like Instagram and Facebook to the more obscure. Well, it’s tempting to promote your product on a big platform of millions of audience, but it is not certain that people will always respond. Biggest platforms are not always best option to go.
But your product can catch more eyes when you have an influencer with a devoted following.
So, look for a specific type of influencer who posts on a particular platform. For instance, if you own a fashion brand, an influencer who regularly posts about their looks can make a perfect fit.
Put as much thought into selecting a platform as you put into selecting an influencer. Many factors should be taken into account while settling on a platform to target.
First, look for the platform that has devoted audiences in your niche. Checking the number of comments the influencer gets is a great way to determine audience devotion.
Finding the Right Influencers
Just think what if you decide to work with an influencer who’s not at all relevant to your business? Your target audiences have never heard of them. The existing audience of your influencer may not be interested in your product as it seems irrelevant to them.
That means you’ve worn out your money as well as efforts. So, now you may have understood that how huge impact can make your choices of brand influencers have on the success of your campaign.
From cosmetics to high-tech products, there are influencers in every single market niche these days. With thousands of influencers online, you have enormous opportunity to find someone that is best fit to present your product or service in front of millions of people.
As you have created an influencer persona, you know what type of influencer to look for.
Look for the “3 Rs”
While looking for an apt influencer, there is a key thing that you must know. You can’t get the whole story just with the numbers. Sometimes influencers with a small but more niched following work better than celebs where you spend millions. So while analyzing the metrics, keep the following “3 R’s” in mind.
Just because an influencer writes about the niche of your brand or service, it doesn’t mean the person can be the right choice for your business. You need to put some effort and give it a closer look at their followers. Figure out whether they match with your target audience.
Now, as you know the relevant influencers for your business, consider their audience engagement. One may have thousands of followers, but you need to look whether the person is good at engaging those followers. It is important to have highly engaged audiences if you expect people to take action.
Now, you may ask how to know how engaged the audience of an influencer is. Well, the answer is simple, just look for the likes, comments and shares.
Follower base is equally important in influencer marketing. Figure out is it strong enough to have that impact on the audience? At the end of the day, the engagement rate is what really matters. A good and effective influencer can boost your sale to a great height.
Where to Look For Influencers
With millions of influencers online, it becomes daunting to bring an influencer on board for your brand. Let’s have a look at some effective ways to find the right influencer.
- Your Social Media
You can get some possible brand advocates by monitoring your social media. Analyze the blog posts and social media mentions about your brand. Also, you can even check the social listening solutions to determine the topics of interest of your audience and the brand advocates within your social media network.
Let’s say you want to sell a health supplement. One thing that you can do is search the brand niche related keyword that you want to target and reach out to those influencers who rank high.
You can find potential influencers by searching on platforms like Google, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, or other social media platforms. You can get influencers who are already interested in your products. Make sure that they’re not working with your competitors.
- Choose the influencers who are already brand advocates
If you got an influencer who already loves your brand, congrats, you’ve hit the jackpot. As they already of the idea of your brand, it’s easier to work with them. It was an appreciable approach by Apple to invite iJustine to the keynote event to promote the iPhone X. As iJustine has many Apple reviews on her YouTube channel, it was a pretty good move.
So, the point is, having an influencer who already loves your brand can reap great result. Look for popular posts on Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms for the reviews or user-generated content related to your product.
- Identify the most used Hashtags
Searching for most used hashtags in your market can give you your ideal influencer. You can use various tool to find the most popular hashtags that drive the most engagement.
- Influencers Platforms
There are various influencer platforms out there that connect the brands with the influencers. With the explosion of influencers over the past years, many new platforms are open to promote businesses or products.
Compare Influencers Based on Metrics
So, you have a shorted list of influencers now. Now it’s time to narrow down your search by using metrics. How? Just find out the number of followers average comments, domain authority, and re-tweets. Here are some questions that will help you narrow down your list.
- What is the follower count of each influencer?
- How many comments or likes they receive on popular social media sites?
- What is the estimated number of views or subscribers they have for their specific video featuring your product?
