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Early-stage brands should also unlock the power of influencers

Let’s demystify influencer marketing, learn how to couple it with a little-known paid marketing hack and uncover the numerous mediums to leverage influencer assets
Jonathan Martinez Contributor Jonathan Martinez is a former YouTuber, UC Berkeley alum and growth marketing nerd who's helped scale Uber, Postmates, Chime and various startups.

They’ve made waves on every screen and have been sponsored by nearly every major brand, from Charli D’Amelio x Hollister to MrBeast x Honey. And they’re only multiplying.

If influencers aren’t part of your early-stage growth marketing plan, it’s time to get on board. When companies think of how to rapidly increase their reach and revenue, paid acquisition is always at the top of the list. But there are other important pillars in a growth marketing engine, such as leveraging lifecycle marketing, cultivating organic reach via SEO and doing later-stage brand marketing.

Influencer marketing isn’t solely for big brands; it’s for every brand. If influencers aren’t part of your growth marketing plan, it’s time to get on board.

However, an often overlooked tactic for new brands is influencer marketing. If the value and power of influencer marketing were widespread knowledge, we would see more of an uptick. And it doesn’t help that we have a supply-constrained pool of marketers who understand how to unlock this lever.

Influencer marketing spending from 2016 to 2021 (predicted). Image Credits: Jonathan Martinez

This marketing tactic is only growing. So let’s demystify influencer marketing, learn how to couple it with a little-known paid marketing hack and uncover the numerous mediums to leverage influencer assets. After three years at Postmates (which nailed influencer marketing), being a YouTuber myself in 2008 and advising startups, I’ve unlocked the power of influencer marketing and want everyone to do the same.

Starting out

If there’s one key piece of advice to take from this column, it’s that influencer marketing isn’t solely for big brands. It’s for every brand. As you start to formulate your growth strategy, make sure to include an influencer pillar as part of the plan.

When reaching out to influencers, it’s a sheer numbers game in capturing their attention and pitching your brand, but there are myriad ways to increase response conversion. Below are the cold message components you must nail down before reaching out to influencers:

  • Your brand pitch.
  • An enticing offer.
  • Clear next steps.

The one constant with influencers is the high number of messages they receive from fans and brands alike. If you’re at the marketing stage, nailing your pitch should hopefully be natural at this point, so utilize what you’ve crafted and condense it down to a sentence or two.

What are your brand’s key value propositions, and why should influencers care? To show them, relate your brand to their category, to their style and to the content that they post.

After the pitch, an irresistible offer needs to follow — something that’s the opposite of this: “I’ll send you a few samples of our protein bars.” The conversion rate will be a freakishly low tenth of a percent with that offer. Instead, make your offer enticing and utilize one of these structures: fixed fee, fixed fee + performance or performance.

Depending on budget and risk tolerance, there are a few ways to structure an influencer offer: paying a one-time fixed fee, paying for each conversion (CPA performance basis) or a hybrid of the two.

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