In a mere 48 hours, with just $560, entrepreneur Jason Wong launched the eyelash brand, Doe Lashes.
One year later, he turned the Shopify beauty brand into a whopping $15M company. One of the core secrets of his seemingly overnight success? Influencer marketing.
It started as a simple tool for brand awareness. But over time, influencer marketing has become one of the most receptive forms of online advertising. The global influencer marketing market was valued at a record $13.8 billion in 2021 — more than double the share since 2019.
The reason? Because it works!
Why Your Shopify Brand Needs Influencers: Benefits of Influencer Marketing
Wondering if influencer marketing for Shopify stores is worth the buzz surrounding it? In many cases, the answer is a resounding yes. Let’s look at five key benefits of influencer marketing for your brand:
#1: You Can Tap Into New Audiences (And Convert Them to Consumers)
The way consumers find out what’s new in the market is changing drastically. Only 13% of consumers today discover new products through television advertising.
Where are consumers discovering new products instead? Social media: 54% of GenZ shoppers and 58% of millennials use social platforms to find new products.
Then it’s no wonder why 37.6% of marketers say their core objective with influencer marketing is boosting brand awareness.
By partnering with influencers, you can reach new potential customers at scale. The best part? You’ll already have their trust.
#2: You Can Build Trust (By Borrowing It From the Influencer)
Consumer trust in brands is facing a steep decline. 77% of consumers in the U.S. say they find it hard to trust what companies say and do.
Even worse: 67% of those adults also vouch once a company loses their trust, there’s no going back.
In contrast, 37% of consumers trust social media influencers over brands. Why? Branded content often reeks of a dirty sales-y tone, while influencer generated content feels like a recommendation from a trusted friend.
Influencers’ authenticity and badge of approval instantly make consumers trust you over competitors.
#3: You Can Address the Gaps in Your Content Strategy (Using Influencer Content)
Regularly coming up with fresh, creative, and engaging content ideas is no easy feat. With influencer content at your disposal, you don’t have to burn yourself out.
Doe Lashes regularly highlights creators using their products on their Instagram feed — keeping the content engine running with influencer posts.
Influencer content can fill in the spaces in your content schedule with out-of-the-box, innovative posts.
⚠️ Remember: Always ask for usage rights before reusing influencer content on your Instagram profile or Facebook Ads. Some influencers might charge extra for this, but it’ll pay dividends on its cost.
#4: You Can Get a Solid Return on Investment (Better Than Other Channels)
Businesses make $6.50 for each $1 spent on influencer marketing. Not a bad ROI, right?
Not just this: 51% of marketers even say they acquire better customers through influencer marketing.
Influencer partnerships are easy to imbibe in your current marketing strategy. And you don’t need a lot to get started.
#5: You Can Start With Minimal Resources (Or Outsource to Experts)
There’s a myth rolling around that influencer marketing can cause a huge dent in your budget and requires extra workforce to begin.
The reality? You don’t need a lot to start and scale your influencer marketing. Get the basics right:
- Don’t fall for the pay-per-post scam
- Use Shopify apps to automate and reduce your workload wherever possible
- Partner with micro-influencers — they give you better reach and cost way less
Influencer marketing can be highly effective — whether you’re a small merchant or an enterprise brand. You just need to know how to do it right — as Cody and Taylor explain in this podcast episode.
How to Build the Right Influencer Marketing Strategy for Your Shopify Store
Influencer marketing can be daunting. You need to find the right influencers, use the perfect method to build relationships with them, continue creator partnerships at scale without setting your money on fire, and so much more.
Here's how you can get the bang for your buck with influencer marketing using the following five steps.
Note: Some steps may contain affiliate links for the tools mentioned. We only recommend the tools we love and use ourselves. Thank you for your support!
Step 1: Set Specific Goals for Your Influencer Marketing Efforts
Influencer marketing is not one-size-fits-all. Some businesses may swear by it for customer acquisition, while other retailers might use it primarily for brand awareness.
Align your influencer marketing goals with overall business goals. For example, if your business is trying to boost discoverability, it doesn’t make sense to have sales as your primary influencer marketing goal.
You also want to set goals you can achieve with your marketing budget. If you have the budget to hire thirty micro-influencers, don’t aim for a goal that requires more than thirty micro-influencers or participation from bigger influencers as well.
