As influencers are becoming more popular, brands are looking for new ways to work with them in digital marketing channels other than social media. In this article, we will look at one of those channels - email marketing. This guide will cover how to work with influencers through email marketing.
But that's not all. We will also see a brief explanation of influencer marketing, the types of influencers, the benefits of running influencer marketing campaigns, and how to find the right influencers for your brand.
How To Work With Influencers Through Email Marketing:
- What Is Influencer Marketing?
- Benefits of Influencer Marketing on Your Marketing Campaigns
- Different Types of Influencers with Examples
- Best Practices on How to Work With Influencers in Your Email Marketing Campaigns
- How to Amplify Your Influencer Email Marketing Campaigns Across Other Channels
- How to Find the Right Influencers to Work With Your Brand
- Wrapping Up
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a strategy that brands use to market their products and services by collaborating with online influencers. These influencers can be popular individuals on social media or the web. They usually have a large and engaged audience that trusts them.
What makes influencers different from viral celebrities is that they have intentionally spent time growing an online audience and building a brand. They have credibility within their industry that businesses looking to boost awareness and drive sales can tap into.
Collaborating with influencers is one of the most effective marketing strategies for many brands. Here are some stats to prove this:
74% of marketers rate the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing as better than other marketing sources.
Influencer Marketing provides a 5X or better ROI
42% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations before making purchase decisions and consumers are more likely to purchase if they trust the influencer.
These are just some of the stats that show the effectiveness of influencer marketing. Next, let's see its benefits.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing on Your Marketing Campaigns
1. Builds Trust and Authority
When a social media influencer, industry expert, or celebrity associates with a brand or shares content about that brand’s products, it provides credibility to the business they are promoting. The reason behind this is simple. If a brand can get a popular and authoritative person to work with them, it gives consumers the perception that the business is trustworthy and an industry leader.
2. Increases Brand Awareness
Influencers can help brands significantly increase their brand reach because these influencers often have thousands, and even millions, of loyal followers that regularly engage with their content. By partnering with influencers, more people will learn about your brand and what you have to offer.
3. Effectively Reach Your Target Audience
With influencer marketing, brands can easily reach out to their target audience because influencers already have the attention of the individuals that brand wants to sell to. The key is to work with relevant influencers for your industry or niche. The next step after this will be to create the right marketing messages and influencer content that will drive customers to take the desired action.
4. Drive Purchase Decisions
Consumers are always looking to influencers for advice on what products and services to buy. And so working with relevant influencers for your brand can help drive sales. In a 2016 study, 40% of participants said that they made a purchase after seeing a social media influencer use the product. If one of the objectives of your marketing campaigns is to increase sales, influencer marketing can help reach your goal.
5. Gain Access to Gen Z and Millennial Consumers
Gen Z and millennials make a huge percentage of the market buying power. In 2020, Gen Z accounted for 40% of all customers in the market. While millennials were worth roughly $1.24 trillion in 2020. Brands that want to see significant growth will have to develop strategies to reach this audience. And this is where influencer marketing comes into play. Research from Kantar shows that 44% of the Gen Z population has made a purchase decision based on the recommendation of a social media influencer. Both millennials and Gen Z trust influencers because they perceive them as real and authentic.
Different Types of Influencers with Examples
Your budget and campaign objective will determine the type of influencer you will work with. So let's break the influencers into four types.
1. Mega Influencers
These individuals have millions of followers on social media. They are usually more famous than influential. They aren't necessarily experts in a particular industry, just very popular and can provide a lot of reach for brands in just one post. They are also very expensive to work with. (Find out how much influencers cost in 2021)
An example of a mega influencer is Kylie Jenner. With over 233 million followers on Instagram, she is rumoured to charge up to $1 million per sponsored post.
While a million dollars is a lot, mega influencers will argue that they are worth the cost since one post from them can put your brand in front of tens of millions of potential customers.
