Chapter 1: Campaign Definition
They say that planning makes perfect. Maybe that’s not exactly true when it comes to marketing campaigns. But, planning definitely puts success closer in reach. Define your campaign thoroughly now so that you make better decisions down the road.
The very first thing that you’ll want to do before jumping too far ahead is to establish your campaign objectives. This comes from taking a step back and thinking about what has motivated you to begin an influencer marketing campaign.
As an e-commerce brand, your aims could very likely be to increase brand awareness, to grow exposure in new locations, to create more content, or pretty simply – to drive sales. Whatever you would like to achieve - make sure that it has been clearly outlined.
Next up, think about what you can realistically put into the campaign. This accounts for time, finance, labor, and resources. Of course, what a large, global e-commerce can invest in an influencer campaign is entirely different to that of a local start-up. Be realistic with your input, and don’t compare your campaign to that of a big brand.
What can you bring to this campaign?
Ace your online presence
With your business being fully online, there really is no excuse for your website and social media accounts to not be top-quality. As well as being visually appealing, you need to ensure that you are meeting customers’ needs. They expect online customer service to be easy and fast, with it being one of their biggest concerns about e-commerce. As many as 47% of customers have switched brands due to poor customer service experiences.
As well as taking the time to ace your customer service, you should think about the impression that consumers will get from your accounts. It’s important to remain active, with regular updates and content. Consumers like to know that these accounts have a real human behind them, so be genuine.
We recently saw a chain of Tweets from British supermarkets which went viral, after breakfast cereal Weetabix suggested serving it up with Heinz beans. The Twitter thread went viral with replies from various shops, restaurants, and even the NHS and the British Embassy got involved.
These comments are what really show us that there is an ordinary person behind these screens. Whether an e-commerce or not, this is what people want to believe. Consumers have indicated that talking with online bots can often put them off a purchase altogether. In fact, a 2019 study stated that 71% of consumers would be less likely to use a brand that did not offer a human customer service support agent instead of a chat bot.
Additionally, studies have indicated that as many as 68% of consumers abandon their cart at checkout. There are various reasons for this, but the biggest culprits are overly complicated checkout processes, or hidden extra costs that weren’t communicated from the start. As an e-commerce, you can’t rely on shoppers browsing in stores where they are more likely to be swayed to purchase. You need to simplify your checkout process and ensure that every stage of the purchasing process is perfectly user friendly.
Tweets from LIDL Great Britain and Domino's Pizza UK commenting on Weetabix's controversial suggestion to serve beans on its breakfast cereal.
What sort of campaign works best for you?
Deciding on the type of campaign to go ahead with will really depend on the goals that you determined at the beginning. However, for many e-commerce brands, a long-term partnership with influencers is typically preferred to frequent one-off campaigns.
If you’re considering a one-off campaign, this could be ideal for example for a seasonal line, a sale, or an important event or festivity. These campaigns can make a big impact and attract customers to a limited time deal.
However, for e-commerce, we imagine that you’ll want your customers to stick around. Instead of going big, we recommend searching for nano or micro influencers that you could create a long-term partnership with and are known for generating an amazing ROI.
Nano and micro influencers are commonly hired in this sector due to their high-quality content at a low cost. You can expect to pay a low fee, or even product alone for working with these influencers. At this level, their engagement rates are high because their followers are genuinely interested in their content and trust that they are giving authentic recommendations.
Long-term partnerships can encourage both flexibility from the influencers and loyalty from customers. Consumers can become familiar with a brand and associate it with a particular influencer they like, with this familiarization known as the mere exposure effect, leading to conversions. In fact, studies indicate that as many as 92% of consumers trust the recommendations given by people they know, from friends and family, to trusted influencers.
If you’re planning on using Instagram, set up Instagram Shopping
If you want to launch your campaign on Instagram, make sure you have Instagram Shopping activated. If you’ve already got it, skip this section. But if not, keep reading to learn the basics about this social media marketplace.
First off, to use IG Shopping, you need a professional account. If you’re not sure if you have that, learn how to set up a professional account over at our blog. Once that’s done, IG Shopping lets you upload product catalogs. From there, you can tag specific products in your posts. And, if you approve influencers as business partners to allow them to do the same.
Instagram users can then tap your post to see links to the products that are featured in it. They can then checkout directly on Instagram, which means they have fewer steps and fewer distractions before arriving at the moment of purchase.
