Maximize Your Return on Relationship (ROR) in 3 Key Steps
Written by: Jasmine Chen
Last week, we outlined why financial services brands should start thinking about influencers; seasoned journalists, industry leaders, finance bloggers, self-directed investors and satisfied customers. We’ve also recognised that influencers play a vital role in fuelling digital word-of-mouth networks.
Indeed, the latest paper by TopRank Marketing and Traackr reveals that an overwhelming 71% of participants regard influencer marketing as strategic or highly strategic.
However, despite the growing recognition of the importance of influencer strategies, it is still clearly underused and – for all but the most advanced marketers – has yet to progress beyond mere “tactical” utilisation.
So how best to tackle influencer strategies?
First of all, strong personal relationship-building is essential in order to nurture a long-term engagement that is mutually beneficial. This in turn means making sure that what you have to offer is of value in order to gain something of value. After all, influencers are by their nature very well-known and established within their specific industries, and what they have to say about your brand can have a profound impact on your business.
Executive Director at Schaefer Marketing Solutions, Mark Scaefer agrees: “The true power of influence marketing is coming from: network connections of the individual; long-term collaboration that results in authentic understanding and advocacy; quality, trusted content that is seen and shared by a relevant audience; and face-to-face and word of mouth advocacy”
We’re used to meeting the demands of maximising ROI in financial services marketing, but now it’s time to think about your Return on Relationship (ROR).
To complicate things, often there is no single “owner” of these relationships with target influencers; such relationships needs to be sought and maintained by all departments through all channels.
While it would be easy to be put off by the complexity of nurturing influencer relationships, there are three key steps that anyone can take to create and implement a successful influencer strategy.
1. Revisit your business objectives
Whether it’s increasing brand awareness or launching a new product, service or program, there needs to be a clear alignment between your commercial goals and what you want to achieve by engaging with influencers. Your desired business outcomes will also need to suit the needs and expectations of target influencers and – most importantly – your ideal customer.
As a first step, this requires doing a deep dive into the psyche of your ideal customer and identifying effective and ineffective touchpoints. What are their motivators, pains and triggers? Who or what are their sources of information? And what channels do they use?
Armed with this information, you'll immediately be in a better position to establish meaningful engagement between your business, target influencers and ideal customers.
Take another look at TopRank Marketing and Traackr's top ten goals of influencer marketing; revealing that most aims are (and should be) customer-centric, and focus on raising a brand’s profile to in order to extend their reach to new audiences.
2. Understanding your target influencers
Secondly, invest a considerable amount of time in researching your target influencers, including an in-depth study of their past work, published content and communications behaviour – before you reach out to them. Tools such as BuzzSumo are a great starting point for identifying the top few individuals with the greatest authority and reach in your specific industry. To increase the likelihood of forming any brand partnerships, it’s crucial to also understand why and how influencers have earned their communities - from your customers' point of view, what makes these influencers interesting? From here you can begin to consider what a mutually beneficial relationship might look like.
Bear in mind that your customers' influencers may not be who you'd expect. So rather than grouping potential influencers into broad categories such as bloggers, journalists or industry bodies, try taking a more holistic persona-driven approach. Influencers come in many shapes and forms, and it takes time to find one with the right audience and motivation.
3. Measure for engagement, impact and growth
As with everything we do, clear KPIs should be established at the outset, so you can measure for engagement, impact and growth.
This can be done by identifying the outcomes that matters most to your business, influencers and – most importantly – your customers. This could be as specific as tying influencer KPIs to each stage of the customer journey (i.e. awareness, sales, support and loyalty), or making sure these KPIs complement existing metrics (i.e. reach, acquisition, conversion and retention). And last but not least, your metrics should also measure influencer engagement, performance and fulfilment.
With these building blocks in place, you should be ready to nurture new contacts and ultimately build a strong lasting relationship – with a partner who is happy, satisfied and brings out the best in you and your brand.
Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: May 22-26
Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, May 22-26, 2017
Click the headline to read the full article. Enjoy!
I know Gen Y are stereotyped as being transient, digital natives who are impossible to capture, but that is just the world we live in today. Technology has caused a proliferation of advancements and the financial services industry is (or should be) feeling the pressure ... — Missy Pohlig
Combining an alternatively-weighted index with a multi-factor stock screening process can diversify uncompensated risk, potentially leading to less volatility in down markets and an overall smoother experience for investors. But what are factors and why should they be a major consideration for every ETF investor? — J.P. Morgan Asset Management
There is something gratifying about jotting down all the things you need to do. It quenches one’s thirst for being organized and for wanting some control over one’s life generally complicated by too many things to do with insufficient time and financial resources to do them. — Roy Osing
College graduation is a time of celebration and pride. It’s also a time of significant financial transitions—for new graduates as well as their parents. As an advisor, this is a great opportunity to connect with your NextGen clients to help them make smart decisions that position them for greater financial success throughout their working lives and even into retirement. — Laura McCarron
Let your prospects see what working with you will be like, including exactly who will be holding their hand along the way. — Paul Kingsman
How should investors feel with all the advances in robotics and technology in our industry in the near future? — John Alshefski
Want to know how to grow your business fast? Discover here two things that you need to smash in order for you to take your business from startup to a great business. — Stewart Bell
Unlike many other industries, most people in finance confront the reality on a daily basis that a market downturn they have no control over could cast them out onto the street. — Sara Grillo
One year after I risked everything to launch my own venture, I penned a short article chronicling my journey up to that point. One commenter responded with near-vitriol, wondering how I could be so misguided as to influence – encourage, even – others of my generation to take on extensive levels of risk in order to successfully launch a new business. — Brian Hart
People are automating hellos and introductions instead of taking 3 seconds to personally do it. Folks are requiring followbacks if they give you one. Everyone believes that ads are the answer. And business owners think they know what’s best for their social channels. — Ahna Hendrix
Business growth doesn’t come from wishful thinking. As you know, it takes a lot of hard work. The growth of your business is not an option – it is a necessity. Coordinating the right mix of strategies to gain market share and improve client acquisition rates is essential to advance your firm in today’s economy. — Michelle Mosher
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