The previous articles in the “Influencer Marketing 101” series covered the following areas:
- How to identify and track the right influencers (Part 1)
- Proven influencer pitching tactics (Part 2)
This comprehensive series is sequential. For maximum value, I highly recommend that you read the previous articles before proceeding.
How can you come up with creative ways to compensate influencers even if you’re on a shoestring budget?
In this article, I will offer practical answers to this common question.
Fortunately, influencers are not created equal. You may decide that bloggers are the perfect influencers for your brand. For others, YouTubers may be the best fit and so forth. That’s why; I made sure to present case studies and examples that cover a wide array of influencers. Still, all of them share one thing in common: CREATIVITY.
Influencer Compensation Method 1: Offer Exceptional Brand Trail Experience
Offering brand trial opportunities is by far the most important component of your entire influencer marketing campaign.
Your number one priority should be helping influencers fully appreciate your brand’s value. This way, you can ensure that they will authentically transfer their positive experience to their trusting audiences.
Here are some ideas for brand trials offers:
- If you offer digital products such as software/infoproducts, your task is simple: Send influencers the needed links to access your brand
- For tangible products, you may organize influencer-exclusive events. To guarantee a high response rate, make sure to give them different options in terms of dates and locations. In the meantime, ask them to commit to attending via RSVP, email reply and so forth
- For the utmost convenience, offer to send your products to their home addresses
- For new product launches, you may give influencers early access to your product or service
In all cases, make sure to eliminate guesswork by providing clear instructions about using your brand. On top of that, spare no effort to ensure that their experience with your brand is exceptional and unforgettable . If you do, your ROI will thank you later…
Exceptional Brand Trial Case Study: Lake Tahoe
The Abbi Agency decided, after careful examination, to team up with influential mom bloggers to help promote their client Lake Tahoe.
Mom bloggers, who were cherry-picked based on very precise criteria, were offered an irresistible giveaway: A free personalized trip to Lake Tahoe including their families!
My favorite keyword here is “personalized”. Constance Aguilar, from the Abbi Agency, explained exactly what turned this marketing campaign into a smashing success:
“Always keep in mind that no two bloggers are the same…Include wiggle room for bloggers that want to throw schedules to the wind and truly soak up their experience.”
Why Do I Love This Campaign?
The Abbi agency took the time to cater to the different preferences and tastes of mom bloggers. While some moms were foodies and would be mainly interested in the cuisine, others would prefer athletic and outdoor activities. How about adventurous moms? They also found their dream trip at Lake Tahoe.
On top of that, mom bloggers were the best fit for a travel destination. Constance beautifully summed up why they went for mom bloggers:
“Bloggers speak very well to different audiences segments. They are trusted sources, and they know more than we do what a mom would look for in terms of traveling. They have the authority to convert like no one else.“
It goes without saying that moms, and only moms, have the highest buying power out of all consumer segments. Would moms be a good influencer-candidate for your brand?
For a healthy dose of inspiration, you may explore proven ways to create successful partnerships with mom bloggers.
A Noteworthy YouTuber Brand Trial Example
When the New York Times launched the latest version of their mobile application, they decided to partner with popular technology YouTubers who were familiar with their older versions.
Armando Ferreira , a Tech YouTuber with 100k+ subscribers, was one of their chosen candidates. Armando was responsible for reviewing the new app and showcasing its details step-by-step, offering users an attractive visual presentation that they wouldn’t find as clear in the textual App Store description.
The video title was eye-catching and compelling: “Android App of the Month | New York Times”
Armando’s video, as well as the videos presented by other tech YouTubers, led to massive users’ engagement with the app. The traffic generated by YouTubers’ efforts was easily measurable and trackable because the app download link was included at the first line of each video description.
In this example, New York Times nailed every imaginable component for a successful marketing campaign starting with choosing Tech YouTubers.
That’s an excellent pick for brand advocates. In fact, I cannot think of a more fitting choice. Can you?
Influencer Compensation Method 2: Offer Irresistible Content Ideas
Influencers are constantly on the look for quality content to engage their audiences and grow their fan base. If you can lift some of this heavy burden off their shoulders by offering irresistible content ideas, you can easily create win-win partnerships with them.
Here are some proven tactics to help you out.
- First and foremost, you must have a vivid understanding of your influencers’ audiences and let them know that you do. As you propose content ideas to influencers, make it crystal clear how (and why) this content is relevant to their audiences.
