The “One & Only” Influencer Marketing Guide
I bet you wouldn’t be here if did not want to:
- Grow your business,
- Improve brand awareness,
- Acquire more customers,
- Out-compete your rivals
- And most certainly save cost while doing all of them.
That’s good, however, 90% of entrepreneurs want the same thing.
But I believe you have something different in mind,
because, instead of looking for Influencer marketing,
you could have been reading, the definitive guide for “advertisement with google
The good news is that in this guide,
I’ll take your hand and walk you through each and every little secret and strategies
that you need to know about influencer marketing.
Table of Contents.
The Story Behind Influencer Marketing
Above And Beyond “Word Of Mouth”
Who Is The “Influencer”?
Different Categories Of Influencers
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Why Influencer Marketing Is The Current & Next Big Thing
How To Grow Your Brand With Influencer Marketing?
What is the story behind influencer marketing?
In the past, customers were fed information,
and influenced by corporate’s advertisers.
Even today, there are plenty of businesses who, unfortunately,
rely on paid marketing strategies.
(I’ve nothing against paid marketing,
but I believe there are more efficient ways t get more customers without losing your money to Google)
The truth is, if your brand only shows up in paid advertisement spots on search engines
Your revenue will drop significantly once you reduce your advertisement budget.
Today, especially with evolution of social media,
consumers buying patterns have changed
as they prefer to buy from credible brands
or companies that have positive reviews.
Above and Beyond “Word of Mouth”
Just watch this, You’ll then know why this post is worth reading, at least twice.
According to McKinsey, word of mouth,
or consumer-to consumer communication
that does not involve any incentives
can be the primary factor behind up to 50%
of “first time purchases”,
Or when consumers want to buy an exclusive or expensive product.
With growth of technology, and communication channels, and
having limitless access to other people’s opinion,
Word-of-mouth is no longer a one to one medium.
In fact, it has changed to one-to-many basis, as
people share their opinion on social media,
or follow influencer’s opinion on different
blogs, journals, and websites to
either praise or punish brands.
The truth about influencer marketing is that,
it’s the elevated version of word of mouth marketing
that is combined with credibility, trust, and personal brand.
Since every influence has different level of influence,
you must be able to measure your influencer’s impact
using “word-of-mouth equity”.
“word-of-mouth equity” determined the power of influencer,
and the degree of influence on shaping customer’s purchasing pattern.
The previous trend was (and still is) social media marketing,
and it allowed marketers, and brands to
directly engage with customers.
While social media marketing is evolving,
a new area of opportunity arises called “influencer marketing”
that enables you to encourage your fan, followers, leads, and customers,
to choose your brand over your competitors.
Despite the fact that common people refer to both
word-of-mouth marketing and influencer marketing
as the same strategy, when it comes to growth hacking,
there is a huge technical difference between these two strategies
Simply put, influencer marketing strategy is all about
using key influencers to scale your business, and achieve your goals.
Influencer marketing, can initiate word-of-mouth marketing and start the fire among people to discuss about certain products, idea, news, etc.
In a nutshell, when you rely on influencer marketing,
you can easily take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing
as it follows naturally. On the contrary, if you only rely on word-of-mouth marketing,
You limit your reach to your small network.
Who is the “Influencer”?
Before we talk about who is an influencer,
Let’s figure out how could someone become an influencer and made it to the top.
Here is an example of an influencer, and what he can do.
I believe this short video about Dr. Martin Luther King is self-explanatory. (This copy is not seen everywhere, just watch it carefully)
The Characteristics of the Influencer
An influencer is someone whose main focus is on building trust, and relationship, Over short term results.
An influencer is someone who values other people’s opinion, that’s why people value his opinion.
An influencer did not become influencer overnight, so s/he understands the significance of strategic planning.
An influencer has a unique personal brand, So, s/he understands the value of exclusivity, and authority.
An influencer focuses mostly on on earned media, and owned media, instead of paid media.
In case you’re wondering the difference between,
paid media, owned media, and earned media, this table from Forrester Research should help you get you head around it.
