Influencer marketing is the latest trend that’s actually not a trend at all.
86% of marketers are using influencers as a new marketing channel for their biz—leading to brand awareness and site traffic out the wazoo.
If you’re an eCommerce brand, you have a ton of marketing channels in your toolbox. You’ve got to find the right mix of social media, video, content, and (naturally) influencers to make your strategy work.
Adding a new marketing channel to the mix can make things feel hectic. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we get it.
Fortunately, you don’t have to focus on every new little thing that comes around the corner. Fads like chatbots and AI are cool, but right now, focus on the channels that get results for your biz.
Why do I need a new marketing channel?
A “marketing channel” is any platform you’re using to market your business.
Odds are, you’re already using popular marketing channels like:
- Instagram: This platform is great for real-time connection thanks to its Stories. Popular with Millennials and Gen Z, Instagram enables you to position your product in a visual way.
- YouTube: Long-form videos equal authenticity, which means more customer engagement. Show demos, tell stories, and talk up your brand in a casual environment that holds viewers’ attention.
- Facebook: Better for a Gen X and Millennial audience, Facebook has 2.2 billion users. Because of that, Facebook can build lots of awareness, fast.
- Blogs: Yup, blogs are still relevant! They allow for quick information-gathering from your shoppers, positioning you as an authority both in their hearts and in search engines.
Editor’s Note: If you aren’t already using these marketing channels, invest in them! They build a healthy foundation for more advanced (and effective) strategies like influencer marketing.
3 reasons to use influencers as your new marketing channel
If you haven’t noticed already, influencer marketing is a big deal.
47% of marketers say they’re spending at least 20% of their annual marketing budget on influencers.
But why is everyone pumping money into influencers, anyway? Should you look past it as a trend, or allocate real money to a relatively new marketing channel?
Our vote is to go full speed ahead on influencer marketing. It has a real effect on your brand marketing in 3 ways.
1 - Attract better customers
Sick of attracting low-value site visitors? These folks scroll through your product and never buy anything. (Or, worse, they bounce immediately.)
Instead of scratching your head over low conversion figures, try something different. Influencer marketing on Instagram and other social platforms connects you with genuinely interested visitors.
Half of consumers depend on influencer recommendations on social media.
And when you connect with these interested visitors, guess what happens? They recommend your stuff to their friends and family!
2 - Increase customer engagement
Tired of customers scrolling right past your content? Marketing isn’t fun when you feel like the world’s ignoring you.
Fortunately, influencers make that a thing of the past. They help you get more engagement, and the stats don’t lie:
- Influencer campaigns have an 80% lower cost per visit than branded content.
- Branded content has an average 1.5% - 6% engagement rate. But influencers see 7.5% - 11% engagement rates. If math isn’t your forte, that’s double the engagement.
Influencers have engagement superpowers, and that’s why you can’t write off this new marketing channel.
3 - Boost organic traffic
We love paid ads as much as the next guy, but organic traffic is where it’s at. If you want more eyeballs on your website, influencers get you there.
This new marketing channel helps you get in front of new audiences in an organic way, boosting website traffic and brand awareness.
Since traffic and brand awareness usually leads to increased sales, you’ve got to get an influencer in your corner ASAP.
Smart influencer strategies for all 3 funnel stages
The cool thing about influencers is that they aren’t a one-and-done marketing channel. You can use them in all 3 stages of the marketing funnel.
1 - Top of funnel (TOF) influencer marketing
Your biz is only as successful as your lead pipeline. Luckily, influencer marketing drums up tons of new leads for your biz at the top of the funnel.
If you partner with the right influencer, just one mention can skyrocket your brand.
Seriously. Blink Cat Food got over 89,000 impressions just from one influencer post.
At this point in the funnel, use influencers to:
- Raise awareness: You don’t need influencers with a huge following to make a splash. A handful of experienced micro-influencers can net you tons of awareness in front of a new audience.
- Solve customer pain points: But don’t go overboard! This isn’t about being salesy, but letting customers know what their options are (and that you’re an option) via an influencer.
- Tell stories: Influencers are natural-born storytellers. Since 63% of shoppers trust influencer stories more than brand stories, ask your TOF influencers to share their story. Touch on the influencer’s problem, using you as a solution, and how their life is better today.
Influencers are a great new marketing channel to add to your existing marketing mix.
Since TOF marketing is all about generating views and impressions, influencers easily fill the gaps.
2 - Middle of funnel (MOF) influencer marketing
Middle of funnel marketing includes content like:
- Product reviews
- How-to videos
- Pros and cons lists
In this stage, shoppers start to think, “Hm, maybe I should buy from this brand?” But they still have a lot of questions.
MOF customers aren’t focusing on a specific brand or product right now.
Influencers step in the middle of the funnel to remove customer doubt and bring consumers ever-closer to conversion.
If you’re targeting MOF shoppers, try:
- Partnering with creators: Good influencers are also excellent content creators. Use a platform like Trend to connect with experienced, vetted creators with a following.
- Delivering value: Yes, you’re mentioning your brand as a solution, but don’t make it obvious. The focus of the influencer’s content still needs to be solving a customer’s problem, not digging in their wallet.
- Leaning on the results: Customers at this stage need proof that you’re legit. Arm your influencers with stats, testimonials, and case studies to create more persuasive MOF content.
Oh, and the great thing about MOF influencers is that you can repurpose their quality content across the web.
One effective creator campaign will give you an armory of UGC content for your social media and website.
3 - Bottom of funnel (BOF) influencer marketing
Bottom of funnel shoppers are really close to making a decision. They have their credit card in hand and are looking for the best product for their problem.
Influencers are a smart, new marketing channel that nudges customers into engaging. Now’s the time to ask influencers for very specific content about your brand’s features. Content like:
- Unboxing videos
- Comparisons between you and a competitor
- Discount codes
… are all fair game for BOF shoppers.
Remember, influencer marketing has to come from the heart.
If you ask influencers to churn out a fake, spammy review about how awesome you are, their followers will know.
Don’t turn into a human billboard. Let your influencer choose how to best encourage conversions since they know their audience best.
The bottom line
We aren’t saying influencers are a be-all, end-all solution for your brand. You’ve got to build a healthy funnel with a mix of different channels.
But if you haven’t invested in influencers yet, it’s a powerful new marketing channel that can benefit your brand big time. 92% of brands say influencer marketing is effective; it’s a powerful asset at every stage of the funnel.
Over 67% of marketers say sourcing influencers is their number-one influencer marketing pain point.
If you’re struggling to source content creators who will get results for your brand, give Trend a try. Our curated network of experienced influencers will help you stand out at every stage of the funnel. Sign up now for free to start your next winning campaign.