For step-by-step instructions and ideas about how to use this feature, check out How to Use Instagram Shopping as a Brand or an Influencer.
Consider what you can offer
From nano to mega, some form of incentive is provided. When defining your campaign, it’s important to figure out the incentive that you will be able to offer. So, from your budget and the type of influencer that you would like to work with – what can you offer?
Now, what does this have to do with influencer incentive? Well, in addition to the benefits it brings for your brand, influencers can gain from this method too. Many e-commerce businesses using this strategy with influencers pay them on a CPA (cost per acquisition) basis.
What that means is that while the influencer attracts new customers, for every person that uses their code at checkout, they receive a commission. A CPA model could work with a flat or variable rate, for example giving the influencer a 5% commission, or $5 per sale with the code. This commission can encourage influencers to create high-quality, engaging content.
Many influencers will not agree to collaborations paid solely in CPA commissions. But, when used together with free products and/or a flat fee, CPA can be an important component in creating an attractive influencer incentive package.
HelloFreshAU brand ambassador Johno Sauer, giving his followers a discount code to get 40% off their first order.
A great incentive that e-commerce’s can offer when working with a lot of influencers is to give out unique promo codes. This will allow customers to receive a discount from their basket when inserting an influencer’s promotional code, for example 40% off at checkout when using code JOHNO40. You’ll learn more about this in Chapter 3: Campaign Setup.
Another great idea is to offer vouchers that influencers can spend in your store. With vouchers, influencers can choose the items from your e-commerce site that they like the most. This way, the influencers get to choose based on their own unique style, and they’re likely to be more excited about the products they choose. And that excitement is good for your campaign, because it should show through in the content they produce!
This can also be a particularly effective method when promoting a specific product line, if one of the collaboration requirements is that influencers must use their voucher for products in this specific line. So while they may be limited to choosing certain products, they still get to choose their favorite from among those.
Using the voucher method also has another advantage: it can be sent electronically. That means your marketing department doesn’t have to coordinate bespoke packages, and deal with personalized shipping. Simply send them an email voucher, and let your e-commerce platform and logistics department do the rest!
If you are working with nano and micro influencers, the incentive could often include the product alone, depending on its perceived value to the influencer. The value of the product will often differ for influencers in different countries and depending on the experience that they have.
Whether or not you are offering further payment, for e-commerce brands it’s essential that you send the influencer your product in order to review and promote it. If you don’t want to go the voucher route, you could ask influencers which variation of your product they want to receive (think color, size, pattern, etc.). Or, if you have a specific product you want to promote, go over that with the influencer during negotiations to make sure they seem excited to review it.
When you’re working with just a few influencers, it’s a nice touch to create a personalized package just for them. It shows that your brand cares, and can help in building a friendly and good working relationship with the influencers.
What content do you want consumers to see?
Next up, you should consider what social media channel and media type you would like to use for your campaign. You will find influencer marketing campaigns across all platforms, but Instagram tends to be the most popular for e-commerce due to its visual nature. However, we recommend that you do some research based on your target audience, to determine which channel will work best for your brand.
Let’s say you’re going for Instagram. A key part in the campaign setup is determining what method will be used to post here. For example, posts would require a higher incentive than stories, so this would need to be taken into account when calculating investment.
Stories are pretty popular on Instagram with e-commerces. An influencer can show off products throughout their story whilst adding captions about discounts or promotions. Consumers tend to feel as if they will miss this promotion if they don’t act now – because stories disappear after 24 hours. The best part is that influencers can add a CTA to their story with the Swipe Up feature. This is essentially a ‘click here’ style CTA, which will take consumers directly to your product or line being promoted.
Two examples of influencers using the Swipe Up feature on Instagram.
How do you plan on measuring results?
Looking ahead, you’ll want to establish the best way to measure the results of your campaign. If you are providing influencers with discount codes, then this is a great way to measure results, simply by the number of people that use their code. You can also determine the click through rate from the CTA’s that influencers use, such as the Swipe Up feature on Instagram stories.
Think back to when we mentioned cart abandonment at the checkout stage. Data like this will come from an analytics tool. Maybe the influencers you’re working with are successfully bringing customers to your website, but these customers are not making final purchases due to a complicated checkout process.
We’ll cover analytics more in depth in Chapter 4: Campaign Monitoring. But at this stage, it’s important to make sure you have an analytics platform setup, or if not, that you recognize that analytics is a critical gear in the campaign machine.
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