Generally, the main types of media are:
- Paid Media. It’s the first marketing strategy that comes to many marketers, an entrepreneur. The truth is that it guarantees that it cost you something, but it never guarantees growth.
You will make investment to pay for visitors, leads, new customers, traffic, engagement, broader reach, and engagement through advertisement platforms such as search engine’s display network, Video platforms, affiliates, print or digital media, direct mail, and TV.
- Earned media. As its name implies, it is a form of media that influencer has contributed in and earned their credibility, and respect. You may approach this method by spending months on social media, and build your network, or you may get help from influencer marketers who have built their network.
Earned media marketing requires investment too, but in return it increases your brand awareness, and improves your WOM marketing for long term. The best way to think about earned media is to consider is as a form of partnership between your brand, influencers, publishers, bloggers and other categories of influencing parties to help you grow your business.
- Owned media. This is the media that you own; It could be your website, social media channels, mobile app, blog, etc. Now, if you don’t have a blog, go ahead and set up one now, as it complements all other strategies, significantly.
Different categories of Influencer:
Is your favorite celebrity influencers? Yes
But are all influencers celebrities? Of course not.
An influencer can be found in different fields, and positions.
While Kim Kardashian is a famous celebrity, she has almost zero influence in Fintech startups.
When it comes to influencer marketing,
most entrepreneurs, and majority of people
look up to well-known subject matter experts that
managed to build credibility, and trust with their work.
Influencers have strong network of connections
with other influencers in their niche, and also the other markets.
The biggest misunderstanding about influencer marketing,
is that people mistakenly count the number of social media followers.
Your influencer doesn’t need to have millions of followers to be considered an influencer.
In fact, the most important metrics to define an influencer is their “sphere of influence”, not the size of their followers.
The truth is. if you have 2 million twitter follower but no one is engaged with your post, you’re not considered as an influencer.
Apart from celebrities, there are different categories of influencers
that help you scale your business, and improve your brand exposure.
Simply put, you can categorize influencers in following areas:
- Thought Leaders,
- Social media enthusiasts,
- Industry analysts,
- Professional advisors,
- Individual brand ambassadors,
- And anyone with the power to influence or impact customer’s decisions.
According to Word of Mouth Marketing Association an influencer is “A person who has a greater than average reach or impact through word of mouth in a relevant marketplace”
What is Influencer Marketing?
Let’s begin with defining what is influencer marketing:
Influencer marketing is a marketing strategy
that a marketer identifies, seeks out, and engages
with influencers in support of a business objective.
Your business objectives could be:
- Brand awareness
- Promoting their product,
- Spreading the word about product launch
- Endorsing companies, brands, or products.
In its best form, influencer marketing often composes of
“premium content marketing”, and
“Exclusive content promotion” strategies.
Premium content marketing refers to a process of
creating epic contents that represent your brand,
and how to tell your unique story to the world.
Exclusive content promotions, however,
focuses on placing your story in places that help your brand get better exposure,
and attract new customers.
Since it’s not a advertisement or self-promotional content,
and it’s shared through different trusted channels
such as influencer’s social media account
and endorsed by brand ambassadors,
people will easily trust the source and choose to engage with it.
Professional Tip: social-media and content marketing are two separate growth hacking strategies, that often complement influencer marketing strategies, But, they are not equal to influencer marketing.
What's your Number one Customer Acquisition Strategy?
Why Influencer marketing is the Current & Next big thing?
You have a choice to either be smart, or well “you know”!
There are short term solutions,
(better to call them TEMPORARY solutions)
like Mass Advertising strategies,
or paid advertisement campaigns
that may result in immediate traffic hype to your online business,
or if you use different media like TV,
you may get immediate attention to your brand.
But The reality is that, disruptive marketing,
and paid advertisement are no longer efficient.
The problem that advertisers face is that
they are busy trying to reach customers through different channels,
and have forgotten the fact that
consumers are also improving their skills and using ad-prevention technologies
that enables them to avoid as many advertisements as possible.
