January usually sees me deep in research mode. Now combine that with my daily social media diet and I’ve become hyper aware of being ‘influenced’. Do you know who’s influencing your audience?

Now you’ve likely heard the term ‘influencer’ or maybe even ‘micro influencer’ and if you’re a marketer or business owner, you might be wondering if you need these people championing your business. We’ll get to that. But first, let’s talk about who these people are.





“Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Influencer marketing works because of the high amount of trust that social influencers have built up with their following, and recommendations from them serve as a form of social proof to your brand’s potential customers.” (Sprout Social)


Social Media Influencers are Everywhere

Here’s where you'll see influencers:

  • A Mommy on Instagram who shows off her baby’s OOTD (Outfit of the Day…I only learned that acronym recently!). She’ll tag the brands her baby is wearing and point out that it’s either an ad or the item has been gifted or both!

  • That YouTuber your kid watches religiously who always has a bottle of Snapple on his desk. Note: Snapple pays him for that endorsement

  • ANY Kardashian…who will either promote their own brands on their social media feeds or like Khloe, endorse Febreze (yeah, it's weird)




Each of the influencers above have one thing in common. They are monetizing their social media following; whether they’re promoting their brands or someone else’s. The amount they make depends on how large (and engaged) their following is.


80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective (Smart Insights)

Influencer marketing works and it’s growing. PR Agencies; once exclusively focused on getting media coverage, now have entire influencer marketing departments. And it’s because a company’s return on investment can be easily tracked.


"Get 10% off your first order with code: Jenn". That code gets tracked. Even without a code, brands can see where traffic to their website is coming from.

Influencer Marketing and your Small Business


So, here’s the big question: Should you add influencer marketing to your strategy?


Let's see...


First off, it all depends what you’re selling and to whom!


Online retailers should definitely consider the impact influencer marketing can have on their bottom line. Selling a line of tasty protein shakes? You might want to tap into a fitness influencer on Instagram for a partnership.


On the other hand, if you’re a law firm marketing divorce services, it might be a bit challenging to find a client who’s willing to advertise on your behalf.


Let’s say you do have a product or service that’s ripe for influencer marketing, how much will this set you back?


The cost depends on how large (and engaged) their audience is and the level (and length) of exposure you’re looking to receive. Professional social media influencers have media kits available OR agents you can negotiate with on their behalf.


Where do you find these people?

  1. Do some research: If Instagram is your channel of choice, search hashtags that relate to your business to discover the influencers in your target market. Send them a DM or have a look at their story highlights for information on how to get in touch.

  2. Hire an agency: If you don’t have the time or the interest in doing this yourself, do a quick search for local PR agencies who can look after this for you.




Influencers should be able to provide you with stats on their social media reach and engagement, testimonials from brands they’ve worked with and a contract that states their commitment (and yours).

You Already Have Influencers


Let’s say your business isn’t quite fit for a shout-out on the 'Gram'. You can still harness the power that influencers wield through good ole’ fashioned (and hyper effective!) client testimonials.


Think about how many times a day you’re influenced by friends and strangers alike.


“Hey Facebook friends, what’s the best sushi place in town?”

“I just received the best service ever from Estate Lawn Care. Tell Dino I sent ya!”

“Anyone have any recommendations on baby strollers?”


Whether it’s our friend Becky telling us we have to try the butter tarts from The Maid’s Cottage or the cute outfit we saw our favourite celebrity wearing on Instagram, we’re always giving and receiving advice on where to shop and what to buy.





88% of consumers say reviews influence their online purchasing decisions (Vendasta).

Harness those testimonials and referrals and be sure they’re splattered across your website and social channels. They’ll influence friends and strangers alike to give you a try.


Wanna talk influencer strategy?

Happy to help,

Jenn



Seems like every week there's a new marketing tactic to consider. It can get pretty overwhelming, especially if you're a small, growing business with limited resources. With so many options, where should you focus your attention and allocate your budget?




Whether you're marketing to businesses or directly to consumers, it's all about building relationships. Let's take a look at three simple relationship building marketing tactics to boost your business in 2021.


Tactic #1: Blogging


Your website is your most important marketing channel. But just because you build it, doesn't mean your customers will come. You'll need to give prospective customers a reason to visit and more importantly, a reason to keep coming back for more.


A blog is one way to provide your target audience with valuable information on the topics they care about the most. Regular posts build trust and position your business as an authority in your space.


At the same time, Google rewards fresh content with higher rankings so customers looking for the services you provide are far more likely to find you.





