You only have so many marketing dollars to spend every year (unless you’re among the lucky few who have a blank check to work with). And you’re constantly having to prioritize where to use that budget to get the most bang for your buck. It’s a struggle when you’re not sure which efforts will lead to the best results, or which expenses will really be worthwhile in the long run.
I’ll make these tough decisions a little bit easier for you: invest in influencer marketing. If you’re not doing it yet, start making it a priority right way. If you’re already dabbling, double down on it.
Strong words, I know. But influencer marketing is the best strategic move you can make, whether you’re working on a shoestring budget for a startup, or you’ve got a decent sum for a large organization. Here are a few reasons why.
It cuts through the noise.
Your brand is in constant competition for your audience’s attention. People are using multiple devices all the time, and they’re often overwhelmed by their social media feeds, videos, blogs, websites, ads. They’re burnt out on digital ads, and ad blocking is growing stronger all the time. They welcome a way to pare down the information coming their way. They would much rather curate content tailored to their interests than have to sift through all the riffraff. Influencer marketing lets your audience cut through all the stuff that doesn’t interest them – and get right to information that’s helpful or entertaining.
It builds trust and authenticity.
Word-of-mouth recommendations still carry a lot of weight. Your audience knows to take a billboard or a TV ad with a grain of salt. But they trust the recommendations of influencers they like and respect. That YouTube cooking star swears by a certain brand of tortillas? Definitely worth checking out. That travel blogger has a list of must-pack airplane survival tools? Order them all immediately.
A 2015 McKinsey study found that social recommendations resulted in an average of 26% of purchases across 30 categories and 100 brands. About two-thirds of that impact was direct, playing a major role at the point of purchase; the other third was indirect. Social media had an effect earlier in the decision-making process – for example, helping create awareness about a product and its attributes.
It’s wide open for creative ways to stand out.
Influencer marketing is agile and adaptable to your audience. It offers countless opportunities to get creative and reach customers in new ways. This can mean partnering with influencers in your space who run a podcast, a blog, a YouTube channel, a live event or a Snapchat account.
Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing channel for customer acquisition, according to a 2015 Thomson study. At 22%, it outpaces organic search (17%), email marketing (15%) and paid search (14%).
Marketers are also seeing its impact and value in a big way. Businesses surveyed are making $6.50 for each $1 spent on influencer marketing, with the top 13% earning $20 or more and 70% earning $2 or more. And 51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing – which explains why 59% plan to increase their budget for it.
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