The rise of social media has created a new kind of celebrity – influencers and social media stars. In today’s world people can get internet fame and for just about any interest or hobby. From content on gaming and makeup to art and even slime, influencers are followed and loved by millions. Many have become millionaires.
By sharing their interests and personalities, influencers build a dedicated audience who loves to watch them and hear their opinions. They have built trust with their audience and statistics prove this: 4 out of 10 Millennials say their favorite influencer makes them feel more understood than their friends.
More and more consumers are being influenced by social media. People are looking at their trusted social media celebrities for their product recommendations. It’s the ultimate case of social proof in action. Realizing the growing importance of influencers, brands are spending increasingly on influencer marketing.
When you’re marketing your print-on-demand products the most important thing is that your products are noticed by the right audience. Influencers, with their significant social following, can help you do just that. Influencer marketing can get you both exposure and endorsements to help your brand grow.
If you happen to be an influencer yourself you’re already in a great place to start a print-on-demand merchandise store to monetize your fan following with custom products. But for everyone else with an online merchandise store, influencer marketing can seem daunting. How do you find an influencer for your store? When you do find one how do you convince them to promote your products?
Here’s how to begin.
Identify influencers in your niche
The first step is to find out who to target within your niche market so your brand can get the impact you’re looking for. There are some great online tools like BuzzSumo to help you find influencers and their success stats for free. You can search with your niche keywords and get a list of top influencers in that area along with their influence metrics and number of followers. You can make a list of likely candidates, go through their online content and determine who you think will be a good fit for your brand.
Find out how you can contact your selected influencer. Some influencers clearly mention their preferred method of contacting them which can make it easy for you to reach out. You could contact them through a DM on Instagram and twitter, or they might have contact information on their website and in their video description. Others are not as easy to reach and you might have to contact through their agents. Many first time marketers hesitate to contact influencers but remember you’re not losing anything if they do not get a response. In some cases you might have to contact through a few different channels to get them to respond. And you can always move to the next person on your shortlist.
Make sure your product is appealing
Influencer marketing relies greatly on the way the influencer “feels” about your product. Their audience watch for their reactions and when you have a product they are actually excited about, you are much more likely to see the impact on your sales.
Luckily with your print on demand products you have the luxury to try out multiple designs and products. You don’t have to buy or pay in bulk so you can simply order one time samples to send to influencers. If they are received positively you will get more orders, if not you don’t lose much.
If you have print-on-demand apparel and have some great designs you think the influencer will be interested in, persuade them to wear it in their next post or video. It’s also important that your products be of value to their audience. Remember that credibility matters most for influencers and your requests are less likely to be entertained if they seem too promotional and affect the influencer’s connection with their audience. If they actually like your product their endorsements will naturally sound more authentic.
Outline mutual benefits
One of the most important considerations in your influencer marketing efforts should be to make sure the deal benefits both parties. While you’re getting the exposure through their following, they should be getting something valuable in return. Figure out what they could get out of this and offer them that.
You can be creative about this and come to any number of arrangements. For bigger brands cross promotion is often enough where both parties get reciprocal exposure and share each other’s content. You can give a social shout out to their video when they use your products in their posts.
You can also offer a promotional fee for endorsing your products. If this is the way you decide to go, be sure to consider your costs, any expected benefits, and then set a budget for this. If the influencer demands something above your budget be prepared to politely decline.
Another option is to offer free products and clearly mention what you expect in return. This usually works more often than not. Moreover, you can offer discount codes to their audience or offer a giveaway contest. You can even offer a percentage from the sales resulting from their endorsements and shout outs.
When you have your strategy defined, it makes it easier to contact the influencer and can help you build a mutually beneficial relationship.
Tips for contacting
When you’re ready to contact the influencer you’ve selected, it’s important to remember that influencers are in high demand from marketers and receive lots of requests for collaboration and endorsements. Like you they also have to sift through requests and choose the brands that they see fit for their image.
So when you send your request be sure to be respectful of their time and keep your message to the point. Show them your product offerings. Explain what you’re offering and what you expect from them.
Optimize your marketing
Like all other marketing campaigns, it’s important to track your marketing results so you can optimize your efforts. Consider some tools for analyzing marketing analytics to assess your sales traffic. You can then cut down where ROI is not significant and do more of what works.