Keeping these constraints top of mind while formulating your influencer marketing objectives will help you steer clear of any unpleasant surprises in the future.
Need some inspiration? 42.3% of brands use conversions (or sales) to measure influencer marketing success.
⚡Pro-tip: Get as specific with your influencer marketing goals as possible. Instead of aiming for the vague, “new customers,” specify down to “10K new customers in Q3 and Q4 from Instagram influencer marketing.”
You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you want to go. Adding data, timelines, and channels to your goals will help you create an accurate roadmap to your target.
A game plan will also help you weed out any influencers who don’t fit the bill.
Step 2: Find Relevant Micro-Influencers
Here’s the thing: Celebrities are out, and influencers are in.
Even among the various types of influencers, micro-influencers — AKA influencers with a following between 5,000 and 150,000 — are better than influencers with millions of followers.
Micro-influencers have a small, tightly knit audience that trusts them for recommendations within their niche. They are likely experts in their industry and have high relatability, which makes their followers feel connected to them. They have a higher engagement rate of 3.86% compared to mega-influencers at 1.21%.
Learn more: Guide to Micro-Influencer Marketing — Who They Are, Why You Need Them & Where to Find Them (With Examples)
How do you find the best micro-influencers tailor-made for your brand?
There are a gazillion influencer identification platforms in the market. We’ve tested all of them … so you don’t have to. Tagger is the best one of them all. It’s robust and quick — you can filter a list of influencers meeting your desired demographic, follower count, and niche in minutes.
Once you have a list of potential influencers ready, the next step you need to take is to seed them product.
Step 3: Product Seeding
Shopify merchants’ biggest mistake today is relying on the archaic pay-per-post model for influencer marketing.
You find an amazing influencer through Tagger, reach out to them for a post, they do an Instagram reel or a TikTok video about you, you pay them, and the post dies down in a week or two with barely anything to show for it.
Pay-per-post model is a recipe for disaster — it’s a hill we’ll die on. Why does it suck?
- It costs you overhead on the ROI it can provide
- It doesn’t tell you which influencers are your true fans
- It builds a transactional, one-off relationship with creators
The foundation of influencer marketing success lies in … *drumrolls, please*... product seeding.
Product seeding is sending your product for free to relevant influencers, with no strings attached. Emphasis on the “no strings attached” — product seeding isn’t influencer gifting, asking for a post in return, or even expecting a review.
Don’t take just our word for it. Jason Wong owes his Doe Lash influencer marketing success to product seeding:
“The way that we approach influencers is that we don't ask them to commit to anything. We don't ask them to post or anything. You send a product as a gift and if they like it, they will post about us. And using that strategy, we are first able to improve our response rate from the influencers because they actually feel like they're comfortable with us. Then two is that people who try a product and actually like it are willing to post about it.” — Jason Wong, Founder, Doe Lashes
Jason Wong hits all the benefits of product seeding:
- You start relationships with influencers on the right foot — based on giving, not asking
- You test a variety of influencers at minimal cost and don’t waste your time chasing influencers who’d miss the mark
- You find cheerleaders of your product — influencers who are willing to post about your brand for free because they genuinely like what you do
After finding the best-fit micro-influencers on Tagger, you want to seed them without attaching any obligations.
Structure your outreach message in four steps when contacting influencers for their address:
1. Quick introduction about you and your brand
2. One to two personalized sentences about why you chose them for your brand. It’s crucial to show you’ve done your homework
3. Explicitly say no strings attached
4. Include a call to action. Mention everything you might need from the influencer, like address or size. Don’t forget to mention your contact information if influencers need to get in touch with you
Learn more: A Start To Finish Guide — Contacting Influencers (Plus Free Email Template)
Our research shows out of 100 seeded influencers, at least 30 will post about you for free.
But what if they don’t? You can increase the probability of seeded influencers posting about you by creating an extraordinary unboxing experience.
Step 4: Create a Memorable Unboxing Experience
A memorable unboxing experience can significantly increase the chances of an influencer posting about you, even with “no strings attached.”
Why? A thoughtful unboxing experience shows you care about the creator and aren’t just sending them free products in hopes of getting something in return.
