When Content4Demand and ON 24 published the results of their Demand Gen Report earlier this year, it shared some valuable insights into where influence marketing is headed.
From a “nice to have” consumer platform that saw a spike in interest around 10 years ago, to the valuable (and increasingly used) business-to-business (B2B) one that it is today, influence marketing isn’t going anywhere.
To validate the value of influence marketing for your business, consider some of these stats from the report:
- 46% of respondents trust the views of colleagues and peers, while 35% trust user review sites (source)
- 92% of respondents give most credence to peer reviews/user generated feedback (source)
- 95% prefer credible content from industry influencers (source)
These are just some quick stats from the report – make sure you check out the full publication for a deeper dive.
However, one thing is clear – influencers, especially trusted, credible influencers as opposed to just paid shills promoting your brand’s product, can drive leads and new customers for your business.
But it’s not just online where influencers can make a difference – much like any solid marketing strategy, influencers should be used across multiple verticals.
Here are 3 examples of how influencers can promote your business, from events to webinars, ebooks to workshops, and more.
Using Influencers For Your Event
While influence marketing is particularly effective online – peer reviews, brand promotions, giveaways, etc – it can be equally as effective offline.
Events or trade shows, for example, offer a great opportunity to use influencers / influence marketing to drive not only awareness of your event pre-show, but during the event too.
- Invites to exclusive workshops and pre-show parties
- Participants in live chats/demos
- Brand / product / service ambassadors
- Build buzz and excitement
These are just a few of the options available to you when it comes to influencers promoting and/or building your next event.
Depending on the preferred platform of your influencers, you can host exclusive interviews that only invited guests get to see, or at least see first.
This helps build excitement and interest around the interviews, and also drives traffic to both your live event, and any supporting platforms for it (website, social network/group, or landing page, for example).
Sensei Marketing client, ECHO USA, recently sponsored trade show event GIE+EXPO’s official social media lounge, through the ECHO Means Business (EMB) peer-to-peer platform.
This led to members of the EMB User Advisory Group to host interviews, invite guests to be featured, and more, which drove buzz, awareness, and attendances to the lounge.
This resulted in not just great live content, but also a library of great advice and tips that can deliver ongoing success for the EMB program.
- Takeaway: include influencers in your event, from show pre-planning and ideation to on-site participation, as well as post-show feedback sessions on future ideas.
Using Influencers for Your eBook / White Paper
With content marketing an ever-present when it comes to promoting your business and/or services/thought leadership, it’s no surprise that ebooks and white papers present a strong opportunity to separate your business from its competitors.
Both offer solutions that can position your business as a leader for both clients and business partners:
- Educational advice
- Knowledge and expertise
- Build trust in your company
- Position your executive team as thought leaders
- Differentiate from your competitors
While there are many ways for you to use influencers, and influence marketing, to promote these ebooks and white papers, think of ways to do it a little differently than just using a code and tracking URL.
- Invite an industry influencer (or 2-3) to provide a foreword to the white paper or ebook
- Promote their thought leadership within your ebook/white paper, and share specific points for them to promote
- Create small teaser videos with their quotes/information and provide to promote
- Create exclusive webinars for people who download the ebook to access a specific influencer for unpublished information and tips
- Create a partnership with a non-competitive business, to be featured as an influencer and promote to their customers
The goal of any piece of content is to promote the services, products, knowledge, expertise, and more, that your business can offer clients and/or business partners.
A good example of this is health technology startup LifeWIRE (a Sensei client), who use white papers to promote their patient engagement platform.
By utilizing multiple options when promoting your publication, you’re placing your business in front of the eyes and buying decisions of potential clients and partners.
- Takeaway – think of what you want to achieve, and go beyond the usual “get a free ebook when you download using my link” partnership when it comes to using influence marketing to drive downloads.
Using Influencers for Your Webinar
Mixing the best of both offline events and online marketing opportunities, webinars are perfect for businesses looking to provide a simple “in” to their services, without needing to worry about location.
The numbers around webinars speak for themselves:
- 73% of sales and marketing leaders list webinars as one of the best ways to generate top leads (source)
- 60% of B2B marketers use webinars as part of their content marketing strategy (source)
- the average attended webinar viewing time is 61 minutes (source)
Looking at that last statistic, think of how many opportunities you get to hold your customer’s interest for more than an hour in one sitting…
So, yes, webinars are excellent ways to introduce clients and partners to your business and expertise. So what are some of the ways you can use influencers when it comes to your webinar?
- Invite as webinar guests on specific areas of expertise
- Utilize their behind-the-scenes expertise (editing, audio, video, etc) and list/promote as partner
- Offer pre-webinar exclusive access to influencer Q&A’s for anyone that signs up by a certain date
- Ask industry-specific influencers to give you 2-3 pieces of advice about the webinar topic, and create an exclusive ebook as a download for attendees after the webinar
- Create VIP live chat areas on the webinar just for guests invited by your influencer(s), where senior representatives from your business will only answer questions published in this private forum
By creating an exclusive, access-only vibe for your webinar, and offering direct access to industry influencers for certain parts of the audience, the buzz around your event will grow.
- Takeaway: play to the strengths of your influencers, and don’t limit to just being a spokesperson in front of the webinar camera.