Doctors, dentists, and other health care professionals spend years learning and passing intense exams to practice in their respective fields. Once the shingle has been hung, professional service providers face the challenge of attracting clients to their doors. All those years of medical education may not have included principles of business management or the value of professional marketing in driving business success.
For those starting out as independent practitioners who are looking for a fresh marketing approach, Ligon Marketing can offer you a few tips. We have worked with several types of professional medical practices, and have focused on both launching a private practice and expanding an established practice with new branding. We’ve assisted our clients in expanding clinic locations and patient volume, and we can do the same for you.
Do you have a logo or need one? A memorable and effective logo gives a strong visual impression of who you are. Establishing your brand is more than having a logo. It’s a process of reinforcing that image and concept of your business in all of your marketing materials.
In today’s market, your website is not just a marketing machine but an expected part of doing business. Your website should meet several goals:
Attract new patients or referrals.
Provide needed information and forms to existing patients.
Serve as an educational resource related to your specialty, whether it’s dentistry, dermatology, or anything in between.
Host a patient portal for communicating electronically to your patients, in compliance with HIPAA.
Developing a website is more than buying a domain name and following a DIY template. (Many professions have industry-specific template providers, but keep in mind that a template site looks like every other template-based site. Bottom line – yours won’t stand out.) As a professional, you need a professional site, managed by someone who can keep it visible in the digital sphere. That requires strong visuals, useful and well-written copy, and frequent content updates for search engine optimization (SEO). Design matters. Potential consumers want to see photos of you and your team, as part of building a relationship. They want to hear “your voice” in the content. Must-haves are:
An attractive home page
An About Us page, with photos and bios
Your site should also be mobile-responsive, as today’s audience relies more and more on their smart phones. They should be able to find key information from your website quickly and easily on their phones.
SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Facebook and Instagram have become required for most providers, as well. Your medical or dental practice’s visibility depends on active engagement, which is difficult for most busy practices to handle alone. These platforms drive potential patients to your website and ultimately, to your door. Ligon Marketing manages content posting and scheduling for most of our clients, and we can help you, too.
In addition, your staff members are probably active on social media. It’s vital for health-related professionals to have a strong policy for employees in their online activities as they relate to your business reputation. This policy should address HIPAA compliance, as well as professional behavior, while respecting the team’s free speech rights. We have experience with this, too.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS (B2B) AND REFERRAL NETWORKS
Most professional practices depend on and benefit from strong referral relationships with other businesses, practices, and professionals. Don’t overlook the opportunity to engage in networking and relationship-building opportunities. Not in your comfort zone? Ligon Marketing can coach you and your team on easy-to-implement strategies to increase your professional visibility.
Being treated well is a top priority for patient retention. Do you have standards for answering the phone, responding to questions and concerns, and handling billing or insurance problems? Does your team value and show respect for your patients the way you do? Our owner, Cora Ligon, has led customer-service training for numerous organizations, both in her own management roles and as a consultant. She can help you customize and implement training and policies if your office has a need.
Signs, business cards, forms, brochures, referral cards, prescription forms, patient packets….the list can seem endless. All these materials fill vital roles in a professional health-related practice. Each one represents your brand, and there is value in presenting a consistent look (logo, colors, type fonts, etc.). A professional marketing agency will ensure that consistency.
At Ligon Marketing, we’re not just marketers; we’re problem solvers. Our goal is to build long-term relationships with our clients, through listening, creating, implementing, and providing top-notch customer service. We’ve successfully helped other health-related practices grow, and we can use that expertise for you. (Of course, we’ll never compete with like-practices within a market area!) Give us a call today to explore your options!
Search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search engine marketing (SEM) are two essential strategies in a comprehensive digital marketing plan. While both SEO and SEM have a similar overarching goal – to drive high-quality traffic to your website – they use different tactics to reach your target audience.
For a long time now, many marketers have approached SEO and SEM as individual silos. But the truth is that SEO and paid search aren’t competing strategies. On the contrary, they’re highly interrelated and can drive better results for your business when they work together.
