Have you ever heard of influencer marketing? 101 Management is going to explain it here, and show you how to use it to grow your business exponentially. In fact, if done correctly, influencer marketing can gain you more customers than all other forms of marketing combined.

To define it as simply as possible, influencer marketing uses influencers — that is, people with a substantial following — to influence your target audience to buy your product or service.

The Beginnings of Influencer Marketing

This type of marketing has been around for many years. Back in the early days of television, sponsors of popular shows expected the stars to push their products during commercial breaks. Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore touted Cheer detergent and Joy dishwashing liquid during commercials on the 1960s TV show “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” to cite one early example.

The idea is, if you the consumer hear someone you like or trust recommend a product or service, you’ll be much more likely to purchase it than if a company tells you how great its goods are. Modern-day examples on TV include Alex Trebek hawking life insurance, Tom Selleck flogging reverse mortgages, and so on.

For our purposes, influencers involved in Internet marketing these days are rarely celebrities. The concept is still the same, however; influencers are primarily those who are regarded as experts in a given area, with audience credibility. Influencers could be bloggers, social media “stars,” or even loyal customers of a type of product or service. These are the types of people you want to promote what you have to sell.

A Guide to Influencer Marketing

So what steps can you take to opt into this type of marketing?

  1. Create clear goals for your campaign.

“To make more sales” is too broad a goal. It’s better to define a specific goal and work toward that. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive more visitors to your site?

Increase your conversion rate? The ultimate goal is to make more sales, but you need to have a clearly defined path for how to get there.

  1. Narrow down your target audience.

As with any marketing campaign, you need to narrow your focus to obtain the best results. You could waste money, time and effort in marketing to all gardeners, for example, when what you’re really after are people who want to successfully grow roses, or even cabbage roses.

Influencer marketing is most effective when it targets — or even micro-targets — the audience it’s trying to reach. If you don’t know whom you are trying to sell to, there’s no point in going after an influencer to help you do so.

  1. Identify the influencers most likely to influence your target audience.

Influencers with the most followers aren’t necessarily the best for your needs. They also need to be relevant to your specific business, target audience and campaign goals. You’ll need to do online research to learn who has the most influence over your target audience.

For example, a search on “roses” would return results such as rose blogs, rose enthusiasts, and various vendors and reviews. Look for those that most closely match the interests of your target audience, then analyze who their audience is, and what kind of engagement they receive from their own audience. After awhile, you’ll be able to tell whether they are a match for you.

  1. Establish a relationship with the influencer you have selected.

Reach out to the influencer through social media, email, or some other informal means. It’s important to establish a relationship that’s mutually beneficial, and not just based on using them to promote your product or service. If you approach the relationship with respect, you are more likely to gain the influencer’s attention and assistance.

Influencer marketing is not just the wave of the future — it’s here now, and it’s the best way to break through the chaos of advertising consumers are bombarded with daily. For more help in planning your campaign and strategy, contact the expert marketers at 101 Management, Inc.