Influencer Marketing Advice From the Founder of a Multi Million Dollar Beauty Brand
Thu May 03 2018
Real estate agent turned entrepreneur, Elexsis (Lexi) McCarthy, started her multimillion dollar brand, MakeUp Eraser, with the help of her husband, influencer marketing and her bathrobe.
Yes, you read that right. The Original Makeup Eraser stemmed from an idea that came to Lexi while in the bathroom. What was once a bathrobe given to her by her mother-in-law became the reusable makeup remover that you now see in 60 countries and over 10,000 retail stores, including Sephora, Nordstrom and more.
In its first year of operation, MakeUp Eraser generated $500,000 in sales. By 2015 the brand generated $5 million, and they are well on their way to reaching the projected $12 million in sales this year. But what led to the brand’s mega success? Besides the fact that the product is innovative and amazing, a statement I can personally attest to, Lexi states that most of the brand’s initial success was due to the brand awareness MakeUp Eraser received as a result of influencer marketing.
I chatted with Lexi to understand exactly how influencer marketing contributed to her brand’s success.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you started influencer marketing?
Lexi: At first I wasn’t seeing sales through Instagram, and I realized I wasn’t doing it right from the beginning. I expected our initial campaign to see direct ROI. But most of the time, if you spend $100 on a post you’re not immediately going to see $100 returns. I’m guessing other brands are experiencing that.
At this point I’ve learned so much about influencer marketing strategy. Right now, we’re focused on brand awareness and getting content. Our next campaign will be more of a sales push where we do coupon codes and have a strategy that’s tailored to drive sales.
As you ran more campaigns, did you see any unexpected benefits from influencer marketing?
Lexi: Content is something that you’d typically have to hire someone for. AspireIQ gives brands the ability to source large amounts of content, and it’s been a massive savings for the brand. I know I’ve spent $3,500 for one video to be created professionally. Now, for $3,500 I can probably get my hands on 10 videos and 30 pictures.
An influencer I work with only has 13k followers on Instagram, but her husband happens to be a professional photographer. I think I spent $50 for the first video, but it could have been produced by a professional media company it was so good. Give influencer marketing enough time and it’s going to drive down the cost of content creation for the entire industry. At least it is for me! Right now, we’re not making any content in-house.
Are you doing anything unique with influencer marketing that other brands may not be doing?
Lexi: We’re able to use influencer content and repurpose that anywhere and everywhere. For example, we’re getting ready to do our Cellu Cup launch on Sephora.com. They were really specific about what they needed. The brand was previously based out of France and a lot of the content was lacking the American touch. So I went through AspireIQ and got eight how-tos and tutorial videos. We created everything we needed for the dot com launch with content that we got through AspireIQ. It’s really neat not having to go on Craigslist to find models and videographers to come up with this content. And influencer content brings a creative touch that one creative team couldn’t come up with by themselves.
What’s the biggest influencer marketing risk you’ve ever taken, and what did you learn from it?
Lexi: Probably the biggest risk we’ve ever taken was monetary. We paid a huge amount on an Instagram Ad we ran. Based on that ad I learned not to expect immediate ROI. And by that I mean it’s not so much about ROI, it’s about how many people are seeing your brand. Back when I sold real estate, you had to touch a person seven times before they decided to buy. I read recently that you have to touch a person something like 53 times before they make the decision to buy. How are you going to do that with a $20 product? How do you touch someone 53 times and not have it not cost you money?
With influencer marketing you’re getting the content and you’re getting the impressions, so people see your brand. Eventually you’ll get the buy—maybe from the ads, or maybe later on when someone buys your product on Amazon. That’s what I would do, ha ha.
What was an influencer marketing win for your brand?
Lexi: If I’m able to repurpose the content, I win no matter what. One of the girls provided me with a photo that I loved so much that we ended up putting it on a palette that’s in 238 Costco stores. I went back to her to get six more images. She’s pretty much featured in our entire business, on our web, on our blog, on our Instagram.
Do you have any other advice you would give a brand getting into a influencer marketing?
1. Getting content from influencers is really applicable to any product, not just beauty products.
2. I’ve found that I prefer to work with micro-influencers. Their audience seems to be more engaged. Plus, YouTube is so expensive. If I tried to pay to go viral on YouTube it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of the larger influencers may mention you for $2,500. So that’s not a part of our strategy at this point. I’m at a point where I want to engage with people who are interested in MakeUp Eraser.
3. Make long-term relationships with influencers. I have a list of people I go to that I know I’ll always get high quality content from.
Are you interested in learning how MakeUp Eraser was able to generate 10x more content each month? Check out the full MakeUp Eraser case study here.