Influencer Marketing For Product Launching 2021

By Joe | Marketing

Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing For Launching Products and Building Sales In 2021

Running an influencer marketing campaign isn't easy. There are much easier things to do in life. However, if you're up for the challenge, social media influencers' ultimate benefit can most certainly result in a substantial return on investment.   

Whether you are launching a business or just a new product, influencer shout outs can be a huge boost out of the gate. Instagram Influencer traffic is warm, implied trust traffic. You are appealing to an audience that trusts their opinion and will react to something that they recommend.

  • It builds trust: 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands.
  • It attracts qualified leads: According to a Tomoson poll, 51% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing.
  • Your competitors are getting good results with it: A May 2015 study found that 84% of global marketers expected to launch at least one influencer marketing campaign in the coming years, and 81% of those who had already done so reported they were happy with the results. 
  • It increases ROI: According to a Burst Media study analyzed by eMarketer, brands saw an average ROI of $6.85 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing.

Sellers are taught to target potential buyers one person at a time. The cost of acquisition can be extremely high. Alternately, targeting an influencer that your audience worships is an easy way to get your brand in front of large groups for a fraction of the cost and effort. Targeting influencers that your audience worships, and marketing to their audience is far more effective and cheaper than PPC! 

Targeting influencers that your audience worships, and marketing to their audience is far more effective and cheaper than PPC! #ecomoptimizer 

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Even if your competitors' audience is not yours, there is nothing to say they won't be interested in your product. They may not know who you are yet. Competitive research to reveal the influencers that your audience follows can be very rewarding.  

When you are looking at potential influencers, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are they relevant?
  • Do their followers respond to the content shared?
  • Are they truly engaging with their followers?

This article is intended to lay out a path for you to take advantage of influencer marketing to build your brand and ranking new products. Typically, sellers are taught that the best way to launch new products is with giveaways, rebates, and high PPC. These are all strategies that can work.  

Not all great influencers use Instagram.  Some use Tiktok, some have very popular websites/blogs and do their recommendations there, others are YouTube influencers, do your research and due diligence to find the influencers that can benefit your brand the most.  

Launch Methods

We do not utilize giveaways or rebates, but it is a personal preference. We prefer to launch and sell products at full or close to full price to people that may purchase again.   The typical Amazon seller is taught to launch with 100% off rebates that may or may not purchase again, they are essentially paying buyers to take your product?

Depending on the number of competitors, we suggest launching with 10 to 20 influencers lined up. A shoutout every 2 to 3 days during the first month can drive considerable traffic. They do not need reviews to purchase because of the influencer referral. 

Pre-marketing, the marketing of your product before launching, is a marketing strategy largely ignored by sellers but could easily enable a seller to launch to a group of enthusiastic buyers instead of a group of freebie seekers that could care less what product they get as long as it is free.  

Launching a campaign with 20 influencers lined up means having a list of 60 influencers to start. This can be a long, drawn-out process, but it doesn't have to be. Please pay attention to the methods outlined in this article as we reveal our methods of making this a bit easier for you.


Identify Your Buyer Personas

To find the correct influencers, you need to have a firm grip on who your ideal buyers are. Whom are you trying to reach? You need to know a lot about your target market before identifying which influencers are the best. A Buyer Persona is a fictional representation of your ideal buyer.  

We have an extensive Buyer Persona Workshop available if you need help figuring out exactly who they are. It is worth the effort, and it will help you tremendously because when you can identify whom your ideal buyer is, marketing and messaging become much easier and more successful.


Build Your Influencer List

There are many different ways to go about building an influencer list. It may take utilizing multiple methods to get the right-sized list to begin with. Estimate that you need to start with 3 to 4 times the final number of influencers you want to use because some will not respond to your outreach.

Some of the ways to build your influencer list are:

Hashtags:    Relevant hashtags are effective because you will find nano and micro-influencers using these hashtags and posting relative content. Using a site like IQHashtags.com, you can develop lists of relevant and related hashtags to research. Search each hashtag one at a time on Instagram.

The posts at and near the top of the search results are normally the influencers. Hold your mouse over each post to ensure that there is engagement and not just likes.

Instagram Influencers

You are looking for comment #s. Click into the influencers' profiles to check followers and to gauge their other posts. Does this influencer post things that are consistent with your brand values, tone, and voice? Consider this very closely because this person will be representing your brand to their followers.

