A Performance Based Approach to Influencer Marketing for E-Commerce Brands

Mon Dec 15 2014
Best Practices

Over the last few years, influencer marketing has finally started to pick up among larger brands like Calvin Klein, Nike and Gap. But for small-to-medium e-commerce companies, most have yet to see them as a significant channel. And that's too bad, because as many of today’s fastest-growing e-commerce brands know, social influencers are actually one of the BEST performing channels for driving sales. Brands like Bellami Hair, Fresh Tops, Nasty Gal and Sigma Cosmetics have exploded over the last 2-3 years by promoting through hundreds of influencers on Instagram and YouTube.

So why haven’t you tried it yet? If, like most, the answer is “I don’t know how”, you should strongly consider giving AspireIQ a try. There are no upfront costs or minimum budget, and we give you all the tools and guidance to make it easy.

However, if the answer is “I can’t see how many customers or sales I’m getting”, then this post is for you!

Measuring conversion, one influencer at a time

There are a few main ways you can track direct sales in an influencer campaign, but the best one is to use the AspireIQ's sales tracking plug-in on your website! That way you can measure exactly how many conversions you're generating automatically for each post.

  1. You can also use a tracking/affiliate link to track the purchases from any customers that come directly from the post. You can use any affiliate tracking service like Refersion to do this. If you have Shopify, you can quickly plug in the free AspireIQ app to generate this for you for free directly in the platform.
  2. Using your e-commerce backend (Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento), generate a coupon code that your influencer can promote in their video/post. The benefit of this is that your influencer can highlight the discount from the code as an exclusive benefit for their audience that will drive a greater conversion rate.
  3. If you’re looking specifically for email signups, one trick you can use is to have the influencer run a contest or giveaway where leaving an email address in a comment is required for entry. Then it’s relatively easy to scrape the comments section for a given set of videos for emails.
  4. Third-party systems like Soldsie, RewardStyle and Dash Hudson also offer ways to convert sales on more difficult platforms like Instagram, where the “buying” is done by hitting the Like button or leaving a comment.

Calculating ROI

Make sure you factor in all of the costs into these types of influencer promotions so that you know your true return on a given video. The biggest cost might actually be your time: doing this on your own is time consuming, which is why AspireIQ has strived to build tools to make the whole process automated, dead-simple and fast.

Your ROI = 1 - (Total Sales - Cost of Goods) / (Cost of Gifted Product + Payment to YouTuber)

If your ROI higher than 0%, this is a profitable channel for you. If it’s higher than 50%, then this should become a core growth channel for your business. If it’s higher than 100% (or even 450% for companies like Bellami Hair), then you should probably drop everything you’re doing and focus on this!

Re-invest in successful relationships

It’s amazing to be able to find influential people who are excited about promoting your product. In fact, the longer you partner with that person and the more success you both see, the more that person is willing to help promote you and advocate for your brand.

This is why the MOST successful brands invest in building relationships with influencers where they’ve seen the highest ROI as well as setting a long-term agreement to guarantee content (e.g. 2 posts per month for 6 months). Our focus at AspireIQ has been to build real, direct relationships between brands and creators, because THAT is where the value lies for both sides.

So send them a note or a gift every once in awhile. Get their feedback on your latest product line. After all, they’re a critical part of your brand’s growth!

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