How To Get Leadership Buy-In for your Influencer Marketing Budget
Influencer marketing for your brand strategy
If your brand does business online, you probably know that influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing digital marketing strategies. And with good reason; recent influencer marketing statistics prove that it’s one of the most effective marketing methods today. One study shows that the influencer marketing industry will grow to an incredible 9.7 billion dollars in 2020. And in recent years, Google searches for the term “influencer marketing” have skyrocketed by 325 percent.
One of the reasons influencer marketing’s value is so high is that it’s able to uniquely cut through the noise of the inauthentic content that’s out there. Today’s internet users are officially on content overload. Each day they’re inundated with pay-per-click ads, clickbait articles, and loads of content designed to drive traffic or sales. The problem comes when they need to sift through this mountain of digital content out there to find trustworthy, relevant information.
For today’s consumer, social proof is crucial. People are much more likely to try a product or service with excellent testimonials from other customers. They’re also more likely to give business to a brand that appears to have authority online. One of the easiest ways to gain customer confidence is with an endorsement by someone they already know, like, and trust.
Influencers are experts or personalities who’ve carefully nurtured a following of people who come to see the influencer as an authority in their niche. When buyers see an authentic endorsement from one of their favorite influencers, they are much more likely to be receptive than if they came across a generic advertisement or piece of content.
The importance of getting C-suite buy-in
Getting c-suite buy-in is vital to ensure the future success of your influencer marketing campaigns. You want them to invest in action–not to let it get tabled and forgotten. Executives are busy people. You need to be sure that they have all of the information they need to get fully behind your influencer marketing plans.
Influencer marketing is popular for a good reason–it works. However, marketing teams can’t just throw around a few buzzwords like “influencer” or “thought leader” and expect their company’s leadership to jump on board. As always, the execs at your brand will want to see a well thought out and specific marketing strategy that proves an influencer program will yield a good ROI.
Getting an enthusiastic leadership buy-in will require marketers to have a strong understanding of persuasive influencer marketing statistics. But how can you convince leadership that influencer marketing is a worthy investment?
How to get leadership buy-in for influencer marketing budget
When it’s time to get c-level backing for your influencer marketing program , it’s easy to let your excitement about the project get the best of you. As a marketing or product growth professional, you already understand the enormous value of influencer marketing. But while it’s a no-brainer for you, busy execs have many other things on their plates. It’s essential to put together a proposal that makes your idea seem attractive by providing the information c-suite execs would find compelling.
Answer the big “so what?”
Your brand’s c-suite level executives are serious stakeholders who want to see the cold hard numbers. But marketers should never forget that their c-suite execs are also human. While it’s essential to come to the table with real data about the value of influencer marketing, it’s just as important to tell a story that compels and paints the “big picture.” The numbers may look good, but so what? Why do these numbers matter to the brand’s success? What are the short-term and long-term benefits of investing in influencer marketing?
Sometimes, timing is everything. The leadership in your organization may want to know why it is now the right time to add influencer marketing to your brand strategy. Be prepared to talk about very recent trends. Find data points from 2020, not from a few years ago. For example, a recent Business Insider article predicts that brands will spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by the year 2022. This is a great statistic that demonstrates that influencer marketing is on an upward trajectory.
You can also find examples of how other brands are using influencer marketing effectively and how that same approach would work for you at this time. Here is a great recent example of a company using influencer marketing effectively.
What’s the profitability ratio?
Marketers are used to talking about KPIs and growth numbers. But c-level execs are more likely to want to understand how an influencer marketing strategy would be profitable to their business as a whole. Thankfully, it’s easy for most companies to demonstrate the profitability of influencer marketing. One of the reasons the strategy is so popular is because it delivers a considerable ROI. Influencer programs often use methods like product seeding to secure influencer relationships that could have a powerful reach toward your ideal customer. Be sure to drive home the profit margins you expect to see from your influencer marketing plan.
Be sure to end your pitch by getting clear next steps
If you’re lucky enough to get some of your brand executives’ precious time, you want to be sure that your pitch doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Make sure that you end your conversation with a clear idea of your next steps to move forward. If the c-suite leadership wants to see more data, tell them a firm date when you can have that ready. If you’re ready to start your campaign, make sure that your management knows that and has a definite budget plan for your influencer marketing campaigns.