Read: 3 Tips to Make Blogging a Little Less Painful (and a lot more effective)


Tactic #2: Social Media


Simply put, pick a channel and go 'all in'. When time is money, it's best not to dilute your efforts by trying to keep up with multiple social media platforms. Whether that's Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube or TikTok, your decision should be based on where your customers are most active.


Consistency is key.


Commit to a regular posting schedule and hold yourself accountable. If you need inspiration on what to post, try repurposing content from your blog posts. You can also share articles and other resources from industry experts.


Be sure to respond promptly to comments and engage with follower/fan content with likes, comments and shares.





Tactic #3: Email Marketing


Groan every time you see your overflowing inbox? With all the fancy new digital marketing tools, email still remains the top performing marketing channel.


And your email list is way more valuable than having thousands of social media followers. Why? Because unlike a social media following, you 'own' your email list.


It's a direct channel of communication between you and your audience and it keeps your business top of mind. Whether you're sending promotions or newsletters, keep your content focused on adding value.


Your emails should direct your audience to relevant Web pages with clear calls to action. For example, if you're offering 20% off a bracelet, provide a link to that page. Be sure to use a robust email marketing software like MailChimp and follow anti-spam legislation.





Read: Master this one thing to boost your email open rates


If you have to pick and choose marketing tactics, maintaining a blog, social media presence and email marketing list are surefire ways to boost your business in 2021.


Need some help implementing these tactics in your business? Reach out today!


Start marketing that works,

Jenn

If your business was fortunate enough to survive—or even thrive in 2020, 'consider yourself lucky' goes without saying. Whether 2021 will be focused on recovery, growth or somewhere in between, there's one word that should guide your marketing this coming year.


That word is empathy.


Shuttered businesses, lost jobs, mounting bills...the effects of this pandemic are compounding and far-reaching. And as business owners and marketers, we have a responsibility to practice empathy in the coming year.


What does that look like?


Here are a few ways you can market your business in 2021 with a little more love and understanding. Here's your opportunity to truly live your ethos of 'putting customers first'.



My favourite quote of 2021


Practice Gratitude


When people are struggling to make ends meet (businesses included) and they're buying your products and services, make it a point to say 'thank you'.


This could take the form of a post-purchase email. For example, "We understand these are trying times for so many of our customers and we appreciate you choosing BUSINESS NAME."


Giveaways and contests are another way to show appreciation.


As a family with several small businesses, my husband and I have made a point of shopping local and small this season. We're using our social media channels to shout-out a few of our favourites.

Cafe Alexandra: Organic cafe in Aurora, Ontario with lots of vegetarian & vegan options

Heavenly Bites: South American Alfjores cookies that melt in your mouth

KC Equestrian Colours: Equestrian accessories for all the horsey lovers

Wrap Werx: Vehicle wrapping services in the Greater Toronto area

Baker's Dozen Candle Co: A sweet soy candle maker specializing in baked good scents


I'm likely missing a few but you get the idea. Share the love and turn the spotlight on some of your small businesses vendors.


Hubby's new business Iannuzzi & Sons Reimagine Musical Instruments has seen a heartwarming uptick in orders this season and we're so grateful.



Be grateful for every order


Give Back


The Christmas season is the most obvious time for businesses to support local charities. However, it's the first few months after the holidays when food banks and other not-for-profits need the most help.


A few years ago, I recommended a social media client begin a food drive in January. This car dealership collected employee and community donations for a local food bank at the time when their supply was typically at its lowest. It was a great success for all involved.



General Manager Amanda Morvan collecting donations


Make it a point to throw your support behind a charity in the new year. Be sure to let your customers know of your plans and activities through your newsletter and social media channels. You'll build positive brand awareness and most importantly, inspire others to give.


Consider Flexible Payment Options


If your business model (and bottom line) allow it, consider implementing flexible payment options. Whether you provide monthly instalments or spread payments out across a longer period, make it easier for customers to do business with you.


For product-based businesses, consider implementing additional temporary loyalty or volume-based discounts as a 'thank you'.


As I sit on the couch with my feet up typing this post, Christmas Vacation is flashing in the background for the 10th time this season. Playing holiday favourites on repeat is bringing me some much needed joy. It's a reminder that in the midst of a crappy year, we have our health, a place to call home and the blessings of our customers.


I couldn't resist! ha!

If you consider yourself 'lucky' this year, here's (y)our reminder to practice some empathy in 2021. Your customers will appreciate it. And after 2020 especially, we could all use more of it.


Wishing you all the happiest of holidays and a 2021 filled with hope.


Yours in gratitude,

Jenn


Ps. If you're a client reading this, a heartfelt 'thank you' for your business this year.



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