Do you find yourself looking towards influential internet personalities before you make a buying decision? If so, you’re not alone. A staggering 80 percent of business owners find that influencer marketing is a useful tool for growing their business. This conclusion is drawn from numerous data points that show consumers are willing to buy a product if someone they trust recommends the brand first.

It’s obvious that influencer marketing is one of the premier ways to spread brand awareness, improve social proof, and boost your overall sales, but how do you get started? We are going to take a look at several ways you develop your influencer marketing strategy for explosive business growth.

Let’s dive in!

Know Your Goals and Target Audience

Before you start working with influencers, you must take the time to understand both your marketing goals and target audience. Both of these factors play a significant role in your decision to hire an internet personality.

Let’s start by talking about goals. What do you hope to achieve by working with a blog, social media channel, or otherwise celebrity-status influencer? Do you want to improve your conversion rate? Is your goal to spread brand awareness and grow your email list? Knowing what your goal when practicing influencer marketing helps you make informed decisions about your business and helps you pick a compatible influencer.

Additionally, you should take the time to develop detailed customer personas for your business. A customer persona is a sheet where you list vital information about your target audiences, such as age, interests, and median income. Once you know and understand this information, you can start looking for online personalities that share your target demographic. You can find details about your visitors by checking your Google Analytics, feedback forms, and social media statistics.

Research Influencers in Your Niche

Once you understand your audience and goals, it’s time to find an influencer for your business. The type of personality you choose will vary depending on your goals and customer personas. If you want a safe bet, look towards social media, where 80 percent of internet users have at least one social profile.

Influential bloggers and websites are also excellent ways to boost your reach. Look for blogs that focus solely on your niche, or at least mentions your industry as a blog topic. If you can manage to get your brand featured in a blog post, you’ll get on average three times more traffic when compared to paid search.

If you want to find a list of all of the most influential people in your niche, simply search Google and social media websites for your target keywords. Chances are, quite a few people are discussing this topic in great detail across the internet. Look through your selection of high-profile websites and social media influencers, and compile a shortlist of possible candidates.

We suggest that you always do your research before you send out a proposal. Some business owners think that they’ve found the perfect influencer after one day of searching, and a majority of those folks are wrong. Trust us, take the time to look at your possible options before you start crafting your proposal.

Craft a Proposal

At this point, you know your goals, target audience, and a list of potential influencers. It’s time to take these three components and craft your proposal. If your goal is to promote your online contest, you know that you should work with social media influencers for a boost in your entries and overall engagement.

On the other hand, if you want to spread brand awareness by telling consumers what you sell and how it will improve their lives, a blog-centric influencer is your best bet. Social media posts come and go, but when someone buckles down to read a blog post, they are more likely to have a thorough understanding of your brand.

Take these details and combine them with language and promotions that your target audience will find relatable. For instance, you would want to show someone wearing your makeup if you sell beauty products.

We can’t stress this enough — you must establish clear guidelines in your proposal. Let’s say you make a deal with an influencer for six months worth of promotion, but after the first month, it’s clear that they are not going to deliver the results you were expecting. Do you have to eat the costs of a poor decision for five months? Not if you established your expectations when you contacted an influencer. Clear guidelines help frame the partnership before it goes into effect, resulting in more consistent growth.

Review Your Results

Now that you’ve built a partnership and they are promoting your business, it’s time to analyze their results. We suggest giving your influencers unique links that will help you determine the performance of each influencer instead of an overview of your marketing campaign as a whole. Google Analytics is your best friend in this situation. You can quickly analyze all of your incoming links, as well as the demographics of those consumers.

Understanding which influencers are building your business, and which ones are remaining stagnant, can help you make informed decisions about your influencer campaigns and grow your business.