The influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth $13.8 billion in 2021. That’s up from $9.7 billion the year before.
A substantial jump. Looking at the graph below, you can see influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly important marketing channel for many businesses.
Why have influencers become so popular? Should you adopt influencer marketing for your business? If yes, how can you plan an influencer marketing strategy? Let’s answer those questions in this article.
Influencer marketing is the collaboration between a brand and an online influencer to promote products or services. Unlike celebrities, influencers are individuals who have an impact on specific industries, such as beauty bloggers, athletes, nutritionists, designers, photographers, and so on. They have a large base of followers on social media, and frequently share authentic, valuable content to their followers, such as tips, reviews, online courses, or personal stories.
Some influencers have millions of followers, while others may only have 10,000 followers or less. These influencers are usually referred to as “micro-influencers”. Having a smaller base of followers, however, doesn’t mean that micro-influencers are less effective. If you are selling niche products or services, working with micro-influencers is one of the best ways to reach your potential customers and drive more sales.
Before we discuss how to create an influencer marketing strategy, let’s do a quick recap on why so many businesses are investing in influencer marketing. Here are some of the most important reasons:
When you create and build a relationship with a social influencer, you are tapping into their (sometimes extremely large) base of followers. When working with an influencer, you can have your message exposed to this whole audience. It’s an audience that trusts what the influencer says because the influencer has invested so much time connecting with their followers, such as answering questions, providing tips, and launching demanded content. Therefore, these people feel more inclined to purchase any products recommended by their favorite influencers.
Besides, influencers are experts in their industry. Some of them own a relevant degree or certification or even have their businesses. Therefore, what influencers say is trustworthy and meaningful to their audience. When influencers give out any tips, it’s backed by their knowledge and years of experience. If your products are recommended by influencers, you can also gain more trust from potential customers.
A product endorsement from influencers doesn’t look like an advertisement, but rather an honest recommendation from a friend. Influencers often write content based on their experience: they try the product, or even use that product regularly and recommend it to their followers. Besides, influencers always keep up with the latest trends. They know the next content to focus on and how to incorporate the trends to trigger the followers’ interest. With high-quality content from influencers, you have more opportunities to drive organic traffic to your website.
When influencers create content about you, you can receive high-quality backlinks to your online store, which helps you climb up the search engine rankings. Increased brand awareness thanks to influencer marketing can also aid your link-building efforts. The more people know about your business, the more links you can have.
One of the biggest SEO benefits of influencer marketing, though, is the increase in branded searches. These are searches where someone looks up the name of your company and a product or service offering; for example, “Levis jeans.” An increase in branded searches can help your company improve search rankings for keywords you are targeting.
The reason that more businesses are investing in influencer marketing is that it works. Influencer marketing campaigns offer you a chance to engage a wider audience through a social media or marketing channel and generate fresh leads and sales.
Through an influencer marketing campaign, you get immediate access to a large audience of customers at a cheaper cost per impression than you would do for a paid advertising campaign.
Take this Mr Beast Video as an example.
Honey, a browser extension that helps people secure discounts on products, paid for an advertorial in this video. The video has been viewed almost 40,000,000 times and counting.
The average cost per 1,000 impressions on YouTube is between $1-$4. Assuming they paid less than $40,000 for the ad in the video, they saved money.
Now, how many of those viewers converted into customers is a different issue. It’s hard to get clear data on how much money companies are making from these collaborations as the returns doubtless vary greatly from company to company. Equally, companies that do see a positive ROI won’t want to share that information with competitors.
With that said, there’s a profit to be made. Companies like NordVPN, for example, are spending a lot of money across multiple YouTube channels promoting their product. I doubt they’d be running these campaigns over such an extended period if it wasn’t generating customers.
There’s a good framework you should follow if you want to implement a successful influencer marketing strategy.
At the start of your campaign, you need to define your budget and then set a SMART goal. For example, your goal might be to generate 1,000 sales from your campaign.
Once you have those two things out of the way, think about who you want to work with. Your budget will determine who and how many influencers you could partner with for a campaign. Draw up a list of potential influencers who are relevant to your industry, and research the social impact of these influencers. Make sure the influencers have an engaged audience of real followers, not fake ones. Spend time on this. You need to work with a credible influencer if you want your campaign to be a success.
Next, think about what you will do with the traffic. Are you going to send referrals to a custom sales page or a funnel, for example?
Once you’ve identified who you’d like to work with and what you’ll do with the visitors, you need to connect with the influencer. You can use a subject line tester exercise to nail that outreach email. In a sense, the outreach part is pretty straightforward. You just need to explain:
Assuming the influencer is interested in your offer, they will respond.
Finally, let the influencer take the lead in the campaign design. Trust their insights. They’ve spent months or years developing a relationship with their audience. You should focus on tracking the results of the campaign.
This guide discussed why influencer marketing is such a popular marketing channel, and how to run an influencer marketing campaign. In the first half of this guide, you learned that influencer marketing is a proven way to grow your business by tapping into audiences that influencers have spent time growing. By leveraging that relationship, you can generate leads and sales for your business. The second half of the guide discussed the practicalities of how to develop an influencer marketing strategy. I shared a framework you can follow for running your campaign.