When you have answers to all these questions you will automatically get the potential influencer for your brand.
Build Strong Working Relationships with Influencers
Now that you finally have the right person for your brand, the next thing you need to is, reaching out them to jumpstart an effective working relationship. Here is how you can build a strong working relationship with your influencer.
Introduce your brand and product to your influencer
Even if the influencers you have chosen already know about your brand and product, it is crucial to share your own point of view and brand value with them. Explain the things that make your brand unique and how you set apart yourself in the market. It is good to highlight the big benefit especially when you are launching a new line of product.
Iron out the details from the beginning
If the influencer is going to play a role in your next marketing campaign, they must have an idea of what you want. Whether you want them to vlog about an event and post photos on Instagram with the product review, make sure to make things clear.
Letting influencers to use their creative freedom is a good way to make it more natural. Give them creative direction but don’t hover over and suppress their creativity.
Do you know a recent vlog of Tammy Hembrow on her trip to Hayman Islands with Tarte Cosmetics garnered 1.4 million views on YouTube? Tarte’s campaign had influencers with more than 6.5 million followers.
So, you can imagine how huge impact the influencer can have.
This is why it is wise to reach out influencers who already match your brand’s value and creative style. It will ensure you that their content will completely reflect your brand.
Offer fair compensation to the influencers
According to the study conducted by Altimeter and TapInfluence, not providing adequate compensation is the biggest mistake made by brands in influencer marketing.
Some brands compensate by offering free products while some provide monetary compensation. Influence.co found that less than 50% of the brand provides monetary compensation to the influencers.
Fair compensation is crucial to building a strong relationship with influencers right from the beginning.
After all, it’s not a piece of cake to create engaging videos or reviews. It calls for a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Also, influencers get you more conversions.
So they should get fair pay. Come up with a fair compensation as per your budget before contacting them. You can mention the compensation in your initial email outreach, and once they agree you can proceed with further details.
But don’t propose the maximum compensation amount right from the beginning. You should have some room for negotiation. For instance, if you can pay up to $600 per post, you should first suggest $400.
Then be open for negotiation and agree to an amount that works for both of you.
Give Influencers Creative Freedom
Most of the influencers complaint that brands become too controlling during the content creation process. The restrictive editorial guidelines of the brands can impact the content quality. They feel that not creating the content in their voice can easily ruin the authenticity of the campaign.
According to Julius Works study, 63% of influencers wouldn’t like to work with a brand with restrictive editorial guidelines for a second time.
As the ideas of influencers are ignored, the content may fall short in engaging the audience. Also, it can give rise to a negative feeling about the brand in the influencer’s mind.
So, don’t be too controlling and provide some basic guidelines about what you need them to follow, and give them creative freedom and let them share their opinion.
You can take a cue from the recent product lunch strategy by Maybelline who decided to work with some beauty influencers while launching their new line of mascaras at Walmart.
They allowed the influencers to produce content featuring or using the product. They had the freedom to develop content in a way they thought would best promote the product.
Create Entertaining Content
Looking for something different than product reviews? A large number of influencers are there who can create entertaining content for your brand. Take a cue from Zach King who has 20.9 million followers for his cleverly edited videos. Even brands like Coca-Cola, Disney, Pixar, and Crayola prefer his work for their high profile campaigns.
Here is a creative glance of his work in collaboration with Oreo that features him dwindling with the cookie turning into a giant size.
Here are a few types of content you can create by partnering with influencers
Content featuring your products or services
You can think of a simple piece of influencer content featuring your service or product to boost your conversion rate. People look up to influencers and love to follow or imitate them. When they see the influencer they follow using your products, it can drive them to purchase the product.
In fact, a study from Twitter and Annalect revealed that almost 40% of Twitter users purchased a product resulting from an influencer’s tweet. Provide the influencers with free access to your service and free samples of your product. This will make the influencer happy and may even motivate them to make a social media mention about your product or service.
