We understand how difficult it can be for an emerging Shopify brand to navigate the ever-evolving influencer marketing industry on a shoestring budget. Year after year, cost per engagement is rising and it can seem impossible to scale your influencer relationships without enough funds.
As always, we’re here to ease your worries. Here are 2 strategies to stretch your small budget while still reaping the benefits of influencer marketing.
1. Try product seeding.
Product seeding is a great way to expand your pool of influencers at little expense. If you’re unfamiliar, product seeding refers to the process of sending well-aligned influencers (of all sizes) your product with no expectations that they’ll post or create any content around your brand. There is typically no official contract involved in this process.
While this strategy doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get anything in return, getting your products in the hands of potential partners is still a great first touchpoint and allows creators to try out your products. On the other hand, when an influencer does choose to organically mention the product on social media, the shoutout can lead to amazing results. This is especially true as PR unboxing videos become increasingly popular among influencers.
Take note from Shopify brand, SKINN Cosmetics. To make the most of its small budget, SKINN decided to bet on influencer product seeding. When a macro-influencer mentioned SKINN’s Luminous Skin Oil in an Instagram Story late last year, the product saw a 192% jump in sales when compared to the prior month. Additionally, a recent seeding campaign for the Divine Elixir Firming Algae Facial Oil helped it become one of the brand’s top-performing products, despite it having been just one month since launch. With this strategy, the brand has seen a 19% increase in web traffic compared to last year, just from social alone.
Needless to say, product seeding is a great way to stretch a tight budget while still getting your products into the hands of the influencers you really want to work with. And if done right, it can have a massive impact on your conversions.
2. Build an affiliate program.
Affiliate marketing is a great solution to scaling your partnerships in a quick and cost-effective way. Chances are, there are individuals who are already big fans of your brand and may already be promoting your products without being asked to — so why not reward them by turning them into affiliates? Because you're paying affiliates only for the conversions that they drive, you can adopt somewhat of a “set it and forget it” mentality to the program, making this strategy perfect for small teams who still want to make an impact.
It’s a win-win for all parties involved. Brands get increased awareness, traffic, and sales without breaking the bank, while affiliates have a source of passive income coming from a brand that they love.
This strategy is one that Mountain Rose Herbs has taken. The wellness brand’s affiliate program consists of over 1,400 loyal customers, professional herbal educators, and real brand fans, who have organically applied to be Mountain Rose Herbs’ affiliates. While they already love Mountain Rose Herbs products, they’re even more motivated to post about the brand since they receive a 10% commission. Together, these affiliates have driven over $330,000 in revenue for the brand.
To follow Mountain Rose Herbs’ footsteps, recruit your existing influencers, trusty customers, industry experts, and even employees to be your affiliates. That way, you’ll have a large pool of passionate brand fans promoting your brand year-round, without you having to pay for every piece of content created around your brand.
Whether you’re running a traditional influencer marketing campaign, a product seeding campaign, or an affiliate program, an influencer marketing platform like Aspire can help you streamline and scale your efforts.