Article | January 12, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted brands and businesses in ways that we’d never have expected, but with everyone forced to adapt, it has left business owners with no choice but to rationalise and re-think their budgets.
Whether they’ve had to cut down, or change their focus, almost all companies will have been affected by the current economic influence of the world we are finding ourselves living in.
And Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at midlands-based influencer marketing agency, Influencer Matchmaker, explains where brands should be focusing their budgets and finances, and the positive impact this will generate.
Economic influence in 2021
As we enter lockdown 3.0, brands and businesses will once again be forced to adapt to new government guidelines and change the ways in which they operate.
And this economic influence has encouraged brands to re-think their finances and how to better spend their budgets.
Although it has been a difficult time for many, the pandemic has enabled brands to think more cautiously, allowed them to stay relevant and has thrust them into a digital-first world, which is the only way to move forwards.
Throughout 2020, it was proved just how important social media and online influencers really are. When the rest of the world stood still, the digital world kept on moving, and more importantly, earning.
So, if nothing else came from last year, the rapid decline in traditional advertising and the focus on social media and all thing’s digital, is enough to see exactly how 2021 will go.
Measuring the impact
Set to become a $15 billion industry by 2022, the influencer marketing industry is showing no signs of slowing down.
And with 63% of marketers intending to increase their influencer marketing budget for 2021, this proves just how successful this means of marketing really is.
Although slightly tricky when it comes to measuring metrics upon face value, influencer marketing is incredibly successful and creates truly impactful results.
By working with an influencer marketing agency, brands are able to be paired with an influencer that best suits their product, service and goals.
Influencer marketing allows brands to present their product or service to a targeted audience and in a more direct manner, too.
Not only that, but the results of all campaigns and activities are easy to track and monitor through the use of social media analytics. This allows brands, agencies and influencers to document the number of swipe up links, purchases made, views, likes, shares and other forms of impressions and engagement.
ROI (Return on Investment)
Influencers can generate impressive ROI (return on investment) for brands, whatever it is they may be trying to achieve. From increasing brand awareness and generating sales, to growing social media followings and reach, social media influencers are fully equipped to do just that.
And with industry expertise, experience and insight, an agency is likely to have access to the all-important data you need to ensure you are paired with the perfect influencer and receive the desired results.
Many business owners aren’t entirely sure where they should be spending their budgets, or even how to rationalise them, and by working with an agency, they will receive expert advice on where to spend their money to ensure effective results.
Although brands should specify what they would like to focus on in terms of ROI, when working with an influencer, brands will naturally benefit from a variety of other aspects, too – making it more cost effective than traditional advertising methods.
Customer retention and loyalty are huge benefits of working with an influencer. When done effectively, marketing campaigns can make consumers brand loyal, putting brands in great stead against competitors.
For example, many consumers are loyal to Hello Fresh. And whilst they effectively do the same, or similar job to that of a supermarket, it is their marketing efforts that put them one step ahead. By providing their customers with recipe cards, precise ingredients which limit food waste, and information on cost-per-person per meal, this is much more appealing and suits the needs of many.
And with that being said, many consumers are now striving towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. So, when presented with opportunities to limit waste, in any capacity, this will usually be taken without much further thought – which is why brands such as Hello Fresh have done so well.
Similarly, sustainability is another factor that has contributed to the decline in print advertising and the rise in digital consumption, as consumers are now able to receive the same information online without any damaging effects to the environment.
Now, more than ever before, brands and businesses are making a more conscious effort to spend their money wisely. And understandably, want to use the most cost-effective methods available to them.
2020 proved the worth of social media influencers and just how beneficial they can be for brands.
And with traditional advertising methods becoming more and more outdated, it has also become apparent that they are often more costly, too.
Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the cost of influencer marketing, it does prove to be extremely cost effective, with research showing that businesses make an estimated 600% return for every £1 spent on influencer marketing.
The art of storytelling and human-to-human interaction
With influencer marketing, it is much more than simply selling a product. Influencers have spent years building trust and creating a tribe with the community that follows them.
Social media influencers are a new branch of storytellers, implementing an element of human-to-human interaction, as opposed to human-to-brand.
Matt Hayes, Managing Director of midlands-based brand agency Champions (UK) plc, is a firm believer in building brand love and brand trust and explains that emotion should be at the heart of every campaign.
He said, “We’re living in an era that is centred around emotion and building connections, and that shouldn’t be any different when it comes to creating a campaign.
