Leads vs InfluencersOleh Mykhaylovych
When you get your business off the ground, you probably are disposed with some marketing strategy. The advertising campaign, paid services and lead generation – these are the main ‘must haves’ for any kind of startup. However, it is no secret that marketing is changing and new directions are appearing on the scene. Today, along with lead generation, specialists discuss influencer marketing, which is becoming one of the most effective ways to attract customers and clients.
So, what should you choose? Direct lead generation or a partnership with influencers? What kind of strategy will work better for you? Which one will give the best results and which one will bring a better promotion to your startup? Let’s try to figure out these questions.
What is the difference between leads and influencers
A lead is a single person or organization that expresses an interest in your product. In other words – it is a potential sales contact. Leads come to marketing departments from a wide variety of sources: requests from websites, ad campaigns, event attendee lists etc.
You should notice that merely inquiries are not always qualified leads. Numerous lead qualification programs have shown that less than 15 percent of all inquiries are truly sales-ready opportunities. Therefore, you have to define “What is a good lead for your business?”
Your definition must be applied to all leads, regardless of source—website, inbound calls, direct mail and so on. This is a critical need due to lead management system implementation. It sets a standard for measuring lead generation efforts. Otherwise, you will just be comparing apples to oranges.
If the topic “What is a lead” has been discussed more than once, a concept of an influencer is quite new. Influencer marketing is currrently a hot trend within the marketing industry. This is for good reason, as making the right connections with the right people can take your marketing to the next level.
Nowadays, consumers are blind to advertisements and commercials. They are self-sufficient and want to research a brand on their own and hear about it from a person they trust. That’s where the influencers appear. Influencers are people who are active on social media and blogs. At the same time, they are also brand advocates and niche promoters.
You will not just get an audience for your project while working with an influencer. They also will bring their audience’s network as well. Because of the loyalty of their followers, an influencer has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure and flat-out sell your product, making their unique recommendation.
Where do influencers step in to inbound marketing? Well, they create content about your brand, write recommendations for your brand to their loyal followers and insert themselves into conversations surrounding the niche of your product. Thus, getting them on your side before your competitor does can make a huge difference in the success (or lack thereof) of your company.
What is more important for a startup at the begining? Working with leads or influencer marketing
It is known that influencer marketing is all about engagement and unlocks brand awareness. But talking about B2B, it is more important to build a brand authority. By partnering with influencers in your industry, your product will grow with a brand expertise and recognition, which is extremely helpful at the beginning. Anyway, it helps attract quality leads, as well as the attention of other opinion leaders.
On the other side, influencer marketing investment provides a higher ROI than PR campaigns. You have no guaranteed result of a typical PR campaign, so it is quite possible that you will not get trackable results. An influencer campaign provides you with guaranteed placement on the influencer’s website in an unobtrusive format. In this manner, your content has a better reception because readers will be connected with kind of native advertising from a trusted source.
Sprout Social reports that 74% of consumers in the B2C market are looking for social brand and product recommendations as an integral part of their customer journey. Influencers in B2C are already well established as part of the buying process. The B2B is not quite there yet, so there is a good chance that you will be the first mover in your industry. That could be pretty cool.
Generating leads by influencers
If you want your best product to get the social attention it deserves, you need for it to be noticed by influencers. And since people who fit the profile for being a customer of your business use social media, it is important to have a way to bring them in as leads. Here are a few tips on how to structure your influencer marketing campaigns while helping you acquire new customers.
Step 1. Define Your Goals
Your campaign goals in terms of concrete KPIs will guide every decision you make – from the selection of influencers to your post-campaign distribution strategy. If you are measuring the ROI in the form of sales and new customers, it is important that you plan for that in advance and use those objectives to build and shape your campaign strategy.
Step 2. Focus on the Call to Action
A call to action is an explicit statement that tells people who are viewing your content what to do next. By focusing on a centralized call to action, you are making it easier for your influencers to guide their audience to buy your products or services.