Geo-tags:  Geo-tagging can be a convenient way to find influencers if the focus of your business is location-based. You may have a brick-and-mortar store for your business in one geolocation, but you may also sell online to a much wider area. If a particular campaign's focus is a specific area, then geotagging your posts is a good way to target. When you click those geotags, they open up to reveal other posts tagged to that geolocation.

Often the most popular posts, which are generally at the top of the search results, are being made by local influencers.

Follower List:   When was the last time you looked through your follower list for influencers that already use your product that you are probably completely unaware of? Influencers and famous people buy and use regular products just like the rest of us. Look through your follower lists for influencers, celebrities, and other businesses that you may be able to partner with. 

Discover.ly is a chrome extension that you can use to find influencers in your contact list as well as finding which of your contacts have influencers in their contact list.  Leverage your friend for the introduction to the influencer.

Influencer Sites:  There are many websites out there created for the sole purpose of finding and engaging with influencers. These sites can be very helpful. They can also be very misleading. The majority of the sites do not vet their influencers. Some purposely give exposure to certain influencer friends. Use these sites with caution.

Referazon and Influence, listed above are, optimized for finding and engaging Amazon Instagram influencers.  

Best Practices

Focus on nano and micro-influencers. They have between 55 and 75k followers. They are smaller influencers, newer to the game, but have more skin in the game. Therefore, they are more willing to work with you and make every effort to make your relationship successful.

In general, we have found influencers with 76,000+ followers tend to have less engagement with their groups, generally are after follower numbers resulting in lists that have not been cleaned of unresponsive people, and often have their VA is doing all the engagement. These are not the influencers that you want to be using.

Finding influencers can be a lengthy process. The best way to do it is to do it in an ongoing fashion. The smartest marketers try to have some influencer marketing running quite often. If you are starting from scratch and looking to build a decent-sized influencer list of 50 or more, plan on putting in at least 5 to 10 hours to find quality influencers.  

PRO TIP:  Don't waste your money on the influencer lists available on Fiverr.  In general they are not even worth $5.00.

This is why you should always have your eye out for new influencers to work with.  Commit 10% of the time you spend on Facebook chatting with friends to finding quality influencers to work with and you will have a great list in no time. 

As you find influencers and add them to your list, we recommend following them in groups of 10. Please pay attention to what they post and their engagement rates. Add several nice but relevant comments to their most recent posts.

Your goal is, hopefully, they at least recognize you as a follower. When you reach out to them, many influencers are much more willing to deal with and help their followers than those who just looked them up to contact them and may never hear from them again.

The best, most effective influencer marketing is an ongoing relationship that grows from their efforts in popularity and your efforts. When you find an influencer that does a good job for you and produces results, you should consider extending the relationship and keeping it ongoing.


How Do I Find influencers?

This can be tricky and may seem overwhelming at first, but you'll get the hang of it fairly quickly and do just fine. You have to find a way not only to contact the influencers themselves but get your email read also. Reach out to them using your email, so the name reflects the name you used on the comments you left on their posts. If they recognize the messages from a follower, the chances of reading and responding to the message increased tremendously.

Understand these people get many emails, and many of them get many requests. This is where choosing micro and nano influencers can be beneficial because they are looking to grow, so they should be willing and open to working with other companies. Larger influencers can be very stuck up, picky, hard to get a hold of, and even more difficult to work with. Many of them also think far too much of themselves and try to charge exorbitant fees.

Currently, it's still early 2021; Covid-19 is still something that affects businesses every day. Beginning in 2020, many brands reduced their influencer marketing money to save on expenses. This means influencers have been making less and, in many cases, are willing to do more to get jobs. Of course, as in anything else, it also means there more scammers out there, so be careful.

Use this strategy and worksheet to easily find influencers using Buzzsumo.

Once you begin contacting influencers. Your goal changes to selling them your pitch. Messages need to stand apart, be very clear and straightforward. Make sure your messages are professional, friendly, and specific. It should include the following

Rocket

You'll want to monitor the posts and engagement on a regular basis as you research new promotional partners. If you are familiar the topics they discuss and their position, or if you have already spoken with them, you will have a much easier time connecting with them.