When buying into a product or service, consumers simply look for a connection and a sense of relatability. And by utilising the power of emotion, brands will achieve trust and form that all-important bond.
Without that, brands are nothing more than a commodity, competing on price alone. And influencer marketing holds the power to unlock all of this, and more.”
With social media usage on the rise and with research showing that approximately 82% of users have increased their social media consumption since the beginning of the pandemic, this shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
And with brands seeking to find new ways to become digital-first, many are finding it hard to stay relevant and keep up.
If you’re looking to rationalise your budget and remain at the forefront of consumer’s minds, then influencer marketing could be for you.
Article | December 11, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic brought an old realization back to businesses – The devil is in the detail. As stores shut and opened tentatively, Amazon’s delivery cycles stretched and returned, and brands reconfigured production-supply chain combinations several times in a span of months, one thing was clear – staying strong and emerging through the current chaos would require close attention to details on a real-time basis:
Where is the demand moving?
What’s my inventory?
What are my operating costs and profit margins on one channel vs. another?
What are my buyers’ other options right now?
How do I optimize digital assortments?
What are the new and emerging customer needs?
And amid the chaos, another thing became apparent to brands – they needed a robust digital strategy to not just drive through this crisis but to thrive in the emerging world. Driven by lockdown restrictions and the desire for safety, more consumers have moved online.
According to research by Adobe Analytics, the total U.S. online sales reached $73.2 billion in June 2020, year over year up 76.2% (from $41.5 billion the previous year).
Consumer research by various teams at Course5 Intelligence has shown that the pandemic has created a large population of first-timers on eCommerce, with a massive increase in online spending by those who were already shopping online earlier. Most research respondents said that their shopping would continue to be omnichannel in the future, with an increased share of online.
And yet that’s only part of the reason why brands need an effective digital strategy. Even before consumers buy their products, they are looking online for information on what they want, availability, meeting the safety standards, and aligning with their preferences and needs. Google and Amazon have become the first point of research when users when to buy something, so digital lies at the very start of their purchase journey. And this is also where digital has distinctive strength over offline channels – the space and scope for a brand to define their brand, highlight distinguishing characteristics from competitor products, share user reviews to gain credibility, and deliver highly customized price-product offers, optimizing gain for buyers and the business.
However, many CPG companies do not have their direct-to-consumer platforms; many are still focused on partnering with a variety of e-marketplaces that exist globally or regionally.
How do you optimize your brand parameters for eCommerce platforms?
Even though many brands have set up their own D2C sites (for instance, PepsiCo’s snacks.com and pantryshop.com), there is no comparison in reach with major eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, Walmart, Flipkart, Shopify, Tesco, Target, Alibaba, Costco among others; your brand needs to be here. Each of these platforms has different engagement parameters for brands. While Amazon has 1P (1st party – Amazon is the wholesale buyer and markets and sells to consumers) and 3P (3rd party – Brand sells direct to consumer via Amazon) options, with Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) and FBM (Fulfilment by Merchant) options within 3P, others have a variety of other arrangements brands must choose. Making more significant decisions such as choosing the platform/s you want your brand on, the right selling/fulfillment strategy and base pricing to fine-tuning the advertising, product messaging, price, optimizing the supply value chain and product assortment on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis requires a combination of real-time contextual insight and the digital capabilities to be responsive.
Course5 Intelligence has been helping CPG, Retail, and Technology brands use AI-driven insight mechanisms and digital capabilities to define their eCommerce strategy and improve revenues in three broad ways —
WIN THE DIGITAL SHELF BATTLE
Price — How do I optimize my pricing strategy based on various trends?
Product portfolio — How do I optimize my product portfolio and packaging initiatives?
Catalog — Which categories do I overplay?
Market Share — How do I drive sales and gain market share faster than my competitors?
Brand Hygiene — How do I optimize search, product discovery, and reach for all my SKUs?
OPTIMIZE MARKETING SPEND
Ad-spend Attribution — What marketplaces are delivering the maximum ‘clicks to revenue’?
Purchase Signals — Are my ads targeted on purchase signals or on guesstimates?
DEMYSTIFY DATA COMPLEXITIES
Enable Quick Decisions — Do I have visibility on all dimensions and objectives?
Expedite Data Semantics — How quickly can I glean insights from new data sources?
Solve the ‘Alt-Tab’ Environment — Does my analysis exist in an ‘alt-tab’ environment? Or within a single product?
