As a marketer you must have felt the effects of the phenomenon that has developed in recent years, the so-called crisis of attention. Although advertisements are becoming more stunning, eye-catching, and provocative, people have simply gotten overwhelmed with all the noise.

Just think of the popularity of online adblocker apps! You lose the attention of millions of people who are using them. Moreover, ads are extremely expensive. According to WordStream, small businesses spend between $9,000 and $10,000 on Google paid search campaigns in just one month!

As the 5L model of customer-brand relationship states, everything starts with the customer’s lack of awareness followed by them learning about you and your product(s). Advertisements seem to be unable to break the ice between these two steps, not to mention further stages -like, ‘loving your brand’- before the ultimate goal, loyalty.

So, what can you do to catch your would-be customers’ attention?

Instead of relying on advertisements, rely on people.

I. Reach out to your influencers

The other day I was looking for the right multivitamin for myself. I went through a lot of online nutritional supplement stores searching for the best product, but I quickly got confused. Each of the websites were claiming that their product was the best choice I could make. I ended up abandoning the question after a short while.

A few weeks passed. One day I was checking my Instagram feed, and I saw that one of the fitness bloggers I follow shared a picture of the nutritional supplements that she takes daily. I noticed a multivitamin among them. I didn’t know the product, but I trust her so I bought it. The confusion faded away and I felt the satisfaction of being able to choose knowing that someone I trust also uses the same product.

What was the reasoning behind my decision?

In that very moment I wasn’t thinking about the Instagram post as an advertisement of another “best product on the market”, but rather as a recommendation from a like-minded person.

The psychology behind it was credibility. I’ve been reading that blogger’s posts for a long time because we share the same values. I have taken her advice, have cooked many of her recipes and have never regretted it. In my eyes she’s a person I can trust.

My example is not unique. 20% of women active on social media are motivated to consider products promoted by bloggers they know (Source: The Shelf).

What to consider when searching for the right influencer to partner with?

By co-operating with an influential blogger, expert or celebrity, you can extend your virtual arms to their audience, thereby taking advantage of their credibility, and developing your customer acquisition. But how can you make sure that the influencer will really help you?

I collected 8 tips and best practices to help you avoid any failures in the field of influencer marketing:

1. Find an influencer where your audience is: Before you choose an influencer, you need to examine where your customers are. If your audience consists of teenagers, the best choice will probably be someone who is active on Snapchat. If you have a DIY store, you shouldn’t leave Pinterest out of your scope.

2. Look out for relevancy: After you have found the right place, you need to find the influencers who have authority in a topic that is relevant to your business. The influencer is credible as an expert in that area and they probably have the audience you want to reach as well.

3. Share the same values: People tend to like people who share the same values. The same applies to brands. Having an influencer with common values can complete the circle.

4. Check content quality: Everything your chosen influencer produces will be 100% associated with your brand in the eyes of your customers. Consider this person’s content quality as yours. If it doesn’t meet your standards, you’re better off finding someone else.

5. Sign of constant communication: To build real engagement, your influencer needs to contact their audience and have frequent conversations with them. It’s a good sign if you can find their answers for followers’ question in the comment section day by day.

6. Consider price and reach: Here comes the dirty business. Like it or not, money and numbers matter. The more followers and traffic an influencer has the more their contribution may cost you. Check your resources and choose wisely.

7. Keep away from billboard influencers: Influencers that have many brands and products promoted on their blog or social media sites are untrustworthy and suspicious. Do they really like these products or are they ready to recommend anything for money?

8. Use identifier tools: Choosing the right influencer requires extensive research that usually takes a long time. But you can use tools that identify the fitting influencer by examining the candidate’s digital footprint. Here are some examples: The Shelf, Everywhere Agency, Cirqle, Grouphigh, Traackr, Re:fluence.

Grouphigh is a tool that can help you find those bloggers and influencers that can help you to get more exposure for your products.

Now, let’s see how a real brand took advantage of influencer marketing and what can you learn from their example.

How Chloé pulled off influencer marketing

The renowned fashion house, Chloé succeeded in influencer marketing by partnering with the top fashion bloggers last year. Chloé’s main goal was to raise the awareness of their newly introduced fragrance, Love Story, inspired by Valentine’s Day.