Luckily, you don’t have to personalize the unboxing experience manually. Arka is a custom-order solution that will never disappoint in making a great first impression on your seeded influencers.
⚡Pro-tip: Want to make influencers feel even more special? Use Handwrytten to add a handwritten touch, at scale.
Step 5: Track Seeded Influencer Content
If you’ve done influencer seeding right, a ton of influencers will be posting about your brand organically in no time. You need to track each influencer post to measure ROI from your seeding efforts. But requesting so many influencers to send over their content can be a huge hassle. Enter: MightyScout.
It collects organic posts on behalf of your brand and gives you an option to download content directly from the platform. Magic, huh?
⚡Pro-tip: Repurpose seeded influencer content for Facebook or Instagram Ads after gaining usage rights from influencers. 36% of marketers report that influencer-generated content performs better than branded content.
Remember to reformat influencer-generated content and caption it properly to make the posts highly effective ads. Kapwing makes the process easy to do without disturbing the organic nature of influencer posts.
Product seeding is manageable when you’re seeding to 15-20 influencers a month. But what happens when you see compounding growth (which you will) and aim to double down and scale your product seeding efforts? How do you do it without pulling your hair out or hiring external help?
Step 6: Scale Your Product Seeding Efforts
When Kynship’s co-founder, Cody, was practicing product seeding at QALO, he used to create individual back-end orders on Shopify All. The. Time.
Apart from the labor-intensive process, it took anywhere between 15-30 minutes to ship a single influencer order.
The solution became Kynship’s Seeding App — a hassle-free and convenient app to make influencer seeding scalable. It doesn’t matter if you want to seed your product to one influencer or 50, if you have one type of product or twelve, or if you wish to separate tags for different influencers — this app can handle everything.
How does Kynship's Seeding App work?
- Download the app from the Shopify store, and enter the influencer’s name in the search bar if you haven't added them already
- Next, pick the products you want to send
- Have a final review — and voila! You just leveled up your seeding game without shipping products late into the night
Kynship Seeding App directly connects to your 3PL or your fulfillment center — treating influencer orders like customer orders.
The best part? You can see how much you’ve invested in product seeding using the “Reporting” tab to share these COGS with your finance and marketing department in a few clicks rather than dealing with messy excel sheets.
We know we can be biased, but try it once — we guarantee it’ll save you so much time that you’d make it a non-negotiable part of your influencer marketing tool stack.
Step 7: Continue Your Collaboration After Vetting Seeded Influencers
Shortlist seeded influencers whose content performed well and resonated with your brand voice. It’s time to make it official and tie the knot.
But before that … did you check the influencer’s video content abilities? Video content is the ultimate authenticity detector and one of the most critical metrics for evaluating influencers. Here’s why:
- Video content is booming right now — over 82% of internet traffic is online videos. It’s one of those influencer marketing trends that’s here to last. You want to continue the partnership with creators who create lots of video content and do it well — they know how to edit for social media, talk to the camera, and maintain decent production quality.
- Video content can quickly help you examine if an influencer has the skills to highlight the important points about a product that would positively influence their audience’s purchase decision. Check: Can they capture attention within three seconds? Can they communicate about the product’s benefits effectively?
- It’s hard to fake appreciation on video. If an influencer says they love your product in an image post, it’s still a “maybe, maybe not” situation. Anyone can write a beautiful caption. No one can fake loving your brand on video.
Once you have selected members of your influencer family, send a compelling outreach message (thanks to seeding, your message won’t be coming from a stranger).
Hopefully, they say yes. Once they do, create an influencer contract that protects you and ensures both parties are on the same page.
Boom! You’ve laid the foundation of an unstoppable influencer marketing strategy.
But your work is just beginning. After having a reliable influencer community, you need to maintain relationships with them, send them the perfect briefs, and keep track of all the logistics — like paying influencers, measuring success, and continuing to grow.
Sounds challenging? It can be. 13.3% of marketers say their biggest challenge with in-house influencer marketing campaigns is bandwidth and time constraints.
The solution? Outsource it. Hiring influencer marketing agencies can not only be easier on the pocket but also give you the best scoop in the industry by working alongside experts.
Feelin' ready to take the plunge? Book a call with us.