How to get Influencers to Promote your Business
The key to getting influencers to talk about your products is offering tasty bait. How can you create a win-win offer? Here are some ways you can sweeten the deal:
Send a free product
Send the influencer a free product (and make sure you cover postage!) or invite them in to try out a service (such as a haircut, a teeth-whitening treatment, a restaurant meal, or a hotel stay). For micro-influencers, this may be enough, especially if the product or service is a good one.
Note that “product samples” (products you send out but expect the influencer to return) are less tempting. Not only do they not get to keep a product but they also have the hassle of returning it. If possible, give them something they can keep.
Send many free products
If your products are low-ticket items, such as health food supplements or protein bars, send influencers a hamper. You can even involve other related brands with this and work together if you’re ambitious. An influencer probably isn’t going to write a blog post for just one sachet of protein powder, for example.
Suggest content ideas in your pitch
Like editors, bloggers and influencers are busy. Most smaller influencers have a full-time job completely unrelated to their blog and social media work. They won’t always have time to brainstorm ideas about how to feature your products. If you sell peanut butter, suggest peanut butter recipes. If Christmas or Valentine’s is coming up, suggest that they include your product in a gift guide. Provide the influencer with photos to use as well, the less work they have to do, the more tempting the offer is.
Send them a free product and an extra one to giveaway to their audience
This is a sweeter deal for you and the influencer. Giveaways engage readers/followers much more than product reviews. Use contests to increase your own social followers and/or website visits using a tool like Rafflecopter. If this is a giveaway hosted on social media, you may consider providing the influencer with a budget to boost the post to maximise its reach and engagement.
Set up an affiliate link scheme
Provide the influencer with affiliate links so they can earn a small commission on every sale you make through their links. Many hotel booking websites use this tactic.
Give them exclusive discount codes for their followers
Provide exclusive discount codes or similar deals for the influencer’s followers. If possible, use a unique code for each influencer. This makes the influencer feel special and it allows you to track sales.
Share the influencer’s post on your social media
If your business has good social media followings and engagement, you can promise to share the influencer’s social posts on your own accounts, too. The influencer may appreciate the cross-promotion and you can show off the influencer who’s testing out your products. Third party validation never hurt anyone’s sales!
Invite the influencer to an event
Put on an event for influencers where they can sample your product or see your restaurant/hotel, etc. These work particularly well for big brands and location-based businesses based in areas where there is a high density of relevant influencers (e.g. big cities).
Invite them to join your community of influencers
Invite your influencers to join an exclusive influencer community via a Facebook group. This helps you organise the influencers that you’re working with and re-engage them easily at a later date for a new campaign. It’s also a chance to flatter the influencers and make them feel like an important part of your campaign, rather than an afterthought.
Consider offering the influencer a brand ambassadorship
Consider asking an influencer to be an ‘ambassador’ for your brand. A brand ambassador is an influencer in a long-term agreement with a business. They will promote a company regularly in exchange for exclusive access to new products and services. Larger influencers can become well-paid brand ambassadors—think celebrity sponsorship. I’d always suggest working with the influencer on a smaller scale before setting up a long-term arrangement like this, though.
How to Pitch to Influencers without Feeling Awkward
When you pitch to influencers, be upfront about what you’re offering and what you’d like in return. Influencers get endless streams of pitches from businesses (often terrible, vague template emails that they ignore) so cut the crap and tell them what you want. We’ve worked with thousands of bloggers and influencers and many of our Ninjas are influencers both inside and outside of work. We know from personal experience that playing coy is not the way to go in these pitches.
Our focus in this book is improving your website’s organic ranking. Many businesses work with influencers as a brand awareness or social media building exercise. However, if you’re gunning for better rankings, you want to focus on building backlinks to your website. This means predominantly looking for influencers who have blogs with a good Domain Authority and who write content in a niche relevant to your business.
When you’re pitching to influencers, let them know exactly what you want to get out of the collaboration. If you want your product featured or reviewed on their blog, then get confirmation of this via email upfront. You might agree on more social posts or other promotions with them on top of this, depending on the influencer.