From the Kardashian Klan to Nick Offerman – influencers are taking over the world of advertising, one Instagram post at a time. This shift has occurred under consumers noses, with marketers teaming up with society’s social leaders to advertise their product/service to their niche market by a ‘review’ or ‘recommendation’ posted on their social media feed. Consumers have never been more accessible to marketers than today, all thanks to social media and smart technology. We are now accessible 24/7 and can personalise who we ‘follow’; thus creating an extremely customised and unique mode of advertising for marketers to take advantage of.

First, let’s clarify the basics.

Influencer Marketing involves marketing products and services to individuals who have a loyal following of people, whose buying decisions can be impacted as a result. This ‘influencer’ therefore promotes a product, typically framing it as recommended product or review of their experience; and thus encourages their market of consumers to purchase the same product. With 47% of online consumers using ad blockers, marketers are provided with even more reason to put their money behind influencers instead of traditional advertising avenues.

Who better to ask about the industry, than the man that influences the masses as CEO of influencer marketing SaaS; Joe Sinkwitz. Naturally, we sat this influencer marketing expert down to answer a few questions to get a feel for what’s actually going on in the industry…

UnGagged: Joe, tell us a bit about yourself

Joe Sinkwitz: I have over 20 years of experience in digital marketing having built SEO, content marketing, and now influencer marketing companies. While I generally avoid most conferences, I’ve spoken internationally on topics as varied as blackhat search tactics, the psychology of influence, and general business operations.

UnGagged: How did you get involved with Influencer Marketing?

Joe: I was working on a hush hush giant CPG play in a difficult space where it is problematic trying to advertise on Facebook Ads, Adwords, and even in most magazines/newspapers. Through attempting to help them get more converting traffic I kept running into using influencers as the primary method. Unfortunately, there were no reasonable networks at the time. Everyone was running an agency, which took 20% of spend, and there wasn’t a good way to self-manage. I wound down my involvement in that project so I could do Intellifluence.

UnGagged: Can you tell us what you think has been the most fundamental change or development in Influencer Marketing in the last 10 years?

Joe: The ubiquity of social media on a global scale is what has caused a rebirth of influencer marketing, which has its roots in word-of-mouth marketing. The adoption of social by everyday individuals and not just by enthusiasts has finally married the promise of social media to present day reality of 1:1 reach on massive scales.

UnGagged: In your opinion, what are the top, most successful influencer marketing examples of 2017 so far?

Joe: There are so many successes it is difficult to just pick one because I would measure success based on ROI and most of the figures aren’t public. From what I understand, the use of Nick Offerman by Diageo drinking scotch for 44 minutes in front of a Yule log drove sales – that’s more of a traditional media meets YouTube example. Some of the best stuff I probably can’t mention without violating NDAs, but you’d be amazed at the returns a smart visual product like skincare/cosmetics can yield when paired with the right Instagram pod.

UnGagged: What have been the biggest Influencer Marketing disasters of 2017 so far?

Joe: Most people not in influencer marketing would point to the Fyre Festival and Ja Rule, but I’ll do so for a different reason. The influencer piece worked exceptionally well, but no matter how good your marketing is, if the product is bad, you’re just amplifying the problem.

UnGagged: If you were personally faced with this disaster, how would you have responded?

Joe: If I were managing the various campaigns, the right response is to come out publically on the various channels used and be transparent: “I was asked to promote an innovative new festival, which appealed to the interests of my audience. Unfortunately, the organizers did not provide proper resources to ensure a quality product, which caused much distress among my audience. In response, I’d like to donate all my proceeds to an economic development charity in the region to help the indigenous peoples that have been living with such conditions all their lives. If we can find any light in what was a painful experience it is the perspective of how blessed our lives are, and the awakening of perspective might now lead to the betterment of others.”

UnGagged: Let’s talk about your speaking session at UnGagged Las Vegas. Why have you decided to speak on this topic and why is it important to marketers today?

Joe: In the masterclass, I’m dissecting 18 months’ worth of writing into a 4-hour session on how to create influencer marketing campaigns from scratch, test, iterate, and keep pushing to make them work. It’s an interactive workshop, so come with a product you want to sell and we will try to have everyone leaving with a plan of attack. My other session during the main conference is on how influencer marketing is the new link buying – I’ll be covering the market shifts of link buying over the years and why using influencers to accomplish your outreach and link needs is something to consider.

UnGagged: You are also offering a dedicated Influencer Marketing Masterclass held the day before UnGagged. Without giving too much away, what will people learn at this workshop, that they won’t elsewhere?

Joe: 4 hours of Joe is something you don’t get in other conferences; it isn’t just the material covered, which we’ll do, but walking through each of the steps with the goal of having you walk out with a better understanding of who to target, how to get in front of them, how to pitch them, and how to do all of it in as efficient a manner as possible to maximize your ROI.

UnGagged: Who would benefit from attending your masterclass?

Joe: Anyone looking to get more sales over social will derive benefit.

