The number of consumers who take to social media networks, community forums, and other online sources to make purchase decisions continues to rise every day. And with most consumers spending much of their time online, brands have ample opportunities to connect with them.
However, successful brands often choose top influencers in their niches to speak on their behalf. That’s because these influencers are experts in their niches and have large numbers of engaged followers who trust them. They can help brands approach their target audiences in more relatable and credible ways than other traditional approaches.
While influencer marketing has become an integral part of the everyday marketing mix, it comes with its own set of challenges. In order to leverage the power of influencers effectively, you need to identify, approach, and collaborate with the right influencers.
Some influencers receive multiple brand collaboration requests every day. So you need to make sure that your emails stand out from the rest.
However, before you approach them, you need to plan your influencer marketing campaigns properly. This includes determining your campaign goals, the types of collaboration you want, your marketing budget, and a whole lot more.
Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process to build a profitable influencer marketing campaign for your brand.
1. Decide Your Goals
As with every other marketing campaign, you need to first figure out your objectives from your influencer marketing campaigns. Only if you know what you want to accomplish, can you devise strategies to achieve it efficiently.
Along with defining your goals, you should also decide the metrics you’ll be using to measure the progress of your influencer marketing campaign. This will give you a clearer idea of what exactly you need to do to reach your goals.
Some of the most common influencer marketing goals that many brands target are to increase brand awareness, reach, engagement, followers, leads, or conversions. Each of these goals can be measured against a set of parameters or KPIs.
For example, if your goal is to expand your reach and increase brand awareness, you need to keep track of the impressions, likes, shares, and comments generated from the campaign.
Youfoodz promoted their new winter menu by collaborating with influencers on Instagram and Facebook. They teamed up with 81 influencers and managed to reach nearly 1.5 million people.
Similarly, if your objective is to generate leads, you need to keep track of the number of leads generated through the campaign. If you want to increase brand awareness, you can use metrics such as impressions, follower growth, and engagement to track your results.
For example, Lenovo partnered with influencers to increase brand awareness about their Yoga 3 Pro and Yoga Tablet 2 Pro. They collaborated with influencers to create a buzz through blog reviews and giveaways. The campaign generated more than 51 million social impressions.
Image viaCute and Little
If your objective is to generate sales, you need to track the number of purchases from the campaign. One way of doing this is to assign unique affiliate links with each of your influencers. This will allow you to track your total sales from the campaign as well as the performance of each influencer.
Daniel Wellington collaborates with influencers to increase brand awareness and sales. They provide unique discount codes to their influencers which is a great way to encourage more people to make purchases. And the unique codes allow for better tracking too.
Along with your goals, you should also determine your budget for your influencer marketing campaigns. This will determine your choice of influencers for your campaigns.
According to a survey by Bloglovin’, 40% of marketers spend more than $10,000 per influencer marketing campaign. The survey also found that 16% of marketers spend more than 20% of their total marketing budget on influencer marketing.
Image via Bloglovin’
2. Define Your Target Audience
Apart from your goals, you also need to decide the target audience of your campaign. Your target audience can differ based on the product or service you want to promote.
Your target audience needs to be as well-defined as possible because it will ensure that your messages reach the right people. To define your target audience, you need to create a few buyer personas that reflect the characteristics and qualities of your key customer segments. You need to consider factors like their age, locations, interests, demographics, and preferences.
Once you have figured out the target audience you want to reach out to, your job of finding the right influencers becomes easier. All you need to do is look for influencers whose follower demographics and interests are similar to those of your target audience.
3. Identify the Right Channels
Influencer marketing campaigns can be executed on various platforms. But you need to choose the ones that are likely to bring in the best results. Your choice needs to be based on your goals and your target audience.
For example, Instagram can be a great platform if your objective is to increase brand awareness. However, you can only add links in the profile bio on Instagram. For this reason, it might not be the best platform if your objective is to drive more traffic to your product pages.
Also, each of these platforms have a different set of audiences. You need to make sure that the platform you choose is actively used by the audience you want to target.
This is a necessary step in planning your influencer marketing campaign. Only once you have decided your platform, can you start to identify relevant influencers. Most influencers may have a presence on multiple platforms. However, you need to find the ones who have a really strong presence on the platform you have chosen for your campaign.
