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Savvy startups scale with influencer marketing. Think about it: even though it’s easier than ever to launch a business these days, that also means the advertising space is more competitive. For hyper competitive industries, it could take $1,500 a day to even become close to being competitive on solutions like Google AdWords. So how can a startup grow with a small marketing budget? Here’s how you can use a small budget to drive results for your startup:

1) Leverage Micro-Influencers

It’s tempting to think the only way a brand can get meaningful reach with user generated content is from creators that have millions of fans. While this may be true to a certain extend in terms of overall footprint, it’s actually micro-influencers that will yield increased engagement in ways that are most meaningful for your marketing efforts.

For less than $1,000 or even $500, you can find creators on YouTube and Instagram with respectable followings from a more ‘niche” audience. The pro-tip here is to make sure you do the right research to make sure you tailor your offering or product in a way that will resonate with the niche audience the influencer you’re working with reaches. It’s also not a bad idea to directly interface with the influencer and let them lead the creative approach, as they are the ones that ultimately understand what their fans want.

2) Revenue-Share/Affiliate Marketing

Another solution is to select a handful of micro-influencers influencers for a campaign and do some revenue share across them via affiliate marketing. Set up the proper attribution links and give it to your influencers so they can include it in their channel descriptions

It may have a little less impact but can still have long-lasting impact. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and, unless deleted, videos basically live on there forever. Some well placed affiliate links on a few key videos can drive traffic to your landing pages for months if not years to come.

3) Exchange Free Products/Partner for Advertising

Looking to reach some of those higher tier influencers? Try exchanging them some free products or maybe even partner with them to release an exclusive variant of your product in exchange for promotion on their channels. While shipping and sending free product may come at a loss, it’s still a solid loss-leader strategy.

Not only are higher-tier influencers trend-setters for their fans, but they also define trends for other creators as well. A few top-tier influencers in your campaign will increase your brand’s footprint, as well as making negotiations with smaller influencers easier as well.

There’s generally no “one strategy fits all” for influencer marketing. You need to spend time carefully observing your target audience and the influencers they like. The best way to optimize your influencer marketing strategy is to start off with a more “shotgun approach” and see what sticks. Obviously, look for influencers within the 50k-500k follower range for the best bang for your buck.

How can you reduce rates?

Obviously, as a marketer you’re going to want to keep the costs down as low as possible. This is where negotiating rates come into play. According to some data from our influencer network, what factors most in an influencer’s pricing is whether or not the creator is actually a fan of the product itself. This should be another key part of your research! When negotiating with influencers, try and pitch them on why your product or app would actually be useful for them.

YouTube and Instagram creators strive to be authentic, so give them a reason to be authentic.