Marketing

7 Steps to Launching a Successful Influencer Marketing Program

By
Arlen Robinson

What is the best way to promote your business in 2019? One of the best ways to promote your business is influencer marketing. Unlike old marketing methods that require repetitive marketing tasks, influencer marketing utilizes influencers as a means to promote a product or service. It works because influencers have already built their user base for you. They have followers who are ready to buy your products and services.


Influencer Marketing


However, influencer marketing is not as easy as approaching an influencer and asking them to promote you. You may have done that already. If you did, you'd find that most influencers will ignore your messages unless you give them a reason to do you a favor. In this article, you'll learn some ways on how you can launch an influencer marketing program that is designed for success. 


Step 1: Find the Right Influencers


Launching a successful influencer marketing program starts with finding the right influencers. You cannot promote your brand to just anyone. If you do that, you'll find that your promotion will not always convert in the way you want it. 


First, the influencer must be relevant to your niche or the influencer must belong to a niche that is highly relevant to your business. It doesn't have to be in the same niche. They must only work in a relevant market. For example, a fitness influencer is compatible for nutrition products. But he is also compatible with vegan or animal-friendly products. Ultimately, it depends on the nature of the followers of the influencer. This will dictate whether or not the influencer is a perfect fit for the business. 


Second, you should learn to assess the influence level of the influencer. You see, not every influencer can 'influence'. Some of them are just there to share their content as their artwork. What you'll need are influencers that are able to encourage their market into action. This can be done in two ways. First, the influencer can directly recommend a product. This is where you share your product with the influencer and ask them for their review. The second approach is to ask them to promote the product subtly. They can do this by incorporating your products into their daily routine. In my experience, product placements are more effective. This is because it doesn't overly promote the product and allow the audience to decide if they want to buy.


Finding the right influencers require some research. For this, you'll need the right tools. You'll need three tools. A search engine, a contact database, and an email confirmer and retriever. The search engine will be your platform for uncovering influencers in your niche. This can be as simple as Google or an influencer marketing tool. It is important to choose an influencer not only based on their position in the search results but also based on the quality of their content.  You also want to check how responsive they are to their target market. You'll know how well their market responds to them based on the engagements on their website and social media profiles. The contact database is for storing all the contacts you have researched. This can be a simple Excel or Google Sheets file or it can be integrated with an influencer marketing tool like Ninja Outreach. Lastly, you'll need an email confirmer and retriever. One of the brands that I found for this is FindThatLead


Step 2: Start with Some Objectives


You will not know what you want to get out of influencer marketing unless you have an objective. It is very important to define what you want right from the start. Do you want more traffic? Do you want to increase your sales? Do you want more brand exposure? If you're going to increase one of these, you have to be very specific. For example, instead of saying that you want more traffic, you should say that you want to get 100,000 more people into your website by the end of your influencer marketing promotion. Similarly, you can also set your goal in terms of sales. Instead of saying that you want to increase your sales, you can say that you want to increase your sales by $10,000 by the end of the promotion. Specific numbers are better. 


Why do you need to set an objective? Well, think of it as your north star. It gives you direction. It will set the path for you. Since you know where you are going, you'll know the roads that you have to take. So if your target is to increase sales, you will not be easily swayed by a spike in traffic. You know that you are still far from your goal.


Later, you'll learn how to measure results. This will dictate whether or not you can meet the objectives that you have set for yourself.


NOTE: You can set multiple objectives. However, be sure to set one as the priority. This way, you'll be able to measure your success based on that one objective. 


Step 3: Have Something Worth Sharing


Once you get started on influencer marketing, you'll find that one of the hardest things to do is to get influencers on board. One approach that influencer marketing tools use is the template-based approach. This is where you send one template-based email to all the influencers in your list. While this approach may work, it will not work all the time. Influencers know if you are only sending them another email template. A good workaround is to have something worth sharing. This can be more than your products and services. It can also be the uniqueness of your brand or the professional customer service that you provide. In any case, it should be something worth the attention of your target market. If it is interesting, influencers will naturally be attracted to it and share it on their own. 