4. Find Influencers
The next step is to find relevant influencers for your brand. Your target should be to find influencers from the same niche as yours. Make sure that they are an expert in their niche and share the same values as yours.
40% of consumers have reported making purchases as a result of an influencer’s recommendation. When influencers endorse a brand, it instills trust in the minds of consumers and increases the credibility of the brand. This is why you need to select influencers who are an expert in the niche as their opinions are likely to be valued and trusted by their followers.
One way of finding influencers is to search social media platforms using certain hashtags. For this, start by finding out relevant hashtags that influencers in your niche use. You can use tools like Hashtagify, which shows you how popular those hashtags are. Along with that, it even suggests other relevant hashtags that people in your niche are likely to use.
Once you’ve identified some common hashtags that influencers in your niche use, start following them on Instagram. Go through the top posts that appear for those hashtags. Check out such accounts and see if their content, messaging, and aesthetics appeal to you.
If you want to find bloggers in your niche, you need to find relevant keywords using tools like KWFinder. You can then set up Google Alerts for those keywords so that anytime someone posts any new content with those keywords, you can check them out.
Once you’ve identified a few influencers, check how many followers they have and how much engagement do their posts get. A high engagement rate is always preferable as it is a rough measure of how influential they truly are. Calculating the engagement rate and checking the quality of engagement can help you weed out any fake influencers from your list.
For bloggers, you should check the number of page views that their website gets. You can do this using tools like SEMrush. This can give you an idea of how many people you can reach by collaborating with them.
Finding the right influencers isn’t a cakewalk. There are multiple factors you need to evaluate before you start reaching out to anyone. Fortunately, Grin can help you reduce this manual work and find relevant influencers. You can filter by category, locations, and platforms to find the ones who are right for your brand.
5 Approach Influencers
Once you have a list of your potential influencers, you need to find a way to contact them.
However, before reaching out, you need to warm up to them in order to increase your chances of getting favorable responses. Follow them on social media and engage meaningfully with their posts. You could even connect with them on LinkedIn.
This is the easiest and most casual mode of communication with influencers. Once you’ve warmed up to them sufficiently, you can contact them directly by sending a message on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If they agree to collaborate, you can switch over to emails.
However, some influencers get too many messages on a daily basis and so, it can be tough to get your voice across to them. Even if they read your message, they may not reply. For this reason, you need to follow up with them.
According to a Crowdtap survey, 41% of influencers have reported that they get 5-15 unique pitches every week. So you need to craft really compelling proposals in order to stand out.
The general tone of your emails should be professional but you can add a bit of humor or quirkiness to make them fun (as long as it aligns with your brand personality). Personalize the emails so that you can build rapport with them. Building strong relationships with influencers can make your campaigns truly successful.
Don’t forget to follow up if a couple of days have passed and you don’t hear from them. Ideally, you should send a couple of follow up emails before moving on. Don’t go overboard with the follow-ups as it might seem too pushy and can be detrimental to the relationship you’re trying to build.
What Should Your Pitch be Like?
As mentioned above, you should personalize your pitches as much as possible. To do this, you can start off by addressing influencers by their names. This gives your emails a more personal touch.
Don’t start pitching them immediately. Instead, you can commend some of their achievements. You can share your thoughts on some of their posts that resonated with you. You can use this as a premise to explain why you’re reaching out to them.
Don’t go overboard with all of the specifics in the very first email. Just use the email to set up a time when you can discuss the nitty-gritties of the collaboration. Always end your email with a clear call-to-action that informs them about the next steps.
However, don’t keep the email dry. You should let them know how this opportunity can be beneficial for them. You can even include a few testimonials from influencers who have collaborated with you in the past.
A good idea would be to suggest a few content ideas. But make sure that those ideas are ones which the influencer can easily implement. This can motivate them further to collaborate with you on your influencer marketing campaign.
Many influencers are interested in collaborating with brands on a long-term basis. You should be open to such agreements.
Also, to avoid any hiccups, you must ensure that both parties sign an agreement. This will help to outline the deliverables from both sides and also formalize the collaboration.
Influencer agreements ensure that there is no ambiguity in anyone’s understanding of the brand’s expectations or deliverables. This can help to make sure that your campaign progresses according to plan.
