Every social media manager knows that it’s crucial to prove the impact of their influencer activations — and how it contributes to the brand’s ultimate goal of driving sales.
The good news is that each of your influencer marketing activations will lead to sales in some way. Whether you’re running long-term brand building initiatives or seasonal activations like a Black Friday campaign, there’s a way to boost your sales revenue with the help of influencers.
We recently had the chance to chat with marketing leaders from Universal Windows Direct, Minted, and Mountain Rose Herbs about how they leverage influencer marketing to drive major sales. Check out what they had to say.
1. Universal Windows Direct
- Industry: Home improvement
- Results: $1.8 million in revenue
- The winning strategy:
- Boost brand awareness through traditional influencer marketing campaigns
- Repurpose high-performing influencer content into dark posts and whitelisted ads
Universal Windows Direct is a regional home improvement company specializing in replacement window installation, home siding replacement, and more. Over the last 9 months, this small company impressively drove $1.8 million in revenue through influencer whitelisting.
Anne-Marie Colant, the brand’s Social Media & Influencer Management, says the key to success is a full funnel strategy that combines traditional influencer marketing campaigns with dark posts and whitelisted ads.
At the top of the funnel is each influencer’s #sponsored post about Universal Windows Direct, which helps with brand awareness. This is also a crucial stage for the brand to figure out what kind of content each creator’s audience resonates with most, whether it be Instagram Reels, carousel posts, or so on. Then, using Aspire’s Brand Access Manager tool — which brands can use to request advertising access to creators’ accounts — Universal Windows Direct takes high-performing influencer content and repurposes it into dark posts and whitelisted ads. These kinds of ads can be fully tracked and measured, and brands can set up UTM parameters to each call-to-action button to gain full funnel visibility along with conversion tracking.
Dark posts and whitelisted ads perform extremely well not only because they seamlessly appear under the influencer’s handle, but also because each piece of content is highly vetted and targeted so that the audience sees ads that are actually relevant to their interests. This means better engagement and higher click-through rates!
“Brand Access Manager through Aspire is something that we have just found to be invaluable to our collaboration process. [Targeted ads] have made engagements and click through rates better because the audience feels like they're getting messaging that's made just for them.”
— Anne-Marie Colant, Social Media & Influencer Management at Universal Windows Direct
- Industry: Art and design
- Results: Thousands of dollars in sales driven by each influencer
- The winning strategy:
- Partner with micro-influencers to maximize budget and scale
- Diversify channels to increase conversions
- A/B test content to find high performers
- Measure full-funnel performance metrics and re-invest in the most successful influencers
Minted, an online marketplace of independent artists and designers, once worked with an influencer whose Instagram Reel brought in $10,000 in sales within the first two weeks of the content going live. The best part is that the influencer only charged a flat rate around $1,500.
But this isn’t an isolated incident.
Another one of Minted’s influencers went live on Instagram, bringing in 16 new customer orders with an average order value of $200. What’s even more astonishing is that when this same content was repurposed on Minted’s paid social, the brand was able to drive over 2,000 orders in a two month timeframe.
So, what’s the secret? How does Emily Dunn, Head of Influencer at Minted, monetize influencer-generated content?
First and foremost, Minted has been doubling down on micro-influencers. Working with these smaller creators allows the brand to stretch its budget and build out a large library of assets quickly. Minted negotiates content usage rights upfront, which allows the brand to A/B test the content and see which assets are rising to the top. Then, the brand is able to put its media spend behind those top performers immediately.
Additionally, the brand diversifies its channels. For example, Minted’s influencers will post a blog, then share it across Facebook, Instagram Stories, or Pinterest — always linking it back to the blog. This allows for more opportunities to drive their audiences to the site, and to convert. It’s also important to utilize different channels to leverage its unique features. For instance, Pinterest content has a longer shelf life than, say, Instagram Stories. If an influencer shares their blog post to Pinterest, this piece of content can continue to convert for your brand over weeks, months, or even a year.
At the end of the day, it’s all about measurement at Minted. The brand gives its influencers trackable links and promo codes, allowing them to measure and track all the KPIs — not only basic metrics like impressions, but also performance metrics like web traffic from each influencer, cost per acquisition (CPA), customer acquisition cost (CAC), cost-per-click (CPC) on paid social, and return on ad spend (ROAS) — in order to understand which influencers, type of content, and channels to further invest in.
“With Aspire, there's so much rich reporting to take away. You really are able to build out this holistic dashboard view and show how influencers are working in tandem with other marketing efforts to give your other programs lift. [Influencers] are able to absolutely work the entire purchasing funnel, right from awareness all the way down to that conversion.”
— Emily Dunn, Head of Influencer, Minted
3. Mountain Rose Herbs
- Industry: Health and wellness
- Results: $330,000 in revenue
- The winning strategy:
- Turn customers, professional herbal educators, and real brand fans into affiliates
- Reward affiliates with 10% commission to boost sales and spread word-of-mouth in an authentic way
- Co-create cross-promotional content with brand partners
Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been serving its loyal customer base with the highest quality organic herbs, spices, teas, essential oils, and DIY ingredients used in herbalism. As the brand has grown up throughout the years, it has invested in affiliate marketing with a program made up of 1,400 brand partners, who have driven over $330,000 in revenue for the brand.
The brand’s extremely successful affiliate strategy is “heart-driven,” as described by Jessicka Nebesni, Mountain Rose Herbs’ Marketing Strategist. Instead of finding influencers with the most followers or likes, Mountain Rose Herbs uses Aspire’s influencer discovery tools to develop genuine relationships with customers, professional herbal educators, and real brand fans, who are able to share the brand’s message with their community and authentically promote the products just by showcasing their lifestyle.
Because the affiliates are paid based on their performance, they have complete control over the amount of content they create — they can post as much or as little as they want about Mountain Rose Herbs. Once they drive a sale, they’re paid a 10% commission. This affiliate model rewards real brand fans for promoting Mountain Rose Herbs’ products, giving the brand a great way to spread positive word-of-mouth in an authentic way.
But beyond monetary compensation, the brand takes a human approach to affiliate marketing — giving affiliates a bigger hand in building its brand and treating them as true brand partners. These valuable partners co-host herbal events, free classes, and webinars with the brand and co-create cross-promotional content, making Mountain Rose Herbs a trusted educational pillar in the community. Not to mention, nurturing these affiliate relationships encourages brand partners to continue being an active member of the Mountain Rose Herbs community.
“Aspire's hybrid approach to influencer and affiliate marketing makes their platform the best available, especially in an always changing partnership landscape. Aspire has also been crucial in the implementation of our new affiliate program. Their helpful and knowledgeable staff worked hand-in-hand with us to launch the program and provide stellar support when it comes to scaling our program and learning the latest best practices.”
— Jessicka Nebesni, Marketing Strategist at Mountain Rose Herbs