If you sell products on the Home Depot eCommerce site, then you will not be surprised to learn upwards of 2 million products are sold on its online platform. Home Depot alone partners with over 500,000 brands—all of whom compete for a highly coveted sales spot: page 1 of search results. Amazon, whose reputation precedes it, has attracted 300+ million customers to date. Across the board, big-box retailers are seeing an increase in online sales.
This is all to say: brands need to find more ways to market, advertise, and ultimately sell their products online. Cue influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a way for brands to cut through the noise, to stand out amongst the 500,000+ crowd of competitors, and get more people buzzing about their products. But brand awareness is a part of the influencer marketing equation, not the answer like most consumer product companies think. Influencers play a key role at every stage of the sales funnel—starting with brand awareness, moving into engagement, and then ending with action. An influencer guides a consumer down the path to purchase.
Influencer marketing is more than a fad. Influencers are shifting the rules of marketing. Let’s take a second to pause and consider influencer marketing in relation to a handful of industries. Most companies in the housewares, appliances, and hardware categories are not leveraging influencer marketing to sell products. But the opportunities are there for the taking. It’s not too late in the game for consumer product companies, specifically those who sell in these categories, to establish relationships with influencers and get their brand name out there to start driving sales—all before their competitors.
Here’s how influencer marketing works within the traditional sales funnel model to ultimately drive sales and turn customers into loyalists for companies who sell evaporative coolers, body massagers, or nylon gloves.
Influencers talk about products and services in a way that isn’t overly promotional or branded. They share their authentic experiences in the form of live streams, in-depth tutorials and reviews, and elaborate unboxings. They post content filtered through their own voice and aren’t afraid to use their platform to share their personal thoughts and opinions on a brand.
Authenticity is an important consideration for consumers, especially millennials. One study interviewed 1,300 millennials and found 43% valued authenticity over the content itself. What is even more shocking is only 1% of them trusted advertisements.
Ultimately, influencers cultivate trust with their audience. Consumers rely on this trust to guide them towards the best buying decision.
Once consumers have become aware of a product or service, they decide if they want to dig deeper into the brand behind it or not. Influencers continue to entice and engage curious customers, bringing them one step closer to making a purchasing decision.
At this stage in the funnel, influencers continue to educate the audience on whatever it is they are promoting. Influencers collaborate with brands on giveaways, create eye-catching content, and release other creative concepts that inspire followers to like, comment or share their own experiences.
It’s important to keep in mind that engagement leads to valuable company assets and an increase in valuable metrics. It’s here that a company gains user generated content (UGC) and experiences an increase in website traffic and visits to product listing pages across retailers.
Here’s where social media likes turn into dollar signs. While it’s true that sales generated from an influencer campaign are more organic and by nature more difficult to track, there are social media sales functions and personal calls to action that help capture customers.
Let’s break down the sales opportunities by social media platform:
Instagram: posts can include a direct link to a product page or offer audience members a promo code for a sale or a one-time-offer. Stories can include the “Swipe Up” feature that opens a product page directly within the app. Some influencers may even update their profile bios with a link to the current product or service they are promoting.
YouTube: videos can feature interactive pop-up screens that direct consumers to a product page. Video descriptions can include direct links to product pages and highlight important announcements made in the video (i.e. flash sale or limited time offers). Influencers may even leave reviews and offer their personal endorsements in the video.
Pinterest: influencers or brands can incorporate buyable pins into their Pinterest profiles. These pins basically act as product pages directly within the app, so users can buy right then and there. All other pins can simply link back to product listings or a company’s website to help drive conversions.
Sales happen through direct and indirect means when working with an influencer. While a company can take steps to track a customer’s path to purchase, it must keep in mind that sales are also occurring organically.
One effective influencer campaign can travel far—across multiple channels—and reach thousands, if not millions, of people.
But the benefits of influencer marketing don’t stop at sales. It can create long-term relationships between a company and a consumer. It has the potential to turn customers into brand loyalists—people who will make a purchase from the same company repeatedly.
In a world where big-box retailers are continually eating up brand ownership, influencer marketing is one way a company can improve a consumer’s experience with their products and services. Influencer marketers are powerful partners in helping a company take ownership of their sales funnel.
Now that you know influencer marketing will drive sales for your company, it’s time to come up with a strategy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for help developing your influencer marketing strategy.