Influencer marketing isn’t just about content and awareness. Discover how to maximize your campaigns and drive sales with Heepsy.
Influencer marketing campaigns can have diverse objectives. Some brands use it to grow brand awareness. Some use it to create brand trust and brand community. Others use it to generate content that they can then repurpose for ads and other assets. And some others use it to drive sales.
True, sales is the white whale of influencer marketing—what every brand wants but which not every one actually gets. But it is possible. You just need to be realistic about your objective and inform yourself about how to best build your campaign to achieve it.
This blog post will walk through how to drive sales through influencer marketing.
Understanding sales and influencer marketing
Any effective influencer marketing strategy should lead to sales in some way in the end. But what type of sales you make, and how you get to those sales, can differ.
Long-term sales occur as a result of your influencer marketing campaigns growing brand awareness, engagement, and trust over time. These sales are much harder to track than short-term sales, because you can’t alway be 100% sure of the consumer’s path to purchase.
For example, let’s say you’re a water sports equipment brand. Your brand ambassadors promote your products regularly, and their followers begin to recognize your brand as a solution in your industry.
Then, when one of those followers needs protective clothing and snorkel gear for an upcoming trip to Hawaii, they remember your brand from having seen it on social media. They Google your name, arrive at your website, and buy the products they need.
A sale, great! But, with the user taking that path, you won’t necessarily be able to know that the reason they looked you up was because of the content published by your brand ambassadors.
Short-term sales are much easier to track, as they’re the result of influencer campaigns that are seasonally activated or specifically sales-focused.
One easy way to track these sales is by offering influencers a unique discount code to share with followers. Coupon codes help incentivize consumers into buying, but also make it easy to see within your e-commerce platform which influencers brought in the most sales.
When using influencer discount codes, keep three rules in mind:
- Make the code unique and easily identifiable for each influencer. The best way to do this is to include their name.
- Use all capital letters. Did you know that children get taught capital letters first because they’re easier to distinguish? Using capital letters helps your code stand out in influencer captions and also makes it easier for the consumer to read the code.
- Keep codes short and easy to copy. Don’t assume everyone can always copy and paste. You don’t want to end up with an abandoned cart because the buyer wasn’t able to easily use the discount code.
For the sake of this article, we’ll be focusing mostly on short-term sales.
Is your brand ready to drive sales through influencer marketing?
Now, influencer marketing isn’t a sales solution for all brands. It will be much easier for some brands to generate sales through influencers than others.
You’re an e-commerce (or have e-commerce logistics in place)
If you want to increase sales through any digital marketing method, you’ll need a way of customers digitally buying your products. So if you’re not an e-commerce or have the capacity to somehow take online orders and ship products to people, stop reading now. Come back here when you have that part worked out.
Your products have a lower price point
It’s going to be a lot easier to drive sales through influencer marketing when you’re not asking people for an arm and a leg in return. Cheaper products are easier purchase decisions, and consumers will be more likely to buy in the moment when they see those types of products on an influencer’s feed.
Everyday consumer products—skincare, cosmetics, fashion, food, etc—are going to be better product candidates for influencer sales than fine jewelry and expensive home appliances.
Your products have a short customer journey and less consideration is needed
In connection with the point above, it’s easier to drive sales through influencer marketing when the product has a short customer journey and doesn’t require a lot of consideration.
Think about what types of products you’d take recommendations from friends for. You might ask your friend for her favorite shampoo or his most comfortable sneakers and feel comfortable buying either after you get their seal of approval.
But for a diamond ring, a new car, or a refrigerator, a recommendation might not be enough. You’ll likely want to do some research, shop around, and even test out different products before deciding on one.
Likewise, influencer marketing sales are much easier for B2C brands than for B2B brands. This is because B2B products generally have longer sales cycles, and more people are involved in the purchase decision than just the person who saw the influencer content featuring the product.
Your brand is already established on social media
You can’t do influencer marketing if your brand doesn’t already have a presence on social media. It’s as simple as that. Influencers won’t want to collaborate with you if your social profiles are empty or outdated.