These are just a few data points that drive action within an effective and profitable eCommerce strategy. CPG brands that would like to make lasting inroads to consumers’ online shopping habits will need to deliver compelling value to buyers continuously. To do this, they will need to expertly navigate a complex and dynamic set of parameters to shine through at every level of the buyer’s journey – from the first appearance on the buyer’s horizon to becoming their first and last choice, always ensuring that the numbers match across buying price to experienced value.
Optimizing your digital marketplace strategy for the end-to-end buyer journey in an amorphous market landscape is the only way to stay ahead of the competition, establish category leadership, and increase revenue on a sustained basis.
Article | February 12, 2021
The past year has transformed a number of industries, and although the influencer marketing industry has continued to flourish, it hasn’t been without its changes and adaptations.
And over the last year, one thing that has become even more apparent is the need to create the perfect match between brands and influencers.
Brand love is pivotal to creating a successful influencer marketing campaign, as is building trust and creating an honest and organic relationship between everyone involved.
And to help brands find the perfect match, Amelia Neate, senior manager at Influencer Matchmaker, explains how to do exactly that.
Finding the right influencer to collaborate with can be a pretty daunting task. It isn’t quite as simple as choosing somebody with a large following. Gathering data, conducting research and developing a relationship with an influencer is all part of the task in hand.
Unless, as a brand, you have access to industry insights and invaluable data, it can be difficult to find your dream match. However, by working with an influencer marketing agency, all of the hard work is done for you.
Here at Influencer Matchmaker, we have access to industry data and insights which can help aid your search in finding the right influencer. Rest assured that everything will be taken into consideration – from social media platforms, engagement rates and niche to helping form trusting relationships, an influencer marketing agency can do it all.
Brand love is pivotal
When working with a social media influencer, it is important to decide on your main goals and objectives and what it is you hope to achieve by working with an online creator.
The aim of the game is to build brand love, right? And the best, most organic way to do so, is by teaming up with somebody who already knows and loves your brand.
Influencers spend their time engaging with their audience, garnering all-important trust and respect.
If an influencer has previously spoken about your brand organically, then their audience are much more likely to positively reciprocate paid-for campaigns and collaborations.
Explaining that influencer marketing is more effective than the blanket approach of traditional advertising, Liam Chilvers, founder and managing director of OP Talent also says, “They [influencers] have to be relatable. The people watching them largely share the same interests, and if people are watching a YouTube channel, they are there for the creator.”
And so, by utilising the power of influencers and their loyal following, brands and business are able to build brand love and more importantly, trust.
How to utilise influencers and their content
It is no longer viable to simply send an influencer a product in return for free press and content creation.
Time, effort and expertise goes into delivering such high-quality content and brands must begin to decipher where they’d like this content to sit.
Content can be created and shared across an influencer’s social media platforms in order to raise brand awareness, but it can also be utilised on the brand’s channels, too. In this way, influencers can act as a brand advocate as well as allowing the brand to offer their audiences a friendly and relatable human element, as opposed to using social media as a hard sales tool.
When it comes to working on collaborative content, it is crucial to ensure you are not only working with the right influencer, but with the right platforms, too.
Just because a social media platform is proving to be particularly popular, doesn’t mean that it will generate positive results for your brand.
It is important to ensure that your niche, goals, audience and social media platforms all align in order to achieve the best results. Find out what works for you and if you don’t know, then an influencer marketing agency will be able to do so for you.
And not only that, but influencers have wider ties to all aspects of media, too. They are innovative creators, storytellers, advice givers and as 2020 has shown, an influencer’s genuine personality and interests are what sets them apart from the rest.
Think outside of the box
In the early days of influencer marketing, it was all about promoting a new product and its launch. But today, it is so much more than that.
Influencers can be used to raise brand awareness, generate sales, attend events and create an honest and authentic relationship between brands and potential consumers.
For example, we recently partnered Celebs Go Dating with a number of popular influencers including Mark Ferris and Rachel Leary. The objective of the campaign was to raise awareness of the TV show ahead of the new series.
This is a fine example of combining the efforts of modern and digital media with its more traditional forms, too.
It must also be said, that just because an influencer specialises in a certain industry or has a particular niche, it doesn’t mean that that’s all they are capable of.
Former SAS: Who Dares Wins Star Ollie Ollerton, for example, is renowned for his efforts within the health and fitness industry. However, he also has a passion for motorcycles, which is another area in which he is able to create interesting and compelling content for brands.
