It’s always fascinating to study companies like HiSmile Teeth, who started off with a low marketing budget but managed to build their multi-million-dollar empire by leveraging micro-influencers on Instagram. There's no doubt the landscape has changed since 2017 when HiSmile initially began making waves on social media, but the core strategy remains the same and it should be applied to any company with a low marketing budget today.
When studying low-budget companies like HiSmile, that managed to find success using influencers on Instagram, a few trends were very apparent, here are four things to keep in mind when executing affordable influencer campaigns.
1. Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin
It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to attack everything at once, but the reality of the situation is that when you have a small marketing budget, this will do nothing for you other than burn through your cash. As you're probably aware, repetition is key when it comes to marketing your product, it's very rare that someone is willing to make a buying decision on their first encounter with your product. In order to achieve this repetition, you need to target a small group of people in a specific niche.
In the case of HiSmile, they targeted beauty, fashion and health conscious micro-influencers located on the Gold Coast in Australia. This allowed them to saturate a specific target market with pictures of their product. When you flood a small niche and geographic region with content of your product, potential buyers will be exposed to your product on more than one occasion. Once you start to see traction in a specific niche or geographic region, you can use this as a positive indicator to expand your reach to other niches or regions.
2. Consistency is Key
The best way to waste your marketing budget is to be inconsistent with your marketing content and campaigns. Influencer marketing is the same as any other marketing strategy in the sense that it will not bring you success overnight. As we mentioned previously, repetition is key when it comes to marketing, and repetition can only be achieved with consistency.
In order to stay consistent with your influencer marketing campaigns, you will need to be organized with your strategy. Set aside an influencer budget every month, this number should be non-negotiable and should increase as your revenue increases. Being consistent will allow you to continuously keep your product in front of your target audience. It takes 6 to 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead, the last thing you want is not being able to reach those 6 to 8 touches because you are inconsistent with your marketing, at that point you’re not maximizing your budget like you should.
3. Social Proof is Important
93% of millenials have made a purchase decision based off of the recommendation of friends or family. 89% of these millenials trust recommendations from friends and family more than they trust the claims of the brand itself.
That being said, it is essential for brands in 2021 to leverage social proof to push their products. The key to this strategy is finding an influential figure in the niche that applies to your target audience, you don’t just want any social proof, this needs to be targeted. Influencers have a very loyal audience, most of the people following them are doing-so because they find this person interesting or inspiring.
HiSmile leveraged this strategy by using Instagram influencers that had an audience in the beauty, fashion or health niches. Imagine how this would have gone for them if they targeted influencers in the pet niche, probably not as good.
4. Don't Break the Bank
It's easy to fall into the trap of spending thousands of dollars on promotion for your business, whether that be in the form of a blog post or influencer promotion. The truth is, you don't need million-dollar post from Kylie Jenner to make your product a success.
The key is to find micro-influencers that are willing to promote your product because they would actually be likely to purchase it. Micro-influencers tend to have a smaller, more targetted audience. By choosing micro-influencers that are genuinely interested in your product, you make the promotion feel less like a chore and more like an exciting opportunity to try something new, and this will be reflected in their post. Micro-influencers would also be more likely to take less monetary compensation when it comes to a product they're genuinely interested in; this would allow for you to stretch your budget further.
Just Do It!
Overall, it is pretty common knowledge these days that you must leverage social media in one way or another if you want to market your product. Influencer marketing is a new and emerging industry for good reason, and you don’t need a massive budget to leverage influencers for your brand. The hardest part for a lot of brands is getting started, and the best way to learn is by doing!