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What Is Influencer Marketing?

(August/September 2016) posted on Thu Sep 22, 2016

Cultivating the right relationships can help you grow in exponential ways.

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By Ross Yamashita

The Best Ways to Connect with Influencers
One tactic you can immediately cross off your list is cold calling. Take it from me: My team and I have tried it, and our closing ratio was extremely low. Like everyone, we cringe each time a solicitor calls us offering free digitizing services or getting us on the first page of Google, and the companies you’re calling feel the same way. In fact, you can end up doing more damage than good, especially if you tell them your company name.

To get influencers on your side, the best approach is the old-fashioned way: by meeting, talking, and establishing a rapport. But, you need to be efficient in doing so. Unless you’re running a large salesforce that can visit individual influencers, you won’t see much progress. Rather, streamline your efforts and find a place where you can meet all these people at once.

For instance, if you’re going after public relations companies, there is an organization called PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). They have local chapters in every state and regular meetings. While you may not be able to join the organization, inquire about sponsoring a lunch or providing products for them to give away. If your target market is schools, contact your local state PTA or PTO that oversees all the local chapters in your area and ask to be put on their agenda at monthly meetings.

Keep in mind that in today’s age, you’ll also need to consider how the influencer you’re targeting wants to be contacted. I’ve had complete conversations with influencer companies over Twitter and established deals with them. Do your research to find out the best way to get in touch.

Putting it All Together
Identify ideal influencers in your community or business niche that will complement your shop’s strengths. Connect with them and foster those relationships. If you’re pressed for time, start with your ideal influencers and try to make three to five contacts per week. By the end of the year, you’ll have made more than 150 inquiries and will hopefully have a group of influencers to work with.

Influencer marketing is a must-have in your marketing tool belt, especially for smaller shops with limited time and budget. By targeting influencers, you’re not only exponentially reaching out to prospects, but also greatly increasing your closing ratio because of the relationship influencers have with their clients. So, who are the influencers you’re going to target?

Explore the rest of our August/September 2016 issue or get more marketing advice from Ross Yamashita.


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