How to Power Your Next Product Launch With Influencer Marketing
Product launches are exhilarating. Whether you’re launching a new tropical smoothie, a line of beauty accessories, or a seasonal clothing range… these unveilings present an exciting opportunity to raise your brand awareness, excite existing customers, and supercharge your sales revenues.
D2C brands use a variety of marketing strategies to promote new products, from in-person events and pop-ups to social media campaigns and branded ads. While these marketing methods can form part of any winning launch campaign, there is one fast-growing strategy that’s setting itself apart from the rest… and that’s influencer marketing.
While techniques such as branded ads offer guaranteed air-cover, influencers add a human element to a launch campaign that no other marketing tactic can achieve. They have trusted relationships with your target audience – relationships which enable them to generate true excitement about your latest products.
In this post we’ll cover:
- 4 Reasons Brands Are Working With Influencers To Launch New Products
- Influencer Strategies For Each Stage Of Your Product Launch Campaign
- A 5-Step Checklist To Creating A Winning Influencer-led Product Launch Campaign
4 Reasons Brands Are Working With Influencers To Launch New Products
So influencers allow you to tap into highly engaged audiences who are poised and ready to hear about your latest products. But they do a whole lot more than that.
Partnering with influencers on product launches allows brands to:
1. Drive Brand Awareness
Whether this is your first ever product launch or the latest of many, people need to know about your product in order to buy it. As master communicators, influencers know exactly how to deliver a message that will resonate well with their audience (who just so happen to be your ideal target customers).
A great example of this was Motorola’s launch of a new smartphone range, the Moto Z. Motorola successfully partnered with thirteen hand-picked tech-centric YouTube influencers, whose IGC attracted followers who were the Moto Z’s perfect target demographic.
In a campaign that saw the smartphone being launched 20,000 feet on a rocket launcher by Youtube star The King of Random, Motorola’s Moto Z YouTube launch was a massive success. Gathering an impressive 11.6 million views and driving over 122k followers to the sales landing pages, the campaign showed the power of a few carefully selected influencers to generate a great return on investment for a global brand.
2. Boost Sales
While many launch campaigns are predominantly focused on awareness and engagement, influencers are experts at turning interest into action too. If you've got a roster of influencers who you have worked with on a long term basis, it's possible that their top fans will purchase based on their recommendation alone.
3. Enhance Product Credibility
When buying products online, customers want to feel reassured that they won’t be disappointed. In other words, they are looking for social proof that the product is going to be as they expect. This is where online reviews can have a huge impact – allowing shoppers to browse the thoughts of people who have already purchased, and look out for any red flags.
This same mode of thinking works with influencers too. Not only do their audiences trust their recommendations as they would a friend or family member, but have the added benefit of seeing the product ‘in action’, bringing it to life and enhancing their assurance to buy.
4. Produce Influencer-Generated Content
While the images and videos your influencers share can help drive awareness and sales of your products during the launch, you'll also have a library of content you can use to power paid ads and future campaigns. As long as the creator approves the usage rights, then you can leverage a wealth of high performing content for continued product promo.
Check out our full guide to repurposing influencer-generated content.
Influencer Strategies For Each Stage Of Your Product Launch Campaign
Now we’ve established the benefits that influencers bring to a product launch campaign, it’s time to outline the steps to success.
The rule of thumb with both offline and online product launches is to break down the campaign into three key phases:
- The launch itself
There are opportunities to work with influencers to boost impact during every phase of a product launch campaign. Here are some activation ideas for each phase of your launch:
The majority of a campaign’s time and focus is spent on the pre-launch phase of a product launch because, as the famous adage goes;
Fail to prepare… then prepare to fail.
Introduce influencers into the campaign planning from day one. Involving them during the pre-launch phase allows you to take advantage of their unique insights into your target demographic, helping drive engagement and sales throughout the campaign.
Introducing influencers early also allows them to start drumming up some early excitement with their audiences, through techniques such as:
Teaser posts are social media posts that show a ‘sneak preview’ of a product before it has been released. Without giving the game away completely, influencers might share the corner of the product, some of the packaging, or perhaps zoom in to show the color. Importantly, a teaser is not a complete unveiling, instead serving to spark the curiosity of an influencer’s audience and build anticipation in the lead up to the launch itself.
A great demonstration of an influencer generating pre-launch anticipation was a post by Estée Lalonde. Partnering with self-care brand MIRROR WATER, Estée posted on Instagram to her 650k+ followers about a new range of bath salts launching the following day.
Another highly successful technique for the lead up to your new product launch is encouraging influencers to share and post behind-the-scenes (BTS) footage. Pre-launch sneak previews and outtakes create excitement, where followers can see your products being made and packaged and form their initial opinions.
