Chapter 3: Campaign Launch

Now that you’ve defined your campaign and found influencers, it’s time to start getting the gears in motion. Let’s take a look at some things an e-commerce brand should keep in mind at this point.

For e-commerces with an international presence, you may be planning international campaigns. That’s great, but it also means a bit more work for you. You may be able to send the same products to influencers in Thailand and Canada, but when it comes to fees, don’t expect to pay influencers the same around the world. Take different economies into account when offering incentive.

Additionally, know which influencer disclosure guidelines may apply in the geographical targets of your campaign. Many countries have put rules in place to regulate hidden advertising on social media, and require influencers to disclose any content paid for by brands, whether with money or product.

Carefully check which guidelines apply to your campaign, because the rules may surprise you. The Federal Trade Commission in the US, for example, states in its guidelines that:

Keep geography in the picture

"If posting from abroad, U.S. law applies if it’s reasonably foreseeable that the post will affect U.S. consumers. Foreign laws might also apply."

This means that the FTC’s guidelines could apply even if neither the brand or influencer is located in the US.

Influencers can disclose collaborations either with special features on the social network (like Instagram’s paid partnership feature), or with hashtags, text, or voice in videos.

Don’t overlook shipping

Successful e-commerces will already have a good logistics system in place. But don’t overlook shipping, with respect to both your budget and your timeline. If you have to get packages out to influencers, make sure you leave enough time for that to actually happen. And communicate with influencers: give them tracking data, let them know when you’ve sent the parcel, and so on.

When you’re handling international campaigns, remember to calculate any differences in shipping times and prices between the countries where you’ll be sending products. An e-commerce headquartered in Spain, for example, will be able to send products much more quickly and cheaply to France than it would to Chile.

Finally, we mentioned above that paying influencers with vouchers, so that they can choose their own items, is a great strategy for e-commerces to use in influencer marketing. And that’s true! But, even if the voucher can be sent digitally, the influencer will still need time to browse products, choose, and place the order. And then that order needs to be shipping. So plan for this when working with vouchers.

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Considering the incentive, skip the contract

If you’re working with lower tier influencers and paying them solely in product, a contract isn’t always necessary. The only exceptions to this rule of thumb would be collaborations built around really expensive products, like jewelry valued at thousands of dollars.

Instead of a contract, you can simply put the terms down in another form of writing, like an email. This way, you won’t slow down negotiations, and you won’t scare off any nano or micro influencers who may not be sure of signing contracts with brands just quite yet.

Use influencer-specific discount codes

Did you know that in 2020, 88% of survey respondents in the US said they had used coupons for shopping? That was a slight decrease from the previous year, but it still shows that an overwhelming majority of consumers shop with coupons. Further, RetailMeNot data shows that getting a bargain is more important than ever.

Image source: RetailMeNot.

Take advantage of this! We've told you already, but we’ll tell you again: incorporate influencer-specific discount codes.

Micro influencer @oonamilla modeling a coat from Nordic e-commerce site @bubbleroom. Notice her discount code – OONA – which gives followers 10% off the brand’s entire site.

Even if your goal isn’t to increase sales, these discount codes can still get curious consumers on your website looking for good deals. And while it’s always better if they buy something, building brand awareness is always important. After all, it’s the top level of the marketing funnel, meaning that without awareness, you can’t reach sales.

Discount codes are also great for later on in your campaign, when you have to analyze results. By looking at how many times each code was used, you can see which influencers brought in the most sales. You can also compare across channels, for example, between Instagram influencers and Youtubers. The insight you glean from this data can help you better organize your next campaign.

When creating influencer-specific discount codes, keep these things in mind:

  • Keep it short.
    Overly long or complicated codes might get abandoned by potential customers who can’t copy/paste the text.
  • Identify the influencer.
    Brands usually use their name. Make sure you can easily distinguish one influencer’s code from another, especially when working with various influencers on the same campaign.
  • Use capital letters.
    This helps the code stand out more on social media. After all, capitals are the shouting of written communications! But more important than this, using all capitals can help users more easily distinguish between characters like 1 and I (1 and L), or rn and m (RN and M). Using capitals also means all your characters will have the same height, which means the code stands out even a bit more.

Talk through all these things with influencers, and don’t be vague!

When you first reach out to influencers, make your proposal as attractive as possible! This is your first impression, so make it a good one. Be clear and direct with what you can offer and what you expect in return. But also maintain a friendly and approachable tone.

Negotiating with influencers is an important part of this stage. So when you’re having conversations about incentive and number of publications and all of that, talk through these topics as well.

Tell influencers your shipping plans, so they know when to expect a shipment. Speak to them about discount codes, and let them know about any brand mentions or branded hashtags you want them to use in their posts. Finally, iron out any unresolved questions about incentive, scheduling, and content.

Taking the time to make sure all the pieces are in place before you launch your campaign will save you potential headache later on.

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