Our latest guide to the most interesting things happening in the world of advocacy marketing

1. Why now is the perfect time to reassess your company’s employee engagement

A global pandemic might not sound like the best time for much, let alone assessing your company’s employee engagement. But here’s the thing — understanding what is and isn’t working for your employees is important, and assessing during a time of crisis can actually spur employees to be brutally honest with you. A recent study from Leadership IQ found that fewer than a quarter of employees currently feel they have high resilience, and high resilience employees were 310% more likely to report loving their jobs than employees with low resilience. And as you well know, teams with high resilience pays off big time through things like decreased turnover, increased productivity, greater efficiency, and even improved creativity and customer retention. So it’s crucial to identify teams that are struggling and address the problem directly before it gets worse. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, is when employees need true leadership, and you can’t figure out what employees need if you’re not communicating with them. And sure, there’s a good chance scores will be lower than before, but current data will also undoubtedly be more truthful and help employees more. And, in the end, investing time and energy in your employees is also investing time and energy in the future of your company. Learn more.

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Our latest guide to the most interesting things happening in the world of advocacy marketing

1. COVID-19 and its surprising effect on influencer marketing

It’s easy to assume with coronavirus forcing millions to stay home that social media and influencer marketing would be thriving. But, not even influencer marketing is immune to the huge cultural shift caused by the pandemic. In such serious times, creating culturally appropriate sponsored content can be a fine line to walk. Influencers risk looking oblivious if they carry on business-as-usual and insensitive if they try to incorporate the virus into their content. And, given the current economic climate, brands are reluctant to invest in strategies that may not pay off. In response to this change, top-tier influencers are lowering their rates in their quest for work, and micro-influencers are now going up against larger influencers for partnerships, creating competition that’s bad for influencers but good for brands. Meanwhile, some industry insiders are more optimistic: a new report from Influencer Intelligence revealed that spending on cheaper goods and luxuries usually increases during times of economic crisis. And, with online spending and social media use up, there’s no shortage of customers looking for entertainment and escape. So while influencers will have to deal with canceled events and limited content opportunities, the current situation could just spark a new wave of influencer creativity. Read the full article.

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Our latest guide to the most interesting things happening in the world of advocacy marketing

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly...of influencer marketing

1. The rise of influencer marketing agencies

With $1.9 billion spent on influencer marketing in the US and Canada alone, it’s clear that influencer marketing is no longer a passing market trend. And with the growth of influencer marketing has come the rise of agencies and networks that exist to help companies and influencers connect. Sounds perfect for both parties, right? Not necessarily. While this approach may help retailers achieve short-term influencer impression goals, many influencers claim that agency involvement can make it harder for them to form long-term relationships with brands—a key factor when creating original, relevant content. On the other hand, influencer agencies see their existence as a sign that the industry has matured. Gone are the Wild West days of influencer marketing—agencies’ involvement is meant to make sure brands are getting the scale, benchmarks, and results they deserve. But which approach is best for your business? Read the full article.

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Influencer plus referral equals an instant classic

First things first: can we all agree that ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ is pretty much the greatest achievement of the 1980s? That’s right: greater than mixtapes, greater than Speak & Spell, maybe even greater than Ms. Pac-Man. But, in spite of its gargantuan greatness, ‘FBDO’ is fundamentally flawed. Why? Because it seems to suggest that ‘borrowing’ someone’s car inevitably leads to it being driven backwards, through a plate glass window, into a tree.

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Affiliate vs Influencer vs Referral Programs

At Buyapowa, we see many digital marketers trying to decide between using word of mouth marketing programs like affiliate, influencer and referral to help increase sales. All of these are genuine forms of word-of-mouth marketing, but differ from each other in a number of ways. For retailers just starting out, the terms can be easy to mix up. Even experienced marketers can struggle to understand the best time to implement such a program, and the relative benefits of each. Which program is best for new businesses?  Which is most cost-effective? Which will generate the greatest results? What considerations should I make before I choose one?  Again: it depends on you, your business model and your product or service.  These word-of-mouth programs can all be highly effective and profitable when deployed at the right time and in the right way for your business. They each require different levels of effort, cost, and can bring you varying degrees of results. 