A great example of this was Abercrombie & Fitch's recent promotion of its fall clothing line, which saw some of A&F’s key influencers generating pre-launch excitement by posting BTS content to their fans.
Limited budget in the lead up to your launch? Fear not. Product seeding is an excellent way to get influencers talking about your brand and your forthcoming product launches before it goes live. Key influencers can demonstrate, review, and promote your product in anticipation of its upcoming release.
2. During Launch
As launch day / week arrives, it’s time to let your influencers shine. At this stage, your creators should be on hand and briefed to talk about your product within an agreed timeline.
Here are the most effective ways that influencers can promote your product launch during the launch period:
Sponsored Social Media Posts
Tried and true: the most common way for brands to promote product launches with creators is via sponsored posts. This involves influencers featuring the new product in images, Reels or TikTok videos and sharing it across their social media feeds or in Stories.
Social media platforms are perfect for this, as they allow branded product launches to take advantage of the speed of social commerce revenue streams. Influencers with more than 10,000 followers can navigate customers directly to sales landing pages with call-to-action directives like ‘buy now’ and shoppable links – shortening the path to purchase.
Sponsored posts can generate huge engagement for brands, especially when partnering with many influencers on a single campaign. For example, the natural deodorant brand, Wild, made an impressive impact with the launch of its newest Chamomile Tea and French Lavender scent, partnering with a variety of nano, micro and mid
-tier influencers across Instagram and TikTok.
Influencers created content showcasing the new product alongside the product’s ingredients to give viewers a ‘feel’ for the scent, without being able to smell it themselves.
In-person launch events are another brilliant launch technique as they stand out and immediately capture your target audience’s attention.
To extend the reach even further, invite influencers to your events and encourage them to post about it online. The key is to make sure it’s a share worthy or ‘Instagrammable’ event, with lots of photo/video ops for influencers to take full advantage of. Paid influencers should also be appropriately briefed beforehand, so that both parties are in agreement on the type and amount of content that will be shared (check out our brief template).
A great example of launch events done well is self-tan and skincare brand, Bondi Sands. When launching its latest skincare line, the brand threw an interactive event full of samples, demonstrations and goodies and invited influencers along to share the experience.
By aesthetically setting up the space with product stations and selfie mirrors, Bondi Sands offered plenty of ‘Instagrammable’ opportunities for influencers to share, which would also capture the attention of their followers.
Live ‘unboxing’ videos can also generate immense exposure for product launch campaigns. In fact, studies have shown that live-streaming events can generate almost 30% conversion rates amongst an online audience.
Influencers live-streaming themselves unboxing your product can help bring it to life. From watching them opening the branded packaging to seeing the product for the first time, followers buy into the event and become immersed in the occasion.
These are extremely popular on Youtube, TikTok and Instagram Stories, where live ‘first reaction’ style videos are well-received by viewers. They can also be popular with brands that offer aesthetically pleasing products or packaging.
For example, stationery brand Papier generates a host of new influencer unboxing videos every month, thanks to its hand wrapped products and beautiful packaging. This only adds to the ‘put together’ image of the brand, which adds greater appeal for their target customer.
Influencer-led product launches provide a treasure trove of real-time data metrics, constantly allowing brands to evolve campaigns post-launch and capitalize on lucrative revenue streams.
Monitoring metrics – including engagement levels, affiliate traffic volume, and sales revenues – provides excellent insight into the campaign’s performance in real-time. In addition, influencer-led product launches allow brands to identify promotional strategies and influencer channels generating the most traction.
For example, a key influencer can extract superb results from three or four social media channels, however, their IGC may be underachieving in another specific medium. Here, brands work with influencers to focus on this platform and adopt a new content strategy to achieve improved results, ultimately increasing your ROI.
With this resulting analytical data, here are three core influencer strategies to generate extended results in the post-launch phase of your campaign:
Branded Content Ads
A great way to continue generating interest post-launch is to take your best performing content and turn it into branded content ads. Not only do you save on content production costs, but the greater authenticity of influencer-generated content results in increased engagement, awareness and, of course, ROI. Even better? They boost the probability of purchase outcomes by 82%.
Part of the beauty of working with creative influencers is that they will generate unique and engaging content for your product launches. But don’t just let them tell their fans about it… push this influencer-generated content to every branded medium available for maximum effect.
Agreeing on favorable usage terms with key influencers allows you to repurpose their eye-catching content across your other branded channels, including:
· Emails and newsletters
· Websites and landing pages
· Company social media
Skincare brand Glossier is an expert at repurposing content, not only using influencer posts across its website and social media, but across out-of-home (OOH) advertisements too. This only adds to the company’s brand ethos: ‘Beauty inspired by real life’.
