How personal & direct influencer marketing can help you build the business you dream about
I’m going to let you in on a secret about influencer marketing. It’s highly effective and if done consistently (not necessarily perfectly) it will get you into valuable networks and set the stage for your success. This is how you fast track getting “seen” by your target audience.
It works well because of these three oh-so-human principles:
- Humans like helping other humans.
- When humans see that others humans like you, they’ll trust you.
- Humans like people with whom they share something in common.
Before I dive further into how it works I want to tell you why I’m in love with this marketing strategy. Not long ago I made some changes to how I positioned my brand. I knew for a long time that my value was best suited for established entrepreneurs. Owners who were making important decisions on how to invest their marketing money & time. These people have big dreams and need high level & hands on support but aren’t ready to hire a full time manager.
Up until then biggest source of my leads had been Google. I knew the kind of owners I did my best work with weren’t searching online. They were asking friends and colleagues, or finding people they’ve listened to online who they felt compelled to follow.
Strong prospects had never come through social media and I knew that being online all the time wasn’t my strong suit. I knew I needed another way – an authentic marketing strategy that felt good. I knew I had to put ALL my intention on influencer marketing. A strategy that creates connection with real people and leads more directly towards getting the work designed for me.
What is influencer marketing?
When you look at the definition of influencer marketing it may not look like genuine connection at first:
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential customers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers. ~ Wikipedia
This is where I use the same principles and take a slight detour to focus more on relationship building than paid product promotion. How a business owner goes about it depends on the goal of their business.
- Do you need more of a certain kind of clients? Then creating a hit list of dream clients and personally reaching out to them may be your sole task ahead.
- Do you want to drive traffic to a new core service offer? You may want to earn credibility and get visibility quickly by appearing as a guest on podcasts.
- Are you looking for collaborators to begin a product or program for a bigger impact and faster timeline? Start by finding successful owners who’re not already joint leveraging their service.
Who you know matters
According to a 2012 Nielsen study: “92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations … above all other forms of advertising”.
This fact struck me hard in my first week of my own influencer outreach campaign. I had reached out to a business strategist who’s brand I loved. She’s super straight-forward in her communication. We spoke the same language. And she looked like she was doing very well without having all the marketing systems in place.
I approached her for a potential collaboration to see if we had any synergies to create something together. We set up a chat for the next week. When I asked her how she got her leads, she told me her business came from referrals. Her name had been passed around in several business owner influencer circles. Big players!
Wow! All this work we do to be visible to the masses and she didn’t have to do any of that for ideal high-end clients. It sometimes only takes one person to get the flow of referrals going.
My advice: don’t wait for those opportunities to come to you, you could wait a lifetime. Speed up the process by going to them with real value.
It may seem like a lot of work to build valuable relationships person by person but if you are picking the right people, they’ll open you up to many more audiences over time.
Influencer outreach works because we tap into human nature
If you’re still wondering why influencer marketing is so effective, let me introduce you to Robert Cialdini. In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion he describes humans as having pre-programmed tapes that naturally trigger behavior. He came up with a number of principles that influence peoples behavior.
These principles increase the likelihood people saying yes to your request.
- Commitment & consistency
- Social proof
This old principle of giving something first is an excellent way to evoke a response. When I conducted my outreach I experimented with a variety of requests – to help their growth, to be a guest on their podcast or to collaborate on a project.
I had a higher response rate on my collaboration or sharing information emails. It’s not surprising because I was usually seeking them out because I had an idea that might be useful to them. While it may not always make sense to offer your contact something first, being in service to them by either complimenting their work genuinely and seeking to help them will increase your chance of getting that phone call.
Bring value to them immediately.
Commitment & consistency
This principle dictates that people will make an effort to avoid making decisions. Decisions are exhausting because we have to make them all the time, especially business influencers who are hustling to stay relevant and gain even more visibility.
Since humans are wired to behave consistently and influencers are people, they are wired to respond to your request. Make sure your request is direct and clear and you follow up consistently and they’ll have a hard time saying no.
Make it easy for them to respond by being direct in your request.
Social proof sends cues that you’re not a weirdo
Social proof occurs when we believe something is true because other people think it’s true. We naturally want to know who else endorses a person we’ve heard about because that makes our life so much easier. When we come across someone who looks interesting but we’ve never heard of them, we need to do more work. If they are liked by others we trust, they past the legitimacy test easily. Social proof cues our programming for acceptance.
Help them see that you’re legit by leveraging connections with others.
Show them your similarities
The like likes like principle is all about familiarity. People generally feel more comfortable with people with whom they have something in common. This is a social bond that establishes connection and trust. It’s why it’s so important to have a face above the fold on your website. People will experience a greater sense of connection when they see your face. Liking influences both the research phase of your influencer marketing and your communication.
Research: Finding people to reach out to who share your attitudes will be more effective than those who can’t relate to your approach and style. Show up where they do, there’s power in association.
Communication: Complimenting your prospects on their work and referring to interests you both share will have a bigger impact on them emotionally and increases your chance of a positive response.
Share your commonalities, interests, people and human-ess.
State your authority in your zone of genius
When we view someone as an “authority” we are more likely to believe them and do what they say. A lot of influencers we see online got there by self declaring their authority on something, directly. They turn their rags to riches story into the proof of their mastery. Then they put that story on repeat. The more we hear it the more we believe it’s true. It’s that simple.
You may not feel like an authority at the time of your outreach, however, you can position your expertise with confidence. As time builds up and you’ve helped a number of people achieve a specific outcome, you can use that information in your outreach.
Be confident in your abilities and willing to be open about it.
Relationship marketing is for both the expert and the student
Building high-leverage relationships isn’t only for the expert, it’s also for the student. Jaime Masters from the Eventual Millionaire did this so well. On her quest to become a millionaire, she began to study and interview people who had already reached that goal. Out of that came a book and now she runs a multi 6 figure business and podcast where she interviews highly successful business owners.
It’s utterly brilliant. She became the expert by studying those who’re already there.
And it means that anyone can do it. It requires:
- 100% commitment
- A mindset of strength than wins over self-doubt 85% of the time
- Focus – a willingness to put other bright shiny tactics aside
How to tell influencer outreach is for you
Relationship building through influencer outreach is perfect for the small service based business. However, like anything, it’s not right for everyone all the time. Here are a few questions to consider before embarking on an influencer outreach campaign.
Are you confident in the value you deliver?
Do you have a system to get results?
Are you able to put together a short list of dream clients?
Do you value personal relationships?
Can you take action outside your comfort zone?
Are you ready to put results over your fears?
Do you find being online all the time exhausting and unsatisfying more often than not?
Do you craft your message carefully & prefer to say less things with more meaning?
If you answered yes to at least 6 out of 8 of these questions, you’ll benefit from influencer outreach.
Ready to get started on influencer marketing?
Your influencer outreach campaign is part of your bold marketing plan. If want some help developing your own powerful marketing plan, I’m happy to work with you one-on-one. Set up a consultation with me to see if the stars align.
Or if you’re more of a DIY kind of person, I highly recommend getting my Create Your Lucky Break guide that’ll teach you how to create your 5 step bold marketing plan to help you build real connections with prospects.