Shopify Ecosystem

Ecommerce Influencer Marketing 101

ecommerce-influencer-marketing-101

Who runs the world of social media? Influencers – and the brands that know how to harness them. The rise of ecommerce influencer marketing has been nothing short of stratospheric and shows no signs of slowing. If your brand has been hesitant to dip its toes in this new era of product promotion, keep reading to find out how influencer marketing works, why it’s so popular, and best practices to get started. 

How does ecommerce influencer marketing work?

Influencer marketing involves identifying well-known online personalities whose followers overlap with your own customer base and partnering with them to promote your products. It’s a little like luxury brands appointing celebrity ambassadors to feature in their TV and print advertising, but on a much more accessible, affordable scale. 

If a business sells fast fashion or cosmetics favored by a younger market, they might consider teaming up with a well-known Gen-Z personality to model their products on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, or all of the above. And, while these industries may be the first that comes to mind when it comes to influencer marketing, there is an abundance of opportunities for all industries to crack the influencer game. 

In fact, finding powerful influencers in lesser-tapped markets can be even more impactful because of a lack of saturation. Think of automotive equipment being promoted by niche car-lover accounts, or cleaning supplies highlighted by prolific lifestyle bloggers. In short, almost any retailer can reap the rewards of influencer marketing.

How lucrative is ecommerce influencer marketing?

The global value of influencer marketing has more than doubled since 2019, and now stands at $13.8 billion. When it comes to allocating a budget to an influencer strategy, keep in mind that the return on investment can be considerable. It is estimated that retailers can earn up to $18 in earned media value for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, with the average being closer to $5.78 per dollar spent.

If these figures seem too good to be true, take a moment to reflect on the impact of personal suggestions versus traditional marketing. The growth in this sector is somewhat less surprising when we consider that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from others – even people they don’t know – over branded content.

Top tips for working with ecommerce influencers

Launching an ecommerce influencer marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. Start small, test out what works, and scale as you find success. That said, certain best practices should always be followed to ensure your influencer campaigns will resonate with shoppers. 

1. Be authentic

The reason influencer marketing is so successful is thanks to its authenticity. Shoppers see influencers as relatable and trust-worthy in a way that is very difficult for brands to replicate. Keep this in mind when crafting your brands strategy and messaging. Copying and pasting traditional advertising tactics won’t work. Allow the influencer’s own voice and personality to shine through. Sponsored content should feel like a friend making a personal recommendation, rather than a brand making a sales pitch.

2. Tap into shared values

When identifying and approaching influencers, seek out those who are known to share the same values as your brand. For example, if you have a business that prioritizes environmental awareness, find an influencer who is known to be eco-conscious in their product recommendations. This will lend an additional layer of authenticity and will help to reach the right audience. The benefits of this approach work both ways, as any reputable influencer will be selective about representing businesses that share their principles and offer genuine value to their audience. 

3. Create dedicated landing pages

By creating dedicated, carefully merchandised landing pages for influencers to direct traffic to, you can deliver a seamless experience from social media click all the way through to checkout. Instead of sending these customers to your brands homepage, curate a landing page or category that features the specific products promoted by the relevant influencer. Fabletics does this in regular influencer campaigns, featuring imagery of the influencers themselves on their associated landing pages. 

4. Focus on quality over quantity

Businesses are currently working with significantly fewer influencers than three years ago. In 2018, a study showed 62% of marketers activated more than 10 influencers on a single campaign. In 2021, only 31% said the same. Likewise, many brands are finding more success with niche “micro-influencers” than with their big-name counterparts, particularly when the associated costs are taken into account. The key is to focus on quality over quantity when working with influencers to ensure messaging and the perceived exclusivity of offers don’t become diluted.

Influence shoppers to convert

If you have avoided influencer marketing up to now, don’t put it off any longer. What may have been viewed as a fledgling, unproven concept just a couple of years ago is now a well-established, reputable marketing channel. At its core, ecommerce influencer marketing is all about forming genuine connections with customers, building a sense of community around your brand, and generating a buzz around products. Get it right, and the conversions will naturally follow. 

Special thanks to our friends at Searchspring for their insights on this topic.
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