B2B influencer marketing

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By: Amelia Caldecott on 23rd January 2020, 5 minute read

Directly targeting a small audience of influencers could help you reach a potentially huge numbers of prospects - if chosen and communicated with carefully.

Be aware though, this is not a quick win. You need to understand and accept that this can take anywhere from 6 months to a year, and probably even longer.

Why does it take so long?

As we know, the decision-making process for B2B is often lengthy and involves more than one decision maker, so you can’t compare it with a consumer product banded about on Instagram that can start selling immediately. Equally, the correct approach is slower still, because the focus is to build strong relationships first, before asking for anything in return. Don’t forget, others have probably already started engaging with the influencers you've identified.

All this effort, is influencer marketing worth it?

Because of the considered nature of the B2B buying process, word-of-mouth endorsements are valuable and more heavily relied upon, so being able to offer this to can, and will, improve your conversion rates.

What can an effective influencer campaign achieve?

  • Cultivating a strong working relationship with an influencer means you’ll be one of their first ports of call for any future content needs they may have
  • Content that the influencer has asked for, or wants to collaborate with you on for their audience, almost guarantees that it’ll be valued by that audience (and the influencer themselves), which will increase brand awareness for your company
  • Being associated with industry experts and thought leaders will endorse your product/service
  • Other influencers could begin approaching you to work collaboratively too
  • If you’re working with someone inside your company, you can help establish them as an influencer and industry expert, which will in turn help to build brand recognition and endorsement

Here’s where to start

What type of influencers do you want to work with? Think about your objectives.

  • An industry expert with a large network and following
  • A media owner or employee e.g. a journalist, blogger, podcaster or vlogger
  • A customer – one of your ideal persona profiles who can help similar prospects identify themselves with your brand’s solution

Find them. Social media isn’t the only resource as there will be some who don’t use social media as a tool. So who are your customers listening to, reading and watching? Who are the keynote speakers at your industry events? Look at authors, speakers, podcasters and the like, to make sure you don’t miss any.

Do you already have influencers primed and ready? Analyse and evaluate the following for advocacy and influence – do they already follow you and share your content?:

  • Existing customers
  • Fans - people that are always willing to say positive things about your business
  • Business partners
  • Employees

Categorise your list. Think about the best way to group your list of influencers. By topic, location, need? Groupings should become apparent once you start reviewing your list.
Build the relationship. Get your internal team or marketing agency to plan the relationship building process for each group.
Evaluate the relationship. Try and keep a track of the interactions you’ve had and how the relationship seems to be progressing. Do any of the them feel like they might be open to a request?
Make an offer – but only once you know the relationship is strong:

  • Ask if they’d be interested in collaborating with you on content their audience would find useful. It seems obvious, but they will be much more likely to use and share the output with their audience if they’ve helped create it!
  • Invite them to guest host a webinar or Twitter chat
  • Ask what they want or how you can help them? For example, you could offer them some research you may have conducted, or allow them access to your technology for insights – think of something they’ll find valuable
  • Suggest some content you think may help them and/or their audience

Remember, you reap what you sow. So don’t kick things off by asking for what you want. Plant the seeds, nurture them and watch them blossom. It takes time and care but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Have you thought about running your own influencer campaign or want some help with getting the ball rolling? Get in touch with us today.

Case Study: Peer to Peer Business Lender

How we developed a unique targeting approach and improved lead volumes from direct marketing by more than 80%.

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Amelia Caldecott

Author

Amelia Caldecott

A qualified marketer with a Professional Diploma in Marketing, Amelia plays an important role in looking after The Marketing Eye's clients, primarily in the financial services, professional services and hotels sectors.

Client Partner / The Marketing Eye

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