Influencer Endorsements: What Every Small Business Should Know

As a small business owner, you may not have an extra million or two laying around, but you can also benefit from the power of influence.

Photo: Joel Goldstein; Source: © Macbeth Studio
Photo: Joel Goldstein; Source: © Macbeth Studio

In today’s trending-topic society, it’s more important than ever to have a few “who’s who” influencers on your team. As a startup or small business, figuring out how to persuade an influencer to endorse your products and services can seem like an impossible mountain to climb.

It does take a bit of effort – you’ll need to scout the right talent and put your best foot forward when building a relationship – but, with the following tips, you’ll know just what to do to come out on top.


Benefit from the power of influence

If we rewind the clock a decade or so, nobody would’ve been able to predict how much consumers would be moved by influencers. Whether they’re celebrities, athletes at the top of their game, or social media superstars that go viral by the day, it’s important to recognize the value these connections can have on your business.

Statistics suggest that advertisements only sway buying choices of about 33% of the population, while 90% of consumers confess they’d rather trust their peers when making a purchase.


Photo: Marlene Leppänen, Pexels
Photo: Marlene Leppänen, YFS Magazine

You’ve probably noticed the way big brands have shifted their strategies over the years. From Apple and Microsoft to Nike paying hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsement deals, it’s clear the value is there. As a small business owner, you may not have an extra million or two laying around, but you can also benefit from the power of influence.


Start with capital

Business always boils down to dollars and cents. When you look for endorsements, budget restrictions will directly impact who or what you can negotiate into a deal. After you crunch your numbers, redefine the term “celebrity” in your mind. From YouTube channels to actors on the big screen, valuable influencers come in all shapes and sizes (e.g. macro and micro influencers).

Don’t get too wrapped up in fame, at least not in the traditional sense. It will be much easier to partner with an influencer that’s developed a much more personal relationship with their fans. This also makes it easier to profit from their brand.


Build seamless partnerships

Social media makes sharing information incredibly simple. Influencers have earned the name because, with the world wide web they’ve provided an unobstructed glimpse into their daily activities. As a result consumers have begun to view influencers as their friends.

Your challenge is to locate talent that’s earned the trust of their following and whose brand organically blends with your own.
”The goal is to find an audience within an audience; a targeted group within your influencer’s following that needs (or desperately wants) what you’re selling, “according to Janie Kim of the Nutrition Retail Association.


Photo: Nappy, Pexels
Photo: Nappy, YFS Magazine

Influencer marketing is 10x more effective than direct mail or email campaigns, mainly because people can watch influencers’ moves at any time of the day. Think of this journey as Word of Mouth 2.0 – it’s much more targeted, scalable, and conversions typically shoot through the roof.

By 2020, social media spending is expected to reach $27.4 billion, according to Forrester Research. 
Compare this to the $12.3 billion earned in 2015. If you can cast a net that allows you to reach more of your target audience in one sweeping motion, then why wouldn’t you take advantage of the opportunity in front of you?


Seal the deal

Make sure it makes sense. You don’t want high schoolers selling orthopedic shoes or butchers pushing vegan protein smoothies. Think logically when you build your list of potential influencers. The next steps are pretty straightforward:


  • Sit back and monitor the influencer’s activity to see what attention they attract. Note the conversations they start and the responses from their audience. Be sure to get a feel of who they really are before you extend a partnership offer.
  • Reach out to influencers who already exhibit genuine passion for your brand and mission. It’s easier to get people to advocate for something they truly believe in. Note: Double-check to be sure they aren’t promoting any other brands that may create a conflict of interest.
  • Pitch the value before you ask for the endorsement. The relationship behind this agreement is of utmost importance. Don’t come across as pushy or too standoffish – a happy medium is best. Work on the relationship you build with the influencer, then the endorsement will come naturally.
  • Focus on mutually beneficial agreements. Everybody’s always preoccupied with the “what’s in it for me”. If your influencer can’t readily identify what they’re getting out of the deal, they may walk away. Make sure your offer is attractive before placing it on the table. “Don’t forget to place yourself in the influencer’s shoes,” Janie Kim suggests. Between management teams and social media, they’re probably pitched 24 hours a day. Everybody’s always looking for something from them, but few prove how they could deposit value into their lives. Make sure you can illustrate how your brand is different. Above all else, believe in yourself – confidence in your brand and business becomes contagious.


Joel Goldstein is a retail trendspotter, CPG strategist and best-selling author. He is the “go-to” person when trying to place a new product into retail, as well as the host of RetailSummit.live. As expert in the industry, Joel is able to advise you where your product will be best received. Connect with @mrcheckout on Twitter.




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