Subscribing to their newsletters, reading their articles, following them on all of the channels where they often share their thoughts and ideas are a great way to ensure they are a good fit.

  • Introduce your brand and summarize your vision and USP
  • Complement them on their content, and mention something specific that you saw that made you think they would be a good fit for your brand.
  • Please specify the product that you want them to promote and how they fit into your strategy
  • Specify the types of content you are looking to have posted, such as photos, videos, Instagram stories, etc.
  • Specify the time frame you are looking to run the promotion and understand that they may be busy, so do not wait until the last minute.
  • Try not to get too wordy, boring, or tied up in talking about things that don't matter. Be professional and respect their time.
  • Don't use much slang, but don't come across like a lawyer either.
  • They should have a clear understanding of what you are looking for. By the time they finish reading your email.

If you are successful with your due diligence and chose the right influencers to start with, recruiting them should not be that difficult. The amount of time involved depends on how many influencers you reach out to.

Communication

The email below is a great example of an outreach email that you can use to reach out to influencers!

Instagram Influencer Email Template

Subject line: {{firstName}} + {{YourCompany}} = Collaboration?

Hi {{firstName}},

I am {{YourName}}, the {{JobTitle}} of {{YourCompany}}.

We are huge fans of the content that you post on your Instagram account. We especially liked {{Something specific from their feed}.  It is aligned with our products and the messaging that we are putting out to our audience.  

We are a company that produces [what you do and how it is related to him/her].

We think that we could be a super fit for collaboration [write why do you think that and benefits he/she and his/her audience has from it]. We have some ideas, and we would also like to hear you to get a perfect solution for both sides.

So, if you are interested in helping us market our products/services via your network to reach out to our target audience, let us know when you’re free for meeting.

Please get back to us if you are interested

Make it a great day!

{Your Name}

You've done all this work. You sent out all these messages; now comes the time for the real effort of proper communication and negotiation. At this stage, you will be getting responses, and they will have plenty of questions. Answer their questions clearly and in-depth. Describe what the business relationship between the two of you will look like.

Set Proper Expectations

Setting proper expectations of yourself and yourself will be key to your influencer marketing campaigns' success. Before responding to them, you should have clearly defined your goals. Explain those goals and how the influencer fits in. They also explained what they could expect from you in terms of assets, support, and assistance.

In this second message, we will ask the influencers what kind of conversion rates they have seen in the past. Human nature indicates that a good majority of them will exaggerate. Some will use that number as their justification and support of their demand for monetary compensation.

Expect them to respond with rates, your schedule, and any existing influencer relationships they have that may conflict or interfere with working with you. If they don't mention any conflicts of interest, be sure to ask if there are any.

Target Audience

Show Them How To Increase Their Earnings

Our typical strategy with Amazon influencers is that they use their affiliate account and get paid by Amazon. If they beat their quoted conversions that they mentioned previously, we tell them that we will double or triple their commissions that Amazon paid. Think about it, if they do a good job, you both make more, and it's a win-win relationship.

Be prepared to give every influencer that you work with two products, one for themselves and one to use as a prize or raffle. Some will also tell you that they want cash.  We rarely just agree to pay them cash and always tie their compensation to their performance.  Especially the first time we work together. It is easy because we give them a way to make more by suggesting that they raffle off one of the products we give them. 

Often, influencers can sell raffle tickets to enter contests to win a product or hold a mini auction and give it to the highest bidder. The smart influencers realize that they may sell far more raffle tickets than the product is worth.   When we tell them we are sending them two products. We specifically mention raffling one off because it can give their earnings a serious bump.

For example, we gave an off-road Jeep club a set of exhaust headers to raffle to their group. As the manufacturer, my clients' cost is very low. The headers themselves retail for close to $300. The Jeep club raised over $2500 just from the raffle ticket sales. Add that to the commissions they made for recommending the product to their 40,000 members.    They did very well. It was certainly a win-win.   You will find that you need to educate the influencer about the value of doing a raffle.

Messages

Be sure that all of your communication is documented via email. Draft up an airtight contract, complete with all the items that you have negotiated.   Here is a sample Influencer Contract(free template) that you can fill out and use from Influencer Marketing Hub.  Please read through it entirely and make any changes.  We are not lawyers and are not providing legal advice.  Please consult your lawyer for advice.

