If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me:

“Bill, I should be using my marketing budget on PPC and Facebook ads, rather than wasting it on stuff like influencer marketing, right?”

…I’d be swimming in cash by now.

People love to trash talk influencer marketing and say that it isn’t ROI-driven … but that isn’t necessarily true.

Consider this:

According to a 2016 study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions, influencer marketing generates 11 times the ROI of traditional digital marketing.

11 times!!! That’s not a small sum, guys.

So if influencer marketing is actually effective, why do people hate on it so much?

Chew on that for a bit, and see if you can guess why.

I’ll reveal the answer later on in this article — but for now, let’s explore some of the ways in which you can work with influencers to explode sales for your brand.

Partnering with influencers to boost your SEO

When people think of influencer campaigns, they normally picture this…
Pretty influencer posts on Instagram, plugs a product, and uses the relevant hashtag.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of these posts.


By limiting yourself to Instagram shout-outs, you’re missing out on all that SEO juice that you could be getting.

Here’s what I mean:

If you work with an influencer who owns a blog, getting him or her to link to your eCommerce store can help you rank more highly on Google.

The official term for this is backlinking.

Obviously, the more websites are linking to your eCommerce store, the better your store will do in terms of SEO.

How do you get more websites to link to your eCommerce store?

It’s a numbers game – you just reach out to as many influencers as possible, see how many of them are willing to work with you, and get a backlink on their blog.

To speed up the process, I like to use Influence to discover and shortlist influencers whom I want to work with.

With this tool, you can search for influencers by category and narrow down your options based on their number of followers, their rate per post, where they’re based, etc.

Once that’s done, use MailShake to send a mass outreach email to all your shortlisted influencers.

This might sound something like:

Hi {Influencer’s Name},

{Your Name} from {Company} here. I’ve been following your blog for the past X years – love how dedicated you are to producing great content for your followers!

I’m currently working on a marketing campaign for {Company} and was wondering if you’d be keen to collaborate with us. I’m hoping to get a backlink to our website from your blog, as well as {Instagram shoutout / mention in YouTube video / etc}.

Sounds good? If you’re interested, please get in touch and we can discuss this project over coffee or tea.


{Name & Company}.

Backlinking is just a tiny part of the entire SEO puzzle; if you want to find out more about how you can boost your eCommerce store’s SEO, read this guide.

Moving on!

Co-creating content

Co-creating boils down to this:

The better you can make your influencer look, the more they’ll promote the campaign for you (and do all they can to make the campaign a roaring success!).

Look at it this way:

If you pay an influencer $100 to promote your fashion label, she’ll probably post an #OOTD, tag you in the picture, and call it a day.

But what if you get an influencer to design a capsule collection which will be launched under your fashion label?

This is huge for your influencer, so take it from me:

She won’t just post on Instagram about this new collection. She’ll Snapchat it, Instagram Stories it, mention it to all her friends and family, and maybe even find some way to sneak it into the conversation when she’s interviewed by a magazine 6 months down the road.

In other words, it will make promoting your content incredibly easy. Effortless, almost!

For more on co-created content, read this guide.

Getting them to do something crazy

The goal is simply – you want to elicit an OH MY GOD response.

Here’s a great example:

Sony wanted to market their Xperia XZ Premium phone, but instead of doing something predictable such as getting influencers to review their phones, they did this instead…

They got a group of influencers to travel from Singapore to London by land and document their entire journey (which involved a 9-day train ride!) with Xperia XZ phones.

Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s another great campaign to get your creative juices flowing:

Maybelline wanted to promote their products, but instead of getting your standard YouTube beauty guru to do a makeup video, they enlisted the help of these male influencers instead.

By using male influencers instead of female ones, Maybelline makes its campaign that much more intriguing and compelling…

…and at the same time, they also get to communicate that their products are insanely easy to use (even men, who don’t traditionally use makeup, can easily get on board!)

Of course, conceptualizing a creative campaign will take more effort than sticking with a tried-and-tested format…

…but if you want to increase the virality of your influencer campaigns, this is definitely the way to go!

Final thoughts on working with influencers

Like I mentioned previously, influencer marketing is insanely effective, and generates up to 11 times the sales that traditional digital marketing does.

So why does it have such a bad rep?

It all boils down to this…

If you simply dump a five-digit sum into engaging an influencer, without considering:

  • Whether the influencer is a good fit for your brand
  • What format is likely to produce the greatest impact
  • Your KPIs and key metrics for your campaign

Then of course your campaign won’t be effective.

On the other hand, if you come up with a proper strategy for your influencer campaign, and measure your results religiously…

…there’s really no reason why your campaign shouldn’t succeed.

Now that we’ve got that ironed out, it’s time to start looking for influencers to collaborate with on your first influencer marketing campaign!

About the Author: Bill Widmer is a content marketing and SEO consultant specializing in eCommerce. He’s worked with brands like Social Media Examiner, Entrepreneur on Fire, and Duct Tape Marketing. He’s also a big video game buff and loves to sing in the shower.