By: Josh Butowsky
About five years ago, I was managing a large DRTV campaign when a close friend contacted me about his new health and wellness e-commerce brands. He said, apply all your direct response experience to “Social Media Influencers.” My first thought, what in the world is he talking about?
With a little homework on this subject, I quickly realized this was the future of direct response advertising, and graciously accepted the challenge. Do you recall many years ago, when a twenty to one return on investment was not uncommon for an infomercial product? Well, that was normal to see again just within a few years doing influencer marketing. After scaling this in-house influencer program, I moved on to help build a leading online grocer’s influencer marketing department from the ground up, this time expanding my expertise to podcasts as well. Today, I’m the proud founder of Influencer Response - what I consider, the first direct response, full-service, performance driven, influencer and podcast agency. Our mission: to help brands scale their influencer campaign quickly and efficiently.
I hear so many horror stories about brands being promised positive ROI, only to have their agency fall well short on delivery. With that said, my goal here is to offer five simple reminders for applying your direct response expertise towards influencer marketing and hopefully shift your mindset. After all, as direct response veterans, we should be leaders helping to pioneer this movement!
1) If you’re planning to outsource your influencer marketing efforts, choose an agency wisely. The landscape is flooded with Multi Channel Network’s (MCN), influencer platforms, new technologies and PR agencies, many of which ask for meaningless set up fees and have very little direct response experience. This industry has indirectly married talent agents to social media gurus to media buyers and more, all crisscrossing with very diverse backgrounds, and speaking very different languages. Think about the characteristics of a successful media buying agency in your quest for an influencer marketing partnership.
2) Analyze your influencer media like you would for any other direct response marketing channel. You may find the best conversion doesn’t always correlate to an influencer’s peak engagement times.
3) Make sure the influencer effectively communicates the message with authenticity and a sense of urgency. Just because you managed to lock down your favorite influencer doesn’t guarantee positive results.
4) Remember that when negotiating with influencers and/or their managers, it isn’t exactly the same as with a TV or radio station. You’ve now entered the wild west so don’t expect corporate America anymore. You’ll find relationships will be even more vital to the success of your campaign.
5) Test and roll-out your campaign similar to how you would for DRTV. Influencer Marketing can often take longer to scale versus traditional TV so be patient and you should experience significant growth within 6- 9 months, perhaps sooner.
Influencer Marketing is still considered the new frontier and will likely remain esoteric for a long time. Don’t be discouraged if you think you’re late to the game. You would be surprised at how many brands share that same feeling. Instead, get excited because everything we’ve learned about Direct Response advertising over the past twenty years has only primed us for the world of Influencer Marketing.