As brands become more familiar with influencers, many marketers are finding ways to integrate their owned media channels with their influencer program.
Due to its consistent returns and affordability, email marketing is perhaps the most obvious channel that every brand should use. Not only do emails reach thousands of subscribers at a low cost, but it can bring together various digital tools for a more interactive customer experience.
That’s why combining your email marketing with influencers is a great next step for your business. Here’s how it works.
Influencer marketing occurs when brands partner with social media influencers to promote their products or services.
Influencers are social media power users that leverage their creativity to nurture online communities around a particular lifestyle or set of values. The best influencers build relationships with their audience by engaging post comments and proving themselves as trustworthy consumers or industry experts.
“74% of customers trust social networks to guide purchasing decisions.”– Smart Insights, December 2020
The great advantage of influencers over traditional marketing on social media is that influencer’s authenticity and authority. Consumers trust other consumers. Influencers fill a unique role between celebrity status and friend. As a result, their opinions and recommendations go a long way with those consumers.
Not every brand-influencer partnership is equally successful. Which influencers you choose to work with is the most critical part of your program.
Aside from separating fake influencers from the real ones, you should also think about the types of influencers that are a good fit for your brand. Finding the right influencers will help you integrate your program with other marketing programs, such as your email marketing.
The most common way to segment influencers is to identify them by the number of followers:
Another influencer type – brand ambassadors – typically operate with a much smaller online community. But even in the case of ambassadors, they usually have at least a few hundred engaged followers.
When choosing an influencer, you need audience alignment to make your campaign success. That is, your products or services need to be highly relevant to that influencer’s audience.
It should not be “a stretch” for your influencer to fit your brand into their routine content. Your products and services should be able to solve problems for that influencer’s audience.
Influencers exist on nearly every social media platform you can think of, from Facebook and LinkedIn to TikTok and Twitch. Currently, Instagram remains the most popular influencer channel, but brands are successfully reaching audiences with the help of influencers on YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and blogs.
Understanding how each of these platforms work differently can help you choose the right influencers for your email marketing program.
Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective ways to engage customers and prospects. Advances in email management platforms have allowed recipients to better organize their emails, making it easier for recipients to avoid spam and engage only those emails with which they prefer to interact.
Consumer privacy laws in many states and countries are protecting recipients from marketers that abuse email marketing. Brands that take compliance seriously gain a competitive advantage in customer inboxes.
Lastly, brands and marketers are getting smarter about the kind of messages that they send. By putting yourself in the shoes of their email recipients, marketers better understand the kind of emails that consumers are most likely to engage.
The economic effects of COVID-19 have prevented customers from in-person shopping, consultations, and events. As a result, customers are on their smartphones and are using social media, text messaging, and emails to engage brands and one another.
Finally, email marketing strategy is efficient. Platforms can send thousands of emails in seconds, and marketers can use these platforms to segment their lists, schedule emails to go out by certain times of the day, and track performance.
Influencers can connect brands with consumers that have never heard of the brand before. And because consumers trust their favorite influencer, they are more likely to trust the brand recommendation.
Influencers are also talented at helping consumers convert. Whether your goal is sales, subscriptions, or email sign-ups, influencer campaigns call followers to the action you desire.
Referring to influencers in your emails can also add credibility to your brand and program. For example, featuring an influencer blog that showcases your product or service exposes your recipients to relevant third-party mentions. All of these techniques demonstrate that your brand is reliable and trustworthy.
Brands can also repurpose influencer content and incorporate them into their email campaigns:
Used correctly, email can be a compelling “foot in the door” with your customers and prospects. The key is sending messages that customers love. That means delivering value through relevant information, enticing offers, and personalized messages. Here are the most common types of successful email campaigns.
Few things in commerce generate as much as engagement as a special offer, discount, or clearance event. If you don’t want to discount your products or services, you can urge recipients to claim a gift certificate.
When giving customers a special offer, consider asking them for something simple in return, such as their mobile number (for SMS messages) or a quick survey. Either way, this method is great for driving sales and engagement for leads at the bottom of your marketing funnel.
Influencers frequently promote discounts or special offers to their followers. Having your influencers promote email subscriptions is just one more way to help followers convert.
In your campaign brief, make sure to provide the relevant link for followers to sign up. You can either create a unique affiliate link (email sign-up) for influencer attribution or create a coupon code unique to the influencer. When followers sign-up for emails, they do so to receive their first (welcome) email which includes the special offer.
Did something new happen with your brand, such as a product launch or upgrade? If so, send an email announcement to let your fans know. Announcement emails are great for nurturing connections with your customers at each stage of the marketing funnel. It also keeps your brand front-of-mind for all prospects.