How can Word of Mouth Marketing help my online business?

Word of Mouth marketing is the oldest form of marketing known to humans. We are a social species, and regularly leverage our friends and family for advice on what to buy and where to buy it.  Before social media, before there was any form of media, even before there was a printing press, humans used word of mouth to tell our friends and family about businesses that had great products, great service and great value.  Today, nothing has changed.  As Nielsen’s report shows, more people trust the recommendations of their friends and family than any other marketing method. And we now have access to digital marketing tools that make it easier than ever before to make and receive referrals to businesses.  E-commerce businesses that sell their products and services online are best positioned to take advantage of advances in technology that make it easy for people to share their favorite brands via social media, content sharing services, blogs, email and messaging applications.    The three most popular word of mouth marketing programs that you can leverage for your store are affiliate, influencer and referral programs.   

What’s the difference between these programs? 

Let’s try to reduce the confusion, and start by defining these terms, using marketing parlance:

Influencer – a marketing influencer is anyone who has the power, reach and willingness to influence the purchase decisions of prospective customers for your business, usually in return for a one-time fee for each promotion – paid by you. 

Influencers are people or groups who have a large audience which is interested in — and potentially swayed by — the influencers’ opinions. These influencers generally have a large number of fans and followers on various media platforms. Traditionally, influencers were media personalities from the arts, entertainment, sports, education, science, political and business fields. However, in this age of personality, in which ordinary people can leverage social media to achieve extraordinary reach, influencers might be people who have each generated an extremely large following simply through their activities on social media. You typically pay influencers a flat up-front fee for them to promote or endorse your product and bring you new customers. Promotions can be Instagram or Facebook posts, YouTube Videos, blog articles or any other forms of social sharing.  In each case, you’ll pay a fee for the post (usually paid before the post occurs).  (There are circumstances in which influencers may recommend your products for free, or for alternative considerations, however this requires a tremendous amount of good fortune, product differentiation, and/or fairly epic marketing skill on your behalf.  So we’ll leave that topic for a future post.) The more popular or successful the influencer, the more you’ll pay for their service as an influencer for your brand. In addition to a fee for a promotion, influencers might also expect free products or services from you as partial reimbursement. Each promotional activity they undertake for you is usually paid for separately. You can engage with endorsers on an influencer platform or agency like D’Marie, Influitive, Tapinfluence and more. Kim Kardashian influencer post Kim Kardashian posting an Instagram ad for Sugar Bear Hair. Screenshot from Gizmodo.

Affiliate – an affiliate (sometimes called associate) is a person or group who will market your products in return for a commission for each sale they bring you.

Affiliates are essentially third-party marketers who act as extensions to your existing marketing and sales group. Affiliates will promote your products and services on their own media and refer traffic to your site. They leverage their skills in SEO and click-generation to create interest and awareness in your product offering. When a prospective customer clicks on an affiliate’s ad and makes a purchase, you then pay the affiliate a commission for that sale (and sometimes for subsequent sales as well). These affiliates might be bloggers, product reviewers, people who run general interest marketing sites, or unique content creators that attract many visitors and get paid for their creativity through ads that they run for businesses like yours. Affiliates don’t typically get paid until they bring you a new sale, and until you (and the affiliate) can reliably determine that sale came from the affiliate’s link. Rather than building your own affiliate program and platform from scratch, you can engage with affiliates on readily available platforms like LinkTrust, Refersion and more. Large retailers like Amazon and EBay have been running affiliate programs for many years paying affiliates to send paying customers to those sites. — not without some controversy. Amazon associates affiliate program Source: Amazon Associates

Referral program –  A method of tracking referrals made by your customers who refer their friend to your business in return for a reward.  Rewards are paid by you to the referrer when they generate business for you. 

Referral marketing is – as we mentioned above – one of the oldest forms of business promotion, and is the simplest form of word-of-mouth marketing.  Customers of yours who know your business – and your products, refer their friends and family to you. When those friends make purchases at your store, you track how they were referred, and reward your advocates (your referrers) for their allegiance to your brand.