PRO TIP: Want an influencer to promote your product for you? Ask for their review instead. You can do this by sending them a free product and giving them a chance to review it. The key is to have a superior product. With this, you don't have to require the influencer to post a review. They will automatically do it. 


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Step 4: Be Creative in Your Approach


Influencers know their worth and this is the reason why they can get thousands of followers. They know what makes their audience tick and they know how to capture their attention. Because of this, you also need to be creative in your approach if you like to win them. 


One way to do this is to collaborate with the influencer directly. You can do this in different ways. 


First, you can host an online event with the influencer. This can be a giveaway with your brand. You will provide the product and all the influencer has to do is to promote you to their followers. You can ask the audience to follow your brand and the influencer's social profile in the mechanics. You can also ask them to subscribe to your page. 


Another way to do this is to collaborate on the product. This is good for creative niches such as fashion, art and design. You look for a designer with a good number of followers and ask them if they would like to design your product packaging for you. You can then create a product that is named after them. Most influencers love this and they will not wait to share something like this to their followers. 


Another way is to host influencer meetups. Some brands host these meetups by sending invites to influencers in the niche. You just need to treat them to dinner and they get to meet each other in the process. This is a nice way to build real relationships with influencers as you get to know them on a face-to-face level. 


Another exciting way to do this is to ask them to promote a referral program. This is a program where you give away rewards in exchange for signups. You can set an exclusive influencer discount code in your referral marketing software. From here, you can ask the influencer to promote your business with your unique discount code. This works exceptionally well for ecommerce websites (Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.).


Step 5: Don't Be Afraid to Follow Up


Many business owners give up on their first influencer approach. But you have to understand that influencers are often busy. Not only do they have to deal with the creation of content. They also have to reply to their followers and interact with them. This does not include the events that they have to attend if there is any. Some of them even go to the extent of creating their own products so that will keep them busy as well. So instead of sulking when they don't reply, it is better just to send a follow up email. It is easy to do and the worst the influencer can do is say no. For this, it is better if you have a tool like Ninja Outreach. This will allow you to see the influencers who you have contacted. You can also see if they can reply to your message. You can then send follow ups to those who don't.


PRO TIP: You can also install a Gmail addon if you are sending emails via Gmail. There's an email addon called Boomerang. This will allow you to see the emails that your prospects have read. This will let you know if you need to send a follow up email. 


Step 6: Leverage Micro-Influencers


4 Levels of Influencers


There are two types of influencers. There are celebrity influencers and there are the influencers that have a hundred thousand to a million followers. These influencers have a huge reach and can be hard to contact. Usually, you'll need to contact them through their managers or you can only send them products through a PO box. Meanwhile, there are micro influencers. These are influencers with a thousand to a hundred thousand followers. Although their follower count is small, they are highly active. They respond well to the influencer's request because they feel that they belong to a small group of similar interests. If you plan to promote your product or service, the best way is to contact multiple micro-influencers at the same time. This is far more effective than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for celebrity influencer promotion. Plus, multiple micro-influencer promotion is more effective. It is better to see your brand across different influencer websites instead of just seeing one promotion. This grants your brand more exposure and more traffic and sales. 


Step 7: Measure the Results


How will you know if your influencer marketing campaign is successful? It depends on the results. You'll need to measure the results if you want to know if your campaign boosted your traffic and sales. What you'll measure depends on your preliminary objectives. Ideally, you'll want your influencer promotions to increase your target metric.


Also, it is important to do this on routine. This means that you should not only check your results one-time. You should also check it again on a consistent basis. This can be weekly or monthly, depending on how many influencer marketing campaigns you have launched. 


BONUS: Learn from Other People's Success


There is a reason why case studies are so interesting to read. It shows you how success can be obtained based on how other people have done it. This is what Best Hunting Bow Labs has done. They looked at other e-commerce websites in the niche that has launched an influencer marketing campaign, and they created their campaign based on that. The fastest way to learn is by example.  


So that's how you launch an influencer marketing program. It is about time you did it as well. Get started on step 1 right away. Don't wait and experience the benefits of influencer marketing for your business. 


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Arlen Robinson

Arlen Robinson is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software


He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.

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