Looking for ways to grow your e-commerce business?
Cool. Then this is a must-read for you.
A majority of consumers research products and brands online before buying. They heed recommendations: whether from their close friends, family, or social media influencers they trust and follow.
If you want to grow your e-commerce business, investing in influencer marketing is a great option. According to a 2020 report, 95% of marketers consider influencer marketing effective for driving sales.
For those not in the know, the sphere of influencers has grown an incredible amount in the past couple of years. Influencers now come in sizes ranging from celebrities to macro-, micro-, and nano-influencers. In fact, brands like Millennial make-up powerhouse Glossier have paved the way for brands even using their own customers as influencers.
Want to hop on the bandwagon and leverage effective influencer collaborations to boost your e-commerce sales? We know you do.
Read on to learn how including influencers in your marketing plan can help you grow your e-commerce business in 2021 (and beyond!).
1. Find the Right Influencers for Your Business
The most important part of running an influencer campaign is to find and partner with the right influencers. You can scope out influencers on social media networks manually, or leverage an influencer platform or agency to find them.
Now the question is: How can you tell if an influencer is right for you?
You should check whether or not the influencer:
- Belongs to your niche in your industry
- Has an audience that matches the demographics of your target audience
- Has a good engagement rate
- Creates engaging content that aligns with your brand’s aesthetics and messaging
- Shares the same values as your brand
- Follows FTC endorsement guidelines
- Fits your budget
Once you find the right influencer, an easy first step is to engage with their content. Comment on posts that are relevant to your niche or style, and find small ways to appreciate their work.
Then you can either contact them via DM or reach out to them by sending an email for collaboration. Intimidated? Don’t be!
Your DM or email can be as simple as:
“Hey [Influencer’s Name],
I found your profile recently and really love your content style and consistency. I have an ecommerce store that sells [fashion/beauty/travel/etc.] products that your audience might find useful.
Would you be interested in collaborating with [your brand’s name] to promote our products?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
If an influencer is interested and replies back, you can take the conversation forward and discuss collaboration guidelines and payment details.
To optimize the effectiveness of your message, make sure that you:
- Set clear expectations for content deliverables in terms of the number of posts, types of content, approval process, and timelines.
- Give brand guidelines for content creation, hashtags, etc.
- Give the influencer the freedom to create posts that meet their audience’s tastes and preferences.
- Negotiate and finalize the cost of all sponsored content and other deliverables.
You can also offer other perks like free products or affiliate discount codes to encourage the influencer to put in more effort to drive sales. Win-win!
To avoid potential conflict, you can also create and sign an agreement with the influencers you partner with. The agreement should define all of the deliverables, benefits, and payment in writing, in advance of any work done.
2. Ask Influencers to Review Your Products
A majority of consumers read/watch product reviews before making a purchase decision. Many find it more effective to consider the experiences and feedback of real product users, instead of simply going along with a brand’s messaging.
If you want to grow your ecommerce business, an easy way is to ask an influencer to test your products and review them. Make sure that you choose influencers who frequently use products similar to yours.
Impressive product reviews can help customers feel empowered to buy from you.
EE, a British mobile network operator and internet service provider, partnered with The Tech Chap, a popular U.K. YouTube tech observer, to encourage people to preorder the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. The influencer captured 48 hrs of using the new phone to exhaustively cover all aspects of its interface, how it compares to the Galaxy S8, and whether it was (in their opinion) worth upgrading.
The video received over 200K views and positively impacted their sales.
Many brands understand this inherent power of testimonials and reviews and use them to increase awareness about their products.
Huda Beauty, a cosmetics company, also frequently collaborates with influencers to ask them to use and review their makeup and beauty products.
In addition to social media posts and review websites, you can also feature influencer testimonials on your self-hosted ecommerce site. This is the same concept, but the review content lives on your site, meaning it’s exposed to a slightly different audience, and you maintain control over the appearance of the review content on your page.
3. Mix Holiday Sales Marketing with a Social Cause
Supporting a social cause can help encourage people to shop from your store. And the best way to let consumers know about a cause you love is to collaborate with an influencer who shares the same values as your brand.
