In the U.S. alone, there are close to 28 million, active small businesses.
To compete in this crowded marketplace, your advertising and marketing strategies need to be more effective than ever. Not only are there so many small businesses jockeying for increasing position in their niche, consumer expectations for businesses have also risen exponentially. With the rise in mobile search and the use of convenient iOS and similar devices, consumers expect companies to have a strong online and offline presence.
Although the stakes are quite high, you shouldn’t try to do everything. It’s all too easy to burn out chasing after the highs and lows of marketing FOMO. The marketing technique that works for Business A may not work at all for Business B.
To make matters even more complicated, not every marketing strategy will work well for your company, your industry, and your unique customer base.
One popular and effective marketing strategy right now is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing can work exceptionally well – if it’s the right strategy for your particular company. If not, it can be a colossal waste of time and money.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is the act of reaching out to an influential person and getting them to tout your product or service. It’s a way to get your brand in front of a large, trusting audience that the credible influencer has already cultivated.
Influencers do not have to have huge social media followings, but they have to have the ability to persuade their audience to take action. Usually, a good influencer will need to possess the following:
Again, this does not have to be a substantial social media following. If they don’t have a huge social media following, having a smaller audience that is incredibly trusting and active can more than compensate.
- Credibility regarding the type of product or service you are selling.
If you sell skin care products, it’s not a good idea to reach out to an influencer who is known for reviewing video games. You want to make sure that the influencer you’re reaching out to posts a lot about your type of product or service.
- A high degree of effective salesmanship.
An effective influencer is one who is good at persuading people to try things without being sleazy or pushy.
Who are the different types of influencers you can use?
There are many different types of influencers to consider contacting. Some will be harder to get attention than others. You don’t necessarily need a high-profile celebrity for your brand, and in many cases, a micro-influencer who’s highly targeted and credible to your niche will benefit your business.
- Actors and actresses
- Social media stars
- Bloggers and vloggers
It’s a good idea to think outside the box when it comes to finding and reaching out to an influencer for your brand. If they align with your target audience, your brand messaging, and have a credible voice in your niche, and it’s a good idea to start collaborating with them.
What’s in it for the influencer?
There are many different ways to compensate an influencer. Most internet marketing influencers prefer monetary compensation, but there are other ways you can pay the influencer.
Regardless, you need to add value to them and to maintain their image as a thought leader. Remember, they are giving you access to their audience, an audience who trusts them and one that probably took them a long time to build. Trust can be easily broken, so it’s important that your influencer is well-compensated for their efforts.
- Cold, hard cash.
- Free products or services
- Paying them per lead or sale
- Paying them for engagement
- Paying them with an intangible
Per that last point, influencers are most likely to work with brands that help them strengthen their status as opinion leaders, increase their reach, improve the quality of their content, and shape their image.
So, how can you know if influencer marketing is right for you?
We’ve put together the following blog post to help you determine if influencer marketing is going to help your business grow. Should you try it? Check out the post below!
Are status and lifestyle important aspects of your brand?
In many cases, influencer marketing is most effective when it comes to perception. Are you selling a lifestyle, one in which your brand relies on the customer perceiving it as being “cool”? If the customer purchases from your brand, will they be signaling to others that they possess a high social status? If status and lifestyle are integral parts of your brand, influencer marketing may be an excellent strategy to employ to grow your reach. This is especially true if your company is part of a luxury market.
For example, the Lamborghini luxury car company is part of a luxury market. Lamborghinis are a lifestyle choice and a way to signal the owner’s status. But, what else sets Lamborghinis apart from say, a Toyota or a Honda? Not much. Lamborghinis still function in much the same way as less expensive, less status-oriented car brands. A Honda will get you from Point A to Point B just as well as a Lamborghini.
Of course, the Lamborghini is manufactured with some higher-quality parts that may enable the vehicle to accelerate faster. But in the US, if you drive too fast, you’re getting a ticket whether you drive a beater rust bucket or a sleek luxury car.
So why are people willing to pay so much more for a Lamborghini? Because of its perceived status.