Mega influencers are best for awareness campaigns when you want to get your product or service in front of as many people as possible
2. Macro Influencers
Macro influencers usually rise to influencer status through web-based activities like blogging or podcasting; as opposed to celebrities that make up the mega influencers category. Mega influencers are actors, singers, TV stars, and footballers. Their followers are made up of a diverse audience with interest in different topics. Mega influencers aren't necessarily subject matter experts unlike macro influencers that are often thought leaders and authority figures in their industry. Macro influencers can be popular bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, and social media stars. Their audience size is usually between 100,000 and a few million followers.
A good example of a macro influencer is marketer and blogger Neil Patel. Neil made his name by being one of the top digital marketers in the world. He runs a popular marketing blog and podcast show where he educates his audience.
Macro influencers are best when you want to target a specific audience. They have a sizable following to help you increase brand awareness and reach. They are also significantly cheaper to work with than mega influencers.
Micro-influencers have an audience that ranges between 10,000 to 100,000 followers. They also usually stick to one topic and build thought leadership in that area. Because of this, micro-influencers are more effective in driving actions and helping your business reach its marketing campaign goals.
A good example of a micro-influencer is Miette Dierckx. She is a food and travel influencer with just over 35k Instagram followers. Coca-cola worked with Dierckx and 11 other Belgian influencers to promote their original Coke beverage.
These are customers, followers, and fans of your brand. They are the most important set of influencers. Loyalists promote your brand without you having to request or pay them. They are happy with your products or service and are ready to jump at any opportunity to tell their friends and family about your brand. There is nothing more convincing than a genuine testimonial. It's much more effective than advertising. This is why influencer marketing is so popular today. But when it's your customers promoting your brand, your credibility is amplified.
This is an example of a positive customer testimonial posted on Facebook.
Check out this article to see the types of influencers based on niche.
Best Practices on How to Work With Influencers in Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Incorporate Customer Testimonials and Reviews
Studies have shown that people rely on reviews and testimonials from other customers before making purchase decisions. Adding testimonials and customer reviews to your emails will make your product or service appear more credible and reliable. Customers are more likely to make a purchase when they see that other consumers are happy with their own purchase.
In the email above from Ritual, multiple customers write about their positive experience with the brand. The heading of the email also works - “Transparency is our kind of thing…”. They made sure to let the readers know that the reviews are from real customers.
Partner With Micro-Influencers
Even though micro-influencers have a smaller following, their followers are often more engaged. Micro-influencers are also more closely linked to your audience than mega or macro-influencers; your consumers see them more like peers than influencers. They are seen as more authentic because they are more likely to use the product they are promoting. And this is very important because 85% of consumers say that authenticity plays a big role in determining which brands they support.
Micro-influencers are also cheaper to work with than influencers with a larger following. This means you can work with multiple micro-influencers at a time and amplify your reach even further.
In the email above, J.Crew features Sylvana Durrett - cofounder of a kids clothing site. She is known for her spot-on style. She worked at Vogue for 14 years and has over 20,000 followers on Instagram. In the email, she is showing readers three ways they can style J.Crew's tie-waist skirt in leopard print.
Use Influencers to Promote Email Subscriptions
You can also work with influencers outside the email itself. Influencers regularly promote discounts and special offers from brands to their followers. You can use influencers to promote your email subscriptions or newsletters. A simple way to do this is by offering a special offer. For users to be eligible for the offer, they will have to sign up to your email. When users have signed up to your email, they will receive a welcome email with the special offer.
The welcome email plays a crucial role in determining the success of this particular influencer marketing strategy. Some users might just open the email for the special offer and then abandon your brand. So, it's important that you write a captivating welcome email.
Create Product Collaborations with Influencers
Brands can collaborate with popular influencers to release a themed product. This type of collaboration is very popular in industries like sports and fashion. Creative collaborations are good for the brand and the influencer. The influencer gets a lucrative deal and the brand can convert the influencer's fans into customers.
In the email announcing the collaboration, explain how your brand and the influencer are working together. Email is also a great place to unveil the fruits of the collaboration.