Here is how influencer marketing trend looks like today.
Here is a fact:
According to a recent research by Paul Markillie “Over 80% of Ford’s customers in America have already researched their prospective purchase on the internet before they arrive at a showroom, and most of them come with a specification sheet showing the precise car they want from the dealer’s stock, together with the price they are prepared to pay” (Markillie, 2005)
One of the Most essential part of influencer marketing is influencer targeting.
Influencer targeting, just like “word of mouth marketing” also known as WOM
can come in many forms.
The main difference is between influencer targeting and WOM marketing in
- Identifying who the influencers are?
- What’s their level of Influence?
- What are they called in the society?
- And Finding the best way to reach out to them?
In this table below, I’ve categorized three broad categories of influencers
based on their role in the market,
and their degree of influence:
Who they are?
Commonly known as
|Recognized subject matter experts and Media Elite||
How to grow your brand with influencer marketing.
When it comes to running a business, stakeholders only expect growth,
And growth in their mind is not a monotonous growth rate; it has to be rising constantly.
Theoretically, the sky’s the limit in terms of growth – you can always grow more,
and quite frankly you must always focus on growth because
there will be times where economical forces will force you to cut costs, and only ten you’ll realize how powerful, or powerless is your brand.
One of the smartest strategies to grow your business is using Brand Management as a Growth Booster for Your Company.
Inexperienced entrepreneurs rely on the theory that says: “if you manage to sell more products or services at the highest possible profitable price – and minimize your expenses you’ll grow”
The truth is, it is a wrong perception about growth.
You may be able to attract customers with advertisement, and increase profit by selling a lot but that does not necessarily mean that you’re growing; growth is not about spikes in revenue, in fact, growth is a constant process.
Dr. Ralph Krüger, in his book “Brand Growth Barriers” talks about a real case study about pharmaceutical companies who were not happy with their sales.
The beauty of this real case study helps you understand wat’s wrong with your business, and how to grow it with influencer marketing.
The research is about a producer of a cough medicine that was selling their product through a tested, and trusted agent but they were unhappy with its sales.
When they conduct research on their customer segment (which is pharmacies) they surprisingly found two main reasons why the medicine was rarely recommended.
- Firstly, many pharmacists did not receive sufficient information about the product’s benefit in comparison to similar products.
- Secondly, the competitors focused on providing pharmacists with simple, yet effective sales “stories”, i.e. punchy, convincing sales arguments that worked in customer advice.
The biggest advantage that competitor had in this case was their effort to join force with pharmacists to develop a sales story that patients loved to hear.
the different corporate divisions forward:
- Brand Management Drives Marketing
Brand management ensures that marketing is fully focused on transforming
the brand into a true sales driver.
- Brand Management Boosts Research and Product Development
Brand management uses precise knowledge of target group behavior and
unfulfilled needs to drive new and further product development.
- Brand Management Boosts Sales
Brand management uses precise knowledge of the target group’s purchase
decision process to exploit sales potentials.
7 Golden Steps o Influencer Marketing
To achieve highest success rate with influencer marketing you can follow the following steps:
Step 1, Build a business case about influencer marketing
So far you have learned that influencer marketing campaigns heavily rely on the strengths and reputation of your industry voices.
The level of influencer that each influencer brings to the table
varies but they all have the power to interact with potential customers and bring your business to people’s attention.
Depending on your arrangement with the influencers,
the scope of work could be either a quick task such as
sharing stories about your business in their social network, and re-tweeting your contents regularly,
all the way up to partnering with you to proactively collaborate on co-producing new contents about your business.
Whether you own your business or you are working for others, you’re highly likely to be challenged with questions such as:
Question: Why should we invest in working with influencers?
Top 3 answers to justify influencer marketing could be:
- Influencers have already established great reputation, (which is something that your business struggles with)
- and have a lot of audiences (Which is what your business desires to reach)
- and their followers are listening to the influencer’s ideas (Which is what your business need to increase revenue and sell more).