Be sure that your contract includes the items listed below:

  • The specific product they are promoting.
  • The number of posts they will be making
  • The type of content and posts they will be creating
  • The specific hashtags they will be using
  • The specific days and times the post will be made.
  • When and if the posts need to be preapproved and how much time before posting, this needs to be done.
  • FTC the disclosures (see this explanation of what is required by the FTC)
  • Content copyright ownership.
  • Influencer compensation

We recommend also sending them your brand's social media policy(free template) which are your content rules that they must follow. Send them a brand style guide(free template) also, this include logo, fonts, and colors specs congruent with your brand.  It helps when you have the brand style guide, social media policy, and contract outline set up in advance.  

The brand style guide is something you should set up for your business anyway and provide it to all graphics creators, and ad creators.  You have links to templates for all three of them right here so what is keeping you from starting?


How Many Influencers Do I Need For A Successful Launch?

Finding influencers, the right influencers, developing that relationship, and maintaining it moving forward can be similar to dating in many ways. Expect some rejection and be prepared to possibly compromise on certain expectations to accommodate their currently scheduled projects. If you remember, earlier we mentioned, you will need to four times the number of influencers you want to end up with initially because some won't even open your emails and others won't answer.  

That is why it is important to pitch far more influencers than you need, ultimately. Your goal is to have more responses and potential influencers to work with. Then you need. That gives you the advantage of picking the best responses and not having to take them all because you are desperately trying to get enough or meet a deadline.


Shipping The Product To Them

Remember, we mentioned expecting to ship each influencer two products. You need to leave enough time to receive these products before your campaign starts. This means you will need to have a way to ship them either from your  3PL, Amazon, or your warehouse. All shipping expenses are yours. I'd spend the extra couple bucks for insurance as well to cover your butt.

Once influencers have received the products, it is time for them to get to work. I find it interesting to see how they interact and respond to the products via their emails and their content. It is important here that you keep the relationship professional because it is right here where things that can go wrong begin. Influencers are human, and they make mistakes. However, you have a signed contract, and they have a job to do.

Create a calendar complete with the dates and times of all the posts, and it is on you to check and follow up that the posts are occurring. Expect them to miss the occasional deadline for posting but doing so regularly is unacceptable.

Instagram story takeovers takeovers typically involve a person temporarily “taking over” your account, and are often used to showcase new products or services.   For example, brands will usually invite a content creator or influencer to take over their Instagram Stories for the day.  This is a great tactic to use once an influencer has proven their worth and you continue working with them.

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Sending Reminders

Expect to keep in communication with them open because this is the point where you will need to send them reminders possibly, and your approach will greatly affect the ongoing relationship

  • Give them the benefit of the doubt with your reminders and inquire from a caring position. Make sure that something unexpected didn't come up.
  • Do not send them an inflammatory, demanding email.
  • This is a perfect template for reminder emails.
  • We are looking forward to your posts and seeing the content about the products. We noticed nothing had been posted yet, so I thought I'd check in for an update on when you'll be posting per our agreement. Let me know if you need anything from me. Thank you.
  • In addition to the posting time, it is important to check the first post and verify that everything in the agreement has been covered; hashtags, FTC disclosures, are expected
  • If everything looks good. Make sure to like the posts and comment. This validates your approval for the influencer and shows engagement to the community.
  • Have your email preset as a draft, so it is reusable and ready. That will shorten the amount of time that things like this taking.

Some Influencers Will Still Ghost You

Investing the right time and effort into finding the best influencers will affect your campaign's time, investment, and ROI. Expect to be ghosted by an influencer or two. The more effort you put into the relationship, and the more excited they are about doing it, greatly reduces the chance of being ghosted.


How Do I Pay Influencers?

For most influencers, things will go well, posting will occur on time and as expected. As the campaign comes to a close, you are expected to pay if part of the agreement included compensation directly from you. Depending on your agreement with them will depend on whether or not they directed people to their affiliate link or link that you provided. Either way, there needs to be accountability and tracking to get an idea of how many sales you got from the relationship. 

If you agreed to multiply the number of commissions they receive based on their conversions, now is the time to verify documentation to pay them. We suggest paying them via PayPal. PayPal is convenient for your business. Because payment goes directly to them, and it is easy to deal with for your accountant.

