One of the quickest ways to promote your website is influencer marketing.
This is where you leverage related brands that already have followers to promote your products for you. Unlike the old way of promotion that requires you to acquire backlinks for your website, influencer marketing is about getting the trust of your target market so that they buy from you. Because of this, influencer marketing turns out to be more effective because it uses the trust that the influencer has already built for you.
However, when people talk about influencer marketing, they usually talk about big influencers with millions of followers. While getting these people to promote you may seem ideal, it is not the easiest thing to do. In worse cases, you’ll find that these influencers will ask for a hefty amount with just one promotion. This is good if you have a budget for it. But if you are a small ecommerce website owner, you may want to promote to micro influencers instead.
Who are micro influencers?
Micro influencers are influencers with about 1,000 to 99,000 followers. They are called ‘micro’ because their follower number is lower than the others. Because of this, some marketers dismiss the idea of promoting to them for it seems that there is not much reach. But actually, it is far more effective. Here’s the thing. While these influencers have a relatively low number of followers, these followers are carefully filtered from the crowd. Usually, it is because the influencer is working in an ultra-targeted niche so the followers that he gets are fewer. In any case, the number may seem small but the response may still be great.
NOTE: Research is very important in micro influencer marketing. While you may get some good promotion with a few but highly responsive followers. You’ll find that this is quite rare unless you do your research. More than the number of followers and the content, you should also look at content engagements in their website and social media channels. This will give you an idea of their audience response rate.
Why eCommerce business owners need micro influencers
Ecommerce website owners can benefit from micro influencers because of three things: recommendations, traffic and sales.
They need recommendations
Ecommerce website owners are in constant need for recommendations. This can come as a simple product review, a comment on the page or a full product testimonial. They need this to establish trust with their target market. It shows that their product is not only ‘effective’ or ‘legit’. It also shows that people are buying from them and they are delivering. Plus, it can even show that they have excellent customer support.
But there is something special about micro influencer recommendations. More than a simple comment or paragraph, influencers usually go out of their way to give an in-depth review of the product. The depth will depend on the product. A skincare product, for example, will require a review of its overall feel and consistency, how it is applied and how it improved the skin after X amount of days. A book, on the other hand, may require some key points learned from the book. As you can see, the type of review depends on the product. But its depth is usually deeper compared to the normal reviews that an ecommerce website owner can get from his customers.
They need traffic
Traffic is the lifeblood of most ecommerce websites. It thrives on traffic, hates shopping cart abandonment and it needs it in order to make some sales. If the site has a certain conversion rate (say, 20%), it needs a specific amount of visitors to hit a particular sales mark. So if you are targeting a $1000 sale per day with a product that costs $100 and your product page converts at 10%, you’ll need at least 100 highly targeted visitors to reach that mark.
The keyword here is ‘highly targeted’. Just because your page has a particular conversion rate doesn’t mean that it can hit it with more traffic. Junk traffic is useless and can even drive your conversion rates lower. What you’ll want is highly relevant traffic from your niche and influencers can help you with that.
They need sales
An online store can only continue once it gets some sales. In fact, ecommerce website owners are on the constant lookout for ways to improve their sales. Influencer marketing can help you with this because their audience is not only highly relevant to your products and services. They also trust the influencer enough to act on his recommendation. This action is what makes an influencer who he is. He is an attractive product promoter because of his capability to influence decisions and actions of his target market.
How to reach micro influencers
Getting micro influencers to promote you is not that hard. It will not be as difficult as getting big time influencers to promote you. In fact, it is incredibly simple and can be done in three simple steps.
1. Create a list
It starts with a list. I am not talking about an email list. What I am talking about is a spreadsheet that has the names of all of your target influencers along with their contact information. Usually, I start with Google. I use it to search for blogs in my topic. This allows me to uncover some influencers in the niche.
Next, I also look at some social channels. Depending on your niche, you may always to look at Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube. There are some influencers that are solely using those social channels for their content.
Once I find some names, I put them on a spreadsheet. Beside it, I put the following columns: website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Email. I then try to fill everything up by researching their contact information on Google. For the email, you may need some tools. I like to use FindThatLead to uncover and verify influencer emails before I add them to my spreadsheet.
