Consumers are wary and mistrustful. They see promotional ads all over their social media feeds, complete with “testimonials” from unknown people, some who are social media influencers. They have been “burned” before, ordering everything from the latest miracle tool to wrinkle cream. They are now at the point of discarding promotional advertising that shows up in their feeds. However, influencer marketing is different.
What consumers do listen to, however, are recommendations from their friends and from people they consider to be experts in a specific niche. Marketers understand this. When Kim Kardashian recommends a beauty product, for example, women pounce.
It’s called influencer marketing, and it is powerful.
You Don’t Need a Kardashian to Be Successful with Influencer Marketing
And let’s face it. How many celebrities do you know who will push your product or service? None, actually.
But you can find those individuals who are considered experts in your business niche – influencers who have a large following on social media or on their blogs. And that following listens to them. If you can “hook up” with these types of influencers, you can impact your sales and profits a lot.
In fact, a recent study showed that influencer marketing was a goal of 92% of respondents and that 86% of those same respondents were planning on increasing their budgets for influencer marketing campaigns.
So, the challenge becomes this: how do you influence those influencers to collaborate with you to promote your product or service?
Here’s a bit of a guide that may help you in these efforts. It focuses on how you write an influencer marketing proposal to an expert you want to help promote your product or service.
First Things First – Finding Those Influencers
This is easier than you might think. Here are just three ways to find influencers in your niche to execute a successful influencer marketing campaign.
- Social Media – use the search function on all of the major platforms. There will be “voices” in your niche. Or use hashtag features on Instagram and Twitter. Influencers will be those who have many posts and a large number of followers who are engaging in discussions.
- Forums – You will find a group related to your niche on such forums as Reddit (actually sub-Reddits). You can search Reddit or even Google for such forums. Influencers will be leading discussions, and those are your targets.
- Influencer Discovery Tools – Use Google Alerts or Find Your Influence.
Develop a Presence and a Relationship
If an influencer doesn’t know you, then he or she will not be persuaded to just hear your pitch and respond. You have to become a follower, participate in discussions and make yourself known. Before you plan and execute your pitch, your name needs to have a familiar ring. Do not pitch to an influencer if you have not been following him. That’s like making a “cold sales call” that may not be successful. And going back a second time will probably not be successful for your future influencer marketing campaign either.
Now the Influencer Marketing Campaign Proposal
Plan your proposal carefully. To do this, ask yourself important questions:
- What value does my product or service provide to this influencer’s audience?
- What problem(s) will this product or service solve for the influencer’s audience?
- What about me and my story would this influencer find intriguing and engaging?
- Do I have some valid social proof for my product/service that I can show to this influencer?
Once you answer these questions, you are ready to formulate your pitch. And here are the best steps to take:
1. How will you contact this influencer?
Chances are, you will find an email address among all of the content that this influencer has produced. This will probably be the best way to make contact, because it will not be public for all to see, and you can personalize your messaging.
Sometimes, if you have a physical product, one of the most important things you can do is to send that product to the influencer. You may not have a physical address, but your first contact may be to ask if you can send your product to him. Even in this contact, you want to give a little background about you, your company, and why his audience will find it valuable.
However your method of contact might be, you must be clear and get right to the point. You do not want to waste your influencer’s time having to read through a lot of text. What is your product? What is its value? Can you send a sample for his evaluation? You can certainly then point that influencer to the social proof you have on your social media platform, to your website that provides more detailed information, etc., via links.
2. Subject Line for an Email is Critical
If you do not have a creative, witty subject line, chances are your potential influencer may pass over an email that you send. There is a reason why Upworthy spends as much time on its headlines as it does on its content. It’s the headlines that compel readers to move forward. Every journalist understands this. You need to understand it too.
Think of your email subject line as a headline that will intrigue and engage your reader. If you struggle with creativity in this area, then get some help. There is any number of writing services, such as Trust My Paper, Best EssayEducation, that have creative writing departments, or other headline analysis tools such as CoSchedule. These sources will either provide original headlines or edit/analyze the ones you have created.
The point is this: you want an email subject line that is going to grab that influencer’s attention and motivate him to open it up.
3. Promote Yourself but Do It Well
There is a big difference between promoting yourself and being a braggart. You can briefly tell your story and how you came to develop your product/service and the “gap” you believe you fill.
You can also point out that you do have social proof, but do not put those in your introductory email. Instead, provide a link to your website or to social media posts/discussions that demonstrate consumer happiness.
The most important thing here is to briefly tell who you are, what value you provide, and offer to send a free product for their review and comment.
A little flattery does not hurt either. You should explain why you chose to contact this influencer. Of course, he has the same audience that you have – that goes without saying. But what struck you about his expertise? A blog post he wrote? The discussions he holds? The specific relationship your product may have with those that he currently reviews and recommends?
4. Now About the Money
It is not unusual for influencers to be paid for their recommendation and promotion of products. In fact, very reputable influencers do have fees based upon what you want them to do. In fact, it is predicted that, during 2020, the total amount spent on influencer marketing will reach as high as $10 billion.
You really cannot speak money until you hear back from the influencer. Then you can speak to the details. This will end in a contract.
As to rates, the challenge is this: influencer marketing is still in its infancy as a marketing venue, and influencer rates vary widely. Generally, the more popular an influencer, the more it will cost you.
You may need to do a bit of research, as well as take a good hard look at your budget. You have to weigh what you have against the amount you can spend on influencer marketing.
Most reputable influencers will have a cascade of pricing, based upon the type of promotional work you are requesting. And you will have options. Discuss them all. You may have to begin small, analyze the success, and then put additional money into deeper activity by an influencer who has brought success through a campaign on your behalf.
Generally, the wider the reach an influencer has (usually determined by numbers of followers), the more you will pay. You can begin at a level that meets your budget (“nano-influencers” through “mega’s”) and grow from there.
Influencer marketing has become an increasingly integral part of digital marketing campaigns. And it can be powerful, if the right influencers are found, the campaigns are carefully planned in collaboration with those influencers, and then the right analytics are used to determine their success.
Freelance contribution especially written for Find Your Influence by Kristin Savage.