Word-of-mouth marketing has always been one of the most efficient ways to sell products. There is nothing more powerful than a recommendation from a trusted source.
With the rise of social media influencers, brands are able to leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing at a large scale in the digital world. Product reviews by bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers are for many consumers trusted sources for finding new products or getting information for their final purchasing decisions.
Especially for smaller brands, social media influencers are often a great way to increase awareness and reach new audiences and establish social proof. Over the last few years, we have seen two major shifts in influencer marketing, which makes it easier for small business owners to leverage the full potential of this tactic:
- The rise of micro-influencers, who have smaller followings and a closer relationship with their audience, and lower collaboration costs.
- The emergence of tools that allow even small business owners to tap into the wealth of data and analytics enterprises that people are using to create their influencer programs.
As with any other trending marketing tactic, there are questions: is this still a relevant channel in 2020? How can small businesses benefit from it?
At Fourstarzz Media we help small and medium-sized business and business owners integrate influencer marketing into their digital marketing mix, using our software. We strongly believe that influencer marketing will continue to be a very relevant marketing tactic in 2020, offering a great opportunity for small to medium size companies to grow a sustainable business. This blog provides some actionable insights on influencer strategies, influencer outreach and influencer marketing measurements, including downloadable templates.
Influencer Marketing Strategy: Think Sales Funnel
Many marketers have approached influencer marketing with the rather unrealistic expectation that as soon as some micro influencers start posting one picture, their sales will go up immediately.
That is often not the case, and then they come to the conclusion that influencer marketing is not working. After reading about these “failures”, many small businesses are afraid to explore influencer marketing. They are sometimes not sure how to design and implement a cost-effective and successful influencer marketing campaign.
However, if done properly, influencer marketing not only helps increase brand awareness and visibility, but can also lead to increased sales for small business.
We think that 2020 is the time to approach influencer marketing more strategically and set it up in a way that allows marketers to optimize their approach. Whether an influencer marketing program works or not should be reliant on the outcome of an optimization process and a review of the underlying data. In a modern purchase journey, the path from awareness to conversion includes many touch points. Influencer Marketing can be used at the top of the funnel to drive awareness and generate traffic, but Influencer Marketing can also be used efficiently at every stage.
The following image illustrates, what we call the Influencer Sales Funnel:
While this looks complicated, the idea is simple: Small businesses can collaborate with influencers to create authentic content that is displayed on both the influencers' and the brands' channel..
The content creates a first touch point between the brand and its potential clients. With the right call to action in the post (for example, a voucher code), the potential client will come to the website of the brand. From there, the brand can capture the client as a lead and retarget them:
- Via newsletter signups
- Facebook Pixel and retargeting ads
- Signups on their own social channels etc.
The influencer generated content can be repurposed on landing pages, email newsletters and on the website, which will increase both authenticity and social proof. We think this framework provides small businesses with great guidance on how influencer marketing can be beneficial, and how it can lead to a sequence of touch points with the potential customer that will increase their ROI.
The full detailed sales funnel can be downloaded here:
Influencer Outreach: Stand out with preparation
Once your strategy is set up, you need to start by getting in touch with influencers. Whether you are using an influencer marketing platform like Fourstarzz Media, which offers more than 700K qualified influencers' profiles, or you are taking the time to reach out to them on your own, you need to think about doing it right.
In short: if you want to be successful with influencer marketing as a small or medium sized business in 2020, don’t do mass emailing.
You can download email outreach templates here:
With more and more marketers contacting micro-influencers to collaborate with them, they are being forced to become more picky about with whom they work. Their key value is authenticity, so they will be more selective when making a decision to collaborate.
So many people ask questions about non-personalized mass emails. You can stand out if you craft a personal outreach message, prepare a detailed briefing document and be ready with your story when influencers ask.
Bringing your outreach up to a professional level will help you to build a personal relationship with the influencers you choose to work with.
There are four things we have seen that work well in outreach:
- Writing a personal outreach message, highlighting why you think there is a good fit for a collaboration
- Having a briefing document with details on the collaboration
- Following up with a phone call to clarify all open questions
- Getting a signed contract
This process entails more work, but has proven to yield better Return on Investment (ROI). A personal relationship with an influencer ensures that the brand story is clear. It also reduces potential fraud (i.e. sending products without receiving any posts in return).
Influencer Marketing Measurement: Plan for results
Influencer Marketing in 2020 needs to follow the same rules as any other marketing tactic: it needs to deliver results. Being able to define realistic campaign goals, measure them and optimize the campaign based on data is crucial for small medium business.
The success of influencer marketing can be measured in detail, but marketers need to clearly define what they want to measure. Small business can collaborate with influencers in a multitude of ways:
It is important to decide what you want to achieve and how you want to measure it before reaching out to the influencers. It needs to be made clear in the briefing document what data you want to get from the influencers, and what you need to provide to the influencers to be able to track the campaign (i.e. tracking links, voucher codes etc.)
By asking the influencers to share their analytic details after the campaign, brands can analyze the entire sales funnel without having to invest in additional tools:
- Awareness: Number of followers
- Impressions: Number of people who saw the post
- Engagements: Number of people who engaged with the content
- Link Clicks: Number of people who clicked on the landing page
- Voucher Usage: Number of people who purchased using a voucher
Influencer Marketing will help small businesses in 2020 to increase awareness and drive sales. However, as the landscape becomes increasingly competitive, small brands need to become more professional in their approach and leverage tools and processes to increase the likelihood of having a successful campaign.
If you are wondering how to start with influencer marketing or are looking to scale your influencer marketing activities, we’d love to hear from you! Send us a note to share your comments and ask any questions about Fourstarzz Media!
Daniel Troesch is the co-founder and COO of Forbes Agency Council member Fourstarzz Media, the unlimited influencer marketing platform. Daniel is passionate about helping small brands and e-commerce companies to grow their business by creatively leveraging the power of word-of mouth marketing.