Through well-connected bloggers’ stories about how they fell in love with Love Story, 1,400,000 people got acquainted with Chloé’s new fragrance in each month of the campaign and more than 4,620,000 people encountered the product on social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest).

Besides the increase in reach, Chloé managed to enhance their engagement with their target audience in the form of post comments and consumer feedback.

chloe_love story
Chloé reached high levels of audience engagement including 100+ comments on Gal Meets Glam’s single post (Source: Mediakix)

Okay, now that you are armed with 8 actionable steps and a real-life example on how to use influencers to drive more sales for you, let’s switch to brand advocates. How can you work with them when you want to acquire new customers?

II. Reach out to your Brand Advocates

I love DIY. As Easter was coming, I decided to craft a door decoration of my own, so I visited my favorite DIY store to get all the necessary ingredients. Why is it my favorite? Thanks to the high quality products, and the professional advice, the result of my efforts is always perfect. If someone asks me about where to shop for DIY products, I would be more than happy to recommend this store as a true advocate.

People love sharing positive experiences. Let it be a holiday memory, an exciting adventure, or a product they fell in love with. Every single share, comment and product review contributes to your word of mouth – a factor that 74% of consumers identify as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. (Source: Ambassador).

The suggestion of a kind friend isn’t just faceless noise, and still holds a great customer-pulling power that ads just don’t have anymore. A recommendation from a trusted friend conveying a relevant message is up to 50 times more likely to trigger a purchase than is a low-impact recommendation (Source: Branderati).

By connecting your own advocates, you can make use of the positive associations lying behind product recommendations.

How to get the most out of advocacy?

#1. Reward your advocates

Rewarding loyal customers with a high impact on people for continuing to acquire new customers for you is a chance you shouldn’t miss.

The best thing is that your advocates don’t need to do anything but what they are already doing. Having them share product pages, give one-on-one referrals, and write product reviews, are just the activities you need to develop your word of mouth (not mentioning SEO). Tools, like Bullseye by Antavo can help you automatize the process.

You don’t need to overthink what rewards you could give to your advocates. As loyal customers, they usually make purchases in your store, so it’s obvious that discount coupons are rewards that they can surely make use of.

Amuze, an exclusive, members-only shopping site, not only rewards their advocates for inviting a new customer, but referred friends get a $25 discount on their first purchase as well.

#2. Engage your advocates

Breaking the cold buyer-seller relation and creating real engagement with your customers is not rocket science in the age of social media. Here are the steps you can take on your online channels to deepen your customers’ engagement:

Reply to comments: By simply replying to a comment, your customers can feel that they are actually recognized by the brand as an important customer, not just a money-spending machine.

Start a conversation: Social media provides a great opportunity to start conversations with your brand advocates as well. Understanding the reasons behind their loyalty can help you get positive reinforcement about your strategy or find hidden potentials in your brand that you were not aware of.

Respond to negative feedback: Whilst getting to know what you’re doing right is nice, your advocates will honestly give you negative feedback as well so you will learn what you need to develop.

Involve customers in product development: Inviting your advocates to participate in product development will not just contribute to the quality of your product but it will also blow their minds! So much so that they will immediately share their experience on social media, allowing more potential customers to recognize you.

Photoslurp is a great tool to reach advocates while engaging them in special events.

Involve influencers and brand advocates in your customer acquisition strategy

It’s totally worth relying on influencers and advocates when you want to promote your products more effectively to a relevant customer base. I’ll let the numbers convince you:

– Every $1 spent on the right influencer returns $6.50. (Source: Adweek)

– Referred customers – brought by your advocates – have a 37% higher retention rate than those you acquire through advertisements. (Source: Forbes)

Just choose the influencer you work with wisely by following the steps I introduced in this post, and bear in mind that your brand’s reputation is also affected by the influencer you choose.

As for your customers, rewarding them for bringing new customers is one step in making them fall in love with you. If you are interested in further methods then check out our latest video about how to create lovable shopping experiences in your webstore.