Influencers are good for more than just generating awareness – they can sell your products, too. On this episode, Amy Choi, Head of Brand Partnerships at ShopStyle, discusses how influencers can drive sales through affiliate programs, and why they’re so good at it.
Takeaways from this episode include:
- Why influencers work well as affiliates
- Storytelling can help drive conversions
- Identifying audiences that are ready to purchase
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About our guest:
With over 10 years of industry experience at agencies and e-commerce startups, Amy has a deep understanding of the digital space and emerging social trends. Currently as the Head of Brand Partnerships at ShopStyle, she spearheads and facilitates influencer programs and brand partnerships backed by conversion insights and sales data across fashion, beauty, and lifestyle verticals. Outside of work, Amy enjoys art, DIY and crafting, obsessing over true crime documentaries series and testing out different vegan and GF recipes.
Key episode insights:
Why influencers work well as affiliates
Though influencer marketing is often thought of as a top-of-the-funnel strategy, influencers are also often used to drive sales more directly. One such way is through affiliate programs, like the ones Amy Choi spearheads at ShopStyle.
In her words, affiliate marketing in the context of influencers is “the notion that influencers are getting a cut and commission off any sale.” But they’re not just salespeople, peddling goods to the masses. According to Amy, “it's just understanding who you want to target and the influencers that have that impact.”
Influencers can drive purchases through their recommendations – their followers trust their opinions, and are looking for ways in which they can emulate their lifestyle. Affiliate programs are also a way to measure real, tangible influence. Simply put, “conversion data actually tells not only do you have real people with an engaged following, but their audience is real too.”
Storytelling can help drive conversions
Affiliate programs, though certainly sales-driven, are not all about the money. Yes, immediate conversions are important, but according to Amy, the storytelling “can build long-term brand advocacy.”
Amy went on to suggest that storytelling is key to coming across as authentic, which is the obvious if not cliched key to successful influencer marketing. Influencers who can tell meaningful stories on behalf of brands can help foster a personal relationship between brand, customer, and influencer.
Personalization, as many of our previous guests have told us, helps create long-lasting and impactful content. Influencers can personalize their stories so well because they know their audience’s interests, values, and desires.
“Influencers understand what the brand needs to communicate in a specific program and key messages, so to project that in a way that complements the personalization is the dual edged formula.”
Identifying audiences that are ready to purchase
Every influencer, and their accompanying audience, is a little different. They have nuanced vocabularies, ideals, and even levels of purchase. Luckily, through affiliate programs, marketers can gain first-hand data about their audience’s willingness to purchase, especially when spurred to action by an influencer.
“Finding the influencer that has the audience that are ready to purchase is really the key.” And though the discovery takes some experimentation, there’s a lot that can be learned from it. “We correlate [sentiment analysis] to actual sales generated and clicks... and from a sales perspective, we can see the average order value of an influencer. Oh wow, Danny, he has an average order value of $200. Like his fans are, you know, willing to drop in and shop.”
These audience insights can help inform decision making on everything from the personal and/or creative qualities of influencers selected to the kind of content they’re creating for your brand.
Subscribe to the Julius Profiles podcast below to hear from people like Amy Choi, who offer first-hand, unparalleled insights into the people and forces that shape this dynamic industry.
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