Every marketer knows the struggle of creating ads that don’t overtly promote your own product. It’s nearly impossible, and becoming more difficult all the time. Consumers are more aware than ever, and increasingly fickle about what advertisements they trust. Can you really blame them?
Enter influencer marketing. Harness the voices of bloggers, social media advocates, YouTube stars, and other popular individuals to influence brand opinion without lifting a finger. If you’re interested, here’s a step by step strategy to include influencer marketing into your digital marketing strategy.
Find Your Influencers
It sounds obvious, but many people don’t know how to begin finding influencers. Do you just email Instagram celebrities and YouTubers? You could, but it’s not that effective.
Strong outreach campaigns target influencers that offer the best brand awareness over different media.
Your outreach should take several different forms, each with their own drawbacks and merits. However, each form is equally important to include in your outreach strategy.
Blogger platforms are the easiest way to get started with influencer marketing. They’re essentially an open job posting to influencers that you include on your own website.
These platforms are easy to set up. Just make a posting page on your website that includes campaign goals, product information, compensation, and any other relevant details.
It’s a simple strategy, but most major retailers maintain passive blogger programs. Even retail giant Nike has an influencer recruiting program. We fancy ourselves pretty good marketers, but when Nike backs an idea you know it’s worth pursuing.
The real value from these pages is their passive recruiting, but you can also share your outreach program across social media. Visibility can help your program gain traction.
Influencer platforms are the opposite of blogger platforms. Instead of creating your own open ended posting, these programs offer a database of pre-vetted influencers.
Influencer platforms aren’t passive, rather proactive. The databases are searchable by price, website traffic, reach, platform and more. Businesses can target only the influencers who best suit their campaign needs.
Each company also can, and should, create their own profile that details your campaign goals and general brand information. This helps influencers quickly decide whether they’re interested in working with your brand.
What results is an efficient system where only compatible parties end up working together. You can even hand select influencers for niche campaign goals.
Direct outreach to influencers is the wildcard of recruitment strategies. This strategy encompasses pretty much everything besides influencer programs and blogger programs.
If you’ve found an influencer on social media that you like, or a blogger that’s popular in your niche, reach out. We know, we said this strategy isn’t that effective. It’s true, but that doesn’t mean it can’t supplement other programs.
The fact is, most influencers are happy to gain another marketing opportunity. Your offer of exposure, money, or sample products is enticing. Don’t sit on your laurels if you see an influencer you’d like to work with. Send an email and seize the opportunity.
Utilizing your influencers
Now that you have a rotation of trustworthy brand advocates, you must use them. There’s more to running an influencer marketing campaign than requesting a few blog posts or social media mentions.
Influencers build your brand for you, but their real benefit is their existing audience that you can turn into brand loyalists.
Retargeting their audience
Your influencer has a large following. Obviously, or you wouldn’t have chosen to work with them. But given how noisy the current social media landscape is, and the fact that touchpoints to conversions are increasing, you need to focus on capturing that influencers audience so you can market to them yourself.
Sixty-eight percent of consumers seek out product information from other consumers. This means that at minimum, almost 70 percent of your influencer’s audience will view backlinks to your website as reputable.
Make sure that any posts shared by influencers, whether on their blog, YouTube channels, or social media, include a link to your site. When they land on your site, make sure you have a dedicated landing page for that influencer (hidden from Google) and that you have your re-marketing codes up and running. This way, you can create retargeting campaigns on both Google or Facebook to consumers using the influencers name and reputation in your creative.
Now you can take all those new potential customers and retarget as you see fit.
Create long term customers
Now that you’ve captured your influencer’s audience, it’s time to turn them into conversions and potential sales. This means getting them invested into your brand in some capacity.
We’ve found that email marketing is an excellent way to hook people into your brand’s message without requiring any monetary investment. In fact, email marketing has proven 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined at creating new customers.
Your new goal is getting people onto your email marketing landing page. Influencer backlinks work well here, but you’ll need to harness your retargeted traffic to see real success. Create a lead magnet to make sure that visitors from your influencer campaigns drop their email address into your re-marketing funnel.
Including and effectively utilizing influencers is vital to any digital marketing campaign. The third-party brand advocates are only becoming more important as people turn to referrals as their primary form of searching for purchasing advice. People want useful, informative content from an unbiased source, and influencers tick all the boxes.
How have you used influencer marketing in your digital strategy? What successes or learnings can you share? Tell your story in the comments.
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