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Posts Tagged ‘influence’

Add Influencer Marketing to Your Planning

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

influencerInfluencers are thought leaders, experts in their field, strong communicators or advocates who have strong reach or credibility with the target prospects of your organization. They can sway people to your organization often suggesting they consider your product or service.  Therefore, you need to include influence marketing into your marketing planning and activities.  This influence marketing needs to have a long term mindset as it involves creating trust with these influencer  individuals which takes time.  By engaging with the people at the top of their industries, you find credibility among their contacts.

This post will answer the following questions:

  1. Who are these influencers?
  2. What are the benefits of building influencer relationships?
  3. What are the elements of an influencer marketing plan?
  4. What are some of the action items to attract influencers to your organization?
  5. What would you like these influencers to do?
  6. How can you return the favor to influencers if they assist your organization?

Who are these influencers?
Well they could be:

  • If law firm, lawyers from other law firms that don’t have your firm’s specialty
  • Bloggers in your desired market
  • Consultants who install products related to your product
  • Speakers who are respected in your marketplace that present at association meetings
  • Current customer that is the president of a respected association
  • Media or academia persons with a focus in your particular area

What are the benefits of building influencer relationships?
There are many but here are a few that I came up with:

  1. Partnering with influencers in your marketplace assists getting your message in front of your target audience and accelerates conversions to customer / client status.  They can increase website traffic and getting new leads.
  2. The more trust influencers have within their industry, the more likely they can push your prospect further along the buyer’s journey.
  3. Influencers are great at getting your brand known by discussing, promoting and sharing content.
  4. Lowers cost of sales as their recommendation did not need an expensive campaign and prospects are found without a great deal of sales and marketing efforts.
  5. Shorter sales cycle as the influencer recommendation eliminates the first part of the sales process which involves getting known and establishing trust.

What are the elements of an influencer marketing plan?
You want to develop focused value-add relationships with your influencers which necessitates a plan including the following elements:

  1. Determine the budget, goals and responsibilities – For influencer marketing to work it needs to be made a priority including having a budget.  Document the goals that you want for this marketing program.  Make sure that there are marketing resources available to assist with the necessary marketing activities.
  2. Finalize the influencer type(s) – Brainstorm with others and determine who your target influencer types are (bloggers, media, consultants, etc.). Document your findings.  Need to know who influences your buyers.  These influencers types should be mentioned in your buyer personas.
  3. Discover specific influencers – Now that you know the type of influencer, get down to the specific persons that can impact your business and your buyer’s decision making process.  This discovery is not easy.A tool to use is BuzzSumo, where you can search keywords and discover the Twitter handles of accounts haring similar keyword-related content.    Filters allow you to sort influencers by reach, authority, influence and engagement.  This tool identifies websites and social users with serious influence.  Find the most influential content for any topic, domain, or author as well as the influential users that shared and linked to it.  Find individuals who have an established voice and social presence.  Or if you don’t want to do the search yourself, go to an outsider, such as through freelance.com, to do the search and come up with the list of influencers and their contact information.Look at their reach (blog subscribers, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, YouTube subscribers, books sold, Instagram followers, etc.).  See how much engagement they get such as retweets or comments on their blog.  Look to see if they communicate to others and affect people.
  4. Understand the needs of the influencer types – These needs are much like what is included in buyer personas.  Monitor the community to understand them and what they need.  As you make the list of influencers, determine how you can help them.
  5. Determine the necessary action items – Brainstorm with your marketing team and come up with the list of action items.  Document these action items.  Put the necessary tasks on the marketing calendar and any expected costs onto the marketing budget.  Tailor your actions to the individual influencers.
  6. Do the determined action items – You want to build trust with high quality content and engagements.  Keep track of your efforts, just like other marketing programs, in your marketing project management system.
  7. Perform measurements and make adjustments – Measure the performance of your engagement with the selected influencers on improving your brand and increasing revenue.  Keep track of the source of your leads especially if they came from specific influencers.  Report the efficiency and effectiveness of your efforts.  Review these efforts and make any necessary adjustments.  Look for new influencers and repeat cycle.

What are some of the action items to attract influencers to your organization?
Every organization is different in how they market to their buyers, donors and prospects.  Every market is different.  And who influences these markets are different.  But here are a few actions that can be done to attract influencers:

