Few marketing terms seem to generate as much buzz today as “influencers”—those special people with a large following and who can prove very persuasive to their dedicated audience. Even a single sponsored post or mention on Instagram or Twitter can lead to a big boost for your business.
The incredible thing is that social influencers don’t have to have a Kardashian-level following to deliver positive results for your marketing efforts. Over 80 percent of marketers who tapped into the power of influencers reported that their involvement provided an effective boost for their campaigns. Even a relatively small influencer who nonetheless has a solid reputation in your niche can drive new customers to your business.
Because of the repeatedly demonstrated power of influencers in modern digital marketing, Amazon’s recent announcement that it is beta testing a new Amazon Influencer Program is something that should make brands everywhere perk up their heads.
Another big opportunity is on the horizon.
What is the Amazon Influencer Program?
So what is the Amazon Influencer Program, and how does it even work? To take a quote straight from the horse’s mouth, this program is “exclusively designed for social media influencers with large followings and a high frequency of posts with shoppable content.”
Influencers who participate in the program are given their own custom URL on Amazon, which essentially operates as an easy-to-browse store where visitors can find anything that is sold on Amazon and featured in an influencer’s content. Influencers are able to earn fees through any purchases that come as a result of their promotions.
In other words, if you have a product that is sold on Amazon and an influencer does a YouTube video that features said product, it can subsequently be featured on the influencer’s Amazon URL.
Because this system is still in beta mode, however, Amazon isn’t allowing just anyone to participate in the program. Influencers interested in joining need to apply for the program by providing links to their social media accounts.
According to MarketingLand, these applications are then judged based on factors like “the number of followers an influencer has on various social platforms, their engagement on posts, the quality of their content and level of relevancy for Amazon.com.”
Those who Amazon deems worthy subsequently receive an invitation to set up their Influencer page, where they can add any products that have been featured in their social media posts.
At first glance, this seems like a pretty great opportunity for influencers. After all, they already receive some form of compensation for doing a sponsored post in the first place, and now they can even earn fees for sales made through Amazon! What’s not to like?
What you can’t ignore, however, is that this also presents new opportunities for brands that are trying to leverage the power of influencer marketing.
So How Can This Benefit Brands?
First, it helps to simply take a look at the power of Amazon itself. Amazon is a true juggernaut in the e-commerce world, having generated nearly $136 billion in sales in 2016 alone. While much of the company’s sales numbers come through its own e-retail of books, electronics, and other items, it is also worth nothing that third-party sellers make up a significant chunk of Amazon’s revenue—including companies that also sell their products on their own websites.
While Amazon may not be the ideal place to sell something like a monthly yard care subscription, it’s perfect for any business that has a tangible product to sell. Personal electronics, furniture, craft supplies—whatever you can imagine, there’s an audience for it on Amazon.
Then there’s Amazon’s possibilities with influencers themselves. Countless businesses have already used influencers to increase sales and drive social media engagement. But connecting with influencers isn’t always easy—or cheap. While a single Tweet can go for as little as $50, it’s also not uncommon to see major influencers charge $100,000 or more for a branded post.
This can cause many businesses to think twice about trying to work with an influencer, especially if a particular campaign doesn’t seem like it will have a direct impact on sales. With the Amazon Influencer Program, however, you can be put in a better position to avoid these concerns and get an even better ROI from your influencer marketing.
First, there’s the fact that influencers now have an increased financial incentive to post sponsored content in the first place. By earning fees from Amazon for every product sold through their URL, they have a chance to significantly boost their own finances—but it also increases the opportunities for you to sell your product.
For one thing, the possibility of further increasing their earnings means that influencers who are accepted into the Amazon Influencer Program will be more eager to accept sponsorship opportunities. Influencers who may have previously been difficult to contact could be more willing to work with you knowing that your products can be featured on their Amazon profile. They might even be willing to offer discounted rates to you, knowing that they’ll more than make up the difference through Amazon sales fees.
Because so many people already have an Amazon account, directing them to purchase your product on Amazon could also improve your conversion rate. With half of all homes in the U.S. subscribed to Amazon Prime, this is clearly a platform where people are comfortable making a purchase—which can help you avoid some of the stumbling blocks present in trying to snag conversions through a landing page.
Indeed, if one of your products is featured in an influencer’s “store,” people who visit while looking for another sponsored product could stumble across your item and decide to add it to your purchase—ensuring a return on investment that lasts much longer than the period immediately following your sponsored post.
By combining the power of influencer marketing with the incredible reach and sales opportunities of Amazon, you could get better sales results than ever before.
True, the Amazon Influencer Program is still in its beta stage, which potentially limits your current ability to work with your top influencers on this platform. However, as the program continues to grow (and as you continue to reach out to influencers to market your products), the Amazon Influencer Program could very well help you boost your product sales to the next level.