Influencer marketing industry value
Influencer marketing has an enormous industry value–especially for e-commerce brands. As stated earlier in this post, an industry study shows that the influencer marketing industry will grow to an incredible 9.7 billion dollars in 2020. Here are a few other compelling statistics about the value of influencer marketing:
- One source reports that influencer marketing ROI is about $6.50 earned for every dollar spent
- One dollar spent on influencer marketing is of equal value to $7.86 spent toward earned media coverage
- On Instagram, the influencer marketing industry was worth a whopping 1.7 Billion dollars in 2018
- Brand sponsored posts were valued around 24.2 Million dollars in 2018
With numbers like these, it’s easy to see the tremendous monetary value from this form of brand marketing.
Influencer marketing also offers a serious boost in social proof and brand visibility/reputation. 99% of influencers report that they will only work with brands that share their values. At the same time, 49% of consumers say that they depend on influencer recommendations when making purchases. This is great news for e-commerce businesses because an influencer’s audience is likely to have a very favorable opinion of any brand recommended by their favorite online personalities.
Metrics to prove the influencer marketing ROI
What are the most important metrics to determine the ROI available from influencer marketing campaigns? Here are a few of the significant KPIs to conclusively prove influencer marketing ROI.
How many sales are you getting from each influencer’s content? Leveraging personalized influencer coupon codes or affiliate links helps businesses determine how many instances of customer engagement with the material leads to actual sales.
EMV / IMV (Brand awareness)
Earned Media Value (EMV) and Influencer Media Value (IMV) are two important metrics to track when determining the ROI of any marketing campaign. For influencer marketing, the amount of social media engagement on user-generated content is a signal for increased brand visibility and positive sentiment. EMV and IMV are metrics that exist to help brands place an accurate value on their marketing endeavors. The closest thing to a standardized earned media value formula is as follows: (Impressions) * (Cost per 1,000, or CPM) * (Adjustment Factor). Brands that can weigh the quality of impressions – and identify specific industry adjustment factors – can determine EMV (or IMV) for their business quite accurately.
ROI (return on investment) is a metric that shows how much revenue or profit is gained as a direct result of an influencer marketing campaign. This is where many businesses flounder–they don’t know how to accurately track influencer campaigns that reliably demonstrate ROI. Fortunately, an excellent influencer marketing software tool provides enough detailed campaign insights to allow management to see which marketing actions are profitable and which aren’t paying off.
Content Creation & Repurposing Content
One of the most valuable benefits of user-generated content is that it’s easy for the marketing team to see which content performs well and resonates with the target audience. A post that’s already had good engagement is a proven winner to be reused as a paid ad, retargeted ad, or a social post on a different platform. High performing content can even be used in your email marketing.
No influencer marketing campaign should forget to measure any visible increases in brand loyalty. To determine whether you’re gaining true fans through your campaigns, examine influencer content performance. How many times was a post liked? How many times was it shared? How many comments were left on the post? These numbers can help you see concrete proof of increased brand visibility and, ultimately, brand loyalty.
Create your influencer marketing strategy
It’s crucial to have a written plan to keep all of the stakeholders informed and keep your marketing team on the right path. Taking the time to put together a thoughtful influencer marketing strategy will convince leadership of the value of the endeavor. It will also ensure that your ROI is as high as possible.
Steps for creating a solid strategy
We’ve put together a list of the most important actions to take when creating a winning influencer marketing strategy.
Take stock of the influencer landscape
Do your research to establish what type of influencers are already creating the kind of content you want. See how many followers these influencers have. Are the best people in your niche nano-influencers, micro-influencers, or heavy hitters?
Decide on influencer compensation
Will you negotiate cash payments to your influencers? Or will you depend on product seeding to drive your campaign? It’s essential to consider the types of influencers you want to work with and what kinds of compensation they may expect.
Research and find the perfect influencers
After you understand the influencer landscape and how you want to pay them, it’s time to identify the broad scope of what your influencer demographic should be. Which social platform should you target to reach the right audience? Which buyer demographic do your potential influencers need to align with? This task is much easier if you use an influencer marketing software tool to make this research phase more efficient.
