As digital and mobile become ever more pervasive in our lives, how can your brand get a message across in today’s digital world?
People are becoming increasingly good at ignoring or even blocking brand’s attempts to engage with them. Spam filters, ad blockers and just plain “banner blindness” has demanded that the hard sell be replaced with new creative endeavours. User-generated content whether it be reviews, product collections, collaborations, images or video is becoming an effective tactic to expand the content that is found when people are researching your brand.
For brands to succeed, they need to not only influence their target audience, but first and foremost, their influencers.
Influencer marketing, is the process of developing relationships with influential people that can lead to their assisting you in creating visibility for your product or service and orientating your marketing activities around them.
Influencers act as a trusted source of information and may have the ability to sway the purchasing behaviours of consumers by writing persuasively and expertly about subject matters that are of great interest to them and their readers. They may be potential buyers themselves, artists, celebrities, CEOs, creatives, bloggers, vloggers, trendsetters, online journalists, and so on. Thanks to the Internet, anyone and everyone can become an influencer in their own right.
While the rise of influencers is a recent phenomenon, affiliate marketing has been around for many years (1994), and is not only maturing as a credible channel but not showing any signs of slowing down. Given the current behaviour that consumers exhibit in researching, planning and buying, it makes sense for affiliate publishers to leverage affiliate programs.
Affiliate Marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing effort.
If we can identify who these influencers are, where they factor in the purchase life cycle (awareness, consideration, preference, purchase), then we can be more effective at moving the customer toward the required action. The challenge is to find a way to connect with these influencers so that you can build lifelong, profitable relationships with them.
- Identify influencers, that not only match your audience (relevant) but exhibit credibility on the subject (resonance) and have good visibility (reach). Your account manager will be able to help identify and recruit relevant publishers within the network. But don’t sit back, you can also search for influencers off-network as well.
- What makes someone an Influencer?
- Often posts relevant content online?
- Has a large number of followers (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+)?
- Receives many comments on their blog posts?
- Retweeted and Shared?
- Engage your influencers, by finding out what motivates them and then giving it to them. First contact with your chosen influencers is crucial and needs a personalised approach that shows you have spent time getting to know them.
- Inform influencers, it is crucial to feed them interesting information on your brand in line with your brand voice and brand story, so that they in turn can use this new found knowledge to motivate potential customers.
- Arm your influencers, with the tools they need to drive a measurable impact. Affiliate networks can provide access to content, banners, product feeds, voucher codes, customisable widgets, video resources and even link automation, so make sure your programme’s arsenal is a compelling offering for affiliates.
- Invest in your influencers, by letting them experience your brand through invitations to product trials or launch events, backstage passes, opportunities to test out products before their release on the market, comment on their posts, include them in your PR campaigns and so on.
- Listen to your influencers, conducts regular polls and surveys so that you can strengthen your brand and products. See this as a two way partnership where influencers are closely linked to your brand, rather than just a once off campaign.
Indeed, in today’s digital world, influencers’ have a unique ability to advance a brand through their own voice and personal brand. So co-create a more meaningful, personalized, and lasting relationship with your influencers, treat them well, reward them, and they will give back to your brand in many ways.