An awful lot of people want to be associated with having higher social status, as being “cool,” sophisticated, successful, happy, and wealthy. Influencer marketing is especially well-suited to this concept of social status. When consumers hear from a person they trust, whom they see as being sophisticated or as part of the “in” crowd, they are more likely to trust the brand the influencer is marketing. If the influencer looks cool while engaging with a brand’s product or service, then the consumer will want to access this, perceived, higher-level of social status too.
Do the concepts of status and lifestyle apply to your product or service? If they do, then influencer marketing is an excellent strategy to use to grow your brand awareness, while continuing to improve the status of your product or service.
It’s crucial that people trust you before they buy from you.
Trust is a critical factor in the buying process. Consumers need to know that you’re a trustworthy company whose product or service is going to solve their particular need. Current studies show that up to 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations to make a purchase.
If your product is the first of its kind and your company is a recent establishment, then people are going to be leery of buying from you. Your company has little track record, and minimal or no reputation, and your product is something no one has ever sold or purchased before. What reason do they have to trust you? If you can’t get people to buy from you, how can you build that crucial reputation? How can you possibly hope to get reviews for your product if everyone is too scared to buy? In these cases, a social media influencer can be incredibly beneficial to helping you get your business off the ground.
When people have concerns about a product or service, what do they do? They turn to people they trust for feedback. This is one of the reasons why internet reviews from third-party sources have become so critical to brand success. More than 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchasing decision. An influencer acts as a trustworthy source of information for your target market. In this instance, the types of businesses that can benefit from an influencer marketing outreach campaign include:
- Nutrition and supplements
- Auto industry brands
- Beauty and apparel industry
You’re in a crowded niche and are up against a lot of competition.
In today’s marketplace, many industries are highly competitive and have become increasingly crowded. How can you stand out from the crowd?
New businesses or companies that are experiencing a lag in sales may be tempted to lower their prices as a way to undercut their competitors. While this strategy may work in the short-term, it’s not a viable long-term strategy. Don’t just lower your prices in the hopes of garnering interest. Instead, create an emotional connection with your audience via influencer marketing.
You want people to feel something when they use your products or service. And you want other people to desire that unique emotional experience that only your brand can give them. If you’re in a crowded niche, then it’s vital that you use emotions to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Getting an influencer to help you is a great way to create and cultivate these types of experiences with your target audience. Your influencers are cultural leaders within their particular group or “tribe.” When you get an influencer to speak positively about your brand in front of their tribe, then you’ll gain access to a huge, targeted audience that will want your products.
Studies show that advertising campaigns with purely emotional content perform twice as well as campaigns with intellectual content. Working with an influencer is one way to craft emotional content that is going to resonate with your target audience, the audience that the influencer has the ear for. What types of influencers are best for creating an emotional, bonding experience?
- Popular bloggers
- Pinterest influencers
- Twitter personalities
These types of influencers tend to be very good at using emotional marketing to address a need that their audience has. By addressing and fulfilling a need that their audience has, these influencers are able to establish a strong, emotional connection with readers and viewers.
How can you make the most of influencer marketing?
Let’s recap. What types of businesses will benefit the most from influencer marketing?
- Lifestyle brands
- Brands that use “status” to enhance their image
- New companies with minimal to no reputation or reviews
- Businesses that are in a crowded, competitive market
- Companies that want to create an emotional connection with their audience
Remember to look for influencers who are persuasive, able to sell to their audience, and have reach with an audience whose interests are relevant to your brand. Relevance is not only crucial for your bottom line, but it protects and can also enhance your influencer’s credibility and thought leadership with their platform.
It’s a good idea to be discerning and even picky about who you choose to market your products or services. It’s also vital that you have a way to fairly compensate your influencer for their efforts and access to their audience.
What are the significant benefits companies will see when they use influencer marketing?
- Increased brand awareness
- An emotional connection with their audience
- A growth in their customer base
- An increased web presence
- More established, deeper trust with their customers
- Increased sales and business growth
As with all things internet marketing related, you’ll need to test, tweak, hone, and pivot your strategy. While influencer marketing may not work for a competitor in your niche, it might work perfectly for your particular business. Now that you understand the nuances of influencer marketing, it’s time to give it a try!
Our team at ClickFirstMarketing has years of experience in the digital marketing industry. We’re well-versed in numerous, effective online marketing strategies that can help grow your business, including influencer marketing. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Contact our team today and see what we can do for you.