Project creators have many things in common, but one is their passion to bring their idea to life. That passion is what makes crowdfunding so exciting, right? Once you’ve discovered your next big idea, prototyped it and are readying to launch a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to consider how to get the word out.
Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the rise of influencers and the power they hold when it comes to harnessing the purchasing power of the people in their circles. For brands that tap into that power the right way, it can create organic buzz, which can translate into a lot of money.
But, as appealing and popular as it might be, influencer marketing isn’t right for every product, brand or crowdfunding campaign. Before you invest your time and energy incorporating influencer marketing into your overall marketing strategy, it’s important to understand how it works and what you’ll need in order to properly execute an influencer marketing campaign.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Simply put, influencer marketing is marketing to influencers. In the same way that you market your new product, or crowdfunding campaign, to people you hope will support you, influencer marketing is about the audience you’re trying to reach. With this strategy, your goal isn’t necessarily to get influencers to back your project, but rather to get them to encourage their followers and circles of influence to support your brand. On a grand scale, this includes celebrity endorsements.
What is an Influencer?
Anyone is an influencer. Yes, you read correctly. Everyone has influence over people in their lives. That’s why word of mouth advertising and marketing are so powerful. It’s much easier to take the recommendation of a friend or another person you trust than it is to follow the suggestion of a stranger. While every person has influence, not every influencer is the same.
Celebrities are influencers with the most followers. Celebrity influencers may be famous, household names, but they also include people who have such large followings that they are the “elite” in the influencer world. They’ll have follower counts in the millions and be represented by agents who act as intermediaries when setting up marketing relationships. Accessing their audiences can be beneficial, but expensive.
These large influencers generally have several hundred thousand followers. They’re smaller celebrities, or stars with large audiences, but they publish their own content and have channels that get regular engagement.
Journalists, business leaders and subject matter experts are among the most authoritative influencers out there. Many of these people aren’t paid for their opinions, but securing them can be important for brands. Because these people produce their own content and engage with their readers outside of the articles, they often have hybrid roles in the influencer world. These folks are generally part of a traditional public relations strategy, as opposed to influencer marketing.
Micro-influencers have less than 25,000 followers, on average. These small, but mighty, forces are actively engaged with their communities. They curate content their followers want to see and have highly-focused topics. They’re trusted voices among their networks. This group is most beneficial for small businesses, because their rates are more reasonable and their work more closely resembles that of traditional word-of-mouth efforts.
Should My Campaign Engage in Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is fantastic for existing brands with a combination of the following: product for review, budget and a compelling story. All three aren’t necessary, but you’re wanting these people to buy in to your brand, and to share it with the people who look to them for information, suggestions, entertainment and more. For many influencers, even on the micro level, working with brands is part of their livelihood, so be prepared to offer something in exchange for their time and effort. Many crowdfunding campaigns don’t have media samples to give away, so it’s imperative that a budget is identified and a relatable story is presented.
Know what you can offer each influencer and offer it upfront, when possible. Do you want them to tell their circles to back the campaign? Gifting product so they can authentically tell their opinions is typically a great idea – particularly if your company doesn’t have the budget to pay for reviews, and the product is of a reasonable value. With crowdfunding campaigns, influencer marketing is often best kept as a post-campaign publicity strategy.
I’ve got money and product, how do I reach influencers?
If you’ve decided that working with influencers is part of your publicity strategy, it’s best to start early. As you’re working to get prototypes or product to send out, you should also begin identifying influencers who are talking to your audience. The key is to look for influencers whose audiences align with the ideal customer for your product. Spend (a small amount) of time looking into each influencer you wish to work with and see if the engagement from their followers is authentic and active. The more organic and authentic the community formed around each influencer is, the stronger their promotion of your product will be.
Prepare early. Be consistent.
Influencer marketing often starts long before you ever hit send on that first pitch email. Begin with research. Follow the influencers you wish to work with and begin engaging with them. Build out your own presence on social media with the assets you’re curating for your campaign. Be authentic in your interactions with every influencer, regardless of their size. Once you’ve built a foundation of a relationship, you’re ready to begin pitching.
Reaching out to influencers is a numbers and time game. And while you’ve got to be prepared for many of the people you contact to want to partner with your campaign, the reality is that you’re unlikely to get a ton of initial responses. This is OK. What’s most important is to start well before the launch of your campaign, identify a large list of influencers you want to partner with, with their contact information, and make your offer concise and tailored to them specifically. Reaching out early with follow up emails gives the larger influencers on your list time to find time in their content calendars to work with your campaign. Sometimes these calendars are created months in advance.
Still need help building out your strategy?
That’s ok. Enventys Partners is here to help you with a comprehensive strategy from pre-launch through crowdfuding marketing and beyond. When you recruit Enventys Partners, a full-service product launch agency, you’ll get expert advice on crowdfunding marketing strategy, post-campaign ecommerce marketing and product development.
Enventys Partners is there every step of the way – at the beginning of your campaign to your end goal. Enlist the largest crowdfunding marketing team in the business to help spread the word about your campaign, so your campaign and post-crowdfunding business is successful for years to come! Request a quote today.
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