A new study by Marketing Sherpa (as reported by eMarketer) found that print, TV and radio ads were all found to be trusted by over 70% of consumers when making a purchase, while sponsored content on blogs were trusted by 43% of consumers and ads on podcasts were trusted by 37% of buyers.
Given how marketers are increasingly shifting digital budgets to influencer marketing, these findings are significant, and worth a closer examination. As I’ve stated here before, working with influencers can have a place in your marketing mix. However, it is typically best utilized to raise awareness, not to convince customers to make a purchase. But regardless of how you will be working with influencers, you want to tailor that relationship based on what your goals are.
If you are working with an influencer to build awareness, then content that introduces the influencer’s audience to your product/brand works better. More specifically, you want to have the influencer create content that helps explain the possible connection between their audience, and the product you are trying to build awareness for. The content isn’t exclusively focused on your product, it’s more about helping the influencer’s audience understand how your product could fit into their lives.
If you are working with an influencer to drive sales, then content that helps close the sale is better. Check out the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 video below for a great example of this.
Regardless of how you will be working with an influencer, make every effort to make sure they understand your product as completely as possible. If the influencer can’t understand how your product works or why it is relevant to their audience, then they can’t create content that explains this to their audience. And here’s a Pro-Tip: It’s more important to work with an influencer that is familiar with and who USES your product than it is to work with an influencer with a larger following, that has never heard of you. An influencer that is familiar with and who uses your product can always do a better job of explaining why your product is awesome to their audience.
An Example of Content From an Influencer That Drove Sales
Several years ago I was in the market for a carry-on luggage bag. I saw this video from Chris Brogan and immediately bought the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 featured in this video (still have it to this day, it’s absolutely bulletproof and I love it).
Here’s why this video convinced me to buy a $300 carry-on:
1 – Relevance. I was in the market for a carry-on and had just begun doing research on which one to buy. This was the exact content I needed at exactly the right time.
2 – I trust Chris. Chris positioned the video as a product that he uses as a frequent traveler. He also referenced the fact that Mitch Joel (also a frequent traveler) also used the bag, which further added credibility to the video. Sidenote: Since I bought and love the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 that Mitch endorsed, I’m now about to buy a laptop bag that I saw Mitch praise on Facebook.
3 – The video clearly demonstrates the product in action. Chris shows me exactly how the bag will easily hold enough clothes for a multiple-day trip, and for good measure shows you how it has enough room to take home a few books with you, which I always seem to collect when I speak at or attend events. In fact, I just confirmed with Adobe that I will be attending the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas in March as part of their Influencer program. It will be a 5-day trip for me, and the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 will handle it with ease.
BTW, it’s worth noting that this was not sponsored content, Chris just created this video to be helpful, which he always is. My point was if you want to work with influencers to drive sales, keep this video in mind when you are crafting your efforts.
As with any other part of your digital marketing efforts, working with influencers requires proper planning and a good strategy. Your brand should benefit, the influencer should benefit, and perhaps most importantly, the influencer’s audience should benefit. Create a way for all three parties to benefit, and you’ve got a winner.