In a nutshell, investing in influencer marketing strategy helps you to amplify reach
and increase brand awareness that results in exposure of your brand and contents to the right audience.
Influencer marketing also adds more credibility to
your marketing strategies such as content marketing strategies
through endorsement of influencers.
Besides, you can easily Ally with the right influencers and
leverage on their brand reputation to build rapport with other influencers,
partners, suppliers, and build trust among them.
Some interesting facts that help you convince your stakeholders,
Or in case you still have some doubts about influencer marketing.
- Building trust with Influencer marketing: Unlike disruptive marketing strategies, 92% of customers (in other word people) do trust brand recommendations from other people. The surprising fact about word of mouth marketing is that the result is still the same for even if they don’t know each other.
- Customer acquisition and Influencer marketing: In an extensive research by Tomoson poll, it was released that 51% of marketers believe influencer marketing helps them acquire more qualified leads, and they achieved significantly better customers.
- Competition and Influencer Marketing: In a study in May 2015 study, it was found that more than 84% of digital marketers around the globe are planning to launch at least one influencer marketing campaign in 2015, and 2016.The result got even more interesting when 81% of the group of marketers who had already used influencer marketing shared that the result was satisfactory for them.
- Influencer marketing & ROI: A recent study by eMarketer shows that brands that invested in influencer marketing have increased their return of investment significantly.
In fact, for every one dollar that they spent on influencer marketing campaign, they saw an average ROI of $6.85.
Step 2, Set your goals Clearly.
Once you’ve build a business case, it’s time to set your business goals as clear as possible.
Unlike other marketing strategies that are integrated with tools to measure your success, influencer marketing requires a bit of manual work because each influencer work differently.
The first and most important step towards setting your influencer marketing strategy is to be on the same page with your influencer, and make sure that s/he is aligned with your objectives too.
Here are a few goals that you can set:
Brand awareness / Brand affinity:
Getting brand exposure or brand awareness is one of the best, and easiest goals that you can achieve through influencer marketing. The most essential par, however, is measuring its success.
Depending on your product, you can evaluate and find out:
- – How many new visitors have visited your home page?
- – How many new visits have you got on your “About us” or “Contact Us” pages. (This is very underestimated)
- – How many people viewed your product Page
– How many New App was downloaded?
- – How many lead magnets was exchanged with customer’s contact
- – How many more people have read or watches or listened to the piece of content that you’ve published?
- – How did your LTV changed after your influencer marketing campaign?
- – How much did you improve your customer retention rate?
At the end of each sentence you must add this: “Because of the influencer”
Building Audience and Increase Engagement:
If your goal with influencer marketing is to engage more with your audience, customers, and fans, you should be asking yourself:
- – How often customers talk about your brand?
- – How often is your content shared among your followers/customers?
- – How often is your content shared among new followers?
- – How many new Leads have you captured?
- – How much did your conversion rate improved?
At the end of each sentence you must add this: “Because of the influencer”
Lead nurturing, and Sales (Upsell / cross-sell):
Influencers can greatly help you nurture your leads, and increase sales.
You can measure the success and progress of your marketing campaign by asking the following questions:
- How much faster are your leads convert to sales?
- How many inactive customers/leads have purchased a new product?
- How much revenue did you generate after influencer marketing or a content that was shared?
- What is your ROI?
- Did you get new investors, or partners who showed interest in working with your business?
As usual, at the end of each sentence you must add this: “Because of the influencer”
Step 3, Find the right Influencer
While setting crystal clear goals help you measure your success there is more to the success of your influencer marketing campaigns.
One of the most important steps of crafting influencer marketing strategy is “influencer identification”.
You must find the right influencer to partner with and power your influencer marketing engine.
Well, finding the right influencer is not as straight forward as it looks. Andrea Lehr,
has recently shared an interesting insight that shows 75% of marketers find it difficult to connect with the right influencers.
The truth is, you don’t need to look for “Well-known Celebrities”
or impress “Big-Name Brand Ambassadors” to get your contents go viral.
