Long time readers of this blog know that I wrote the #1 best-selling book, “The Influencer Effect.” Since then, influencer marketing has become a “thing” (those two events are not necessarily related, as I don’t claim to be responsible for causing a change in the rise of influencer marketing). But influencers are not just someone with a large following, they are someone who do affect our actions.

I recently interviewed Tom Ross, the founder of DesignCuts.com for my podcast (listen to that interview at the 20MinutesofInfluence.com). Tom talks about how he used to have hundreds of thousands of viewers each month – but he wasn’t making any money. Like so many of us, he was chasing what he calls “vanity metrics.” this is a dangerous path for many of us. We all want more traffic to our websites. We want more people liking our social media posts. we want more followers. In fact, most influencer marketing platforms use these metrics to measure effectiveness of a marketing campaign. But those metrics don’t put money in your pocket. when it comes to influencer marketing there are really only 3 things that matter:

  1.  Engagement
    Traffic and visibility are important, but you can buy advertisements to achieve those results. When working with influencers, you want an expert that actually causes change in the behavior of your customers. Sidney Pierucci, Founder of ESPLMedia, says “Because they are personally invested in their crafts, micro-influencers are trusted sources of recommendations for followers. The Game’ isn’t just getting eyeballs; but getting eyeballs that care!”Because they are personally invested in their crafts, micro-influencers are trusted sources of recommendations for followers. The Game’ isn’t just getting eyeballs; but getting eyeballs that care! - Sidney Pierucci Click To Tweet Engagement can include clicks to the website, likes, comments, video views, number of sales, repins on Pinterest, retweets on Twitter, and shares on Facebook, among other social interactions.But simply having a large number of followers or getting lots of traffic is not what is important – getting someone to take action is what matters.In my interview with Tom Ross, we talk about how you can accomplish this through your relationship with your customers, understanding your audience, and having a passion for what you are offering.

  2. Content
    Influencers are content creators. I read an article recently about the history of influencer marketing and they were trying to make the case that Aunt Jemimah, Santa Claus, and the Marlboro Man were early influencers. No they were not – those were corporate images that were drummed up for advertising purposes, but they were not content creators. An influencer is someone whocreates their own content about a brand, which the brand can then use for further leverage.My first best-seller, “Amazon’s Dirty Little Secrets,” was all about the marketing methods that Amazon used to grow its business, and how you could copy those techniques and implement them for your business. The rise of influencer marketing really began in about 2010 when Amazon came up with the idea of connecting Facebook with their brand –  so consumers could see what their friends and family members were buying. Everyday people were creating content and Amazon leveraged that content. Amazon also started suggesting gifts for friends and family based on their interests. People could even see notifications about the upcoming birthdays of their loved ones along with suggestions for gifts. This was a very successful ploy that drove other brands and platforms to take influencer marketing more seriously.


  3. Revenue
    An influencer needs to be able to affect sales. How can you measure your revenue earned versus dollars spent? This is actually easier to track than you might think. Three specific ways to track this include:

    • Affiliate Links
      Good affiliate marketing always involves content creation. this is often referred to as JV (Joint Venture) marketing, where the influencer might write an article or create a video about a 3rd party product, then get paid a commission when they actually make a sale for that product. For example, in late January I will be releasing a series of online courses about WordPress, WooCommerce, and Internet Marketing. If you promote these courses on my behalf, I will pay you a (very large) commission for each student you sign up.  find out more at: https://webstoresltd.com/affiliates/I use affiliate links myself when promoting products, including links found on my YouTube videos when I do a product demonstration, to the links found in this article to my own books on Amazon. the only requirement is that you tell your audience that you might generate a commission when someone follows your link (you have now been notified). It’s that easy.

    • Promo Codes
      Promo codes or coupons are a great way to track the exact results of when an influencer causes an action. for example, you might hear on a radio talk show, when the host says, tell them “so and so sent you to get 10% off.” this is what is happening with my interview with tom Ross – Tom has graciously agreed to provide free marketing advice to anyone who listens to my podcast interview with him when you mention my name (I’m going to take advantage of this myself, so you may want to do this as well. tom isn’t selling anything, just offering advice, so take him up on his generous offer.)Most e-commerce sites like WooCommerce will allow you to generate promo codes easily that you can provide to your influencers. You can then identify exactly which influencer sent you a sale and how many sales they were actually responsible for, even months into the future.

    • Google Analytics
      Google Analytics is another incredibly powerful tool for tracking online sales. By setting up an “Event” goal, you can see which of your online customers visited your e-commerce site from an influencer’s blog or social channel, giving you a reliable assessment of ROI on e-commerce sales.

So often, people tend to think of influencer marketing as how many followers you have on Instagram. Here’s the thing to remember: it is not about traffic or followers, the only thing that matters is your ability to engage with your audience and affect a change in their behavior. Nothing else matters. I love this quote from Jay Baer (and will be posting it to my Instagram account):