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In the social media age, Influencers are the bold new face of guerilla marketing. Traditional media has seen a distinct downfall, and with it traditional advertising has dwindled in appeal for SMEs. Gone are the days when the only advertising opportunities for an SME were a newspaper ad or a local radio slot.
With the change to online advertising came the birth of the “Influencer”. But what does that even mean? In this article we’re going to dive into what Influencers are, and how you can leverage them to get the most out of your Amazon FBA business.
“Influencer” is a word that has been thrown around online so much that it has practically become meaningless. We’ve all seen the articles about “influencers” demanding free products in exchange for promotion, some of you may see the word “influencer” as being synonymous with “cheapskate” or “freeloader” and I have to say that once I would have agreed with you, but I have seen firsthand the power and benefits of Influencer Marketing, and I would urge you to give it a chance.
So first things first. Let’s define Influencer.
In its simplest form an influencer is someone who can promote your product based solely on their online following. They hold influence over their followers, and as such can persuade them that YOUR product is worth buying. This is an invaluable asset for any business, and when leveraged correctly can lead to a significant ROI.
In 2020, Influencers are spread across a wide variety of platforms, which gives you unprecedented choice in what suits you and your business. Are you selling a product that is focused on aesthetics? Then Instagram is likely the place for you. Perhaps your product is best showcased in action in a video, then you should look at YouTube. Facebook is generally best if you’re targeting a slightly older demographic, and if your product has the potential for virality then Twitter may be the best platform.
These are only examples, and there are other platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, TikTok and Twitch that all have potential depending on your target market.
So now we know what an influencer is, and where they tend to build their followings, let’s take a look at the actual benefits of Influencer Marketing.
Influencer Marketing can be incredibly beneficial in a lot of different ways, in this section we’ll break those benefits down and discuss how best to make use of them.
When discussing any kind of marketing, ROI (Return On Investment) is the most important metric. If you could consistently spend $1 to earn $2 you would end up rich. While no ROI is ever predictably consistent, studies have shown that Influencer Marketing has shown shockingly high ROIs, with some companies reporting up to $18 of value for every $1 spent. To put that in more impressive terms, a $1000 marketing campaign with that ROI would bring $18,000 worth of value to the business.
Of course those numbers are based on the extremes, according to a study conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, the average ROI of Influencer Marketing was $5.20 per $1 spent, which is still an incredibly significant return. It is important to note that when executed poorly, with improper research, Influencer marketing can be a financial black hole, with 25% of businesses in the same study reporting losses on their Influencer Marketing campaigns.
Compare this average to PPC Marketing, where a study showed an average ROI of $2 per $1 spent. This is still a fantastically profitable ROI and should be applauded, but these numbers paint a vivid picture about the underutilisation and profit potential of Influencer Marketing in the right circumstances.
If you are building a brand, earning your initial reputation is one of the most difficult obstacles to successfully navigate. Before someone buys your product they will go through a series of tests of their trust in your business. Let’s use earphones as an example.
A potential customer searches for “earphones” on Amazon. This is the first test. If your listing isn’t on the first page, it’s likely that they will never see it, but even if they do, they’ve already subconsciously marked it down because it’s not listed as highly as other similar products. If your product hasn’t passed this test, take a look at our Amazon SEO Guide.
The best way to keep on top of this step is KeyworX Amazon Rank Tracker. You can use KeyworX to track exactly where you are ranked for your keywords, and with that knowledge you can easily work towards improving your rankings.
This is a very simple test, if a potential customer already knows your brand, they have the pre-established trust of familiarity. Selling earphones against reputable household names like Sony, Sennheiser and Beats is a challenge, with a new brand this is difficult to overcome and will leave you at a disadvantage.
Assuming you’ve passed the first test and the second wasn’t a dealbreaker, now your potential customer is reading your listing and because it’s well optimised, they like what they see. Next comes the review test. they’ve never heard of your brand before, so they’re reading your reviews to make sure that everyone who has already bought the earphones is happy with the quality. Every review that is less than perfect will negatively impact their opinion of your product. A survey has shown that 94% of consumers have avoided a business because of negative reviews.
Using the right influencer is like building a bypass around the messiness of these trust tests.
One of the greatest assets a well researched influencer can bring to a business is trust. 4/10 millennials have said that their favourite content creators understand them better than their friends, while 70% of teenage subscribers trust online content creators over traditional celebrities. These are well established trusts with large audiences that can be leveraged to great effect.
Let’s look at our trust tests again.
The Search Test is irrelevant now, because the influencer’s audience will be going directly to your listing. The Review Test may still come into play, but you have the benefit of having a recommendation from someone that is held in high regard, which is enough to offset a slightly lower review score. Finally The Reputation Test, you have the obvious benefit of the instant reputational gain, but another benefit of this is that if anyone who sees the influencer content doesn’t instantly buy, they’ve now heard of your product, so if they need your product in 6 months time, it has the benefit of being familiar now.
Where Brand Awareness is concerned, few marketing channels can scale as fast as Influencer Marketing.
We’ve previously talked about the importance of high quality imagery for your Amazon listings. Perhaps one of the most overlooked benefits of using influencers, particularly on Instagram, is the content you receive on top of the direct sales. When browsing Influencers you can usually spot their visual style fairly easily, this makes it simple to choose Influencers with styles that match what you are aiming for with your business.
