Influencer marketing is becoming a big thing in the digital marketing space. The growth is so extensive and far-reaching that business owner and digital marketers can no longer ignore influencer marketing.
According to a survey by Invesp (a conversion optimization company), 94% of marketers believe influencer marketing is so effective. 48% of those marketers have a plan to increase their influencer marketing budget. The reason why they want to increase their budget is not far-fetched: influencer marketing has a return of investment that is 11 times better than traditional marketing. In essence, for every $1000 spent on influencer marketing, you can expect an average return to the tune of $11,000.
The Influencer Marketing Hub also released a survey that showed that 320 new influencer marketing platforms and agencies were created between 2015 and 2018. The market is expected to grow to $6.5 billion by 2019 which is twice the size of the market in 2017.
Perhaps a greater testimony to the growing importance of Influencer Marketing is the part of the survey that showed that Google searches for the term “Influencer Marketing” increased by 1500% between 2015 and 2018. If that is not impressive, I don’t know what “impressive” means.
Who are Influencers?
SO what is influencer marketing? The Marketing Schools website has this succinct definition: “Influencer marketing involves marketing products and services to those who have a sway over the things other people buy. This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation. Marketing to an audience of influencers is similar to word of mouth marketing, but it doesn’t rely strictly on explicit recommendations.”
In essence, Influencer marketing involves using the following and popularity of a person or a group of persons to get exposure, awareness, leads or sales for your product.
Therefore, one important component of Influencer Marketing is the existence of people referred to as influencers.
Basically, an influencer is someone who has an “influence” (not absolute) over a certain group of people based on his or her achievements, reputation, popularity or expertise.
Examples of Influencers
An influencer can be a celebrity who is popular among certain segments of society. A Sports person may be an influencer. For example, Pepsi is currently running an advert with Lionel Messi and Mohammed Salah who are popular football figures.
An influencer can also be a social media personality who has popularity in a particular niche. Social media influencer marketing is more targeted because the audience has more specific things in common that the audience of a celebrity (who are more disparate). This might include Facebook Influencer Marketing, Instagram Influencer Marketing, Pinterest Influencer Marketing, Twitter Influencer Marketing or other media like Youtube and Podcasting An example of a social media influencer is Neil Patel, who is a great personality in the Online Marketing niche. Another example is Robert Kiyosaki who is an influencer in the Real Estate Investing and Personal Finance Niche.
How Influencer Marketing works
As a result of the influence that these individuals or group of individuals have on a particular segment of the population or in a particular niche, their recommendations mean a lot.
This is especially relevant because of the importance that people place on recommendations and product reviews before making a purchase. Part of this is because unlike face to face purchase of a product, buying online carries a risk that you will be deceived to buying a fake product, an ineffective product or a bad product. Even with return policies and warranties, the stress of making the wrong purchase is enormous.
Therefore, buyers want to be extremely cautious before making an online purchase. A survey by Ship Station shows that 88% of buyers incorporate reviews into the buying process and 70% read online reviews and ratings before making a purchase.
But while these reviews are helpful, they are often faceless, or from people you don’t know. The accuracy and genuineness of the reviews are up for grabs.
But when an influencer promotes or recommends a product or service (whatever the form it takes), the element of trust already existing gives greater credence to the recommendation and buyers are more likely to act on it.
Consequently, by marketing your product or service to someone or some people who influence your target market/audience, you have a greater shot at success because of the trust and confidence your target audience invest in the influencer(s).
You can execute an influencer marketing program on your own (independently or through influencer marketing agencies) or request the services of influencer marketing companies who will connect you with the right influencers.
The benefits of Influencer Marketing
The influencer can promote your brand through a blog, a social media post, writing a product review, etc.
So, what are some benefits of influencer marketing?
- Improves Brand Awareness: An influencer mentioning your brand to his or her audience can significantly increase your brand awareness which can lead to many other benefits down the funnel.
- Maximizing the trust element: The trust and credibility of the influencer passes on to you. When they approach your brand, they are less skeptical than they would be if they found you through a Google Search or an ad.
- Higher CBR: As stated in the introduction, Influencer Marketing has an average ROI that is 11 times better than traditional marketing. You spend less to earn more. There is a better CBR (cost-benefit ratio) with influencer marketing.
- Targeted Leads: An influencer marketing campaign can generate significant leads for your business. The leads are more targeted because it is niche based rather than generic. The influencer has already done a part of the lead qualification process for you.
- Reputation Management: Reputation Management is one important part of customer relationship management. The reputation of a brand affects its sales. In certain cases, some events of situations may leave an undeserved stain on your brand’s reputation. But a vote of confidence from an influencer can restore your lost reputation to a certain extent.
Influencer Marketing vs. Digital Ads
One way to understand the benefits of Influencer marketing is by comparing it to digital ads.
Digital ads can be a Facebook ad, Google Ad or posting of ads on a popular website or blog. The effectiveness of digital ads is reducing by the year. More people are using ad blockers that prevent them from viewing unsolicited ads that are proliferating their screens. Ads are by nature intrusive, and people are getting tired of intrusive advertisements. A survey by Adweek shows that 26% of desktop users now use special ad blocker software. Accidental clicks, click fraud, low CTR, and the use of bots are just some of the other problems with digital ads.
Consequently, the convertibility of ads is diminishing. Moreso, customers have certain mistrust for ads. For the marketer, there is also the problem of getting them to see your ads in an environment saturated with ads. How many conversions can you really achieve in the 15 seconds that some consumers just glance on your ads to see the next one?
But with influencer marketing, there is a trust element. Moreso, the chances of conversion are higher. Influencer marketing is more dynamic and the environment is less saturated.
Influencer Marketing vs. Blogger Outreach
Is Influencer marketing the same as Blogger Outreach? Blogger Outreach is a form of influencer marketing. However, influencer marketing is bigger than a blogger outreach. Blogger outreach involves the promotion of your blog, product or service through a blogger who has a large following. Influencer marketing channels, however, go beyond the traditional blogosphere. An influencer can be a social media personality, a Youtube channel owner, a podcaster, a conference speaker, an author, etc. The channels which produce influencer are larger than a blog.
While Blogger Outreach is a good example of influencer marketing, you can explore more channels for better results.
Influencer Marketing is on a meteoric rise for good reasons. Marketers and business owners must begin to invest in influencer marketing and enjoy the special benefits that it offers.
On this blog, we will be focusing on Influencer marketing for a while, providing tips and strategies that marketers and business owners can use to maximize the different influencer marketing channels.
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