It’s not news that influencers have been instrumental in introducing us to some of this decade’s hottest brands, both new and old. From Peloton, Curology, Nuuly, and even Chipotle, influencers have helped brands expand to larger markets and audiences through social content and first-hand experiences.
Influencer marketing has proven itself to support developing brand awareness, but it is time to flip the funnel and consider how influencers play a key role in driving interest, intent, decision, and loyalty.
Solve For Gaps In the User Journey With Influencers
The traditional marketing funnel or “lifecycle” consists of four main stages: awareness, interest and intent, decision, and loyalty.
Unfortunately, in today’s digital world, many strategies tend to focus only on brand awareness and conversion. This approach misses the crucial nurturing period between awareness and conversion, as well as the period after purchase when consumers have the potential to become powerful advocates for your brand. Strong influencer marketing strategists understand influencers are much more than top-funnel brand guides or bottom-funnel sales assistants. Influencers are brand advocates that help with everything from brand reception to brand perception and everything in between.
Your consumers have access to your brand at every step of their buying journey. This means they have access to information about your brand as well as information about every competitor brand simultaneously–and they want to talk about it. As a brand, it is crucial to be part of those conversations as this is where awareness can turn into action. Brands need to take the floor and become proactive with their own brand narrative. Influencers are the best way to do this.
Influencers can help drive interest and intent through:
- Education about your products or services
- Explanation of how this service differs from competitors
- First-hand walkthroughs of their experiences with the product or service over time
- Validation of a product
- Social proof
- Specific product/usage information
There is no one stage in the marketing lifecycle that is best for influencer marketing. Influencers can help you introduce your brand to the world, shape positive perceptions, and drive sales. The beauty of marketing with influencers is that you can quite literally design a campaign around any stage of the sales funnel.
In the below example with podcast host and influencer Lindsey Simcik, she quickly highlights her love for American Express and Away as well as an incentive. But perhaps more importantly, the comments include others who share their love for the brands too. This kind of dialogue acts as a vote of confidence from not only the influencer but also other “real people” on social.
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The Benefit of Consistent Engagement
According to the “Rule of Seven,” prospects need to see an advertising message at least seven times before they take steps to purchase. A well-planned influencer campaign will help your brand messaging reach consumers across multiple platforms. Engaging diverse influencers will help assure that possible consumers are being exposed to your brand multiple times over the course of a campaign or longer-term program.
Moreover, finding long-term influencer partners who can speak to consumers at every point of the journey will strengthen your ability to push consumers closer to choosing your brand. As your long-term partners familiarize themselves with your brand, their understanding and messaging will shift and evolve alongside your consumers. As your target consumer becomes more curious about your brand, your long-term partner will become even more knowledgeable about your brand/product and even more informative for those more nuanced and complex questions.
Leveraging Influencers for Continued Success
Influencer marketing campaigns do more than drive sales or website traffic. Done properly, influencer campaigns should build long-lasting relationships that foster brand advocacy and trust.
Well-thought-out influencer campaigns are so much more than a top-funnel tactic. Influencers can be there at every point in the purchase journey from introducing your brand to the public to demonstrating how your product works and finding additional long-term brand advocates.