The advantage of this type of content over traditional photographers is the organic use of the products. Typically these images will show the product in use in a way that is aesthetically focussed and targeted to be successful in a social media context. When used in conjunction with your professional images you can use these organic images to promote a much more organic brand perception.
Combined with the potential ROI and the Brand Awareness benefits, and you can see why Influencer Marketing is worth considering for your FBA business.
So you’ve decided to try out Influencer Marketing for your FBA Business, here’s what you need to do before you start reaching out.
This should be self-evident, you need to find influencers that are active in your niche. For FBA Influencers you will want to specifically target Micro-Influencers. These are Influencers who are popular within an extremely narrow niche, typically they will have an audience that is highly engaged and very interested in their very specific niche.
If you’ve been using KeyworX to track your product’s ranking on Amazon, you have easy access to a full list of relevant keywords to use in your search for influencers. Using KeyworX to find synergistic influencers to use with your product will help guarantee the highest possible ROI on your Influencer Marketing campaigns. KeyworX will also allow you to monitor any Amazon SEO improvements you may gain from your campaign.
As with all marketing, it’s important to determine what you are aiming to achieve with your campaign. Set KPIs for measuring your success, and create a budget.
Budgeting for Influencer Marketing is a complex topic. Depending on your niche and the audiences of your target influencers, your costs can vary from just the product to thousands on top of the product.
This is likely to be the most time consuming part of the process. The length of the list is down to personal preference, for some businesses you may only list 10, for others you will have 100 potentials. There’s no rules for how many you should contact, but there are a few key factors to consider when curating your list.
This should be self-evident, but choosing influencers that are relevant to your business is of paramount importance. If you’re selling car accessories a beauty page with 100,000 followers is going to be less useful than an auto focused page with 10,000 followers. The more specific to your niche, the better as you tend to find that hyper-focused pages have highly engaged audiences.
Audience is the main appeal of an influencer, and usually the number that will dictate your costs. Typically you will need to pay for any influencer with upwards of 10,000 followers, but that can depend entirely on the individual influencer and the niche that you are targeting.
While Audience may be the appeal of an influencer, engagement is the true measure of how effective they may be. Engagement is essentially a metric that represents how active and engaged an audience is. High engagement means that the influencer has an effective hold on their audience and will be more likely to bring positive results for your business. An easy way to get a quick look at engagement is to go through the posts and see how many likes/comments there are on average. It’s also worth checking engagement specifically on sponsored posts, typically this will always be slightly lower than their average, but it will show how responsive to sponsored content the audience are.
As we mentioned before, the imagery you gain can be a vital benefit, and choosing an influencer with an aesthetic style that resonates with your business will allow you to reuse the imagery across all of your own platforms.
Depending on your budget you may want to stagger this process, so you are only contacting a small number of Influencers at a time, to avoid overreach.
Using the outreach list from the previous step, you can start this process with ease. This step doesn’t need to be extremely formal, a good template would look something like this:
My name is [your name] from [company]. I really enjoy your [relevant content] and am impressed by how well you’ve done with [their company name]. I’m reaching out to you because I have a product that I think your audience would appreciate. Would you be willing to test and review [product]?
I can provide a free sample for you to review, and three extra ones that you can give away to your audience.
Please let me know if you are interested.
Thanks for your time,
This template and others are featured at this link.
At this point you should have some interest from your influencers, all that remains is to have them agree to your contract and you can sit back and reap the rewards.
The contract should absolutely be a priority here, to protect your business and product. Remember to include key information, including but not limited to;
Of course the contract should have other more typical clauses, such as non-disparagement and termination clauses, but these are some specific to influencers that you should always remember to include.
Now that you’ve agreed all the details with your influencers, you’re ready to sit back and watch the sales come in.
At this point you know all you need to get started with Influencer Marketing. However, there is still the very significant question of relevance. Not all FBA businesses will benefit from Influencer Marketing, there are some major questions you need to ask before delving into Influencer Marketing.
When operating an FBA business, branding can often be an afterthought, it isn't completely necessary to the process and in some cases it can yield next to no return to put effort into creating a brand identity. However if your business is built around a strong central brand identity you will likely find Influencer Marketing to be more productive.
Similar to the previous question, Influencer Marketing works best within social media ecosystems. If your brand has no presence on these channels it will be more difficult to reap the benefits from influencers.
This is an important question, as influencers have been known to refuse to put their name behind sub par products. Of course having a high quality product is important in all steps of the FBA process, but if you have any doubts about the quality of your product, then avoid Influencer Marketing, as a negative review from an influencer can be devastating to a business
Typically influencers prefer products they can get excited about, as that usually produces the best content. If your product is something with utility but little excitement, you’re unlikely to get influencers excited about it. Deciding if your product is suitable can be difficult, but a good rule of thumb is to think if you can imagine people enjoying seeing content about your product.
As with any form of marketing, there are countless factors that can affect profitability from Influencers, but done correctly Influencer Marketing can be a huge asset for your FBA business, both in terms of ROI and Brand Awareness. If you have any questions about any aspect of FBA Marketing feel free to contact us.
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