In a world of e-commerce giants, there are many resources available to marketers on effective e-commerce marketing strategies. That being said, resources detailing how influencer marketing is a necessary component of e-commerce are a bit harder to come by. In this blog, we will explore how an effective influencer strategy impacts all aspects of your online marketing activities and how, if done correctly, it will become a powerful revenue generator in the ways you connect and establish trust with your consumers.
Drive E-Commerce Sales Across Your Entire Customer Journey
Let’s start off with an understanding of the marketing funnel with respect to influencer marketing strategy. Brand marketers can leverage influencers and creators throughout every stage of the marketing funnel to generate social proof — the idea that what consumers say online is more trustworthy than what brands say to consumers. Social proof at multiple touchpoints accelerates the customer journey, ultimately maximizing ROI. Here’s a breakdown of the funnel and how marketers can work with creators at each stage.
Awareness: Generate awareness with impressions or views, plus live engagement via live streams. Run campaigns with creators that focus on live streaming (like Twitch) or short-form video (like TikTok or Instagram).
Interest: Partner with influencers on Instagram to drive awareness, measured by impressions, or views and engagements; use high-quality influencer-generated content (IGC) to promote your brand. In addition, leverage surveys to conduct creator and consumer research on your target audience and/or product feedback, innovation, industry trends, etc.
Consideration: Use blogs to generate awareness and create SEO-rich, long-form, evergreen blog content that can be discovered by those searching for your product or product category. In addition, use YouTube to drive views or website traffic via YouTube videos (also great for SEO!). Pinterest is also helpful for producing evergreen content that consumers can discover via intentional search.
Intent: Through intent and evaluation, use reviews to increase e-commerce conversions, conversion value, brand lift, and trust. Pinterest is also a great channel for driving conversions or sales, or for boosting website traffic.
Evaluation: Use reviews for this stage as well.
Purchase: Drive sales through coupon codes and tracking links to prove ROI; allow list (previously called “whitelist”) influencer content to run paid media ads and drive purchases. Leverage affiliate links in tandem with influencer marketing efforts to generate conversions.
Strategies to Drive E-Com Sales via Influencer Marketing
Standalone Influencer Marketing Campaigns
When looking at the basic tracking you can include in every influencer marketing campaign, regardless of add-on strategy, UTM links are an important aspect for tracking clicks and conversions. Tracking capabilities in the Mavrck platform via a Mavrck-generate pixel empower brands to measure whether the traffic on creator content is a click or a conversion. In addition, tracking promotional codes, redemption codes, and discount codes will help attach a dollar value to the hard work that influencers are doing. As a result, brand marketers are able to fight for more budget to support influencer marketing endeavors.
And let’s not forget the connection that link tracking and promo codes have to shoppable content. As platforms start implementing upgrades that allow consumers to shop directly from creator content, the links they’ll be sharing will hold a lot of data (and value). Instagram’s global link sticker feature, for example, can help brands point to sales occurring as a direct result of creator content.
Always-On Referral Programs
Next, let’s talk about activating referrers, who will share about your brand if the incentive is right while putting limited effort forward (i.e. copying and pasting a link).
So how do brands create referral programs, you might ask? The first step is to recruit individuals to the program, whether those people come from an existing loyalty member base, your brand’s website traffic, or even a vast influencer network, such as Mavrck’s Influencer Index.
Next, the referrers are asked to amplify product pages or content links to their social networks in return for loyalty points they can redeem for products or discount codes to the brand site. With the ultimate business objective of increasing online sales, these referrers will share coupon codes or promotions via their amplification in order to drive clicks and conversions for your brand.
In tandem with tracking links, affiliate content is a great way to increase sales for e-commerce brands As a quick review, affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting a company’s products. The “publisher” finds a product they like, promotes it to others, then earns a piece of the profit from the “merchant” for each sale that they make.
More than 80% of brands run affiliate programs as part of their marketing strategy, so we know it’s a tactic that is increasingly used to support performance marketing efforts. According to Statista, companies are projected to spend $8.2 billion on affiliate marketing by 2022, an increase from $5.4 billion spent on affiliate in 2017.
So how do brands best work with influencers to drive affiliate sales? We recommend working with a mix of macro- and micro-influencers to share affiliate links in their sponsored content and after a campaign has wrapped. A recent Mavrck survey concluded that 74% of our creator respondents across different tiers of influence have participated in an affiliate program. Brands should pair influencer efforts with affiliate programs to achieve better partnerships and drive meaningful ROI.
Ratings and Reviews Programs
While social media is critical for purchase inspiration, consumers increasingly trust and rely on reviews and recommendations on product pages when deciding what to buy. But it’s not just star ratings—product photos, videos, and other forms of social proof paired with written reviews are driving purchase intent and are enabling consumers to evaluate personalized viewpoints about a product, its features, and expected performance.
According to a 2021 report from PowerReviews—based on data pulled from consumer interactions with over 1.5 million pages from 1,200+ retail and brand websites— those who see one to ten reviews on a page are 52.2% more likely to purchase vs. those who visit pages with no reviews.
By prompting influencers—who have just shared their product experiences on their social channels via their content—to submit a review as well, marketers can increase efficiency and better integrate social proof at every touchpoint of the consumer experience.
Content Syndication to Retail Partners
According to Entrepreneur, Sprout Social has reported that 85% of customers will only purchase a product after seeing it multiple times. In addition, per Forbes, one survey of 1,590 consumers reported that 79% of respondents said user-generated content (UGC) greatly impacts their purchase decisions.
Marketers should consider amplifying influencer-generated content (IGC) across not only the brand’s own and paid channels on social media, but also across mediums like the brand’s e-commerce site/blog, within in-store videos, on digital billboards or mall kiosks, and in printed lookbooks or other marketing materials.
To create and maintain a high-performing influencer marketing program, utilizing the above strategies is essential for any e-commerce brand. When we speak to e-commerce brands about the challenges they face with their influencer programs, a common theme is the separation of their influencer strategy from the other online marketing activities. A good metaphor to encompass Mavrck’s approach for e-commerce brands is to think of your marketing strategy as a house. If your day-to-day marketing activities are the foundation, your influencer marketing programs are the beams and scaffolding that run throughout the house. You can’t expect much from a foundation and beams by themselves, but together they can create a trustworthy home for any prospective buyers. The more you can encompass influencer marketing in every stage of your funnel, the more trust you can build with your consumers.
If you’re looking for more depth on this topic, check out our Influencer Marketing Strategy Guide for E-Commerce Sales resource to learn more!