Determine SMART goals and KPIs
It’s vital to understand how your team should measure success. Create a list of SMART goals for your influencer program. These goals may include increasing brand awareness, strengthening brand influence, getting conversions, or capturing leads to build your list. Then, decide which specific metrics you should track to ensure that you will achieve these goals.
Think about your relationship-building strategy
This is a step that, if ignored, can be the difference between a stellar influencer marketing program and a mediocre one. Have a clear plan for who will follow up with influencers, how often, and how to track and document the communications.
Plan for periodic measurements and evaluations
Be sure to plan for scheduled assessments. That way, you always have a clear picture of what’s working and what needs to be adjusted to reach your goals. Also be sure to know the testing strategies you will use to evaluate and revise your plan as needed.
Determine your influencer marketing budget
Across the board, companies have been rapidly increasing their influencer marketing budgets each year. The easiest way to get started is to simply decide to allocate somewhere between 10-20% of your total marketing budget to work with influencers. This is the average amount that most businesses are spending on influencer marketing, so choosing a figure in that range puts you in good company.
Another key factor when determining your budget is to decide what kind of compensation influencers will receive in your strategy. If your brand intends to fuel their program with product seeding, it eliminates a huge chunk of the cash you must budget for paying influencers. Payment via influencer gifting can slash your budget significantly.
As you calculate your budget, there are some important factors to consider.
Approximate post reach
This is easy to calculate by analyzing your influencers and their monthly view statistics–how many people do you expect to see the post from the influencer? A conservative estimate is that 1% of their monthly viewers might see a particular post.
Approximate conversion rate
Based on past social media post performances, how many conversions do you predict each quality post will earn? A conservative estimate is a 1% conversion rate, but if you know the rate for your industry, then consider that standard.
How much revenue does one new customer mean to your brand? What is the lifetime value (LTV) of your average customer?
Cost per acquisition
This is where influencer compensation comes into play. If you’re using a product seeding approach, how much product will you send out to potential influencers, and what is the cost to your brand? Or if you pay influencers directly, how much will you spend?
Calculate your budget
Now, take these factors and calculate how much money you have to work with one influencer. First, multiply the cost of acquiring an influencer by the estimated number of conversions. Then, consider the LTV of each of those conversions. Finally, determine the target ROI you want your campaign to produce.
Say, for example, you hope to make 5 dollars for every dollar spent on your influencer marketing program. Then, determine how much money you must spend on each conversion to earn that ROI. Subtract the cost of acquisition from the LTV of a customer. This is how you see how much you must spend for success.
How to pitch your influencer marketing budget to your executive team
Now that you’ve planned your campaign and calculated your budget, it’s time to take your findings to the c-suite. It’s critical to present your plan and budget in a way that makes the executive team feel confident that spending on influencer marketing is a guaranteed win for your brand.
Highlights to remember when pitching
Add a human element with storytelling
It might seem that the best way to be persuasive is to concentrate on the numbers, remember that your c-suite execs are people. How can you tell a story that adds a human element to your pitch? How can you help your leadership visualize how influencer marketing will help your brand?
What’s the influencer landscape
What type of influencers did you find? How, specifically, do these people reflect your brand values?
What’s the budget
Present the budget clearly and concisely. Prepare a pitch deck or a handout that shows the numbers. Use the formula you used to create your proposed budget and present it clearly for the execs to follow.
What are the KPIs or measures of success
Fully explain how you will know your campaign will be successful. Have a clear list of the KPIs and other metrics that are important and let them know who will manage them and how.
Keep it simple
Keep your presentation as simple as possible. While every aspect of influencer marketing might excite you, keep your explanations as simple as possible. Cut out any data or facts that may be distracting or convoluted.
Be prepared for questions
If you were in the c-suite leadership’s position, what questions would you have? Anticipate the questions that you might receive and have clear answers and data to back them up.
Hopefully, the information in this post gives you the confidence to sell your c-suite executives on the power of influencer marketing. Use this article as a reference to plan out your influencer marketing strategy, budget, and pitches for the c-suite.
For more information on influencer marketing and ROI, check out these resources below: