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As of January 2018, there were 4.021 billion internet users worldwide. But how many of those people were seeing your branded advertising? By 2017, 11 percent of the global internet population was using ad-blocking software, and that figure is increasing all the time. If you’ve noticed your traditional advertising methods are failing to get results, it’s time to consider influencer marketing. Partnering with a trusted content creator gives you an opportunity to reach new target markets and find new ways to engage with an audience that has more and more control of what it sees online. However, influencer marketing is potentially costly, and you shouldn’t rush in without having a firm plan of action. Start by defining your influencer marketing goals.

Why You Need Influencer Marketing Goals

Influencer marketing is becoming more popular, with surveys noting a 325 percent increase in Google searches for “influencer marketing” in 2017, and 37 percent of marketers now having a dedicated budget for influencer marketing campaigns. Proven results are the reason for this success, with a return on investment (ROI) 11 times higher than traditional digital marketing. But there’s no guarantee for success, and there are several important reasons for clearly defining your influencer marketing goals:

Getting the desired results:

It’s difficult to structure a content marketing strategy if you don’t have a clear idea of your goals. For example, how you approach increasing sales leads isn’t necessarily the same as how you approach increasing audience engagement; improving viewer retention involves different techniques to expanding brand reach.

Choosing the best influencer:

Not all influencers are equal, and partnering with the right people is an essential component of any influencer marketing campaign. Obviously, you want to work with people who have industry relevance so they’re in a position to talk with confidence about your brand; but you also want influencers who have the right audience size and demographic, a regular and consistent publication schedule, and the right voice for talking to your core market.

There are also factors to consider that relate directly to your marketing goals, such as price and skill set. For example, if you want to run a series of educational videos for your new product, you need a vlogger or YouTube influencer with the skills to produce engaging videos. If you only have a limited budget, you need to look for smaller influencers that produce good content at a lower price point.

Evaluating your success:

If you don’t know what your goals are, it’s impossible to measure your level of success. You need to evaluate your ROI and use that information to inform your subsequent marketing decisions. If you don’t, you may end up wasting money on campaigns that aren’t performing.

Top Influencer Marketing Goals

Establishing a goal is important, and so is establishing which goal is the right one for your business. Here are three of the most common influencer marketing goals.

Improving Brand Reach

You want as many people as possible to know your brand exists by improving brand reach. Influencer marketing helps with that by placing the responsibility of increasing brand awareness in the hands of content creators who already have a loyal fan base. Once you partner with influencers, their audiences become your audience, so you need to look for content creators who draw large crowds. It’s still a good idea to target the demographics that are likely to be interested in your brand, but the main aim is to generate a buzz and to show your product to as many people as possible.

As part of extending your brand’s reach, you should also consider engagement. Potential customers are more likely to make a purchase if they relate to your brand. Influencers are very good at being relatable and making members of their audience feel like part of a community. However, influencers with large audiences often have lower levels of engagement than influencers with smaller audiences. Influencer with fewer than 1,000 followers receive “likes” 8 percent of the time compared to those with more than 10 million followers receiving “likes” 1.6 percent of the time.

Improving Sales

Ultimately, the goal of any marketing campaign is to generate revenue through the sales of products and services. But often you achieve that goal through circuitous routes, such as improving brand reach or customer engagement. If your main drive is sales, then influencer marketing offers several benefits, such as building trust and educating consumers. Consider providing influencers with affiliate links that encourage them to promote your brand. Or, get a well-known content creator to host a sale or promotion. Make sure it’s possible to track sales from influencer posts so it’s possible to measure ROI.

Improving Customer Retention

You’ve got a customer interested in your product and he or she has made a purchase. That’s not the end of the story. You don’t want customers to buy from you once and then forget all about you. You want to give them a reason to keep coming back to your brand, to keep seeing your new products, and to keep making purchases. That makes customer retention an important goal. Fortunately, influencer marketing helps here because the members of an influencer’s audience subscribe to that influencer, not your company. The trick is to get the influencer to keep talking about you so it’s a good idea to make an influencer into a brand ambassador, or to use the same content creators repeatedly.

Final Thought: Making Goals Part of the Plan

Your goals are the most important part of your influencer marketing campaign. They define the approach you wish to take, the formats you wish to use, and which influencers are best for job. At the end of the campaign, those same goals help to measure your success and ROI. In other words, making evaluating and reevaluating your influencer marketing goals the first step in any new marketing campaign, and continually refer back to those aims to inform each new step in the process, and to ensure you stay on track.

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