  1. Since you might not have their email addresses, direct message (DM) via Twitter the influencers to start out a conversation.  Ask them to check out your website, check out a specific content piece of yours or check out your blog.  And most importantly ask them how you can assist them.
  2. Schedule a meeting with them at a conference they are attending or at your office to discuss how you can assist each other.  Remember they might be promoting their business or efforts as well.  Try to meet them in real life (IRL) as that enhances the relationship.
  3. Create your influence relationship management (IRM) system.  Get their contact information (including name, position, organization, twitter id, email, phone number (if possible), something unique about them (President of an organization), website URL and/or blog post URL).  You need this info so that you can contact them and to keep track of the relationship.
  4. Join associations that the influencers are a part of and that your target audience attends.  You might be a member already but increase your efforts by following the association blog, following their social networks and staying more engaged with the association.  Influencers usually appreciate involvement with associations.
  5. Attend conferences that influencers and your target audience attends.  Review the conference content and speakers.  Look for influencers at these conferences.
  6. Sign up for webinars being done by the influencers.  Gather information from these webcasts and communicate thanks to the influencers after the webinar.
  7. If you have a product and you want the influencer to recommend your product, consider sending them the product for free.
  8. Create a nurture campaign to keep them informed of your company, your services and your products.  This might be a newsletter or scheduled emails with information (blog posts, webinar mentions, ebooks, etc.) that they might find valuable.
  9. Follow their social media networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, blog, YouTube channel, etc.), monitor the networks and engage with them such as retweeting their posts.
  10. Invite them to speak at your user conference or be included in a marketing piece such as an ask the expert document.

What would you like these influencers to do?
Be creative, but do encourage them to do the following:

  1. Mention your product or service to those in the marketplace.
  2. Share your content via their social media networks such as Twitter.
  3. Retweet your organization’s tweets to their large number of social media followers.
  4. Contribute a guest blog post to your organization’s blog.  Hopefully they will share that post on their social media networks.
  5. Be interviewed for a blog post or a video for posting on your YouTube channel.  Hopefully they will share this content on their social media networks.
  6. Contribute to an eBook or an article that you are publishing including those that are asking for expert opinions.  Hopefully they will share this content on their social media networks.
  7. Ask your organization to be on a panel of speakers at an association meeting.
  8. Present in one of your webinars or at your user conference (and make sure you record these presentations).

How can you return the favor to influencers if they assist your organization?
Remember that this is a 2 way relationship and you need to thank them when necessary by:

  1. Give them a call or send them an email thanking them for their assistance
  2. Offer to collaborate on projects so that they have more ownership of the content you want them to promote
  3. Exchange an email unrelated to any content you are promoting.  For example, if you saw that their blog was nominated for an award, send a brief congratulations email
  4. Thank the influencer in a tweet for any help they offered you that week
  5. Follow their social media networks
  6. Share their content
  7. Engage with them thru their social media posts (comment on their posts)
  8. Promote their events or their speaking engagements via your social media networks

The concept of reciprocity is simple: if someone does something for you, you naturally want to do something for them.  Although every influencer is different, when developing these relationships, remember to be as authentic and personable as possible.  Respect and genuine interest are what will make these valuable partnerships last.  A blog post can become outdated and a tweet can be forgotten, but what will last are the genuine connections you create with influencers.

If you have not already done so, you need to start building your influencer network now.  Make influencer marketing a consistent part of your marketing plan.  Find the relevant people, reach out to them, and build a relationship to support your organization’s sales and marketing efforts.  Hope this influence marketing post helped.  Feel free to comment back on your influencer efforts.

Photo credit: StockSnap.io (132)

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Mentor, Oh, How I Hate that Word

July 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Mentor

Recently a few people told me that I was their mentor.  Oh, how I hate that word.  Makes me feel old and wise, both of which I am neither.

But this does make me reflect on those that influenced me.  My parents gave me my foundation.  My wife, Barbara, has pushed me to do more than I would have attempted if on my own.  Darryl Finney is someone that I learned a great deal of my  marketing knowledge from and about life.  Judi Uttal is the person who brought me into marketing and taught me how to get things done.  And Kevin Marshall has taught me much about business and how to live your life.  I am lucky to have all of them in my life.

Typically, a mentor is a person who has a significant number of years on you in terms of experience (and also in age).  To me a mentor relationship is about information.  Often the word mentor is never even mentioned.  A mentor knows when to provide advice and when to be silent.  A key quality of a mentor is be genuine.  This is important for managers and leaders as well.  A good mentor is also a good listener.  Too much advice is almost as bad as too little.  We’re all learning together. I get energy and fresh ideas from those that I assist.  Not sure who is learning from who sometimes.  Marketing has changed radically over the last few years with Inbound Marketing and Social Media.  So the mentor is often learning from the mentee.

Do you feel that you need some professional advice?  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Figure out what you need help on.  Get specific on the skills you desire.  If you want to be a marketing person, determine what type of marketing person do you want to be and the skills to be a great marketing person in this area.
  2. Figure out who is a great person with that skill set and that is available to assist you.  Do some research. Finding the right person is important.
  3. Invite that selected person for coffee, lunch or happy hour.  Whatever is most convenient for them.  Don’t mention the “M” word to them.  Just tell them you want to pick their brains some.
  4. Be prepared for the conversation.  Come up with a list of questions to ask them.
  5. Stay in touch with this individual.   Send a thank you note after your conversation.  Send them articles that are relevant to their needs.  Try to return the favor if possible.
  6. If the desired relationship doesn’t happen between the two of you, find another person and repeat the cycle.

Remember you have to give to get.  Always have a pay it forward mentality.  Do you have “official” mentors who you asked to guide you through your career? Or do you have “informal” mentors.  Mentor, it is not such a bad word after all.  If called mentor, I am honored.  Leave me your thoughts regarding mentors!