Keep reading to explore how SEO and SEM work independently, and how you can effectively use them together.
What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website and other online content to rank on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) and increase web traffic to a landing page, blog article, or website. Google and other search engines use multiple ranking factors to determine where content shows up on SERPs.
SEO includes improving website pages, blog pages, landing pages, and other content using some – and preferably all – of the following techniques.
On-page SEO. The primary best practice for on-page SEO is inserting relevant, targeted keywords into the on-page copy, title tag, meta description, alt image text, and URL. Optimizing your webpages and blogs with relevant keywords will help Google understand what your content is about and put it in front of people searching for your products and services.
Technical SEO. Technical SEO involves optimizing the backend structure and organization of your website to help Google crawl and index the site. Specific elements include site speed, site architecture, mobile friendliness, and security. Along with helping Google index your site, technical SEO strategies like improving site speed and mobile friendliness help visitors navigate your website quickly and easily.
Off-page SEO. Off-page SEO is designed to show Google that your website is credible and authoritative by linking it to other high-quality sites around the web. Best practice strategies for reputation building include backlinking, guest blogging, and social media sharing.
User signals. Along with the ranking factors listed above, Google uses signals like clickthrough rate (CTR), bounce rate, relevancy, and freshness to determine page rankings on SERPs. If your content is fresh and highly relevant to the keywords users are searching, you’ll attract more clicks and engage visitors on your site for longer. In return, Google will reward these positive user interaction signals with higher rankings for your content.
Having a comprehensive SEO strategy offers several benefits to your business. SEO is a leading driver of website traffic and brand awareness online. Research shows that organic search results have higher CTRs than paid ads across the web. Furthermore, search engine optimized content is a sustainable source of web traffic and clicks for your business in the long term. And finally, publishing highly relevant and educational content in the form of web pages and blogs improves your credibility and authority to website visitors.
What Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Paid search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of using paid advertising to rank on the first page of SERPs. Like SEO, the goal of SEM is to drive more traffic to your website or landing page. But unlike SEO, SEM isn’t an organic strategy – instead, you’re paying Google or another search engine for ad space.
How do you land an ad on the first page of Google search results? Google determines ad placement based on the following factors.
The purpose of paid SEM is to get your ad to rank on the results page when users search for keywords that are relevant to your business. To that end, you can choose specific, targeted keywords and place a bid on them. Your maximum bid is the amount of money you’re willing to pay when a user searches the keyword and clicks on your ad. Google uses your maximum bid amount to help determine ad ranking and placement when several ads are competing for the same spots.
Quality score. Paid advertising often gets a bad reputation for being “pay to play,” with the highest bidders winning the best ad spots. But it’s in Google’s best interests to show users the most relevant ads to their queries, not simply the most expensive. That’s why your ad’s Quality Score is just as (and perhaps even more) important than the maximum bid. Google determines the Quality Score of your ad based on expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience.
Targeted and compelling paid advertising offers several benefits to your business. SEM campaigns generate near-instantaneous results – you can expect to see clicks within hours after launching a campaign. They’re an excellent way to boost immediate brand visibility and web traffic. Additionally, paid ads are highly targetable. You have the power to push ads to the demographics, locations, and interests that are the most likely to take an action on the ad.
How Do SEO and SEM Work Together?
SEO and paid SEM are not competing strategies. Individually, each marketing approach is designed to bring more brand awareness and targeted, high-quality traffic to your website. But together, SEO and SEM build on each other to strengthen your marketing efforts.
Here are a few key ways SEO and paid search can work together within your overall digital marketing plan.
Short-term traffic. SEO takes time to see results, especially if your website is new. But paid search ads rank and see results quickly, in as little as a few hours in many cases. Implementing a paid search campaign to generate clicks and traffic can help your company achieve short-term growth while you wait for your SEO efforts to start paying off.