6. Content Creation
Once you’ve signed the contract, you’re ready to work with your influencers. You need to be open and transparent with your influencers. Share your campaign goals clearly with them. This will give them an idea of what exactly you want to accomplish, so that they can create better content.
You can choose to co-create the content along with your influencers or you can have them create the content and then review it. The content needs to be able to engage your target audience effectively and communicate your message clearly. You should provide adequate guidelines that can help your influencers deliver exactly what you want.
However, make sure that these guidelines are not overly restrictive. You should trust your influencers and provide them with the creative freedom they need. They know their followers well, and also the kind of content they’ll appreciate.
Influencers prefer working with brands that provide creative freedom. A Crowdtap survey found that influencers are more likely to work with brands that gave them creative freedom. About 77% of influencers said that it was the #1 factor that motivated them.
Image via eMarketer
Mercedes-Benz, for instance, partnered with Loki the Wolfdog. They created a video where Loki runs next to his owner’s Mercedes on a snowy landscape. The entire video is filmed from Loki’s perspective. This video got almost 100K views which shows how much audiences love creativity.
7. Compensate Your Influencers
You may provide free product samples to your influencers. However, that is often not enough. You need to compensate them adequately to motivate them to work with you. Along with the samples, you should consider offering monetary compensation as well.
In fact, according to the Crowdtap survey, compensation is the second most important factor that motivates influencers to work with a brand. About 68% of influencers stated that they would collaborate with a brand if they provided fair compensation to them.
The compensation should be decided based on the influencer’s reach and their engagement rate. You can also take into account their past performance if they’ve worked with you before.
To make the process of sending out payments to influencers easier, you can use Grin. You can even send out your products from the platform easily.
8. Execute Your Campaign
Once your content is ready, you need to make sure that your influencer marketing campaigns are executed well. You must effectively communicate with your influencers during the campaign. This will ensure that there are no hiccups in the execution.
You should ideally set a timeline for the events to unfold in the campaign. Planning the campaign well in advance will help you roll it out with better efficiency.
Once the posts are uploaded, you must be prepared to answer questions from your audience. Your influencers may not be in a position to answer every question that people might have. So you should be available to help answer any questions they don’t know how to answer.
If the campaign is focused on generating leads or sales, quick replies can help you achieve your goals easily. If you solve the queries of your audience quickly, you may be able to convert them. Making them wait for a response can spoil those chances. This is why you need to be in touch with your influencers.
9. Measure Your Results
Once your influencer marketing campaigns are up and running, you need to measure the results. This is where those goals that you had set in the beginning will help you. You can use your goals to check the performance of your campaigns.
To figure out the effectiveness of the campaign, you need to first gather data. If your prime goal was to generate buzz, then you need to collect engagement data. This includes post likes, comments, and shares.
If your goal was to generate leads, you can calculate the amount of referral traffic your campaign generated. If your prime goal was sales, you should calculate the total revenue generated from the campaign.
You can then compare this data against your goals. This can help you measure the success of your influencer marketing campaigns and give you an idea of your ROI.
However, this is easier said than done. You can only get a rough idea of your ROI through manual calculations. For this reason, it makes better sense to use influencer marketing platforms like Grin. It helps you measure your campaign progress and can help you calculate the ROI.
You can keep complete track of your influencer marketing campaigns from Grin’s dashboard. This greatly reduces the efforts you need to put in to run and manage your campaigns. It even makes it easy for you to track multiple campaigns at a time.
10. Optimize Your Campaigns
By measuring the progress of your campaigns, you can figure out what has worked for you and what hasn’t. If a post hasn’t performed well, you can try to analyze why.
Similarly, you can measure the performance of your influencers as well. You can see which influencers have performed well in your campaigns and which ones haven’t. You can then decide who you should continue to partner with.
This analysis and optimization needs to be done in real-time. Don’t wait for the campaign to end to make decisions. You can make adjustments even while the campaign is live.
Planning and executing profitable influencer marketing campaigns may seem like a tough task. However, with the right strategy, you can run successful influencer marketing campaigns.
Select your influencers carefully and design your campaign keeping your target audience in mind. Try to build long-term relationships with your influencers and compensate them well.
Analyze the results of each of your campaigns and keep optimizing them for better results. Influencer marketing platforms can simplify the entire process.
Can you think of any other tips to build a profitable influencer marketing campaign? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.