This week in the doghouse studio, I spoke with Johnathan Grzybowski about something that’s been on my mind lately: influencer marketing. Johnathan’s credentials are numerous: co-founder of on demand design platform Penji, host of The Blind Entrepreneur podcast, and founder and creative director of Waterfront Media.
Quite simply, influencer marketing is the act of using social worth and your existing network for the best interests of your company. For Johnathan, influencer marketing felt incredibly natural. “We’ve been a design agency for the past five years. But really, we realized we weren’t suited to be a traditional agency! I think a lot of businesses need to ask themselves who and what they want to be. For what we wanted to be, we had to take less of an agency approach — where the buying cycles can be slow and cumbersome — and go more one-on-one.”
If you’ve been toying with the idea of adding influencer marketing to your repertoire, you’ll really enjoy hearing what Johnathan has to say on the subject.
The “People Aspect”
We here at Moondog are obviously fans of marketing automation, as it’s a great way to nurture leads and push clients further down the sales funnel. AI has given, and continues to give marketers an incredible amount of power to achieve goals. As much as Moondog champion content and automation, however, we can’t deny that lots of our business has come from client recommendations. It’s critical to not overlook the “people aspect” of your business, and that’s where influencer marketing comes in.
“We like interacting with people, hearing their stories, and really just making clients feel good. With the platform we’re building, we can help more people, and thus leverage our network and the influence of other people.Whether it’s a website interview, a phone call, asking for referrals or intros, we’re genuinely reaching out to the customer to ask how they’re doing. We talk to them like they’re real people. We’re being humans. At the end of the day, that’s what influencer marketing is, it’s being a human to your customer base.”
Listeners, take heart: you don’t need a million followers to be an influencer. Even within a smaller network, your voice can still be influential. Johnathan relies on what he calls “micro-influencers,” who, through reviews and testimonials, cover specific microcosms within the overarching network. The progression from customer to influencer is an organic one. “We want our customers to be influencers, not us. We’re okay with taking a step back and letting our customers shine in the present.”
The Influencer Timeline
So what does Johnathan have to say to anyone starting an influencer marketing campaign today? When can they realistically expect to see results?
“A year. Maybe two. I say this from my experience: when I created the podcast I did it just to meet new people. Entrepreneurship is lonely! I saw ROI on the first interview because I gained a friend. You can get recognition immediately, but you’ll get better and better results the more you test your product and your platform. Don’t expect a quick turnaround of three to six months — always keep your goals in mind. Most important, ask yourself, are you okay with creating something, and not getting anything tangible in return? If you are, then you should do it.”
“If you focus on creating the best possible version of X, the benefit and return will be much higher than you anticipate. I really think that’s the future of marketing. It’s not just about volume of content, but that one monthly article, that one weekly podcast.”
In the end, it really does come down to mindset. Successful businesses make a commitment to provide great products, and they work with their customers to refine what they do. Johnathan makes some excellent points about nurturing the right culture for your business.
Playing to Your Strengths
“At the end of the day, you have to look at who you are as a company. Don’t do something that isn’t ‘you.’ For us, it was realizing what we wanted to be, what we wanted to give. There’s no secret to what we’re doing, we’re trying to build connections and make people aware of what we’re doing. Look at your end goals. Sales? Building a community? Meeting new people? Maybe you’re not an entrepreneur, you just want to meet new people. Just go all in on your strength.”
“My strength is, I can sort of steer and command a conversation — so I created a podcast. And my podcast has personally opened so many doors that I didn’t know were possible until I just did it, and did it consistently. After a hundred episodes, I can say that everyone I’ve interviewed on my podcast has become a friend. They’ve enjoyed sharing their message, and their journey. Many of the people I’ve interviewed have become customers, or referred us to people who need us.”
With this point, Johnathan hits on one of the true strength of using content to reach your audience. Great content, when it’s targeted towards your audience, really succeeds in building stronger relationships. It’s become second nature for us to seek out people on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Actual contact is only a couple of clicks away, and that mechanism is what makes influencer marketing so powerful. You reach someone with great content, then you reach them with your message, and continue to provide value.
If you want to connect with Johnathan after this week’s podcast, go along to Penji.co. For all your questions about influencer marketing or podcasting, check out The Blind Entrepreneur. You can also find him on Twitter. As Johnathan says, “With all sincerity, I am here as your servant to help you and to guide you to profitability!”
As always, we here at Moondog welcome your comments, thoughts, and feedback, whether that’s on the blog, or a tweet to me. You can even be an influencer for us by recommending and sharing our podcast!