Long-term growth. While SEO takes longer to produce results, it’s a more sustainable strategy to generate traffic, clicks, and brand visibility in the long term. Optimized websites, blogs, and landing pages can keep driving web traffic as long as they rank. Over time, your team can update and refresh old content to maintain good rankings in Google and continue drawing traffic.
Brand visibility. Together, SEO and SEM can improve your brand visibility on SERPs. A strategic marketing effort to target specific, highly relevant keywords can position your brand to rank above-the-fold for a paid ad and below-the-fold for organic listings. Appearing multiple times on the results page is a fantastic way to improve brand visibility and awareness and increase credibility and trustworthiness among your audience.
Keyword insight. SEO and SEM rely on keywords at the core of each strategy. You can maximize your keyword gains by gleaning insights from both approaches and using them to guide future SEO and paid search strategies. For example, since SEM generates rapid, measurable results, you can use the data from paid campaigns to identify and analyze the best-performing keywords and incorporate them into SEO content. And if you already have optimized website or blog content that performs well, use that information to help guide SEM campaign creation.
If you have the budget, short-term SEM campaigns are great testing grounds for experimenting with new keywords, new copy and visuals, and new landing page formats. As previously, mentioned, paid search drives rapid, measurable results. New keyword testing or A/B testing for ad copy and graphics is a useful way to gain insight into what’s resonating with your audience.
Ready to Get Started With SEO and SEM?
At Ligon Marketing, digital marketing is what we do best. If you’re struggling to see results from your marketing efforts, we highly recommend seeking help from an experienced digital marketing, search engine optimization, and paid search specialist like Ligon Marketing. From start to finish, our team will help you create and launch a digital strategy that helps you achieve your marketing and ROI goals. Call us today at 863-838-5475 or drop us a message online.
Thank you to Tiara Stephan of Qgiv for this spotlight blog.
When it comes to political campaigns, studies show that whoever spends the most money usually sees the most success. But to spend money, you need to make money, and online fundraising is one of the best ways to do that.
How does political fundraising work?
From individual grassroots donations to political action committee contributions, there are a variety of ways to raise money for political purposes. If you are fundraising for a political organization like a political party, special interest group, or non-governmental organization, it’s important to stick to the Federal Election Commission’s rules and regulations for raising money.
Why do campaigns have to raise money?
When you raise money for your campaign, you’re also raising awareness of your message and gaining exposure. From paying for traditional marketing advertisements to creating merchandise, raising money can help you rally support and increase your likelihood of political success. Campaigns are also powered by people, and fundraising helps you hire vital staff members and consultants that can help you take your campaign to new heights.
Overall, raising money is a vital part of the success of every political organization, and online fundraising has made it easier than ever to solicit donations and connect with your donors. Here is our list of tips for online fundraising for your political organization.
Identify a fundraising goal
Before you start any sort of online fundraising campaign, it’s essential to establish a fundraising goal. If you’re raising money on behalf of a federal candidate, research how much successful political candidates and organizations have raised in the past to win similar campaigns. Use that information as a guideline when you’re determining what is realistic for your campaign.
It’s also vital to understand your donor base as you raise money. You represent a community of people, so while you may understand what they need from an elected representative or advocacy group, it’s also important to know what their preferred giving and communication methods are for fundraising. For example, Baby Boomers prefer to give offline, Generation X is more likely to be moved by social media appeals to donate, and about 29% of Generation Z most like to donate via text message. By keeping track of these trends, you’ll quickly learn how to best reach out to your supporters for donation appeals.
Make your website easy to navigate
Your website will often be the main resource for people trying to learn more about your campaign and what you stand for. If your donors can’t easily navigate your website, they won’t know why they should donate to your campaign and will likely leave without donating. To avoid losing out on that valuable support, make sure you have a well-designed website.
A big part of having a well-designed website is making sure that it’s optimized for online visitors who are coming to your site via their mobile devices. Mobile-responsive donation pages yield 34% more donations, and about 26% of all online giving is processed on mobile devices. So if your website is difficult to explore on a phone, you could be missing out on a lot of potential donations.