Your email list can double as a press release opportunity. Even though you’re not reaching local media, you’re still connecting with your audience to tell them “the big news” about your brand. Plus, it keeps your customers informed.
Any milestone between you and your influencers is worthy of a special announcement. A great example of this is letting followers know about an influencer product line collaboration.
You can also use this email to promote an influencer product review or FAQ video/blog. Make sure to include preview content within the email with a link to a landing page or the influencer’s original content.
If your industry changes frequently, or you cater to an audience that likes the latest news and alerts, then you might want to try email newsletters.
With email newsletters, you can showcase events, product/service updates, relevant news, announce new content, and more. Newsletters are great for drip campaigns and nurturing leads at the top and middle of your marketing funnel.
If you use influencers regularly, including influencer product stories and reviews work great in your email newsletters. Include the influencer’s social handle (name) and an image will add life to your newsletter entry. Or feature their social posts featuring your product to emphasize a message within the newsletter.
Email is perfect for sending event invites. If you’re planning a live or virtual event, you can use your email list to increase participation. Make sure you include all relevant information for the event, including costs and links.
If you use influencers to promote your event, you can repurpose your influencer content for email. Doing so works similarly to repurposing influencer content for your social media page or sponsored ads. Make sure that you have permission from your influencer before repurposing their content.
It’s possible to send a confirmation email for nearly anything.
Did a web visitor fill out a form? Send a confirmation email. Did a customer make a purchase? Send a confirmation email.
You can do the same with appointments, shipping, and even relevant correspondence, “We sent an important announcement to your inbox last week and just wanted to confirm that you received it.”
Confirmations help you keep in contact with your customers, especially those that have purchased from you in the past. This tactic also grabs the attention of recipients and will come across as proactive.
In every confirmation email, you can add additional calls to action, such as making another purchase, taking a survey, etc. It’s perfectly appropriate to include additional sections below the confirmation message. These sections could include influencer reviews and stories about your brand.
Influencers can help you grow your email marketing list by encouraging their followers to sign up for email marketing and special offers. You can also incentivize your influencers by compensating them for the number of followers they can get to join your email program. They goal is to get your audience to take an action
In a successful brand-influencer relationship, an influencer’s followers are a part of your audience. Integrating your influencer with your email program can increase your lists and improve the quality of your email content.
You can feature a blog or post from your influencers in your emails. If you know that you plan to repurpose influencer content for your email program, ask your influencers to build content that is relevant, such as how-to videos, product reviews, etc.
Within the body of your email, include a brief description of the content, and encourage readers to follow a hyperlink to the influencer’s content.
Influencers are master storytellers. In a picture, video, or blog, they can bring your products to life in a way that your own content team can’t. That’s why many brands use emails to publicize influencer content showcasing their brand.
If you have a lot of positive reviews to choose from (whether or not those reviews come from influencers), you can showcase a different review in each email. Make sure to headline the key statement from the review, as well as include any relevant details, such as what the buyer purchased, the influencer’s social media handle, etc.
Positive reviews build trust with consumers. If your positive reviews are detailed and authentic, those reviews can move your prospect through the buyer’s journey faster.
If you’ve developed a product or service with input from one or more of your influencers, emails are a great way to unveil your product collaborations. You can share the story of how you and the influencer worked together. If there are relevant links to influencer content that reinforces your email, encourage readers to check them out, too.
Particularly in sports, fashion, and B2B, influencer collaborations generate excitement and credibility. Aligning your brand with an industry expert strengthens your brand and builds greater trust with your audience.
In email marketing, your goal is to drive readers to take action. When your readers take the desired action, they convert.
Conversions can be sales, but they can include other actions, such as:
One of the best ways to track conversions is through click-through rates, or CTRs. CTRs track every time a reader clicks on a link in your email. When a reader clicks on your link, you know that they didn’t just open and read your email – they took action.
Every industry works a little differently, but as a general rule, CTRs 2% and above are considered good. You can use benchmark data (such as the graphic below by Campaign Monitor) to show you what is considered a good CTR for your industry.
You should also examine your current open rates and CTRs to help you establish a baseline set of metrics. By tracking ongoing performance, you can gauge your improvement. You’ll also be able to see how well adding influencers to your email marketing improves your bottom line.
Influencer marketing has more use beyond the initial influencer campaign. Marketers are repurposing influencer content for all of their paid and owned media strategies. Email marketing is just another medium wherein influencers can empower your brand to increase engagement and revenue.
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