And if influencers promote your products and consumers can’t find your brand through mentions, hashtags, links, and searches on the same platform, you’re missing out on opportunities for both awareness and sales.
So make sure you have your own content strategy and a social storefront set up so that potential buyers can shop your products right from Instagram, TikTok, or whatever channel you use.
On top of that, having a decent level of engagement on social media shows that your brand is well-positioned to sell through that channel.
Influencer strategies for driving sales
Now that you know whether or not your brand is ready to drive sales through influencer marketing, let’s take a look at some IM strategies you can use to do that.
First, consider paying influencers commissions. Most influencers won’t accept commission-based incentive alone, but you can combine a flat fee and commission scheme to create an attractive compensation package.
When influencers know they’re earning $5 or 5%—for example—on each sale, they’ll be more compelled to create content and publish it in a way to generate sales.
This is where those influencer discount codes come into play, so that you can track exactly who is bringing in each sale. Another way to do this is with a personalized link. Most e-commerce platforms have features for this type of tracking.
Tip: If you don’t have a specific feature in your e-commerce platform for influencer sales, use your affiliate sales features instead.
Seasonal and one-off campaigns
Seasonal and one-off, sales-focused campaigns are the best ways to drive short-term sales using influencer marketing. So get out your calendar, and plan out when you can take advantage of this strategy.
Holiday touchpoints are great times to do this. Think Black Friday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July, and so on. Consider your products too. Floral arrangements and beauty coffrés might sell better for Mother’s Day. And video game consoles might sell better on Black Friday.
Also consider sales campaigns tied to new product launches. Working with influencers to promote new products that just hit the market is a great way to play on urgency. Consumers like to feel like they’re scoring a deal and are ahead of the trend, so offering a special incentive when your product first drops could boost sales in that initial moment.
Tip: Different countries and regions have different holidays when sales are popular, so make sure to do a bit of research based on your target demographics.
Whitelisting, or allowlisting, lets you repurpose influencer content as paid ads. The trick is that instead of advertising with your brand’s handle, you do it through the influencer’s account with their handle.
You can also add shoppable links and target your ideal audience, leading to a better chance of driving sales via social media.
Tip: Do whitelisting with influencers you already have an established relationship with. Having access to someone’s account and using their handle for ads is pretty intimate, so you’ll want to work with influencers you already know and trust (and who trust you).
How to drive sales with Heepsy
Heepsy can help you drive sales through influencer marketing. Here are a few of the ways how.
Collaborate with current customers and brand fans
Heepsy lets you upload a list of customers, and we then give you the capacity to search for influencers among them. Similarly, you can connect your Instagram account and filter through the people who interact with you there. Or, check your interactions daily with Heepsy’s social radar.
Working with existing customers has huge benefits. They already know and use your products, which means they’ll be better able to highlight what makes them special. They also already know your brand, so whatever content they create will most likely be well-aligned with what your brand is all about. This all comes together to form a more authentic experience for followers, which in turn has a higher chance of leading to sales.
With customers, you might be able to lower your investment, too. Since you know they love your products, you might be able to get them to promote you in exchange for a product-based package.
Brand fans—the people who interact with you on social media—are also great influencer candidates for driving sales. They engage with your brand on social media, so something has caught their eye. Since they’re already excited about your brand, their promotions will come across as more organic, which means a better chance of driving sales.
Create a campaign with commissions and let influencers apply
Heepsy lets you post your campaign to our marketplace. When you do that, you get to choose the type of incentive you’re prepared to offer influencers: gifted products, fee, and/or commission.
Once your campaign goes live on Heepsy, influencers can find it and apply to collaborate with you.
So if you create a campaign with a commission element, you’ll be able to attract influencers who want to work on a commission basis. This leads to you finding people with the right motivations to help you achieve your sales goal.
The bottom line
It’s possible to drive sales with influencer marketing, but it’s not for every brand. Make sure your brand’s products are appropriate and that your social media presence (and e-commerce logistics) are up and running before tackling sales as an influencer marketing objective.