Next-gen influencer marketing: the most cost-effective ROI yet

Getting in front of new customers is an age-old problem for businesses.

Marketing tends to be expensive in either time or cash. Either you get in front of new customers yourself, or you pay someone to do it for you.

Traditional marketing tends to be expensive in cash. This includes:

  • Paying for airtime on TV
  • Paying for airtime on the radio (or podcasts)
  • Paying for display ads online
  • Paying for ads in the paper
  • Paying a PR agency to get you mentioned in a print publication

On the other hand, digital marketing tends to be expensive in time. This includes:

  • Responding to all the comments on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
  • Responding to all your reviews on Yelp, Google and Facebook
  • Creating and sharing new content on social media

Marketing costs money

If you’re short on time, you pay an agency to handle marketing for you.

The agency first develops ad creative: photos, videos, catchphrases and other media for your business. You might think of ad creative as content – the stuff you fill the ads with. The content better be eye-catching, otherwise no one will pay attention to it.

Second, the agency distributes the ads for you. They coordinate with print publications, digital publications, radio partners or television orders to get your ads out there. They manage campaigns on Facebook and Google and Instagram to make sure your business is seen.

Finally, the agency measures the result. What worked best? Was it the Facebook post or the podcast spot? Once the agency analyzes the results, they can tweak the marketing to be even more cost-effective next time.

Marketing costs time

But not everyone has thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to throw at an agency. This means if you want to market your business, you need to spend time.

Unfortunately, traditional marketing channels don’t accept time as a form of payment. If you want to get on TV, on the radio, into podcasts or in print, no amount of effort will get your business featured.

But digital marketing has given business owners a new way to market their business – free. If they spend their time by creating and sharing content, they can get exposure without paying cash.

What this means, however, is that the business now has to do everything the marketing agency would do. This means:

  • Creating engaging, eye-catching content on a consistent basis
  • Building an audience of thousands who will see the content
  • Measuring which content, and which social channels drove the most new business

Obviously, this is not easy. It takes both skill and elbow grease to get right.

But, strapped for cash, this is what many business owners resort to. And it squeezes the amount of time they could otherwise spend on operations, hiring, customer service or new products.

Marketing can - and should - cost less time and money

The problem with doing all your own marketing is that – as a business owner – you’re not a marketer.

It is simply not your job to focus on graphic design, or video editing, or drafting up catchy ads. 

It’s not your job to brainstorm new content week after week to build an audience of thousands of followers on social media. 

And it’s not your job to see what works, and what doesn’t, and improve your marketing accordingly.

Those are all jobs for marketers: people whose full-time, professional job it is to capture and convert attention into revenue. So what if there was a way to market your business that cost less time than digital marketing, and less money than traditional marketing?

Why influencer marketing is the most cost-effective marketing channel yet

In recent years, a better way to market your business has emerged. It is far cheaper than traditional marketing, and far less time-consuming than digital marketing. But it’s just as powerful as each of these in getting your business more exposure.

That way is influencer marketing.

First of all, what is influencer marketing? Influencer marketing is a way of marketing your business with the help of influencers, or people who have tens of thousands of followers on social media.

Most influencers – which is really just a marketing term created by marketers – refer to themselves as “content creators.” That’s because they create captivating, authentic content that resonates with their followers.

Content creators are trusted authority figures in the eyes of their followers. They spend a lot of time and energy creating content which both informs and entertains their fans. And when they choose certain products to buy, or restaurants to eat at, or events to go to, their fans listen to these recommendations.

If you think about it, we’ve always had influencers. Sure, they didn’t go by that name. But you’ve had influencers in your parents and teachers and friends and celebrities and public figures.

These are people whose opinion you trust. They do their research. They are interesting. And when they recommend stuff, you listen. At very least, you listen much more than an annoying ad.

While “influencer” is a modern term, it’s a timeless way of marketing. It’s marketing through people you trust. It’s here to stay, and it’s bigger than ever due to social media.

When you market with content creators, you get much more than what you could do yourself or with an agency. Content creators:

  • Develop all the content themselves. No work is required by you
  • Are already trusted by people who follow them. Ads are not.
  • Have already built an audience of tens of thousands of people. You have not.
  • Know their audience better than an agency possibly could
  • Are professionals at creating content. It is their job to take the most attractive photos, produce the most captivating videos, writing the most engaging articles.
  • Cost less expensive than agencies because they have no overhead

Compare that to working with an agency. Expensive.

Compare that doing it all yourself. Grueling.

Influencer marketing is the most cost-effective way, in both time and money, to get your business exposed to tens of thousands of your target customers.

The status quo in influencer marketing

But despite how appealing influencer marketing may be, it’s early and the industry is still underdeveloped.

 

  1. Influencer marketing is not as hassle-free as it should be

When you’re trying to work with influencers, you have to reach out to the influencers. You can use a service like Tomoson or Upfluence or AspireIQ to find your influencers.

Then, you have to coordinate with them. You have to negotiate price, terms, content and schedule. Finally, you pay them.

While the hard work of creating content is outsourced to the influencer, there is new work in finding and partnering with influencers to begin with. This can take days of research and planning.

 

  1. Influencer marketing is not as cheap as it should be

The other problem is that, while influencer still costs much less than traditional advertising or working with an agency, it could still be cheaper.

That’s because there’s very poor insight into results: how does influencer content translate into revenue?

Some services try to rely on follower counts, but these can be easily bought. Other services rely on likes, but these too can be easily bought.

It’s not uncommon to work with an influencer with tens of thousands of followers, yet the measurable uplift on a website is less than a hundred people. 

In addition to poor measurement, prices are not transparent. You may negotiate $250 with one influencer and $1,000 with another – and the only difference is based on who negotiated better. It’s not about results, and that’s because it’s not a transparent market.

The next generation of influencer marketing

So how do we resolve this? At EarnLocal, we make it easy to get more people promoting your business. 

And unlike the status quo in influencer marketing, it costs even less time and money for the same results.

EarnLocal changes two things that current influencer marketing gets wrong:

  1. At EarnLocal, the influencers find you – not vice versa
  2. With EarnLocal, we measure everything. You only pay for proven results

How does it work?

When you register with EarnLocal, you create an offer. This is how much you’ll pay when an influencer drives a certain amount of traffic to your website.

For example, you may give a free meal when an influencer drives 50 visitors to your website (a “reward offer”). Or, you may pay $20 when an influencer drives 50 people to your website (a “cost-per-click offer”). 

If you don’t get clicks, you don’t pay. It’s that simple.

Unlike the status quo in influencer marketing, with EarnLocal, you post an offer and you’re done. Content creators and influencers visit your restaurant, create content for you, and share your referral link. 

When they get clicks, they earn rewards and cash. And you get exposure to thousands of new customers. It’s a win-win.

Getting started with EarnLocal

As we’ve seen, marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.

You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars in “retainer fees” for a marketing agency. And you don’t have to spend hours upon hours building and executing your own marketing strategy yourself.

Leave it to the professionals: content creators and influencers. Pay in food or cash, and only for proven results.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can request a demo by clicking this link. You’ll talk with a real person who will show you how this all works.

Or, sign up by clicking here. Getting started is totally free and takes less than five minutes. Post your very first offer, and you’re off to the races!

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