This is one of the most effective ways to engage the audience especially when you have influencers to promote your contests. When people know that they have a chance to win something, they will surely want to engage with the content. There are no hard and fast rules for the contest; you can customize it according to your specific needs and goals.
For instance, you can make users create their own content in a contest and tag it with a unique hashtag. Ask your influencers to promote the contest, and it will bring your brand more visibility which ultimately reflects on your sale.
One of the most full-proof influencer marketing tactics is the product review. According to a study from Tubular Insights, a branded social video content caused 64 percent of consumers to make a purchase.
Another study from Google found that 26 percent of consumers take their shopping inspiration from YouTube. This isn’t surprising. As today shoppers highly rely on the feedback from past users before buying a product. So, by getting influencers to review your products you are likely to set up credibility.
The video titled “48 Hours with the Galaxy S9 Plus” is a great example of this. It gained more than 100,000 reviews.
Consumers deem the influencer as experts in their respective niches and hence their opinion matters for them. They look to them, and it can highly influence their purchase decision. Product reviews help consumers make informed purchase decisions.
Custom URLs for Free Access
Promoting free, limited-time access to your service through influencer makes a clever influencer marketing strategy to engage the consumer.
This will offer something valuable to the audience, and also provide them with an experience that they’ll enjoy. Enticing them with your free, limited-time service will encourage them to sign up for your full service after the trial period is over.
Another great example is Crunchyroll who promoted a free 30-day trial of their premium service through Game Grumps.
The YouTube influencers with more than 3.8 million subscribers promoted Crunchyroll by creating a hilarious sketch. They provided unique URL for the views in the description of the video which get the viewers a 30-day free trial of Crunchyroll Premium.
And you know what; the video received more than 51K likes, 1.8 million views, and 4,600 comments.
You can apply the similar strategy for your e-commerce sale and offer a discount code or an offer through a link. To further optimize your strategy you can use unique, custom URL for each influencer that can be used to track performance.
Build social proof by Displaying Influencer on product pages
The influencer’s content shouldn’t be limited to just social media. You can even post user-generated content on your own product pages as social proof. The content by influencers can produce buzz and stir the interest of the audience on social media.
But you can leverage this content by posting it on your product pages and your marketing emails. This will persuade the consumers to stick to your page to view what top influencers say about your product.
It will ultimately drive sales for your e-commerce brand by acting as a visual UGC and social proof.
Create testimonials with influencers
One of the surefire ways to make your consumers trust your brand is by creating testimonials from influencers. People or the followers trust the words of influencers. They are likely to deem the take of the influencers on your product or service instead of what your brand has to say.
If an influencer they follow uses your products, they’ll probably like it too.
Provide a discount code through your influencers
Offering discount codes makes another effective strategy to boost ecommerce sales. You can ask influencers to mention your products in their blogs or video and also give a discount code to share with their followers.
Retail and fashion brands usually use this strategy. The “Back to School Clothing Haul” video posted by Meredith Foster to promote products from Boohoo is a great example of this. She posted “Get 50% off with my Promo Code! MEREDITHFOSTER50” in the description with the product links.
This simple strategy makes a win-win scenario for your brand as well as your influencers.
The followers of your influencer will simply enjoy the video and click on the link and check out your store. The promo code persuades the people more to click on the link.
Keep up outreach
When you need schedule influencer promotions consistently over time, you may have to find new potential influencers every time.
Not every influencer is easy to reach, and Influencer marketing takes effort. In fact rather than other forms of advertising such as Facebook or Google ad, it requires the hands-on work more.
In influencer marketing, you are working with real people, not with just computers and algorithms that are scalable and predictable. So, increase your ad budget if you want more reach with a social media campaign.
Influencer marketing can be turned into a most powerful marketing strategy for your business when you do it right. Now we are living in a world of influence with social media, that is more amplified than ever before.
When your product or service gets a celebrity endorsement or a shout out from a famed YouTuber, your ecommerce sales are going to soar. Your brand can earn a devoted following just with an influencer campaign.
Now as you know some effective strategies to enhance your ecommerce sale go ahead and give influencer marketing a shot.