3 Influencer Marketing Secrets to Steal in 2015
Buying jeans isn't easy for anyone, but it's especially difficult when you're shopping for cool-guy jeans with a dad-jeans body.
The choices are staggering. There's selvage, raw, distressed, boot-cut, straight leg and skinny varieties. After a 20-minute Internet search, I was soon teetering under 210 pounds of denim in a trendy men's store in Austin's South Congress district. Then after being confronted with a myriad of choices, I found the perfect pair.
But imagine that search happening at the peak of the holiday shopping season. Consumers simply don't have the time to do the necessary research. They're stressed and overwhelmed, and they're going to make the choice that's easiest.
As an entrepreneur, trying to get your brand seen and trusted can feel almost like attempting a new art form. After all if a sushi chef misses some of the highly toxic bits during food preparation, you'll die. But prepared correctly, the sushi can be a sublimely rewarding experience.
Here are some crucial elements that can make placing your company's product in the hands of consumers a lot easier:
1. Curate an audience.
Joshua Bingaman, founder of HELM Boots, is disciplined in his company's branding strategy. He researched all the possible personas of consumers who buy boots into and came up with one that's relevant for his company's brand.
Through social research and intuition, he determined that his buyers would only trust his artisanal boots if they were excluded from sales sites.
"We've worked hard to develop HELM Boots into a brand that is recognized in Esquire or GQ instead of sale sites like Gilt or Fab," Bingaman tells me by email.
Content may be king, but distribution is queen. Your marketing content must fit your buyer perfectly or all the work on your cool holiday Vine video will be wasted.
2. Determine who influences the buyer persona.
Word-of-mouth is an old and established marketing tactic. HELM puts its global tribe of brand advocates to work to spread its message; these people know they'll look good if they recommend HELM. And it's this web of influencers that proved critical to my buying journey.
After I gave up searching the web for the perfect jeans, I tossed out a Facebook post to my friends.
I received some good advice from a friend whose fashion sense I trust. He gave me the name of the men's shop on South Congress and a few pants brands to try.
3. Send appropriate content for a buyer's journey.
Mastering timing is critical for ensuring that you're providing the right content for a particular phase of a buyer's journey.
Roughly speaking, buyers go through three phases: awareness (Can you ensure they will come to know your brand exists?), consideration (What criteria do buyers need to learn about before making their decision?), and conversion from prospect to customer (Are they ready for a call to action?).
In my cool-guy jeans experience, I went from awareness to consideration and then conversion in a matter of hours, but occurred over a highly compressed time frame. Usually consumers need time to make up their minds before a company or its influencers bombard them with "buy now" messaging. If this happens too soon, it's poisonous to the company.
Today, getting your product in front of the right buyers isn't about broadcasting your message to anyone who will listen. It's about identifying your ideal buyers, finding the influencers who resonate most with them and serving up the appropriate content at the right time.
That way, in the chaos of the holiday-shopping season, your customers hopefully won't be distracted by an overabundance of choices. If they hear about your company's brand from someone they trust, making a choice will be as easy and comfortable as donning a good pair of jeans.
Related: When Marketing Personalization Fails
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