When it comes to influencer marketing, it’s common for agencies or brands to outsource campaigns to agencies.
While this might seem a good idea initially, this strategy heavily limits the amount of money you can spend on influencers’ services.
Though your brand can and will pay any quoted price, overpaying influencer costs is considered marketing budget waste-spent.
For a startup, it’s even worse as you often have to define your image and build enough reputation to outrun the profitability hurdle.
Reaching out directly to the influencers themselves and negotiating with them yourself cuts down on the campaign budget tremendously!
Why take such an effort? It works.
And it’s not just about saving money, though that’s certainly a benefit.
You also get an opportunity to build relationships with these influencers in your community and make them feel like part of the brand.
How Direct Contact Helps Cut Down Campaign Costs
Transparency of Actual Cost
Directly collaborating with influencers can significantly cut campaign costs by providing transparency in cost. Eliminating intermediaries, you can negotiate fair rates directly with influencers and avoid additional costs.
It lets you clearly understand what you are paying for, including the number of posts, reach, and engagement.
On the influencer’s end, they can better understand your brand’s budget, leading to a more realistic and fair negotiation, more of finding a mutually beneficial agreement.
Room for Negotiation
When carrying out influencer marketing, something that’s overlooked is negotiating costs with influencers.
Let’s say you’re a skincare brand and want to work with an influencer to promote your products. You find an influencer with your target market following in the beauty industry, and they seem like a great fit for your brand.
However, this influencer’s rates for a full campaign might be too expensive for your budget. In this case, consider working with the influencer on a smaller scale.
Ask the influencer if they would be willing to post a single sponsored post rather than having them create deliverables for a full campaign.
Or you can also negotiate the compensation package, which can include a flat fee, a commission on sales, or a combination of both.
Negotiation is a two-way street; you can achieve it only by directly contacting the influencers.
Opportunities to Form a Long-Term Relationship
As a marketer, one of the biggest benefits of working with influencers is the opportunity to form a long-term relationship.
Talking to influencers and building relationships is a great way to form a long-term brand partnership.
When outsourcing influencer campaigns, you don’t have the opportunity to form a connection with influencers. You end up in two cases:
- Keep working with the same influencers without forming a connection
- Work with the same set of influencers even when they don’t align with the brand
They can also be a great source of inspiration for what topics work best for your campaign.
Instead of letting your brand suffer in the middle of a muddle, help yourself by being in direct contact with the influencer who could understand and be the best influence for your target audience.
Exploring Other Forms of Influencer Payment
Not all influencers would work on a similar payment model.
There’s more to influencer payments than just the typical pay-per-post model.
Here are some other options you can try (only when you have direct influencer contact):
Pay Per Project This approach is commonly used for large-scale campaigns, where influencers are paid per project, i.e. for an entire campaign.
Pay Per Post The cost of the campaign depends on the number of posts they produce. The more posts they produce, the higher the cost you pay.
Performance Based Compensation model where influencers are paid based on the specific performance or outcome of the partnership with your brand. This means that the influencer is only paid if certain metrics, such as engagement rate, click-through rate, or sales, are met.
Fixed Rate + Performance-Based Payment Option Paying the fixed rate as an upfront fee and performance-related fees depending upon how well it performs afterwards (or not).
Gifting or Rewards This is when you offer influencers some kind of compensation for their work. Gifting can take many forms, from a free product or service to a discount code.
Store Credit Used to purchase products from your store. This is great if you want to avoid the influencer selling your product but experience it and share their opinion.
Content Licensing You can license the content they create for your campaign. This is a win-win situation for both parties: The brand gets to run its marketing campaigns with high-quality content, and the influencer gets paid for it.
Key Problems You Can Avoid by Contacting Influencers Directly
Avoid To and Fro
When contacting influencers, the chances of miscommunication or to and fro are off the table. Which leads to fewer back and forth and clarity on deliverables.
The more you can avoid back-and-forth conversations with the intermediaries, the better. It’s a waste of your time and effort.
Set Expectations Clear
The expectation-setting stage helps you get a clear picture of your campaign goals from the influencers, how far you expect them to reach your target audience, and the campaign’s timeline.
This way, when working with an influencer for your campaign, they know exactly what’s expected and what they will be paid for.
Decide Whether The Influencer is One-off Campaign or for Long Term
Knowing how long the campaign will last is important. If it’s a one-off campaign, you can negotiate better terms; if it is a long-term campaign, additional costs may be associated.
Long-term partnerships mean the influencer will be exclusive to your brand and not collaborate with your fellow competitors.
Avoid Any Extra Fees Involve
Cutting campaign costs is one of the biggest hiccups for brands. When working with an agency, you will not be quoted based only on the cost of an influencer collaboration.
In addition to the influencer cost, multiple fees are involved from the agency side, which takes up a huge chunk of your marketing budget.
Contacting the influencer directly saves a lot on your marketing budget.
You can bid bye to agency commission fee, markup fee, or any service-based fee they might add.
When deciding whether to collaborate with influencers, it’s important to consider the value of a partnership.
Influencer marketing is still a new way for a few brands to reach consumers, and not all influencers are created equal.
Nurture the relationship. Always paying them instantly. And don’t forget to offer their followers something that they’ll appreciate. Do this, and you’ll have a good chance of getting some great publicity without spending big.