As always your marketing objectives(whether it’s influencer marketing, content marketing an content promotions) should help you find the riht influencer.
The general rule of thumb is:
- You can expect higher exposure, and better brand awareness if you work with well-known and popular influencers such as :
- Hard core bloggers
- Social media Enthusiasts
- Journalists who work in popular outlets
- And those influencers who have huge fan base.
- Tip: To increase your CRO rate, or improve you customer retention rate,
It’s better to work with industry experts, social media influencers who do review products,
and tailor your message around your customer’s buying patterns.
Where to find Influencers:
As soon as you’ve decided on what typr of influencer you need for you campaign,
you should focus on shortlisting the best influencers for your business.
If you don’t have any one with huge influence in your network, you can try these keywords in google.
“Top Instagram Influencers” + “2016”
“Top Twitter Influencers” + “2016”
“Top LinkedIn Influencers” + “2016”
“Top Facebook Influencers” + “2016”
“Top Snapchat Influencers” + “2016”
“Top Reddit” + “karma”
(In case of Reddit users, you can follow http://web.horde.ws/karmawhores.net to find out the best users with highest karma)
If you’re targeting bloggers, you ay search for keywords such as:
“Blogs” + “Keywords” + “Year”
“Top Blogs” + “travel” + “2016”
“best Blogs” + “growth hacking” + “2017”
“best Blogs” + “SEO” + “2016”
It’s essential to use the “year”, because it helps you to find out what your influencers are up to.
You may also head to Alltop.com
And search for your keyword. You’ll find the most popular blogs in your niche.
It’s best to search authoritative websites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc,
or any authoritative website in your niche, and go through their list of contributors.
Guest contributors are not paid for their contribution,
but they have a lot of followers and can be a great source to build relationship with.
You can also search based on your keyword.
Something like this:
“Top 20 growth hackers” + “2016”
Another tool that comes handy in finding influencers is Buzzsumo:
Here is how it works.
For example, if you’re looking for influencers in “online shopping”,
you can use Influencer feature of Buzzsumo and search for “online shopping”
[or simply any keyword that you wish to search] and Buzzsumo offers you a list of influencers in your niche.
You can easily connect with them on twitter, and start building relationship.
The traditional way of finding influencers such as attending regular networking and social media activities,
or asking for recommendations from partners and acquaintances still works,
but it’s very much time-consuming compare to the above-mentioned methods.
End of the day, finding the influencers is just one part of the process,
It’s “Relationship Building” that you need to put your efforts on.
Use an excel spread sheet, and shortlist your influencers. Your worksheet must have these columns:
- Influencer’s Name
- Twitter Handle, or social media address
- Number of fans
- What industry does s/he cover?
- Email address
- His/her own personal blog or website
- His/her bylines in other magazines and journals
Knowing more about your influencers put you in a better position for negotiation. You should be looking for behavioral factors such as:
- Their Social Sharing habits,
- Their social network activities, and rhythm,
- Their contribution interval, etc.
- Are they exposed or partnered with your competitors?
Influencer identification will end with finding the influencer’ email address.
Don’t shoot in the dark, instead, use websites like these helps you find almost everyone’ email address.
Step 4, Outreach
The secret behind a successful influencer outreach
is behind your grown work,
and seeding your influencer’s effort.
The truth is, when you find the right influencer,
and managed to connect and build trust,
they can immediately share your content with their fans, and followers.
However, the main question is whether your content fits their audience or not?
Remember, not every piece of content that you craft will fit your influencer’s audience, hence, before drafting your content make sure to answer the following questions to determine whether or not it’s a god fit
- As an influencer, would you be proud to share this content?
- Is your content directly relevant to your influencer’s areas of expertise?
- Based on your research, will your influencer be passionate about your content?
- How about their audience? Will they be passionately interested in your content?
- Will sharing your content create conflict of interest for them?
- Does your content have the potential to go Viral, or at least easily shared by their followers?