- Be very clear about your proposed content, making sure to give two or more content options if possible
- Provide access to resources that influencers couldn’t get otherwise such as paid research reports
- Offer attractive ready-made content such as Infographics or in-house presentations
- You may also create content templates including keywords. On the one hand, this approach shows that you value influencers’ time. On the other hand, you will ensure that influencers share the key information that you care that their audiences know about your brand
- Open the door wide-open for influencers’ creative ideas as long as they align with your overall objectives
Content Compensation Case Study: Virtual Book Tour
PR agent Brittney Borowicz was in charge of promoting Steve Olsher’s newly published book: “What is Your WHAT? Discover the ONE Amazing Thing You Were Born to Do“.
Brittney decided that a diversified bloggers outreach campaign was the best strategy.
She contacted bloggers who specialize in writing book reviews as well as bloggers who wrote about finding life purpose in general.
Bloggers were given 3 awesome content ideas to choose from:
- Bloggers may host a guest blog post written by the author
- Bloggers may interview the author
- Bloggers may publish a book review
This virtual book tour campaign yielded massive ROI: The first three posts alone led to 5,000+ book sales.
Why Do I Love This Campaign?
Diversifying Influencer types between book reviews bloggers and life-purpose bloggers was a key factor in reaching a wide array of audiences.
In addition, offering awesome content choices led to easily getting a firm “Yes!” from a substantial number of bloggers.
I particularly love the guest blog post option because it’s effortless for influencers but still relevant to their audiences. Even super-busy bloggers cannot turn down such a convenient offer.
In the meantime, guest blogging will enable the book author to highlight his book’s UVP (unique value proposition) in his own words and enjoy free exposure to the bloggers’ audiences.
A Super-cool YouTuber Video Sponsoring Example
Audible.com, an amazon company, sponsored videos for a wide variety of popular YouTubers in order to spread the word about their audio products.
They were very “subtle” in their approach as you wouldn’t see their logo all over the videos and you wouldn’t see the YouTuber raving about their brand the entire video.
When they sponsored a video for JackFilms, a YouTube star with a whopping 2M+ subscribers, the video lasted for 13 minutes but he only mentioned Audible in the 12th minute!
What I admired the most is that they gave the YouTuber the freedom to infuse his mention of their brand with his original style. He made a hilarious acronym about Audible that had nothing to do with the brand’s message. Still, his audiences loved it. Isn’t that what matters most?
The video title was compelling: “The Very Best of Jackasks” which yielded massive viewership because “Jackasks” is a keyword used for Jack’s recurring video series.
That’s a smart move on Audible’s behalf. Having said that, it probably took extensive YouTuber content research in order to figure out the best video title to use. (If you wish to create an equally successful campaign, be prepared to do your research homework.)
Audible also made sure to entice Jack’s fans to check out their brand by creating a URL using his recurring keyword “jackasks” on top of the video description: http://www.audible.com/jackasks
Influencer Compensation Method 3: Brand-driven Contests And Giveaways
Contests, when designed creatively, are one of the fastest and most “sticky” brand awareness tactics. That’s what I meant by “brand-driven” in the title above. In other words, your contest ideas should revolve around your brand so that participants would have FUN exploring it.
When you pitch influencers about a contest, be very specific about how the contest will work. As always, make sure to indicate what’s in for the influencers as well as their audiences.
Superb Influencer Marketing Case Study: A Cook Off Contest
The following case study was presented in this must-read e-book: 10 Hand Curated Blogger Outreach Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign
“Challenge: Grocery store chain, Food Lion, wanted to refresh their image and reintroduce their brand as a source who provides fresh ingredients for frugal meals for entire families. To build a network of influencers to help promote their image, Food Lion has added blogger outreach to their marketing and PR strategy.
How They Did it: Food Lion enlisted the help of agency, Theory House, who contacted and formed relationships with bloggers in the Baltimore area who had an affinity for writing about food, frugal meals and couponing.
The bloggers who fit their goal were part of a cook off at a local restaurant in which they had access to only Food Lion brand ingredients. The bloggers competed to make the best meal for the lowest price for a family of 4.
The Results: Of the approximately 24 bloggers they reached out, 12 bloggers participated in the campaign and wrote about their experiences making great food with affordable ingredients. Not to mention that the bloggers walked into the competition as influential bloggers and left as advocates for Food Lion.“
What Do I Love About This Campaign?