You also want to ensure that any website visitors can easily find your donation form so they can support your mission. Place your “Donate” button somewhere obvious like the top right-hand corner of your website. Use a bold accent color to draw people’s attention to it without detracting from the cohesiveness of your website’s design.
Choose the right online fundraising platform
Your online fundraising platform will power your fundraising efforts whether you’re hosting an event or simply collecting online donations, making it one of your most important fundraising tools. When it comes to choosing the right platform for your campaign, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
If you currently use a customer relationship management software, it can be extremely helpful to have a fundraising platform with integration features for your CRM database. With integrations, your database can be automatically updated with information every time one of your supporters donates. You’ll be able to keep track of giving histories, event attendance, and essential communication information without needing to complete manual updates.
Some fundraising platforms also offer tandem fundraising support. If you’re closely aligned with another organization’s mission, you can conduct tandem fundraising campaigns where donations can be split between you and your fellow changemakers. Tandem fundraising campaigns are a great option for gaining more exposure and expanding your reach.
Above all, the online fundraising platform you choose should benefit both you and your donors. Your platform should provide your supporters with a great user experience and make it easy for your campaign to raise money and keep organized. With the right online fundraising platform, you’ll see a boost in your donations and the support you receive.
Design an effective online donation form
Your online donation form is one of the most important tools to have for online fundraising. With an effective online donation form, you can collect donations quickly and easily from anyone who visits your website.
A great feature to have for your online donation form is recurring donation prompts. These prompts will pop up whenever someone donates and ask donors if they’d like to upgrade their one-time donation into a recurring donation. With recurring donations, you’ll end up spending less time on fundraising and can focus more on campaigning.
However, when you’re building out your donation form, it’s best to steer clear of manipulative patterns like using pre-checked recurring donation options on your form. Misleading your donors into making recurring donations when they’re not even aware of what they’re agreeing to will lead to a breakdown in trust between you and your supporters.
Other great donation form features to include are using suggested gift amounts with images, GiftAssist options, and conditional fields to collect relevant information from your donors. You should also brand your donation forms to link your donation form to your campaign. Prominently display your logo on your donation form and use your campaign colors on your form. This will increase trust with your donors and reassure them that they’re donating to your campaign.
When you’re soliciting donations on an online donation form, it’s important to place a legal disclaimer on your form in accordance with campaign finance laws. An example of contribution rules that your donors must acknowledge when making a donation may include the following:
I am a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident (i.e., green card holder).
This contribution is made from my own funds, and funds are not being provided to me by another person or entity for the purpose of making this contribution.
I am at least eighteen years old.
I am not a federal contractor.
I am making this contribution with my own personal credit card and not with a corporate or business credit card or a card issued to another person.
As your donation form is considered public communication, it should also include a legal disclaimer stating who authorized and financed the donation form (e.g., “Paid for by the XYZ Committee and authorized by the John Smith for Congress Committee.”).
Create a marketing plan
Marketing is essential to a campaign’s success. It’s best to start by getting to know your donors and using a multi-channel marketing approach to expand your reach across all demographics. From direct mail, email, social media, and text donation appeals, you should aim to reach out to a variety of potential supporters to increase awareness of your campaign and your message. Then, segment your donors to deliver personalized appeals and better connect with them. With social sharing buttons you can make it easy for your supporters to share their own support with their personal networks and help you expand your reach.
Visual storytelling is one of your best tools when connecting with your donors. Share pictures of your organization in action in emails and highlight staff members and volunteers on your social media channels, asking them to share why they support your campaign.
Plan a variety of fundraisers
When you fundraise, it’s best to plan a variety of fundraisers to keep your supporters engaged. When you’re in your planning process, look at your donor base and your supporters’ event attendance history to determine what your contributors would be interested in participating in.
