Every ecommerce site can profit from the advocacy of an influential voice in a given niche. In fact, if you put some effort into rallying influential members of a niche community to your cause, it can greatly benefit your bottom line. Today I'll explain why you, as an ecommerce site owner, should engage with influencers, and the best strategies to do so.
Plain and simple, consumers trust recommendations from other consumers. This is the same reason that testimonials and other user-generated content work so well in on-site marketing. These voices sound even louder when they belong to a trusted resource for brand information. Such authoritative voices are known as brand advocates.
To get an idea of how this might work, let's pretend you own a self-help ecommerce site, one that sells tickets to seminars and provides useful, inspirational content. Now imagine that your site gets a recommendation from Tony Robbins, the renowned life coach and motivational speaker. You'd probably get a healthy bump in your traffic, to say the least.
Influential recommendations can do a lot for your brand, including:
Now that you understand why an influential recommendation is something you should be seeking, you're probably wondering how you go about getting them, and from whom.
The different influencers you target will depend heavily on your chosen niche, and more importantly, your audience.
Like many other inbound marketing endeavors, this will begin with market research. More specifically, you'll want to allot some of your time to look for widely read blogs, search for expert analysis, and determine who or what your target audience is paying attention to.
One way to accomplish this is by measuring social influence.
Social influence is akin to the persuasive pull that an individual's voice has when distributed across various social media platforms. Someone can't truly be called an influential industry voice unless they have a great deal of this particular quality.
There are several ways of measuring social influence, and finding individuals who hold enough of it to be useful to you and your brand.
There are several ways to reach out to influencers, but in general it's best to be forward, forthright, and polite. You need to have all your ducks in a row before approaching someone. After all, they won't just endorse anyone: These are passionate people with strong opinions about every aspect of their chosen niche. You'll want to be sure you have a brand worth advocating, and that it shows when you make your approach.
Remember to be tactful when taking a direct approach. You don't want to be off-putting by being a bit too friendly from the get-go. Instead, consider implementing some of the other communication strategies listed here first. Then once a rapport has been established, you can feel more comfortable reaching out directly.
Who are the biggest influencers in your industry? Tell us what the ideal endorsement for your ecommerce site would look like in the comments.