Step 3. Prioritize Engagement Metrics When Evaluating Influencers
You should not ignore engagement metrics prioritizing during the evaluation process. It is an important part of focusing on conversions and sales. Some of the most common engagement signals are likes, shares, comments and clicks on embedded links. It is also useful to see how much organic back and forth influencers have with their audience.
Step 4. Work with an Experienced Partner for Your Influencer Campaigns
Partnering with an experienced technology platform like Fullbottle ensures that every step of the way your process will be carefully managed to help ensure successful conversions, a high ROI and a positive impact on your audience relationships.
As you may see, it is not that difficult to build your plan, which implies lead generation by influencer campaign. You should simply pay attention to details, choose the right goals and partner with the right person.
Influencers or Leads that Became Advocates
Influencer marketing identifies the individuals that have an influence over potential buyers. When you are starting to work with influencers, they are becoming your advocates to promote online referrals. Thus, buyers, who are searching for answers or recommendations, often rely on professional advice from industry experts or influencers.
At the same time, identifying the best clients and turning them into advocates can be a great engine for driving the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU). Enabling them to do so, however, is the challenge.
Therefore, your goal is to get as much content from happy customers as possible. Here are some ways to squeeze out consumer-generated feedbacks and articles from customers who already love your brand:
- There is nothing special about asking customers to upload photos and videos of themselves using your product. If you offer a promise to share their uploaded content, you will most likely have a lot of happy compliers.
- Incentivize user-generated content with a product giveaway or discount on your service.
- Ask satisfied customers to answer case study questions and assure them they can approve your content before you publish it.
- Participate in all forms of discussion forums such as the comments section of your posts, LinkedIn discussions, Google Plus communities etc. By engaging in discussions with your audience, you can use their posts or words as quotes and even blog post inspiration. You also can ask them to write a post based on their comments and publish it. Certainly, when they see their words live, they will share it like crazy.
- Send out free products or a free trial of your product (if possible) without any sort of prior commitment from the influencer. If they like it, they might mention you or write about you, recommending the awesome product.
If you mention that someone is saying good things about your brand, you may compensate him or her. It does not have to be financially, but it can be though. The point is that you want your influencer to feel rewarded, acknowledged, loved, important or any combination of those. Just be patient with people all around. There may be many influencers and potential advocates. All you have to do is nurture them; thus, the great feedback will not take a long time.
Zuberance recently discovered that offers shared by a trusted advocate can convert 3 to 10 times higher than those sent by brands. Also, Deloitte found that customers referred to brands by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate. Additionally, Social Media Today has reported that 74% of marketers around the world have said they will use influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategy within the next 12 months. Therefore, you will want to act fast before this approach becomes too saturated.
Let’s take a look into a real case. In early 2015, McKesson Corporation was preparing for the annual industry event run by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems (HIMSS). The company set their goal in leads generated among potential C-Suite buyers while attending in the show. Also, the company’s objective was to raise awareness for its software solutions.
In order to create awareness at the event and benefit from the campaign long-term, hired a marketing team, who developed an evergreen eBook featuring influencer-driven content that was launched the week of the event.
Influencers were identified in two ways:
- Experts who were socially active and discussed relevant topics in the healthcare industry.
- Existing influencers that the company already had a relationship with.
By creating an evergreen eBook that focused on influencer-driven content, traffic, leads and awareness were increased:
- 182 eBook downloads
- 3003 Slideshare views
- 1752 visits to landing page
- 319 social referral traffic to landing page
- 66% rate of influencer amplification to their own social channels
Lead generation has been discussed quite a lot, but currently the concept of an influencer in the marketing industry is becoming a hot buzz. You may think what is best for your strategy, but, as you may noticed, you may choose both. Generating leads by influence marketing is quite a common thing. You just have to do your best to find a suitable influencer, build your campaign and nurture your leads who became advocates. Such communication has all chances to make you satisfied with a good start to your business and raising your product.