From text-to-give drives to virtual campaign events, you can encourage your donors to support your campaign with fundraisers they can get excited about. Selling campaign merchandise in an online store is also a great way to raise money and give your donors the opportunity to express their support and raise awareness of your platform. However you choose to fundraise, just make sure you’re engaging your donors with campaigns and events they’ll enjoy.
Thank your supporters
After you receive a donation from a supporter or finish an event, always remember to express your gratitude. Send thank-you emails after every donation and event to all your donors and volunteers. Explain the impact of their support by describing how their donation was used and how many people your volunteers were able to reach because of their work. Adding personal touches by handwriting your letters can make a supporter feel extra special, helping you to retain support from your donors. Continue with follow-up communications to strengthen your connections with your supporters and cultivate long-term relationships.
Fundraising for your political organization takes hard work and effort, but online fundraising has made it easier than ever to connect with your donors and raise money no matter where your donors are and when they want to donate. If you’re searching for more help with fundraising, download this annual fundraising plan template to start setting goals and raising money!
Tiara is a Content Marketing Specialist at Qgiv, a company that’s dedicated to building powerful fundraising tools that empower nonprofits to achieve their mission. She’s a writer by trade and a passionate supporter of nonprofits by nature. When she’s not typing away at her keyboard for hours, you can find her dancing (if you can call it that) at concerts, drinking copious amounts of English Breakfast Tea, and daydreaming about traveling the world.
In the digital age, it’s easy to assume that the most effective marketing takes advantage of the newest technology. Digital marketing has exploded since the dot com boom. We see marketing content on websites, email, social networks, and online games. People can access that content with computers, mobile phones, tablets, and sometimes with wearables. The breadth of digital marketing possibilities can sometimes seem overwhelming. Should you focus your efforts on one type of digital medium, or spread your brand to as many as you can? What happens when technology becomes obsolete and forces you to abandon large parts of your marketing strategy?
It’s that final question which has the most interesting answer. Although it might seem counter intuitive, staying on the cutting edge of technology is not always the best idea for marketing, especially in the digital age. People care about tech and convenience, but no one wants to constantly upgrade just to see content they’re interested in. That’s why “old” technology retains a foothold in marketing, even as tech races ahead. Customers like to use what they’re familiar with, and those options sometimes aren’t “high-tech” at all.
Storytelling has been an effective marketing tool for the entirety of human history. People love interesting narratives because they feel authentic. The more someone can connect to a story, the better chance that they’ll be interested in your product. This is the basis for all forms of marketing — all marketing content is telling a story in some form. Whether it’s a video trumpeting how happy someone is with a new cleaning product, a white paper detailing a company’s accomplishments, or a press release for a new technology, an interesting story never fails to pull people in.
Print media means something a bit different than it did before the digital age. However, paper ads, brochures, and direct mailings haven’t become obsolete just yet. Since they’re less common than they used to be, retro style print media may actually be more effective than in years past. Studies have shown that touching something and holding it in your hands makes you more likely to buy something, and a physical advertisement can serve that purpose. Digital print, on the other hand, refers to email marketing, funnel campaigns, and websites. Blogs are indispensable as marketing tools, and making your website easy to use is analogous to graphic design of older print media. The easier it is for people to get your message, the more likely they’ll end up buying your product.
Videos are turning into stories of their own, and they work very much like commercials on syndicated TV stations. The difference is that effective marketing by video on the web tends to be very short. An argument can be made that internet video marketing is its own form of cinema, telling short stories and connecting with people just like movies. Social media marketing uses a similar concept, drawing people in with unique visuals and concepts. It can be challenging to create concise videos or social media posts, but the more you can communicate with fewer words and time spent, the higher chance that people will remain interested in your product.
Radio and audio are also experiencing a resurgence in the marketing world. The days of large radios, and of hardware specifically for radio itself, are mostly behind us. The modern world of radio involves satellite feeds and streaming services. Millions of people listen to satellite radio and customized streamable playlists every day, so creating a quick and affordable radio commercial can reach unprecedented numbers of people. Most people don’t pay for ad-fee music, so there are a lot of opportunities for growth in digital radio. Since streaming services often target specific demographics with different types of music, marketers can piggyback off that concept to target people who would be most interested in their products.
