Figuring out how to market your business online is an ongoing challenge these days. The landscape of the Internet seems to change on an almost daily basis. One thing is certain, though, social media has brought forth some influencers in nearly every industry and the impact they have on marketing is measurable.
Return on investment for money spent on influencer marketing is significant. In a report on Campaign, digital advertising solutions company Rhythm One found that there was a $9.60 return for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, or a 960% return on investment. That is massive. If that isn’t enough to convince you of the importance of influencer marketing, maybe the fact that about 86% of women turn to social media before making a decision to buy will convince you. On top of that, 71% are more likely to buy a product that has been referenced on social media, meaning that those influencers can really make an impact on people's decisions to buy.
Which Influencers Might Help You
When choosing which influencers might be able to best help you reach new customers, you have to be particularly strategic. Since most service businesses will have a very local, targeted audience, you’ll want to look for local influencers.
However, you can’t just approach any local celebrity and expect that their audience will be similar to the people you want to reach. Instead, you have to think about who is an influencer and also has a target audience similar to yours. For an HVAC professional, this might mean seeking out local real estate agents, plumbers, home inspection professionals, and others who offer services to home owners.
You can tell who is an influencer by how many times their posts/tweets are shared, how active they are, and how many followers they have.
Before You Approach the Influencer
Act-On explains the approach you should have to building a relationship with influencers. ““You need to turn influencers on to your company, product, or service before you ask them to endorse it, or try to arrange circumstances so that they choose to endorse it without being asked.”
So, your first step should be to build a relationship with the influencer. Share their social media posts, contribute to the conversation, offer free advice or product.
Offer a Special Deal
Don’t just expect an influencer to tweet out to hire you to do HVAC work. That isn’t the way social media works. It is more of a give and take type marketing medium. Instead, ask the influencer if you can offer a special deal for his readers. For example, you could offer 50% off on furnace inspections for the influencer’s readers only. Give the influencer a special code to use. Also offer to blast out a similar deal on behalf of the influencer.
If you’ve already built the relationship, then this is much more likely to be successful, because the influencer knows you and understands you want to share his or her information as well.
Patience Is Key
Imagine that you’re the average influencer online. You get dozens of pitches every single day from people wanting you to promote their product or service. Many of them offer free items in exchange for a mere mention. You aren’t going to grab the attention of an influencer simply by contacting them. That is why it is best to build that relationship first and foremost.
Understand that building relationships online takes time and a lot of give and give and give before the influencer is likely to give back. You might even share a lot of tweets from the influencer and never get anything in return. That’s okay, because other influencers will see what you are doing and may be more likely to work with you.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is whether you should try for the top influencers with the most followers or aim for more middle-of-the-road influencers. These people will be more open to working with you, because they won’t have the dozens of emails each week to wade through.
Think Outside the Box
Steve Young on Entrepreneur offers a couple of ways you can think outside the box when approaching influencers. For example, he mentions that just offering to share a message from them might not be enough. Try to think of something near and dear to the influencer's heart. “This could take the form of a charitable donation in the influencer’s name or something more along the lines of helping the influencer get even more exposure.”
Once you are able to connect with a few influencers you will want to carefully measure the results on each marketing campaign so you can measure return on investment (ROI). With a little time, a lot of patience, and choosing the right influencers, you should be able to connect with a target audience who is interested in just what you have to offer.
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