5 Steps To Creating An Effective Influencer-led Product Launch Campaign
Before embarking on your upcoming product launches, there are several key steps that can amplify the tangible business benefits available to your brand. Clarifying your business goals, identifying the right influencers and employing tailored online strategies are all crucial steps in ensuring your campaign’s success. Let’s break down the process into five simple steps:
1. Establish your goals
Like most traditional product unveiling campaigns, the core elements businesses strive for remain the same. Except, the advantages of influencer-led promotions can have additional benefits for achieving these set objectives.
Of course, every promotional campaign launching a new product should target sales revenues. Successful influencer-led product launches are no different. Except they can also incorporate strategies such as partnering with brand ambassadors and affiliate partners to streamline the sales process.
Check out our guide to measuring influencer marketing ROI the right way.
It is vital to remember the enormous impact raising brand awareness can add when becoming a campaign focal point. After all, there are some highly beneficial influencer strategies brands can incorporate to boost brand awareness throughout a campaign.
These can include influencer-led new product reviews and demonstrations, brand mentions, and product giveaways. These brilliant tools ultimately raise your product profile and people’s awareness of your brand.
Another key area successful brands have identified with influencer-led product launches is concentrating on the interaction and engagement with your desired customer base. Combined strategies such as influencer account takeovers and influencer allowlisting create engaging promotional launches.
These strategies facilitate influencers to chat and interact with followers and prospective consumers, making your brand more personable to people.
Content is another key outcome, and objective of, influencer-led campaigns. Influencer marketing allows brands to gain access to a whole library of engaging content which can be repurposed across their own channels. It’s not only high performing and super in tune with your target audience – but saves a considerable amount of time and resource which would have otherwise gone to expensive in-house content creation projects.
2. Find the right influencers for your product launch
The second step you must take to ensure your influencer-led product launches succeed; identify the influencers already actively engaged with your perfect target market.
But remember, bigger isn’t always better…
Don’t be fooled into thinking that working with a mega-influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers is a guaranteed path to a successful product launch… far from it. In fact, a recent Aspire survey showed a staggering 70% of brand marketers declared their preference to work with smaller content creators, such as Nano and micro-influencers instead.
For example, when Andalou Naturals was looking to promote its new hydration line and partnership with Whole Foods, it introduced a product seeding launch campaign targeting Instagram beauty influencers. By placing its product into the hands of industry-specific, smaller-scale influencers, Andalou Naturals generated an incredibly successful campaign driven by organic IGC geo-tagging Whole Foods.
That’s because smaller-scale influencers provide greater engagement with your target audience throughout your product launch campaigns. Heightened engagement levels with a perfect target market automatically reduce your return on investment (ROI) as your influencer-led product launches become more streamlined.
Fortunately, here at Aspire, we’ve simplified this process with the help of tools such as our Influencer Search Engine and Creator Marketplace. Here, brands like yours can look at a whole range of influencer metrics, such as follower growth, engagement and audience demographics to pinpoint a range of content creators who will help deliver a highly successful launch campaign.
3. Brief & Partner Appropriately
With your perfect influencers chosen, it’s crucial to ensure that both parties are in agreement on the outcomes of the campaign. What will the influencer’s role look like in the campaign? Will they be attending an event? Posting an unboxing video? How many posts are included in their fee?
While it’s important to clarify all of these details beforehand, be careful not to take too much creative control away from your influencers. Yes, brand guidelines are important, but without the creative freedom to create content which fits with their personal brand and typical content, you’ll risk ending up with low-performing content, not to mention a constrained influencer relationship.
This is all part of effective influencer relations – which you can learn more about here.
Need some inspiration for effective brief writing? Explore our 16 influencer brief templates.
4. Measure Effectively
As we mentioned, working with influencers opens up a gold mine of analytics to guide not only your current product launch but future product launches too. That’s why it’s key to ensure your measurement strategies are established from the beginning.
While sponsored posts allow brands to work out performance based on content and engagement objectives, there are additional influencer marketing strategies that help measure return on sales objectives too.
One such strategy is affiliate marketing. By feeding off the energy of your product’s debut launch, influencers can share unique promo and discount links with followers, quickly turning early engagement into short-term sales. These can be easily tracked in your brand’s own CRM system, allowing you to quickly identify your best performing influencers.
5. Learn and reinvest in your top performers
And what to do when you’ve identified your star performers? Reinvest in them! With your measurement and analytics effectively set up, it’s time to take stock of campaign learnings and start rewarding the influencers who are generating the best results for your brand.
Future Product Launches
Ultimately, influencers have the power to seriously level up your product launch campaigns, with their highly engaged audiences, top performing content and ability to provide trust and social proof to your ideal customers. Not to mention, there are a variety of techniques and strategies to work with influencers in a way that best supports your campaign’s specific objectives.