Customer service has not always been considered marketing. However, with people’s ability to express their opinions worldwide through the internet, it’s become critical for a business’s success. When people leave reviews for a business, they’re much more likely to leave negative reviews about things they didn’t like. People don’t tend to leave positive reviews even if something went well, since we tend to remember negatives more strongly. In digital marketing, good customer service is perhaps most important to avoid bad reviews. It’s not about individual customers anymore, but about projecting a positive image to protect your brand.
Ligon Marketing works with you to develop a marketing strategy that encompasses all of today’s marketing options. Whether this means embracing new technologies or using old school storytelling, we give the tools to make your marketing shine. We offer customer service training, and we have years of combined retail and sales experience to help you focus on what matters most for your target audience. Give us a call at 863-838-5475, or check out our complete website at LigonMarketing.com.
More than 70% of Americans have either entered a contest or played an online game. Why do you think this is? According to recent research, social media contests and games are an entertaining way to market certain services. While they give the user the notion that they are playing a fun game, these contests can actually work very hard for a company’s product or service by building brand awareness, generating sales leads, and strengthening relationships with customers.
Of course, being that it’s fun, you’re probably saying, “Great! Let’s do it!” While enthusiasm is certainly wonderful when starting a project, it takes a lot more than just excitement to build an online contest. So, let’s slow down a bit and take a look at what it really takes. Like any platform initiative – yes, this is marketing, even though it feels more like entertainment – putting together a social media contest takes planning.
To break it down, let’s look at it as planning and taking a trip:
Where do you want to go and how will you get there?
Think of the roads you’ll take as the social media platform rules you must follow. Before you set out, make sure you have a clear understanding of each platform’s social engagement rules. We’ll first look at Pinterest, then Twitter, followed by Instagram and Facebook.
Pinterest is like a good pal. “Hey, nothing to worry about, just a few simple rules we’d like you to follow.” Pinterest appears to be the most laid back with their contest rules. The platform actually doesn’t have specific rules for contests, so just make sure you follow a few general guidelines.
Popular Pinterest promotions:
Pin it to win it – Participants simply pin a photo to enter.
Board contest – Contestants create a board around a theme you choose. The board with the most likes/repins wins.
Twitter is as equally laid back as Pinterest. Among a few other things, they ask that you “discourage participants from creating multiple accounts to enter your contest and discourage your followers from sending the same tweet multiple times. You can view Twitter’s full list of guidelines here.
Popular Twitter promotions:
Sweepstakes – Contestants tweet/retweet something to enter a drawing or fill out a form.
Hashtag contest – Create a themed hashtag that asks people to respond with a clever or smart tweet that aligns with your brand or initiative.
Now, onto Instagram. Instagram is another platform that keeps its rules for promotions and contests simple, but as a subsidiary of Facebook, it does take them very seriously. Their rules include “you must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content, acknowledge that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram, and accept full responsibility for the lawful operation of your promotion.” Not too bad, right?
Popular Instagram promotions:
Like or repost to win – Another sweepstakes contest that’s easy to enter. You can have people share a specific photo on their accounts and tag your brand.
Caption this – You post a photo and people can enter by coming up with a creative and hilarious caption. Be sure to filter through any negative comments that may come in along the way.
Facebook, unlike its social media compadres, has very strict guidelines when it comes to contests. You can view Facebook’s guidelines here. To give you a broad stroke definition, Facebook makes it abundantly clear that “you, and solely you, are responsible for the lawful operation of your promotion.” Facebook even goes as far to say that each participant must agree to a complete “release” of the platform, acknowledging that the promotion is “in no way sponsored, administered by, or associated with Facebook.” Friend connections and personal timelines must not be used, i.e., (ex: “share on your timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s timeline to get additional entries,” and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted). Lastly, Facebook mentions “if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.”
