It can be challenging to find a marketing article that doesn’t mention influencer marketing lately. Influencer marketing has become the rising star in the world of marketing. The catalyst of this rise is the growing trend of consumers connecting with and trusting influencers over brands. Influencer marketing can generate both revenue and brand awareness. The downside? The crowded influencer space is getting more challenging to navigate, especially for non-Fortune 100 budgets. However, with a focus on niche marketing and great listing building, you cannot only compete with the larger brands but surpass expectations. What is my secret? It’s all about the list!
The Number One Tip – Focus On The List
I spend 80% of my outreach time list-building. That probably sounds like overkill but here is the reality: without a solid list, your outreach campaign will not perform. I wish I could tell you there were tools out there to create the list for you or that you could simply purchase a list. Unfortunately, there aren’t, and trust me I tried all those tactics. From purchasing lists to joining influencer networks, I never get the same results as when I implement the strategies below.
6 Steps For Effective Listing Building
#1 Define business objectives
As with any successful marketing campaign, having a solid foundational strategy is an integral part of your success. The most common objectives for influencer marketing are:
- Brand awareness
- User-generated content
- Building community
- Increase social presence
- SEO ranking for specific keyword phrases
- Driving sales/revenue
At Robbins Interactive, we focus on driving revenue, which strongly shapes the influencers who make it on our lists.
#2 Set a budget
Your budget will impact the types of influencers you will be adding to your list. Questions you should ask in the budget process are:
- Do I have a budget for sponsored posts?
- Based on my budget, should I focus on macro or micro-influencers?
- Am I willing to engage in long-term compensation partnerships such as ambassador partnerships? (These campaigns require a monthly retainer.)
- Will I be compensating on a performance basis using such tools as affiliate marketing (performance-based compensation)?
Since I work with small to medium-sized businesses, my lists focus on driving revenue as well as search engine ranking for my clients’ keyword phrases. This will establish an organic and passive revenue stream down the line.
#3 Select a niche and immerse yourself in it
There are over 570 million blogs with 7 million new blog posts being launched every day. Instagram has 1 billion users. YouTube has 2.3 billion users.
What do those large numbers mean? One, there is unlimited potential in influencer marketing. Two, you need to focus on a niche so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Preventing overwhelm is not the only benefit to focusing on a niche:
- You are more likely to find micro-influencers with strong engagement.
- There is an increased probability of response and activation of your influencers.
- Ability to authentically promote your brand.
- Increased brand credibility with experts within your niche.
#4 Select the channel that will be most effective for your goals
Once you select your niche, the next step is to determine what channel you want to work with to achieve your results.
If you are looking for brand awareness and a quick influx in sales then Instagram Stories and Reels would be a great fit.
Looking for the long tail benefit of SEO rankings? Focus on blogs and YouTube.
Have a product that is very specific to a niche and/or needs further explanation to convert? I recommend focusing on Facebook Groups, YouTube, and blogs.
#5 Focus on engagement vs followers
The number of followers for your influencer should be low on your list of requirements. When reviewing potential influencers, it is important to review engagement over followers. Not only can followers be purchased, but smaller (or micro) influencers often have stronger engagement and authority with their followers than someone who has a larger following. A successful influencer campaign is one where the audience trusts the influencer. True relationships cannot be faked.
In addition, you want to evaluate the quality of the engagement. Are the comments single or two words? Do the comments seem generic like “Ooo I need to try that?” or authentic like “Oh my gosh, I love this product, the grapefruit smell is intoxicating!”? There are Influencer Pods that have other influencers comment in order to boost their posts for brands and rankings. For this reason, you don’t want to look only at the engagement percentage but take the time to review the actual engagement.
#6 Review aesthetics vs recommendations
As a brand, you want to ensure that posts made on your behalf are encouraging your desired call to action (CTA). An attractive picture that yields only comments about the actual picture versus the products and generates ‘likes’ and hearts is not a solid CTA.
The exception to this rule is if your call to action is user-generated content. As I mentioned earlier, my campaigns focus on revenue generation. An attractive picture used without persuasive copy will not be considered a successful campaign for my clients.
Don’t worry, there are some great tools to help you build this list. Please see my favorites below.
- Buzzstream – I love their Research List and the seamless integration with my Buzzstream outreach and contacts.
- GroupHigh – This tool allows you to filter based on followers, domain authority, channel, and more. It also collects the email address for you which makes the list-building process faster. While this tool has a CRM component, I simply save and export my lists for my main CRM software.
- NinjaOutreach – Similar to Grouphigh with the ability to search by domain authority, followers, keywords, and more. A little more expensive than Grouphigh but seems to have a larger database. The only downside is it seems to filter based on posts versus main site keywords.
- Ahrefs – Yes, this is an SEO tool but one I also use for list building. They have a great Keyword Explorer but my favorite is the Competitive Domains option which I find a perfect fit and want more. The only downside is this tool is for sites and blogs only.
Once you have your list, it is time to create your marketing outreach campaign which should focus on targeting and customization as well as multiple touchpoints. And well, that is an entirely new post 🙂
While there is no “easy button” in influencer marketing, with the proper preparation and strategy, it will be one of your top-performing channels.