Influencer Marketing 101 for Shopify Stores

A guest article by Brett Owens of LeadDyno team. He hosts webcasts about affiliate and influencer recruitment most business days, which are free for Shopify users. Each session runs 15 minutes, and he saves time to answer your questions throughout and afterward. You can join him for his next affiliate recruitment webcast here.

Influencers can send A LOT of high quality, enthusiastic traffic to your Shopify store. But it can often be difficult – and expensive – to get their attention.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to connect with influencers and develop lasting relationships with them at a minimum cost. With a little bit of creativity and marketing spend, you can develop your own network of influencers that’ll send a constant flow of traffic and sales to your store.

What Influencers Want

Bloggers and social media influencers do want to talk about your product. They also want to make a living from their hobby turned profession.

They key to getting them to promote your product is to appeal to both of their needs. Demonstrate that they can make money as you make money, and also bring a unique offering to their readers and followers.

An influencers’ dream is to charge big money for a post. You’ve heard of the A-List (or really A+) Instagram influencers who charge hundreds of thousands of dollars per post. That’s their ultimate goal.

The reality? Many out there – with high-quality followings – would be happy to collect anything up front per post or mention. That’s where the real value is for merchants like you and me.

Our Target: B-List Influencers

We should focus on the “B-List” crowd. The up-and-coming bloggers and social media heroes who are hungry, actively building their followings and churning out great content.

In a perfect world, we’d work out an affiliate marketing deal with these partners. They talk about our products and send traffic to our stores, and we pay them an “affiliate commission” that is a percentage of each sale.

We’d even make sure to pay them after our refund period is up, so that we’re sure we’re only paying them out of profits. This is a no-brainer marketing investment for us because we’re only paying for profits and sales they send our way!

But our B-Listers probably have A-List aspirations. Which means, in a perfect world, they are collecting money from us up front in exchange for their coverage.

With that in mind, we’ll approach them with a compromise.

Our Offer: A Modest Advertising Investment

In my experience, it can be challenging to get an influencers’ attention when only offering an affiliate deal. And it’s hard to blame them – after all, they can do affiliate deals all day long and not really know which ones will work until afterward. Which isn’t really fair to them, because they’ve got some upfront work to do no matter what happens.

But they’ll be thrilled if we offer a bit of upfront investment. I usually don’t even mention an affiliate deal up front. I’ll ask about advertising opportunities.

Our potential partner may have a media kit. Or they may not – and be thrilled to have their first advertising deal! Either way, we’ve got their attention.

Often times, we’ll be able to buy some advertising for a few hundred bucks or so. And what we’re really buying here is much more than a banner ad, or a Twitter mention. We’re investing in this influencer’s attention.

Since we’ve shown we’re willing to invest with them, they’ll want to keep us as a partner. Now that we have their attention, they’ll pay closer attention to our business – and will be thrilled when we toss them an affiliate deal to boot.

How to Find Influencers

You probably know who you want to partner with. These are the blogs and social media icons talking about the products in your industry. If you don’t know, these folks are easy enough to find by searching Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Want a fast track to influencers who are looking for products like yours to promote? Consider joining an affiliate network.

An easy, and free, option for Shopify merchants is the eCommerce Affiliate Network app. You can setup your own listing in one of twenty product categories, where affiliates can learn about and join your program. Please note this app doesn’t include affiliate tracking software, so you’ll want to install an additional app for this as well (such as ours, LeadDyno).

The Ecommerce Affiliate Network will also let you reach out to their affiliates and influencers directly. This is a good way to accelerate your recruitment.

Be FTC Compliant

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has endorsement rules in place for affiliate marketing. In short, they want you to disclose that you have a business relationship with us when you promote and post your link. You can read the full FTC rules about affiliate marketing here.

When posting or sharing your link, you should make it known to your readers and followers that you will receive compensation if they buy a product via your link. This declaration should be clear and conspicuous (and reiterated as needed). Again, you can read the FTC rules (and their quick FAQ) here.


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