The first three steps to kickoff performance influencer marketing

October 17, 2020
9 min
Avery Schrader
Founder & CEO of Modash.io
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Diving headfirst into a dark abyss is nerve-wracking. But your 8-year-old nephew loves to cannonball off the side of his local pool.

The difference? He knows what to expect. 

Working with thousands of brands on influencer marketing projects, we watch people get stuck on the first steps over and over again. They experience a Falcon 1 level failure to launch.

We’re here to help you push past the unknown beginning and give you practical starting steps.

Step 1: Make a high level plan

A good place to start is the beggining. Make a plan.

Make sure you understand what you’re trying to accomplish and write it down. 

  • How many acquisitions should influencers generate per month? 
  • What’s your best acquisition channel today?
  • How much does it cost to acquire a customer with that channel?
  • Why are we not pushing more money into our current best channel? 
  • What would it look like if influencer marketing was your best acquisition channel? 

Really take the time to write a narrative about how this would look if it was extremely successful (It can be). 

Keep your company's goal setting framework in mind, whether you use OKRs, KPIs, smart goals on an individual level, you should know which goals you’re contributing too.

Your plan might be as simple as this

We sell a meditation app. Our goal is to increase revenue 22% every month. Currently that means adding $60,000 in monthly recurring revenue. That equals about 10,000 new paying customers.

Our best acquisition channel is
Facebook ads. Currently, we can get 1 new customer for about $11 in our core markets (English speaking cities in US and Canada). We can get about 6000 customers per month with that strategy, but we don’t have the money upfront to spend more on those ads (liquidity problem). 

We think influencer marketing can:

  1. Get us a customer for < $11
  2. Solve our liquidity problem by paying influencers in a CPA model (pay monthly for the number of customers they acquire).
  3. Have positive downstream effects on brand, awareness and customer engagement
  4. Become an important part of our long-term strategy of customer acquisition. 
  5. Ramp up to acquire a minimum of 4000 customers per month within 3 months.

Look at that, in just a few sentences, we have a starting point for our campaign. We have defined some goals and expectations, we have written down and understand our goals. We know exactly why we are doing this. We have solid goals and restraints that will help us make decisions. 

Step 2: Define a target audience

To make this easier, you need at least a starting point for your target audience:

  • Their age range
  • Their locations
  • Their gender
  • The types of content they are interested in.

As a consumer product, this is likely enough to get you started with influencer marketing. You will use this information to choose your influencers based on the audience they reach. 

A common sticking point for marketers starting with influencer marketing for the first time is the step of committing to a target market. Don’t be afraid of narrowing your audience, it’s much easier to contact small groups at a time than everyone in the world all at once.

It’s the difference between screaming as loud as you can in a rock concert where no one hears you, and clinking a glass at a wedding - everyone turns their heads and listens to what you have to say. 

Often, it’s helpful when we use the term “guinea pig market”. This helps people understand that their initial target market is an experimental starting point, not a lifelong commitment. Dating, not marriage. 

Hints for choosing your guinea pig market:

All of these can give you useful hints in how to choose your target market. Don’t get stuck trying to answer all those questions, you might have immediately thought “NYC, Men, 20-30”. If that’s the case, move forward fast! 

  • Where do we ship? (And subsequently, where is the most affordable place to ship?)
  • What languages do we support?
  • Where is our target market in high density? – The NYC population is younger than Maine. Dublin has more redheads than Dubai.
  • Where do we have team members who can more personally interact with influencers?
  • In which markets does our brand have some presence, to make recruiting influencers easier.
  • Revisit KPIS, OKRs, goals. What do you want to accomplish, where can you do that? 

Step 3: Choose 20 potential influencers / ambassadors

Yes, It’s already time. Take your target market and make an informed decision about 20 influencers you would like to partner with.

The pitfall people face here is going to instagram, sticking some hashtag into the search and praying to Zeus that they find someone who reaches their audience. In influencer marketing you get what you pay for. If you choose the cheapest option, you'll end up with a dissapointing result.

What happens if you try to make the decision yourself, without the data to back it up? 

You choose @coolcatinfluencer because they used #meditation once and they have 100,000 followers. 

  • Their audience is 30 percent fake.
  • Their audience is 45 percent in a market we don’t care about.
  • Their audience is 60 percent the wrong gender
  • They post once a month.

They will fail to generate the results you want, you (or your senior) will say “influencer marketing is stupid, why are we doing this?” and then you will quit.

We see this happen so many times, it’s soul crushing. Brands aren’t willing to spend $30 to start an acquisition channel that will generate them $30K per month with some work. Honestly, in my opinion this mindset is an early indicator for eventual bankruptcy. 

But you are better than that, you won’t fail!

Use a tool to find an influencer that speaks to your target audience, Modash is the most robust and accurate tool on the market. The fastest growing companies in the world use us. 

Step 4 - Structure your Offer and Outreach

Congratulations, based on your goals above, this is already half done

Get us a customer for < $11”

So structuring your offer is pretty simple. You give influencers the opportunity to make $10 for every customer they convert. You pay them out monthly.

The CPA Model for influencer marketing has a ton of extra value. It compounds over time, it's scaleable and it doesn't require any upfront cash.

A note on outreach

The reason we chose twenty influencers in the previous step is that it’s enough to handle outreach manually (you can automate your campaign later). But enough that you can secure 10 partnerships pretty easily. You can get a whole set of templates and learn everything you need to know about influencer outreach here

Since you’re using a tool like Modash, you can also get contact details on your influencer from there.

Make sure the influencer has as many opportunities as possible to see your offer and a clear way to get back to you. Send your Calendly link, Social media and even your phone number if you can.

That should be enough to get you unstuck and rolling forward with an influencer program that will soon be your #1 acquisition channel and generate hundreds, thousands or millions in revenue for your company.

So go ahead. Make a plan, define an audience, choose your influencers and start recruiting.

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