2. Find a way to reach out
Once you have all the contact information that you need, you need to formulate a strategy on how you can reach out. Many ecommerce website owners make the mistake of simply reaching out without a reason. In worse cases, they even use a template. Don’t do this. Influencers hate this. Instead, look at the influencers content and get a feel of what they want and what their content is all about. If you approach them with that, they will be more likely to reply.
NOTE: I know that this approach may be more tedious than sending an email template. But I found that there is a greater chance of getting a reply if you do this. Think about it. Will you reply to an email that seemed to be sent automatically? I don’t think so. We live in a world where people are already so used to getting emails from brands they don’t know. Don’t be that brand. Stand out by building your relationship with the influencer first. Yes. This will take time. But it is worth it in the end.
3. Offer the micro influencer something in return
Once you manage to build a relationship with the influencer, it is time to offer him or her something in return. You just can’t ask him or her to promote you. That is like asking for a freebie. If you do this, then influencer will just ignore you.
Common way to ask for promotion - ask them for product feedback
One of the most common ways to get an influencer to promote you is to ask for their feedback. In here, all you need to do is ask for the influencer’s address or PO box and send your item to them. From there, the influencer is free to try your products and comment on it.
NOTE: This doesn’t work by simply sending items to all influencers that you have researched. The product must be relevant to the niche and ideals of the influencer for this to work. For example, an organic product would be a good match to a vegan influencer. As mentioned, you should read or watch their content before sending them anything.
Creative ways to get micro influencers to promote you
Fortunately, there are several ways to get micro influencers to promote you. Below are some of the methods that worked for me.
Host a contest
Influencers love to be noticed. And if that recognition comes with prizes, they will be happy to oblige. This is the reason why promotion contests are quite common in joint venture launches. It is the thrill of being noticed along with winning a prize.
As I have told you, micro influencers love to be noticed. Most of them are still in the process of building their brand. They need all the help they can get to spread the news about their names and what they do. If your ecommerce website already have a list of visitors or buyers, you can offer to feature them in your newsletter, email or other forms of content in exchange for their promotion.
PRO TIP: Here’s a secret technique. You can always feature an influencer without asking for their permission. If his content is relevant to your niche, you can go ahead and feature him and just email him about it afterwards. He will be thrilled.
Include them in your experts list
A creative way to feature influencers is to create an experts list. This is where you tackle a topic by taking quotes from various micro influencers. With this type of list, more is always better. In fact, I would recommend having at least 20 micro influencers in the list.
Once you have your content up, all you need to do is contact each one and tell them about what you have done. This will give them the go signal to promote you in their social channels.
NOTE: This works because it plays with the human nature of returning favors. Since you featured them without asking for anything in return, they are more than happy to promote you afterwards.
Collaborate on a product or service
Influencers love having their names on everything. And it is not so much for the ego boost. It is more for the brand promotion. The more people that sees their brand, the more people they can help. Most influencers have an advocacy to change the world in their own little way. They can only do that with enough promotion.
In creative niches, you can collaborate with an influencer to create a brand new product. I have seen celebrities create cosmetics and models create their own clothing collection. It is a way to work with the influencer directly and let them influence the products that you are selling.
This works because the promotion is automatic. If the influencer took the time to create a new product, he or she would be excited to share it with his or her followers. So the sharing is automatic. You don’t even have to ask them to promote you.
Contact a Micro Influencer Now
Are you using influencer marketing to promote your ecommerce business? If not, you are clearly missing out on the truckloads of traffic and sales that comes with this method. The best part is that you don’t have to pay expensive fees just to get a promotion. Micro influencers allow you to tap influencers that have a lower number of followers but have almost the same influencer. In micro influencer marketing, it is all a numbers game. Your goal should be to get as many micro influencers to promote your business. Companies such as Hunting Bow Lab have reported a 30% increase in sales after starting in influencer marketing program.
However, promoting to micro influencers requires some strategy and tact. You can’t just go out and give product samples for the fun of it. You should learn to build relationships before promoting anything. You need to show them that you are not merely asking them to promote your products. Instead, you are working towards changing the world like he does and you would really appreciate his help. With that, it makes promotion less of a chore and more of an advocacy. This is what micro influencers love.
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Arlen Robinson is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software.
He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.