Looking for an example? We’ve got you covered:
Kotn is a retail clothing brand that focuses on conscious creation and consumption by using sustainable materials. They frequently partner with influencers like Jazmine Rogers, who supports sustainable fashion and lifestyle goods.
To boost their holiday sales, Kotn partnered with Jazmine Rogers, an Instagram influencer, to spread the word about donating 100% of profits from their Black Friday sales to build two primary schools.
Then they did this for three years in a row, which creates a sense of authenticity in their giving, and consistently gives consumers a reason to shop from them during this time of the year.
One thing to note here is: Kotn smartly decided on a maximum donation cap, which means that if their customer base was more generous than they had the ability to match, they could still remain profitable during a busy selling season.
You can follow a similar strategy to support a cause you believe in while increasing your e-commerce sales.
The influencers you choose to partner with can impact the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. Therefore, you should leverage powerful tools to find influencers with similar values and interests to your brand.
4. Give Affiliate Discounts
Many brands offer unique affiliate discount codes to influencers to boost their e-commerce sales. This method also helps them track the effectiveness of each influencer at driving sales.
One of the biggest examples of a brand that made it big with influencer marketing and affiliate discounts is Daniel Wellington.
The famous watch brand frequently collaborates with many micro- and nano-influencers to promote their watch collection. They offer unique discount codes to help influencers encourage their followers to make instant purchases.
Here’s a recent influencer post promoting their New Year holiday sale:
Along with enjoying 25% off when buying two or more items, consumers can also get an extra 15% off using the influencer’s discount code.
This strategy helped Daniel Wellington generate a net sales profit of $58 million in 2019 alone.
Want a chance at the same kind of success? Great! We recommend that you start an affiliate program and collaborate with niche influencers to promote your products. Attentively seek out partnerships with influencers who have highly engaged audiences that include your ideal buyers.
5. Host Contests and Giveaways
Everyone loves to win free stuff.
Collaborating with influencers to hold contests and giveaways can help increase awareness about your brand and products.
You can ask influencers to send their followers to your official social media profiles using specific calls-to-action. This will not only help increase your follower count but also increases your chances of engaging and converting prospective shoppers into active customers.
This online marketing tactic can help your business grow in terms of reach, engagement, and sales.
Let’s look at an example:
Elle Rae Boutique partnered with a fashion influencer, Aly, to host a giveaway of a $250 gift card.
They asked participants to like their post, tag their friends, follow the influencer and the brand, and also share the post in their Stories to win.
You might be asking: Isn’t that a lot of engagement?
But it worked. And it can work for you too. You can hold the same type of contest to attract new followers, boost sales and revenue, and grow your e-commerce business.
To host successful contests and giveaways, you should:
- Plan out the details of the giveaway in advance.
- Figure out what you can offer to participants.
- Finalize a budget for the gift as well as the influencer campaign.
- Let the influencer announce the giveaway in their own style but make sure they include all of the predetermined rules for participation.
- Promote the influencer-created post on your social media profile to amplify its reach and let your existing customers know about the contest as well (another engagement win-win for you and the influencer).
- Pair your contest with a unique branded hashtag to create more user-generated content.
- Announce winners on the finalized date—on time.
- Find ways to engage the new followers you gained during the contest to keep up the momentum.
Ready to Boost Your Ecommerce Sales with Influencer Marketing?
A good influencer marketing campaign can help boost your e-commerce sales by large numbers when executed correctly. But it’s not that easy to run a successful campaign. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be sure to find influencers who can represent your brand’s voice and values. Make sure the influencers you partner with understand what makes your brand unique and how your products can benefit their audience.
- Define all deliverables and payment details clearly. Give influencers the freedom to create content in their own style.
- Repurpose and amplify the reach of influencer-created content to generate more engagement, leads, and sales.
Do you have questions about finding and partnering with influencers? Or, do you need help growing your e-commerce business in 2021? Connect with me in the comments below.