UnGagged: Last but not least, if you were to offer one piece of advice to all influencer marketers out there, what would you say?

Joe: If you sell influencer marketing services, you should be on Intellifluence to magnify your efforts.

Eager to learn more?

Joe Sinkwitz is holding an Influencer Marketing Masterclass on November 12th, the day prior to the UnGagged conference, for those attendees who want in-depth, personalized training and actionable methods on Influencer Marketing.

Joe is also holding a session at UnGagged Las Vegas on November 13-15. Join his session titled Influence is the new link buying to learn how influencer networks are being used as a proxy for purchasing blog posts.

If you’re reading this, you probably know a bit about marketing funnels. Also known as the buyer’s journey, it’s the active research process a buyer goes through before making a purchase. The marketing funnel comprises of three main stages:

  • Awareness (also known as top of the funnel or TOFU)
  • Consideration (also known as middle of the funnel or MOFU)
  • Transaction or Decision (also known as bottom of the funnel or BOFU)

Marketing Funnel

As marketers, it is our goal to get prospects to the end of the funnel i.e. the transaction stage. This can be done in 2 ways:

  1. Get more people to enter the funnel through the awareness stage
  2. Increase the conversion rate within the funnel

To do this, you need a specific marketing strategy tailored to each stage. For example, someone at the awareness stage of the funnel would require more educational content compared to someone at the transaction stage. And this is where interactive content comes into the picture.

According to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 46% of marketers are using interactive content to get prospects into the funnel and also to nurture them down the funnel. Here are the most popular interactive content types among marketers.

Types of Interactive Content

Let’s take a look at how you can use quizzes & calculators, one of the most used forms of interactive content, to get more prospects into and down the funnel.

#1: Awareness (TOFU)

Goal: To make the prospect aware of the problem you solve by providing educational content and building a relationship.

At this stage, as a marketer, you are looking to generate awareness about the problem. For example, say you are trying to market a software which helps websites do A/B testing and CRO. For the awareness stage, you might want to create interactive content which talks about website conversions, lead generation etc.

The core focus should be on providing education content which relates back to your product, but not in a sales-y way. HubSpot does this really well with their Inbound Marketing Quiz. This quiz helps marketers determine how well they understand inbound marketing. The idea is to steer clear from talking about your product or making any sales pitches at this stage.

You can also create some very interesting experiences around ideas like:

  1. Are you a ___ expert?
  2. Are you a true ___?
  3. Which ___ are you?
  4. Are you a ___ or a ___?

#2: Consideration (MOFU)

Goal: To build a deeper relationship with your subscriber, introduce them to the solutions that you provide, and nurture them with contextual or targeted content.

Once the buyer has become aware of the problem, it’s time to introduce solutions. However, a hard sales pitch might not work just yet. So, at the consideration stage, the focus should be to introduce the solutions that you provide and build trust and authority around those topics. Let’s continue the A/B testing and CRO example from the previous point. At the awareness stage, you built interactive content around general topics like website lead generation, conversions. Now, it’s time to relate those topics to your product. You can do this by creating a calculator such as “Find out how many more leads you can generate by A/B testing your homepage” or a quiz like “How much do you about CRO?”.

At Outgrow, we do this through a calculator named “How many more leads will I get from interactive content”. This calculator helps marketers find out how much they can improve their lead generation with quizzes and calculators. The idea here is to talk about what you do, not who you are.

Interactive Content Calculator

You can use these ideas to create interesting interactive experiences around the Consideration stage:

  1. Which is the right ___ for you?
  2. Am I spending too much on ___?
  3. How much should ___ cost?
  4. What is the risk of not doing ___?

#3: Transaction or Decision (BOFU)

Goal: To make the buyers familiar with the benefits of your product/service as you gently push them towards purchase or signup.

At this stage, the prospect is ready to buy, whether it be from you or someone else. Now, your job is to promote your products and services and convey why the buyer should choose you over another vendor. Taking the A/B testing and CRO example forward, at this stage you can create a calculator such as “Find out how much you can save by using us vs. a competitor” or a simple ROI calculator. In fact, HubSpot does this with their ROI Calculator. This calculator gives an estimate of the potential ROI on using the HubSpot inbound marketing software.

This is the stage where we can talk about ourselves. But while we do that, we should keep in mind to always be adding value. While you can talk about your product, you should never undermine the ultimate objective of education.

Use these following templates to create quizzes and calculators for the Transaction stage.

  1. Should I switch to ___?
  2. How does ___ compare with ___?
  3. What is the ROI on ___?

In closing, what we can all agree on is that the marketing funnel is unique for every business. It is heavily influenced by your industry, your target audience, your marketing strategy as well as a number of other factors. However, the general principles remain the same. Understand your audience, develop your funnel, and understand what the buyer wants to know at each stage of the funnel.

No matter what stage the buyer is in, they don’t want to be sold to. Instead, they want to be engaged with. And there is nothing better than interactive content to engage with your buyers as you can personalize the information to their specific needs.

This post was sponsored by Outgrow.