Consider influencers who not only share the same interests, but the same values, ethos and end-goals, too.
This will make all the difference.
So, are you ready to find the perfect match?
Article | October 16, 2020
Since Hubspot coined the term “inbound marketing,” every kind of business has been trying to get the coveted inbound lead. And why not? Inbound leads usually buy things more quickly, complain less about price, and renew more often.
As a freelancer, inbound leads are especially valuable. You don’t have a sales team and scaled up marketing efforts - it’s just you and your time. I know this firsthand, because I’ve had a nearly 100% inbound freelance business since day one. My business has been profitable since I started it and increased in revenue each year, all without needing to send cold pitches. In this blog post, I’m detailing the four factors that helped me build my inbound funnel, each one corresponding to a timeless law of freelancing from my book, The 50 Laws of Freelancing.
Step 1: Have a good enough one-liner
I’m a freelance writer for startups and venture capitalists. If you asked me what else I do, I’d tell you that I edit, do content strategy, occasionally work with big corporations and governments, and more. But my “one-liner” when I introduce myself is simply that I am a freelance writer for startups and venture capitalists.
This is the essence of the “good enough” one-liner.
When you introduce yourself, you want to make sure what you say meets two criteria:
1. It’s easy to understand.
2. It’s easy to repeat.
If you want to build an inbound funnel, criterion number two is the most important. If I started all of my introductions with everything I do, people would get confused and understand less. But more importantly, they would repeat it less - or repeat it incorrectly.
The point of a “good enough” one-liner is so that other people talk about you the way you want to be talked about. When you focus on making it easy to understand and easy to repeat, you give people the language you want them to use. This alone has generated lots of clients for me, who reach out and say they heard I did freelance writing, and wonder if I could help them.
Step 2: Try everything and stick with what you like
Freelancers often work remotely, and unfortunately that comes with many pitfalls, particularly around freelancer mental health. Obviously, selling more is a critical element of mental health - making money can not only address anxiety about money but also pay for resources and help if necessary.
The way that I tackle both the pitfalls of remote freelance work and selling more is to try everything but stick with what you like. You try everything because you never know what might work or what you might like. When you only stick with what you like, you’re more likely to engage on a genuine level and more likely to enjoy yourself. Win-win.
In my case, I’ve tried every social media platform I can find, gone to hundreds of events and conferences, and even did a cultural exchange vacation to France to help a family restore their old chateau. If the platforms or experiences didn’t give me clients directly, they provided stories that rounded me out as a human and freelancer, resulting in more sales.
Step 3: Ask for referrals the right way
Asking someone if they will refer business to you is asking for a favor. Even if you pay them a commission, you’re still asking for them to use mental energy to remember your sales pitch then leverage their social capital to send clients your way.
Instead, make them the hero.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Instead of asking for referrals, remind them of your easy to repeat one-liner and tell them that if they know anyone facing the challenges you solve, you’d be happy to help.
Step 2: When that person interacts with someone facing a challenge, they can bring you up as a solution to the problem.
Step 3: Introductions you get from that person will be way higher quality because now you’re presented as the solution to a problem, and the person who referred you is the hero who made the introduction. The third person gets their problem solved, you get an inbound client, and your friend gets more social capital for being a problem-solver.
Step 4: Build partnerships
If you are trying to increase your client base without direct sales, then partnerships are a huge way to go. In making them, though, you have to be clear on the value you provide both to the end user (your potential client) and to the partner. In short, you have to make your partner the hero so they open up their network to you.
Here’s an example of what I did: I was working with a venture capitalist on their content, then we talked about a partnership. We agreed on a few pieces of content that I would offer at a discount to any portfolio company that the VC had. In turn, the VC would market me as the solution to any portfolio company needing content.
It was a triple win:
Startups have limited time and resources, but need good content. The partnership meant discounted rates and a high quality writer.
VCs want to solve problems for their portfolio companies. The partnership meant they got an “exclusive” deal for their startups that no one else could get them.
I didn’t want to chase clients. The partnership meant a discounted rate, but I still profited because I didn’t have to invest any time selling those clients.
Remember: freelancing is a business
Too many people assume freelancing is this in-between zone. You’re not an employee, but you’re not a corporation either. The reality is that freelancing is firmly in business territory. That means you have additional administration to work through, but you also have the ability to leverage business frameworks to make you more successful - particularly around building inbound funnels.