Whether you run a business online, offline, or both, one of the essentials when it comes to your marketing efforts is to tap the so-called ‘influencers’. Who are they and how can they benefit your business?
Well, just imagine if you are in the real estate industry and you got a couple or even just one big-time celebrity to endorse what you’re offering. Wouldn’t that bring in more sales? Or let’s say you are selling personal development audio CDs and these products were featured in Success Magazine. You’ll surely be able to reach out to those who actually want what you have because many readers of this magazine are seeking personal growth and self-improvement.
So yes, it would be awesome to practice influencer marketing— starting today.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that targets a chosen few— people or institutions which can endorse your business and connect you to many potential customers. These can be bloggers, journalists, celebrities, organization heads, politicians, and media outfits or agencies.
Why Do You Need It?
When you practice influencer marketing, you are exerting the same effort as with regular marketing but this time, you’re aiming to convince ‘influencers’ to believe in and share your products and/or services as well as to speak about your business on your behalf.
In convincing ‘influencers’, you can actually save plenty of time, money, and effort. You also get to gain leverage because they will help with your marketing, sometimes for free or perhaps for just a minimal exchange. Many of them will actually come up with content about your business without charging you.
It is always important to continuously expand your reach. Influencers can help in this regard as they have their own networks, communities, and/or followers over which they have power or influence. For instance, when a popular food blogger writes about your restaurant, chances are his/her readers will try it out.
Apart from expanding your reach, your business will definitely be deemed with greater authority and thus will be trusted even more in the market. If you get influencers to talk about it in a positive light, many people will not question your credibility anymore. They will be drawn to believe that what you are offering is certainly of good quality and can be trusted.
In addition, as you go along with this type of marketing, you can also enjoy stronger presence online. In the long run, it might lead to a bigger share of the market. Your brand will become well-known and people will have easy recall of it.
How Do You Go About It?
Okay, so you’re probably itching to start influencer marketing now. Well, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Discover Who Your Influencers Are
First, you must find out which influencers have huge and easy access or connections to your target market. You can type target keywords in search engines, check out social media communities and online forums, and go through shows, websites, and magazines related to your nature of business.
- Decide Which Ones to Target
Once you come up with a list of your influencers who can bring you closer to your target buyers, you need to prioritize which ones to approach first. Of course you have to go for those with greater influence or power and with more followers or bigger communities.
- Come Up With a Plan for Approach
Now it’s time to plan for how to approach these influencers. It’s important to connect with them and establish a relationship first. For example, you can connect via LinkedIn and send a greeting through private messaging. Then afterward, read his/her blog and comment from time to time. Later on, you can already send a personalized email wherein you show that you’ve been following him/her and that you’d like to introduce yourself and your business.
- Think of What You Can Offer
You should always have something good to offer influencers in exchange for endorsing your stuff. For instance, you can describe just how his/her readers will benefit from reading your particular study or article. You can offer to post his/her website and feature his/her blog posts too on your own social media accounts. Mention how this can provide greater exposure as well.
Furthermore, you may also send sample products or offer a discount card, free membership, etc.
- Make It Easier for Them
You will have a better chance for influencers to approve your proposal if you make it easier for them. What does this mean?
Let’s say you want the local government to endorse your health and wellness center. You can propose a free program that would benefit the community. Lay out all the details so that the person in charge will see that there’s nothing else they have to do except approve your posters or announce the program. In short, you must let them feel and see that everything has been taken care of already.
- Show Your Appreciation
Naturally, once you get an approval and the influencer pushes through with his/her part, you need to show your appreciation. Send a thank you card or message and do your part too. Give back the favor by even going one notch higher than what you promised. If you said that you’ll feature his/her story in your website, go beyond by sending the story to your email list and sending a thank you gift or token.
Once you’ve had a successful first run with an influencer, make sure to keep the relationship healthy and strong by keeping in touch, staying true to your word, and offering incentives and other forms of appreciation. Having an ongoing relationship will allow you to have these influencers grow and expand with your business so that they will continue to promote even your future products and/or services without as much effort from you.