Influencer marketing represents one of the fastest-growing methods for online customer acquisition, with two-thirds of marketers planning to increase their spends in this area. And while marketers are reporting significant return on each dollar spent in this sector, that doesn’t mean it’s a fit for every brand.
If a brand is basing success on soft metrics like engagement and interactions, the opportunities to drive results through influencer marketing are abundant, and tracking success is relatively simple. However, if your brand is more focused on hard metrics like purchases and conversions, then you need to give influencer marketing a lot of added (and careful) consideration upfront. It’s those hard-metric considerations we’re going to explore in this article.
Is your brand right for performance-based marketing?
Before diving into the deep end with influencers, you need to first consider whether success with performance-based marketing in this realm is even reasonable. For a brand to be able to show real movement on conversions through influencers, its category needs to have broad enough appeal with the types of influencers who can reasonably be expected to influence purchases. This means you first need an understanding of your typical purchase cycle and whether it’s one where an influencer can deliver true impact. In addition, for influencer marketing to be effective, the product in question needs to have a price and margin that leaves room for a performance marketing commission or fee to be passed through to the influencers themselves.
Is your category trackable for the purposes of performance marketing alliances?
If you’re going to invest in influencer marketing and expect funds to keep flowing, you need to be able to tie purchases to influencer activity. Online, this is fairly easy, but it requires advance consideration and planning. In addition, some forms of offline influence can now be tracked as well, but they typically require POS systems and deep integrations. This might require the use of unique offer codes.
Are there influencers to target?
Broad-appeal categories like clothing are a no-brainer in the influencer marketing realm, but marketers with more niche products will need to investigate to ensure the influencers out there will be worth the trouble. That said, even if your product is exceptionally niche, don’t be too quick to assume there isn’t a body of influencers out there for it. You might be surprised to find that there are 500 bloggers who are exceptionally passionate about something, even something as esoteric as toilet paper rolls without the cardboard insert. In many cases, vertical-specific influencers with thousands of targeted followers will drive better results than a celebrity with millions of followers.
Do your legal policies and industry regulations allow for influencer marketing?
For most categories, influencer marketing isn’t a problem. But in certain highly regulated industries like pharma and finance, it can be tough. In addition, no matter your category, your organization’s legal policies need to recognize that branding is now a two-way street, particularly in the influencer realm. To get the most out of relationships with influencers, you need to be able to let them do and say what they want in support of your product. Yes, that requires giving up some control. But in doing so, you can gain a lot of credibility. Make sure Legal can stomach that.
Do you have the resources and staff to do it right?
Influencers require proactive attention, and marketers need to ensure they’re set up to proactively manage these programs. This includes basic program oversight, yes, but it also includes getting into the nitty-gritty with recruitment, relationship management and payments. Fortunately, there are great influencer networks, as well as solid, affordable tools out there to help with this oversight.
Many brands are finding influencer marketing to be a lucrative channel and impressive business builder for them. But before diving in, take the time to ensure it’s right for your business.