Once you’re confident that your content matches your influencer’s persona, brand, and expertise,
you can move to the next stet and focus on Influencer marketing agreement.
Your agreement with influencers heavily depend on the following factors:
- Who is the influencer?
- How vast is his/her sphere of influence?
- What type of content are you planning to share?
- What platforms do you need their help with?
- How much involvement do you expect from your influencer?
- What is in it for them? Or how do you plan to reward their effort?
It’s essential to find prepare yourself,
and your content before making the first contact.
When it comes to influencer outreach, general rule of thumb is, that you need to be under their radar,
so when you make the first contact, they would remember you.
Being introduced through an ex-partner,
or someone from their inner circle could help a lot,
but if you don’t have that luxury,
You can prepare a pitch and directly approach them. (using the contact information that you’ve found from them)
Your first impression counts,
so make sure to deliver a short and sweat,
and compelling pitch that encourages them to say “YES”.
How to Make the first “connection” with influencers?
I just said that you have to be under their radar,
Well, here is what I mean.
Instead of cold emailing your influencers,
It’s absolutely beneficial to build relationship and focus on establishing connection with your potential influencers.
You can achieve that by:
- Following them on social media
- Tweet their tweet, or like their posts
- Respond to their opinion on social media
- Comment on their blog (Constructive comments that add value)
- Mention them on social media
- Give them positive attention on their bylines frequent
- Connect with them on LinkedIn, [ You can use this opportunity to introduce yourself, and elaborate a bit about your main objective]
- And finally, the most common method to contact and engage with an influencer is to send them an email land ask them if they are interested in a quick chat about new “influencer marketing” engagement.
Professional Tip: The secret to success with all of the above-mentioned tactics is in “Ego Stroke”.
Influencers love their ego (Because that’s what they have worked hard to maintain all these years), and stroking their ego will get you under their radar.
The ideal outreach method is still Email
Catchy Headline (But not Promotional):
Influencer Marketing is purely based on relationship and trust.
Building relationship with influencers
and getting them to open your email require
a clear headline
that is “about them”.
Never use misleading headline or
other means to tricks the influencer into reading it.
Instead, make it about them, the value, and the genuine business engagement.
Tip: You may not get any response to your first Email.
If that’s the case, keep following up,
but don’t bombard them with irrelative email.
If it did not work, use a different email address,
and change your subject too [There is a possibility that your previous email was spammed]
Deliver a Precise, and right to the point Message.
By now, you should have known that influencers are busy professional,
hence, they won’t take much tie to read every single detail of your lengthy email,
unless there is something great in it for them.
Having said that, it’s your job to write a short copy that highlights the following:
- A background about how you know the influencer. [Maximum 2 short sentences]
- The main reason for your email, and what you’re trying to achieve [Maximum 1 short paragraph]
- A call to Action, something like an invitation to meet, or setting a time to have a quick call.
Once you’ve got the green light, you can send them another email, and share your proposal with them:
Your influencer marketing proposal should include:
- Your objective (As clear as possible)
- Why you think they can add value.
- Your expectation in terms of commitment, involvement, etc.
- Your Goals
- More than one option for compensation
In future discussions you may discuss the details of your engagement.
Here is a good list if you are not sure what exactly you should ask your influencer to do
- When it comes to content marketing, Expert roundup is a great source. You can easily ask them for a famous quote and include it in your next expert round-up article.
Once the article is ready, you can ask your influencer to share it with their audience.
- Exclusive Interviews work like a charm. Prepare a set of questions that are related to your influencer’s areas of experty and also related to your product. Let them lead the conversation and share as much as they want.
- You can also ask your influencers to mention you in their next conference, or join you in your next annual event or conference.
- Develop a case study in collaboration with your influencer. Case studies are great form of articles that help you position your brand in both B2B, and consumer market.
- If your influencer writes for specific blog, magazine, or authoritative outlet, you can ask them to mention your brand, or write about you and feature your brand.
- Set up a collaborative webinar, and ask them to join you in your webinar. This way you’re increasing your credibility, and get more leads to know or try your brand.