In this example, Fender musical instrument makers collaborated with musician Britt Daniel Tele to create his guitar line called Thinline. In the email, there is a great quote from Britt that explains why he collaborated with the brand. Guitar lovers and fans of Britt will also want a ‘good sounding instrument’. This is a great example of a collaboration between a brand and an influencer.
Use Built-In Brand Influencers
If you have employees in your brand that are already popular in your niche, use them. Your readers already know them and will engage more with emails that include them. This strategy works well in welcome emails. You can add a quote and an image of the influencer to help boost your credibility.
For some brands, their CEO and co-founders are already influential on social media. Check out this welcome email from Food52. It has a welcome message from co-founders Amanda Hesser and Merill Stubbs. The pair are known within the food niche. Amanda has 53K followers on Instagram and Merill has close to 9k followers.
How to Amplify Your Influencer Email Marketing Campaigns Across Other Channels
To generate more ROI from your influencer email marketing campaigns, you can share your email content across other digital channels. The more people that see the content, the more awareness and sales you can generate. Here’s how to do it:
Include Share Buttons in Your Email
This is a simple but effective way to integrate social media into your email marketing. At the bottom of your email, include share buttons of the social media platforms where your target audience spends most of their time. Tip: To ensure readers are sharing on social media, add a prompt next to the share buttons asking them to do so.
Turn the Email Message into Other Forms of Content
Not all of your target audience will be on your email list. So instead you can reach out to them through other digital channels like blogs and podcasts. Collaborate with the influencers to create alternative forms of content. For example, you can create interview-style content just for podcasts.
This strategy will work well if you have a product collaboration with the influencer. In the podcast, you and the influencer can discuss the process of collaborating on the product and why customers will enjoy using it. Unlike email where you are limited on the number of things you can say, you can talk extensively using blogs and podcasts.
How to Find the Right Influencers to Work With Your Brand
If you are ready to start working with influencers, here are some tips to help you choose the right one(s):
Understand What You Are Looking For Before You Start
It is important that you work with influencers that have the same values as your brand. You don't want to work with an influencer that will paint your brand in a negative light in the future. While you cannot control every post an influencer you are working with will update, you will have a good idea of what to expect from them by going through how they already use social media.
For example, if you are a brand that supports transparency and diversity, you will want an influencer that promotes these values. Take your time to review your brand's values before starting your search.
Criteria For Choosing an Influencer To Work With
Relevance: Choose an influencer that is relevant to your brand and the products/services you offer. Read through the influencers feed to understand their audience. Do not choose an influencer just because they have a huge following. While a lot of people might see the post about your brand, you won't get reasonable engagement or conversions because these people are not your target audience.
Engagement: This is a very important metric to look out for. Do their followers respond, comment, and share their posts? Some influencers have thousands of followers with little or no engagement. This could be because their followers are bots, they don't deliver great content, or they are fake influencers that paid for followers. Look for influencers with great engagement. The higher the engagement, the more conversions your campaign will get.
Authenticity: An influencer's followers won't trust their recommendation if it doesn't sound authentic. Don't work with influencers that for 90 percent of their posts are brand-sponsored content. Look for influencers that work with brands that they genuinely believe in and whose products they use. An influencer will only be able to convince their audience of the value of your product when they are consumers themselves.
Where You Can Find Influencers
Influencer marketing platforms: These platforms can help you find suitable influencers for your brand with ease. You can search for influencers using filters such as category, reach, engagement, etc. Some platforms even allow you to perform influencer outreach, run your campaigns, and track your progress all in one place.
Google Alerts: Set alerts for keywords relevant to your brand. Google will help you find people who write about topics relating to your topic or product. By going through these alerts, you might find suitable brand advocates.
Monitor Mentions of Your Brand: Keep an eye on the people that regularly mention your brand in captions or tag you in posts. Some of them might be relevant influencers who are already fans of your brands so you can form a relationship with them. And since they are already using your products, their posts will be more authentic.
Working with influencers can significantly boost the return on investment of your email marketing campaigns. The key is to work with influencers that are relevant to your brand. Take your time to research the influencer before collaborating with them. Also, pay attention to their social media metrics like engagement, number of real followers, and reach.