Increase the impact of influencer marketing by integrating loyalty

With traditional and digital advertising channels becoming increasingly costly and in many cases, less effective, ecommerce marketers are having to look to other channels to bolster their acquisition activity. As a result almost every ecommerce brand is using, or considering the option of using influencer marketing in some format. 

But does it work? Let’s see what the numbers say: 

  • The influencer marketing industry has grown from $9.7 billion in 2020 to $13.8 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to grow to $16.4 billion in 2022
  • Studies show that over 50% of consumers prefer social media and word-of-mouth as methods for discovering new products and brands
  • Studies have shown that banner ads linked to blog posts published by influencers have generated 11x ROI within 12 months

Influencer marketing is undoubtedly a channel worth exploring, but for those of us who are coming to it fresh – what is it, and how can it integrate with your loyalty program to drive greater ROI

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What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of brand collaboration between an individual (known as an influencer) and a business.

Examples of influencer marketing include:

  • Sponsored adverts – an influencer creates a video where they interact with the product or service they are promoting
  • Blog posts – the influencer writes about the product. They sometimes allow banner advertisements within the blog, or they even just include a few links within the article to the product or service
  • Featuring an influencer within a promotional event or advertisement for your product, and linking your brand with that influencer as a result

There are many more examples of influencer marketing, but the key thing to remember is that when an influencer promotes your brand, they are essentially giving it their stamp of approval, suggesting that their audience should purchase your products or services.

Who is an influencer?

According to Mavrck, there are three main types of influencers. Mega-influencers (athletes, actors etc who have over one million followers), Macro-influencers (business executives, bloggers etc who have between 10,000 to one million followers) and Micro-influencers (people who have between 500-10,000 followers).

Anyone who has a following with people regularly checking out their content is valuable in terms of their reach.

Even if an influencer has a following of 1000 people, and only 100 of those people are regularly checking out their content, that’s 100 people that you could potentially reach if you work with that influencer. 100 people who are likely to share the same interests and passions as you and your customers. 

Integrating your influencer marketing strategy with your loyalty program

Influencers have a strong voice because they have built relationships with their followers. They have grown their follower base by providing consistent content and creating trust between themselves and their audience. This trust is synonymous with the trust you build with your loyal customers, and so it makes sense that these two areas of marketing can fit together nicely. So how can you use your influencer marketing and loyalty strategy to drive better performance from both channels? 

1. Get your influencers promoting more than just your products

If you already have influencers on the books promoting your products or services, then why not get them talking about your loyalty program too?

Whether you do this organically, simply encouraging them to participate in the program so that they talk about it, or you ask them to incorporate a mention within the work you’re doing around your products, your program is a USP that can ask them to promote. In turn this will raise the profile of your program and generate increased sign ups.

2. Align loyalty promotions with influencer focus

If you have influencers promoting particular product ranges or collections, or perhaps announcing new product launches, then why not tie a loyalty promotion to those products too?

The combination of an influencer recommendation and a double points promotion will make it even harder for shoppers to walk away. It could also help you acquire new loyalty program members who want to sign up in order to access future rewards like this. 

3. Use influencers to create experiential rewards

Your most valuable loyalty program members deserve the most memorable experiences, and your influencers can help deliver this. If the influencers you’re working with are well-known in the space, then your customers would likely love nothing more than to hear from them, or perhaps even meet them.

Though it will come at a cost, getting your influencers to create exclusive content for your top tier members, or arranging for them to meet at an in-person or virtual event, will give your loyal customers an experience they won’t forget.

Tie this into your loyalty program as an experiential reward and you’ll see the halo effect of your influencers’ relationships on your own recurring revenue. 

4. Get increased exposure for your social activity 

If you’ve invested in influencer marketing, then you are likely to be sharing any social activity they post across your social media channels. To get as many eyes on this content as possible, use your loyalty program to incentivize shoppers to follow you on social media.

Once they are following, you can then incentivize them to share your content and posts with their followers, spreading your influencer marketing even further afield and maximize the value of that activity. 

5. Align your influencers with your brand values 

If you’re currently working hard to appeal to the conscious consumer and represent your brand values within your marketing, then don’t miss this opportunity. Many brands are designing their loyalty programs to support the causes that they and their customers care about.

If this is you, then don’t miss the opportunity to involve your influencer. Select an influencer who is also passionate about and aligned to your brand values and causes, and they will be far more likely to promote and post about your initiatives, winning you more loyalty program sign ups, but also showing that your commitment goes beyond words and into actions. 

6. Turn your most loyal customers into the influencers

Finally, don’t forget that the most powerful influencers could already exist within your Insider Community. Look closely at your most valuable and engaged loyalty program members and consider whether you could approach any of those to take on a similar role to an influencer.

These Insiders could be promoting both your products and your brand at a lower cost than an influencer, and could come across to your prospective customers as even more genuine. 

Conclusion

Influencer marketing is unlikely to go anywhere soon, but as more and more brands explore this avenue, consumers could start to become more blind to the messages. 

Giving your influencer marketing the edge by incorporating your loyalty program into your activity could be the thing that keeps your strategy alive for longer, as well as helping you drive greater returns for your loyalty program. 

If you’d like to learn how to become a master at influencer marketing as well as become successful with securing customer loyalty and engagement, why not join the LoyaltyLion Academy?

It’s FREE to join, and you can gain access to a range of useful benefits upon completing their programs, such as a unique qualification, a website badge, and more!

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About the author

Fiona Stevens

Fiona Stevens is the Head of Marketing at LoyaltyLion. Fiona has over ten years’ experience in Marketing, having worked in-house and agency side across functions including PR, SEO and content. She has specialized in loyalty for retail and ecommerce brands for the past six years.

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