Popular Facebook promotions:
Sweepstakes/giveaway – The most common; these traditionally generate the most participants.
Photo and/or video contest – Participants simply post photos and/or videos around a specific theme for likes and comments. Whoever gets the most, wins.
What do you need to make this trip happen?
You’ll want to set your SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) in order to learn and build upon your initiative. Setting these goals will provide you with the next-level parameters you must address.
How much should you spend?
How long will the contest/promotion run? (According to kontestapp.com the ideal duration for your campaign is either 25 or 60 days)
What are you hoping to achieve? Increase brand engagement and your following on social? Build your database or generate awareness of a new product or service?
What will you offer as a “prize” and is it worth the participant’s effort to enter?
Do not try this at home
More questions may arise during this process than answers, which is why a social media promotion is not something you simply “throw out there.” Planning and executing a successful social media promotion can be a daunting task… unless you’re a pro. Again, like any marketing initiative, it pays – both literally and figuratively – to seek professional help.
We’re here to help! Have a question? Seeking guidance on any of the above? Contact Ligon Marketing today and we’d be happy to help you plan the perfect social media contest or promotion.
What do you think of when you hear “influencer marketing?” If you’re like most people, you might think “celebrity endorsement.” And, while you wouldn’t be far from correct, you’d still be, well…wrong.
Two reasons. One, an influencer is not necessarily a celebrity and, two, an influencer is not necessarily seen as an endorser. Hubspot defines influencer marketing as the “employment of leading, niche content creators to improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive your brand’s message to your target audience.” Given the above, perhaps influencer marketing is a marketing tactic that isn’t as daunting as you may have thought.
So, what then, is an influencer? An influencer is an individual who, through building their own personal brand via social media, has established a reputation as an “expert” in a particular industry. What makes them influential is the following they have built on the web, primarily through various – if not all – social media channels. An influencer can be, for example, a consultant/former banker in the financial industry who regularly posts subject matter expert articles on industry sites, within industry-related LinkedIn groups, and in and on well-regarded industry publications and websites.
Influencer marketing has taken on a new importance recently. This importance has been a long time coming. After all, traditional marketing, i.e., advertising, along with more traditional tactics, such as out of home and broadcast, have been going the way of the dinosaur for quite a while and, in their place, are tactics and channels that offer brands the opportunity to build and maintain relationships. The emphasis in today’s marketing arena is on building connections and trust, not sales. Build connections and trust, sales will follow.
Does it really work?
So, what proof is there that this “influencer marketing” thing really works? As the old saying goes, numbers never lie, and influencermarketing.com lays it out like this:
80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% say it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels.
71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions, while 60% say they’ve been influenced by a recommendation when shopping in-store.
Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew 1500% in the last three years.
48% of marketers working with influencers say audience relationship is the most valuable factor when considering which influencer to collaborate with.
Influencer marketing strategies focused on branding or engagements generate 8x ROI.
The top three goals of influencer marketing for businesses include increasing brand awareness (85%), reaching new audiences (71%), and generating sales and conversions (64%).
How do you find the right influencer?
The most straightforward way to go about an influencer search is with the help of Google (or any search engine). Remember, an influencer is already creating content relevant to your industry and reaching your target audience. So, a Google search for industry-related terms and keywords will surface experts in those areas.
Search various social media platforms. Influencers often have an online profile that will tell you a great deal about them.
Look for influencers on social media who regularly post content that’s compatible with your brand image, as well as the products/services you offer. Make note not just of the author’s name but the names of any sources cited.
If you’re looking to hire a specific celebrity influencer, you can find them… but, you’ll probably need to go through their agent.
Seek Professional Help
Like any marketing tactic or platform, Influencer marketing is an investment. It takes time and money to seek out and secure a relationship with the right influencer for your brand and product. In order to make certain that your time, and money, are well spent, you might consider engaging a professional marketing agency that can assist you in building a social media marketing strategy; one that includes influencers.