10 Aug, 2020

Have a Low Starting Budget for Marketing? Go With Influencer Marketing.

One of the cornerstones of a successful ecommerce business is its marketing strategy

As a newly minted online store owner, chances are that you won’t be able to take on platforms like Facebook ads and Google ads without having your numbers take a dive into the red.

These require a pretty hefty investment in terms of time, energy, and money ‒ especially if you’re unfamiliar with them. And that’s a risk for any new business that has neither the revenue nor a steady enough cash flow as a financial cushion to back operations up should these strategies prove unfruitful.

That’s where influencer marketing comes into play. Often overlooked, influencer marketing actually has plenty to offer for new businesses with low starting marketing budgets.

In this article, we’ll talk about why you should go with influencer marketing when you don’t have much room for manoeuvre with your marketing budget and how to approach it.

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Why Choose Influencer Marketing Over Facebook Ads

The potential of social media marketing for businesses is undeniable.

But as the cliché goes, not all social media marketing strategies are made equal.

Most first-time ecommerce store owners turn to Facebook ads as their go-to marketing tactic.

And that’s not surprising. Countless articles about Facebook ads for ecommerce stores have been written. That includes top marketing gurus like Neil Patel, HubSpot, and even ourselves at Oberlo.

While certainly effective, there’s a steep learning curve involved with Facebook ads. Coupled with its relatively high cost, these can be pretty off-putting for ecommerce entrepreneurs with a virgin store and Pixel. 

Influencer marketing, on the other hand, can produce significant results for a one-off price and a pretty affordable one, at that.

You can’t do Facebook ads, Google ads, unless you’ve got $1,000. People that are on $500, I get them to do Twitter influencers, Instagram influencers. – Kamil Sattar

Or as serial entrepreneur Mordechai Arba has discovered, sometimes, you may not even need to pay them.

If your product sparks enough excitement and interest, some influencers would actually be happy to create the content at no cost in exchange for receiving the product for free or a tit-for-tat promotion from you.

But low-budget doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be approached strategically. Here are some influencer marketing tactics that ecommerce store owners have found success with.

Proven Influencer Marketing Strategies for New Businesses

Go Beyond Instagram

Most marketers turn to Instagram for their influencer marketing strategy. But with so many other social media platforms available, there’s no reason why you should limit yourself to Instagram.

With such high demand for Instagram influencers, why not look elsewhere, where competition isn’t as stiff and rates are lower?

That’s a tactic that worked beautifully for successful entrepreneurs Kamil and Jasmine. The duo ditched the standard Instagram and reached out to influencers on Twitter instead.

The result? Over 14,000 likes and 2,000 retweets for the first tweet alone. Their strategy eventually translated to more than $22,000 in revenue in three months.

Avoid Being Too Salesy

If there’s one thing and one thing only that entrepreneurs who’ve found success through influencer marketing agree on, it’s the importance of selling… without looking like you’re selling.

Authenticity plays a massive role in influencer marketing. Appearing too pushy and salesy runs the risk of generating distrust and turning users away. 

As a matter of fact, most marketers turn to influencer marketing with the objective of boosting brand awareness instead of getting sales. 

When it sometimes doesn’t look like an ad, it will psychologically make your customers think that these guys aren’t trying to sell me and it would pique their interest to look into it further. – Suhail Nurmohamed

Or as Kamil has learned from his success with Twitter influencers, you’ll want to “come across like you’re just having some fun, you’re having a bit of a laugh.”

Choose the Right Influencer 

Though influencers with a high following may appear attractive, micro-influencers have proven to be more cost-effective and can offer a higher return on investment (ROI).

That’s because of their lower prices and more targeted following. They also tend to have a much closer and more genuine relationship with their audience, which ties back to our previous point on authenticity.

When selecting an influencer to work with, prioritize the engagement levels of their content over the number of followers. 

Also, make sure that they’re a fit for your product so that they can create the content that’s right for your brand and resonates with your target audience.

Collect the Data and Scale With Facebook

Influencer marketing is also a low-cost stepping stone to eventually starting with Facebook ads.

The sales from your influencer campaign can provide you with the data you need to build a look-alike audience and better understand your buyers. 

With that data in hand, you can then punch them into Facebook, retarget them, and scale your marketing strategy through there. 

That’s a great – and not to mention much cheaper – workaround to getting that initial data to oil your Facebook Pixel.

Conclusion

Facebook ads may be the established go-to marketing tactic for ecommerce stores. 

But when faced with a limited marketing budget, consider breaking away from this convention and opting for influencer marketing instead.

Have you tried influencer marketing to promote your new ecommerce business? What have you learned? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Ying Lin: Ying Lin is a journalist-turned-content marketer who is on a journey to help companies scale. She is also the co-founder of Dear Content, a content marketing boutique.