Direct to consumer (DTC) is the future of selling. This method says “thanks but no thanks” to big-box retailers, skipping the brick and mortar stores and selling directly to shoppers online.
DTC brands enjoy more freedom and better margins by cutting out the middle-man. And the future looks good: experts say 14% of eShopping in 2021 will come from DTC brands.
But DTC marketing has big challenges. You can’t rely on the big guys to sell for you: you’re growing your business solo.
How do you get the word out to customers?
Micro-influencers are the solution. Though they’re small, they’re the megaphones of DTC marketing.
Plus, they’re micro-influencers are nearly seven times more effective than big-name influencers, garnering 60% more conversions on average.
DTC is brutally competitive, and you need that 60% lift in conversions. Micro-influencers give you the immediacy and ease of PPC marketing, but with the genuine connection and social proof that comes through content marketing.
Market your DTC brand in a way that’s genuine and accessible to customers with micro-influencer marketing.
Mizzen+Main’s influencer problem
But, like any powerful marketing strategy, micro-influencers require work. Because of their smaller followings, it’s a good idea to hire dozens of influencers to get big traction online.
Oh, man. That means managing literally hundreds of DMs from your army of micro-influencers.
There are a lot of components to a successful micro-influencer campaign, and to run it like a fine-tuned machine, you need help.
Normally, this means diving headfirst into Instagram research, emailing or DMing each influencer separately, and then negotiating terms. That’s no biggie for a handful of influencers, but you can’t scale that to hundreds of influencers.
Nobody knows the micro-influencer struggle more than the menswear DTC brand, Mizzen+Main. The company needed to connect with more customers for its performance menswear products.
Mizzen+Main knew micro-influencers were the way to go, but here’s how their efforts panned out so far:
Mizzen+Main needed user-generated content (UGC) showcasing their clothes in the real world, but influencer logistics were eating them alive.
It took hours to find influencers and negotiate individual rates with them.
Influencers’ rates were all over the place, too. Mizzen+Main hit its campaign budget way too quickly as a result.
Quick scaling just wasn’t happening for Mizzen+Main. That’s when they reached out to Trend for a sanity-saving solution.
A 6-pronged approach to micro-influencers and DTC marketing
Direct to consumer marketing is a different beast, but Mizzen+Main mastered it with a little help from Trend.
Mizzen + Main used a six-step process to source micro-influencers, generate beautiful UGC, and repurpose that UGC in meaningful ways to grow their brand.
All with the help of Trend influencers!
1 - Micro-influencer platform
Mizzen+Main previously sourced influencers in a painstaking, manual process that took hours. Once they found influencers, it still took ages to agree on pricing and terms.
Mizzen+Main’s budget was sending out SOS signals from the chaos.
Trend introduced consistency with our pre-vetted network of influencers. That meant:
Mizzen+Main didn’t need to source influencers. Trustworthy influencers applied to the campaign, bringing their expertise to Mizzen+Main in a matter of hours.
The brand enjoyed pre-negotiated rates from our influencers—zero surprises in the budget department.
Mizzen+Main could finally hit the ground running with its direct to consumer marketing. We took the time-suck element out of influencer marketing, focusing on results instead of irritating logistics.
2 - User-generated content
Mizzen+Main partnered with several influencers through the Trend platform. Their first goal: generate UGC.
Our influencers got to work, not only promoting Mizzen+Main on Instagram, but adding the one-two punch of branded lifestyle photos that the brand so desperately needed.
Plus, there was no need to schedule a pricey photoshoot—influencers did all the work.
In a matter of weeks, Mizzen+Main’s campaign generated 44 influencer posts and over 50 pieces of UGC.
3 - Website and social media
Mizzen+Main then put its UGC to work, starting with its website. As you scroll down the Mizzen+Main site, you see branded lifestyle photos curated from the brand’s Instagram.
Instead of mindlessly displaying an Instagram feed, Mizzen+Main carefully chose which micro-influencer UGC to feature on its site. This collection of UGC is not only visually stunning, but provides much-needed social proof to potential customers.
And speaking of Instagram, Mizzen+Main also used influencer-generated content for its own Instagram account. Now Mizzen+Main never has to wonder what to post—there’s a collection of beautiful UGC always waiting in the wings.
4 - Ad campaigns
UGC in hand, Mizzen+Main was just getting started. Next, the brand wanted to create a refined PPC campaign to boost site traffic.
Thanks to its micro-influencers, Mizzen+Main could pass on the cheesy stock photos for its PPC ads, opting instead for customized UGC images.
With more relevant images, Mizzen+Main saw 500,000 ad impressions and a 2.7X return on ad spend (ROAS).
Micro-influencers contributed to the DTC brand’s success because of their realistic, genuine images of Mizzen+Main’s products out in the wild.
5- Branded Content
The ad campaigns run from Mizzen + Main’s account were great but they wanted to double down.
What’s better than an ad campaign using UGC?
An influencer running an ad campaign using their own UGC.
Instagram has a feature that allows brands to run ad campaigns from an influencer’s account using the influencer’s content.
Using this trick, Mizzen + Main was able to create branded content ads that added even more juice to their marketing campaigns.
6 - Email marketing
The last step for Mizzen+Main’s influencer campaign was email marketing. UGC increases conversion rates by 29%, and Mizzen+Main knew it could deliver a powerful boost to email marketing efforts.
Mizzen+Main put UGC to work for their branded emails, which meant:
Featuring real-world people wearing their shirts instead of unrelatable models.
They got more click-throughs thanks to realistic images. By partnering with multiple micro-influencers, they could show, “Look, everyone’s wearing Mizzen+Main shirts.”
The power of mighty micro-influencers
So, does micro-influencer marketing work for DTC brands?
Let’s break down Mizzen+Main’s numbers from their campaign with Trend:
44 posts created
58+ pieces of UGC generated
700,000+ ad impressions
50% reduction in time spent managing micro-influencer marketing
Mizzen+Main’s influencer partnerships contributed to a big gain in ROAS—in other words, sales.
The brand also saved hours of time by relying on a platform to manage their influencer relationships. “Trend helped us achieve an unprecedented low CPM. they simultaneously streamlined our workflows to scale influencer marketing,” says Alex Jones, Brand Marketing Manager at Mizzen + Main.
DTC marketing is hard enough. Press the Easy Button by outsourcing the right components of your campaign to drive sales (without losing your mind).
The bottom line
DTC marketing and micro-influencers go together like cupcakes and frosting. Taste sweet, sweet micro-influencer marketing success that not only boosts your brand, but produces quality content you can repurpose.
Mizzen+Main saw firsthand the power of micro-influencer UGC for their DTC brand. With an assist from the Trend platform, the brand gained got beautiful creative for its website, ads, and emails.
The result? More customers for less hassle.
You don’t need to toot your own horn: let micro-influencers do it for you.
Connect with a fleet of experienced, vetted micro-influencers at scale. Give the Trend platform a spin to see the magic of micro-influencers for yourself.