Another payment method that some influencers like are gift cards. Suppose this is the one-time payment that you choose. It needs to be discussed and documented in the original contract, and the type of gift cards needs to be distinguished.

Tracking Results

Paying out many influencers can get complicated and messy. If you're not an organized person, I will set up influencer tracking in an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheets with one tab per influencer. Use this to track each post that they included and met expectations, sales, and payment. We suggest that you assign one person to handle tracking and payment to keep it consistent and confusing.

If the influencer did a great job for you, keep the relationship moving forward. Thank them, let them know about their contributions, make them feel that their contribution had positive effects and is appreciated. Doing so makes them feel good and keeps the relationship going.

If you are happy with what they've done, consider giving them more work. You can come up with other types of posts or benefits they can add for both of you. This would be a great time to negotiate Instagram profile or story takeovers, collaborating on an article or showcasing how they have used and benefitted from the product.   The ultimate goal is to keep your successful relationship moving forward and even taking them to the brand ambassador level, which is a win-win for you both.


Outsourcing

How exhausting was reading all that? Does the prospect of doing that amount of work make you think it's not worth the effort? Believe me that it's worth every bit of effort. Not only will you see immediate sales from it, but you'll also have that many more people aware of who your brand is.

One of the goals of influencer marketing needs to be brand awareness. The more people who know about you, your products, and how it helps them, the better the chances they will buy from you now or in the future.

The most effective way to gauge your brand awareness campaigns and brand-building would be to watch how many branded searches you receive.

Brand Awareness

A lot of the effort required for successful influencer campaigns can be delegated to a VA. They can do the majority of the initial research, send out the initial messages you have created for them to use, and narrow down the amount of effort you need to put in by eliminating your communication with people who will not work out. 

As always, any VA's success begins with how well you train them and set expectations for them. You need to set up the entire process and write emails, and you need to do the important negotiation communication. Besides that, the VA can handle most of this.

One of the big biggest benefits of influencer marketing is brand building. It creates another moment in time for a potential buyer to interact with your business. Creating those interactions and touchpoints should be one of the primary goals. The more a potential buyer knows about your business ahead of time and trusts your business, the more stable and long-term your conversions and future become.


Benefits of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a key strategy that we use to launch. We will use several methods at once.  Smart marketers utilize multiple strategies at once to amplify their success and ensure any problem with one method doesn't kill the launch.  

Reviews

As has already been mentioned, we do not do full-price rebates.  Influencer traffic is warm traffic, implied trust traffic, because they trust your recommendation of the influencer.   These buyers are primed to purchase your product.   They don't see your competitors listings, nor do they need reviews to purchase, making them a great method.

Email List Building

We will generally use a mix of Amazon influencers and non-Amazon influencers to send people via affiliate links and separately via specific URLs. We do not inconvenience our customers to convenience ourselves, so we do not 'search find buy'. We also send everybody through a landing page 1st, so would be a landing page with an opt-in where we give them something of value that adds value to the purchase on thinking the page for the opt-in.

Advertising Campaign

Buyers Are Platform Loyal

We presell them on the product and provide purchase links at the bottom of the presell. Suppose the client sells on multiple platforms. We will offer more than just Amazon as a purchase link, and we will position it as now available from these fine sites and post the Amazon logo. Maybe our store logo on Shopify, Etsy link depending on where client sells we never provide more than four payment options. Our results indicate that e-commerce is becoming more and more borderless as time goes on.

Plus, we learned that buyers are very platform loyal. Offering multiple payment options enables the buyer to purchase wherever they are most comfortable. However, in terms of influencers, that can make tracking difficult. Your links need to have specific TM codes for tracking. Suppose we are using an Amazon influencers affiliate account.

We use their affiliate link on the actual landing page. Be sure that you have your Facebook pixel and Google pixel on the landing page and pixel the different actions on the page. This way, you will be able to retarget people who bounce create look-a-like audiences, and custom audiences of purchased bounced people opted in but not purchased. So, retargeting campaigns, traditionally, always exponentially increases the conversion rates. You can add UTM tracking codes to your retargeting campaigns as well.

Conclusion: Influencer Marketing Should Be A Part of Your Marketing Plan

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About the Author

Joe Reichsfeld is an Ecommerce Consultant with experience going back before 2000. Specializing in listing optimization and marketplace expansion, Joe currently assists clients with over 3.5 million sku's.

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