The easier question is: “What’s not to love about Food Lion’s campaign?“
- Did Food Lion manage to find the right influencers for their brand?
- Was their contest brand-driven?
- Did the participants have fun exploring their brand?
- Was Food Lion successful in creating an unforgettable experience for influencers that turned them into lifetime brand advocates?
The answer is “Yes, indeed!” to all of the above. Way to go, Food Lion.
Awesome Influencer YouTuber Giveaway Example
As the name implies, “Try The World” advocates world discovery through food. They offer their customers a “…curated box of authentic gourmet food from a different country every 2 months.“
Missy’s video idea was quit fitting for a super-creative brand that has “guess what’s inside the box” written all over it. With some help from her husband, she showcased “Try The World” to her fans by tasting the food items of one of the boxes blindfolded. Her catchy video title says it all: “TASTE TEST CHALLENGE!”
The top of the video description included an irresistible 30% giveaway and, similar to the Audible case study, they created a url including Missy’s name. Even better, her name was part of the giveaway coupon code as well.
This’s how their conversion-magnet video description looked like:
Generally speaking, contests and giveaways have the immediate advantage of capturing influencers’ audiences.
Most companies ask participants for a Facebook page like or an email list subscription as a prerequisite for entering their contests. if the prize is attractive and nifty enough, these conditions would seem legitimate and justifiable to contest entrants.
Thanks to a one simple contest, you may find a substantial increase in your mailing list or social media followers. It’s your job to keep nurturing these fresh leads and turn them into buying customers.
To Monetize Or Not To Monetize…That’s The Question!
If your budget allows, carefully planned monetization can give a much-needed uplift to your influencer marketing campaign.
The stat above reveals that nearly 70% of surveyed bloggers would accept monetary compensation. (You may check out more influencer compensation stats by reading this comprehensive e-book: Compensating Influencers while Maintaining Consumer Trust )
If budget is not an issue, another alarming question would come to mind: “If you paid influencers to endorse your brand, would their audiences trust their recommendations?“
The answer is “Yes” if (and only if) you kept in mind the key takeaway of the previous article in this series:
“Make your cherry-picked influencers fall in love with your brand and GENUINELY appreciate its value. In turn, they will AUTHENTICALLY introduce it to their trusting audiences for optimal ROI.”
In addition, transparency and earning audiences’ trust go hand-in-hand. Make sure that influencers are clearly labeling their paid endorsements of your brand.
Influencer Marketing Campaigns Best Practices Checklist
I will sum up the best practices inspired by the above case studies and examples in a short and sweet checklist…
- Do extensive research about your influencers in order to determine the best way to attract their audiences (Including “Jackasks” in the video title and url for Audible case study was a result of extensive research on their chosen influencer’s popular keywords.)
- Think quality not quantity in terms of number of influencers as well as the content they will share about your brand (In the examples above, we discovered that a one piece of compelling content can suffice. Moreover, Lake Tahoe invited only 6 bloggers to their personalized trip. Still, they focused on catering to the individual preferences of each blogger which made their campaign very successful.)
- Turn influencers into lifetime brand advocates by giving them opportunities to fully explore your brand and appreciate its value (The Food Lion case study is a great example.)
- Successful influencer marketing campaigns require time and effort. If you’re too busy, consider hiring a well-reputed agency to do the job. You may also try time-saving influencer marketing solutions
Even though I spent hours researching case studies to include in this article, my search journey was immensely enjoyable.
The more I read, it became evident to me that marketers are so fortunate that they stretch their creative muscles and get paid for it
Now I would love to know your take on all of the above…Which of the case studies/examples presented here is most suitable for your brand?
If uncertain, tell me about your business in the comments below so we can brainstorm ideas until you say: “Aha! That’s it.“
Stay tuned for upcoming articles in this series as I will be covering:
- How can influencer marketing enhance your content marketing strategy as a whole?
- Is influencer marketing the new “inbound affiliate marketing”?
- Do you have what it takes to become a highly paid influencer?
- Plus detailed case studies and success stories
I look forward to reading your insights in the comments. Your valuable contribution is much appreciated. To your success!
Influencer Marketing 101 Series:
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- How To Reward Your Brand Advocates (Without Money)
- How To Calculate Multi-Touch Attribution For Social
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