Influence is one of the most powerful psychological drivers in sales and in belt-tightening times like these, influencer marketing is one of the most cost efficient ways to promote your business. While this type of marketing has often been employed in the B2C space, opportunity abounds in the B2B space.
Influencer marketing, one of a dozen types of word of mouth marketing, is an especially effective tactic in driving B2B sales. To better understand what influencer marketing is all about, let’s define the players.
Effective influencer marketing is composed of three components: the influencer, the follower, the business solution.
- Influencer – An influencer would be someone whose ability to motivate, change views, shift over from the status quo through their energy and passion and helpful knowledge over time.
- Followers – These people seek out the advice of the said ‘influencer‘ and will often listen and employ the advice to the extent they can implement it.
- Business Solution – While not directly linked to influencer marketing, the business solution is the most critical of the three parts of the influence puzzle. Your solution needs to be relevant, meet the high standards of the influencer that share it with their followers, and be easy t0 understand (read: if an influencer can’t figure out why they or their community of followers should be interested in your product then you can bet they won’t give it the right type of influence to help it grow!).
Whether a follower of a influential person moves to take action on a product or service depends on the level of authority the influencer possesses. Popular bloggers are very good at promoting their authority by developing thought leadership with their blog posts.
However, not all business influencers are created equally. Selecting influencers that are best equipped to reach and influence your target audience will be a key component in your influencer marketing strategy. To get started:
- Make a list of bloggers/writers/influencers who appear to reach your market.
- Assess their market reach by estimating their number of connections.
- Determine their though leadership (Do their followers hold the influencer’s opinion in high esteem?)
- Check their followers for the decision makers of your target market (LinkedIn is great for this).
- Rank your influencers according to their market reach, thought leadership, and ties to your target audience
Once you have your ranked list, I’d start connecting with a few who aren’t crucial to your influencer marketing success. Incorporate your learnings from those approaches and craft a winning strategy for reaching out to the higher-ranked influencers who influence potential buyers in your product or services’ sweet spot.
When done right, influencer marketing is an effective and economical way to increase sales for your business. If you can identify the right influencers, know your target customers (followers), and have a business solution worth talking about then influencer marketing needs to be included in your marketing mix.
Have you employed the power of influence in your marketing strategy?