If you’re still figuring out how to make more money as an influencer, have faith. Achieving a substantial ROI (Return On Investment) is within reach, with many potential paths towards bigger paydays.
Every day, your prospective audience members are inundated with data. For every person on the planet, roughly 1.7MB of data is created every second, translating to 143 GB each day, and roughly 51 terabytes every year per person. We’re talking about a boatload of data.
With so much content being produced all the time, it’s extremely difficult to cut through all the noise to reach an audience and even more so to get them to engage with you. Considering that the average person’s mind is wandering 30% – 70% of the time, it’s a miracle that any specific message can reach any individual with any sense of reliability or impact.
Cutting through All the Noise
And this is precisely why influencer marketing is such a powerful medium. In order to prevent cognitive overload (and to keep our sanity), people organically filter out most of the noise and focus instead on information from those they trust.
Seventy-four percent (74%) of consumers feel that word of mouth is a key influencer in their purchase decisions. In fact, individuals put more faith in real people over mega celebrities and brand ads. In a survey by SheKnows Media, 86% of the 1,470 women surveyed said they put the most trust in real peoples’ product and service recommendations. The survey recipients confirmed that online influencers do the best job of making them feel connected, more so than brands, celebrities, etc.
11X Higher ROI
As a reliable trust builder, influencer marketing produces strong ROI, as confirmed by various studies. From 11X higher ROI than traditional marketing channels, to producing $6.50 per dollar spent. Influencer marketing is now the fastest-growing customer acquisition method, and there’s little wonder why.
People like to hear from other real people, and especially those they trust. When you build a community as an influencer, you become an important funnel of information for your fans and followers. They want to hear what you have to say. They look forward to your thoughts, ideas, and guidance. They crave your next piece of content.
Methods for Making Money
There are many ways to monetize being an influencer and create higher ROI for yourself. Learning from the travel influencer Sorelle Amore, there are certain steps you can take that are low-hanging fruit for you to start making money as an influencer.
Specialize and Claim Your Space
According to Sorelle, first, specialize and claim your space. Where are you an expert? You don’t need to be all things to all people. You just need to be special for your particular audience. So, put a stake in the ground and focus on a niche. This will make it easier for audience members to understand your unique value, as well as brands who want to connect with that particular audience.
Leverage Your Skills
Next, Sorelle explains that in achieving ROI you should leverage your skills to make money. For example, if you’re a great photographer or videographer, look around and find those organizations in your niche with poor or stock photography. Build your portfolio step by step, which will help you to secure more paying gigs.
According to Sorelle, creating packages is a good next step in creating higher ROI. You can diversify and define packages of different services to help those organizations in your niche where they are weak (photography, videos, blogging, social media, email marketing, affiliate marketing, etc.). Or, you can create different packages of posts (X number of videos on YouTube, Y number of Instagram posts, Z number of Tweets for a specified price, etc.). Diversifying your specific services and social packages helps you broaden your revenue streams, resulting in potentially more business and more money from each client.
One path towards ROI that comes very naturally to influencers is to create and sell content! Whether articles, books, courses, research reports, tools, workshops, or virtual or in-person events, create branded content that you charge for. A benefit of this approach is that although it may take time to produce your content piece, it can then be used for monetization purposes for a long time, helping you to achieve a higher ROI.
For example, offer to share your knowledge and empower others through online courses. This could include videos, textbooks, workbooks, worksheets, presentations, group chat, tests, interactive livestream audio or video sessions, or whatever you feel would be most effective in transferring the information.
If you can make money by creating and selling content, imagine all the possibilities when you compound the results through collaboration with other influencers. An easy way to engage other influencers in joint content creation or in promoting each others products is through Perlu Collabs. Through collaboration you can double your online visibility, getting in front of all of your collaborator’s community members as well. Collaborate with three or four other influencers, and all of sudden you’ve exponentially increased your exposure, which should translate into more sales for you, both directly and indirectly.
Be a consultant. You have specialized knowledge that is valuable to others. Instead of providing the actual tactical work yourself, you can provide strategic advice, guidance, training, and trend watching. Be their eyes, and point them in the right direction for future success.
Find a local university, executive program, or high school and pitch them on a specialized course. With the digital economy changing so rapidly, many schools understand that they need to look to outside help to augment their instructor ranks. Offer a special course in advanced digital marketing, online engagement, influencer marketing, etc.
Build a Business
Kayla Itsines is a good example of an influencer who transformed her influence into a business. Kayla is a fitness superstar, and now offers not only fitness programs, a workout app, and ebooks, but also a line of products that range from jump ropes and ankle weights to yoga mats and watches. Her app alone is estimated to bring in $77 million this year.
Work with Brands
Some more advanced methods for making money as an influencer is to work for brands, become a brand ambassador, and co-create content with brands.
Working for a brand might involve a sponsored post or series of posts. Or they may request that you feature their product in a video. In the case of acting as a brand ambassador, you enter into a retainer type of relationship, acting as the face of the brand in an ongoing, holistic engagement.
Or you can enter into a more collaborative relationship, in which you co-create content with the brand. An example of this is Gritty Pretty, a beauty website and an interactive online magazine by beauty editor Eleanor Pendleton. Eleanor’s team collaborates with brands in creating sponsored content, editorials, and ads for the magazine.
Become an Affiliate
When the bioresponsive games maker Mightier approached Alicia Trautwein, an expert in raising autistic children, about the possibility of a sponsored post, she instead proposed an affiliate program, which she felt would be more mutually beneficial. At the time Mightier did not have an affiliate program, but they loved her idea and created a program just for her!
Create Products with Brands
Alternatively, and more ambitiously, you can create a product line with the brand. An example of this is the beauty brand Pixi, which partnered with Chloe Morello, Dulce Candy, and Weylie Hoang in creating unique products for the brand. Another example would be ColourPop Cosmetics, which continually engages in product collaborations with influencers such as Jaclyn Hill.
A fun way to earn income is to strike a deal with a brand to take over its Instagram or Twitter account. Perlu Advisory Board member Jessie Festa has partnered with Forbes for a takeover, and has also collaborated with other influencers on social account takeovers.
Another way to monetize your work is to parlay your expertise into guided experiences for your fans. For example, if you’re a South American travel influencer, offer to personally guide a group to Machu Picchu in Peru or the Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina, or wherever your heart takes you.