Influencer Marketing on a Budget

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Influencer marketing can be a great strategy even when you don’t have a huge marketing budget. Here are some ways to make it work for you.

Influencer marketing is one of the most affordable channels to gain more customers. However, you still need to plan your campaign properly to make sure you get the most out of a small investment.  

But how can you spend your money wisely when you have a small budget and want to get optimum results out of influencer marketing? Here are some actionable tips to give you a clear idea of how to make influencer marketing on a budget work.

1. Know your budget.

Every marketing campaign, whether it’s with influencers or not, requires budgeting. You need a clear idea of how much you can and are willing to spend on the campaign. This is especially important when you have a smaller budget, because you need to make sure every dollar is put to good use.

Clearly lay out how much you can spend overall so you understand how much you can spend on each influencer. Make sure you also account for all the free products and experiences you would provide to the influencers.

2. Pick a suitable compensation model.

After you have a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend on your campaign, you’ll need to decide on a compensation model that would benefit both you and your influencers. If you’re a startup or small business that can’t afford to provide monetary compensation to influencers, you can look for other payment options, such as free products or experiences. Otherwise, you can follow any of these compensation models:

  • Cost per acquisition – You pay influencers for every sale or subscription they drive for your business.
  • Cost per click – You pay influencers for every click they drive to your site. In other words, the payment will be based on the amount of traffic they drive to your site.
  • Cost per engagement – You pay influencers based on the amount of engagement, such as shares and comments, they can generate for your business.
  • Pay per post – This is when you pay influencers a fixed amount in exchange for each post they create for the campaign.

You can try whichever seems most beneficial for your business. If you find that it doesn’t work as expected, don’t hesitate to try out other compensation models.

3. Work with micro-influencers.

Of course, if you’re on a budget, you need to consider working with micro-influencers. These are influencers with significant followings that are not as massive as those of regular or top influencers. Since they have smaller followings, they charge less for sponsored posts. This makes them ideal for brands on a limited budget to execute a successful influencer marketing campaign.

In fact, most micro-influencers (97 percent) don’t charge more than $500 for one Instagram post, and 84 percent won’t even charge more than $250 for one branded post on Instagram. According to Bloglovin’, a budget of $5,000 could help you generate 35-100 influencer posts on Instagram and reach about 200,000 people. The same amount could help you reach about 315,000 followers both on Twitter and on blog platforms.

If you do decide to work with micro-influencers, make sure they’re highly relevant to your brand and campaign. Since they have a smaller reach, they should be able to reach only the most relevant people to promote your products or services.

4. Activate fans as influencers.

You could save even more money by investing in your existing fans and turning them into influential advocates for your brand. Try going through your followers list, or look for social media posts about your brand. Among these, look for people who have significant followings (ideally more than 1,000) so you can activate them as influencers.

Get in touch with them and convince them to promote your business with their followers. They might not need much convincing, since they are already fans of your brand. But you can reward them for their loyalty and performance with discounts and free gifts. You could also give them a chance to earn money from the partnership by having them promote a unique discount code or a URL that will help you track their conversions.

Glossier does a great job of this by activating everyday consumers as its Instagram influencers. Check out the screenshot below and see how the user promotes a 20 percent discount for Glossier, encouraging her followers to use the link in her bio.

Screenshot of ferrisbeauty's Instagram post for Glossier

As you can see in her bio, the user is a beauty enthusiast and has about 1,700 followers. She may be an everyday consumer, but she’s relevant to the brand and has a significant following. You can also see that the discount URL is unique to her name.

Screenshot of ferrisbeauty's Instagram profile

5. Track your performance and spending.

Whether or not you’re on a budget, you need to track the progress of your influencer marketing campaign. This will help you gain a clear understanding of how each influencer is performing and how effectively your marketing dollars are being invested. Similarly, keep track of how much you’ve spent so far so you don’t end up overspending.

Keep a close eye on how each influencer is driving results, and don’t hesitate to make adjustments based on their ability to deliver. For example, if a certain influencer isn’t really generating the number of engagements and clicks you expected, you can choose to discontinue your partnership with them.

There aren’t too many tools that can effectively track influencer activity and analyze your influencer marketing campaign. However, tools like Assembly have emerged, offering the ability to properly track influencer marketing campaigns in real time. Not only can you track your overall ROI and the performance of your influencers, you can also manage your spending much more efficiently on the platform. It can also help you streamline communication and add transparency when you’re managing multiple campaigns.

Screenshot of Assembly tool's Dashboard

So, if you’re on a limited budget and you want your influencer marketing campaign to work, follow these tips to get a better idea of what you need to do. Proper planning and performance tracking are crucial steps, while working with micro-influencers is also ideal for those who have a tight budget.

Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

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