How To Work With Bloggers on a Smaller Budget

Influencer marketing isn’t just reserved for bigger brands like H&M, Forever 21 and J.Crew, to name just a few. Smaller brands are using influencer marketing every day to gain exposure and increase sales. In fact, it’s one of the best tools to have in your marketing arsenal. As a smaller brand, you just need to know how to use the influence of smaller bloggers to your advantage. Let's get into it. 

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Be realistic

As a smaller brand or independent designer, it’s difficult to compete with brands that have larger budgets. With limited resources you need to get creative with how you spread the word about your brand. 

When it comes to influencer marketing, treat it like any other marketing effort. Be realistic about your budget and what type of blogger would be excited to work with you. A lot of brands want to work with only the top bloggers but unless they can offer a competitive package, they won’t be excited to respond to every brand pitch that hits their inbox. 

You need to keep in mind a few other factors as well. What objectives do you hope to achieve and will you achieve those with this blogger? Does their personal style mesh with your brand? Does their readership hit your target demographic? 

Also understand, while bloggers may accept gifts, this doesn’t mean they will guarantee blog coverage. If you want your product or brand covered, you need to offer compensation. Always know who you are pitching to and build your relationships accordingly. More on that soon.  

Do your research

Before you begin an outreach campaign, take the time to research bloggers. What bloggers align with your brand? What blogger aesthetic aligns with yours (classic, vintage, feminine, edgy…)? What bloggers are working with your competitors or similar brands? What bloggers have a dedicated following? A tool like The Shelf can be an incredibly useful all-in-one solution that helps you discover the perfect bloggers to compliment your brand. Once you’ve built a collection of bloggers on The Shelf, you can reach out to each of them right from the platform. Cool, right?

Smaller doesn't mean less klout

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. In fact, small to medium sized bloggers can be an affordable way to market your brand AND wield real results.  

According to the Technorati Digital Influence Report 2013, 54% of consumers believe that the smaller the community, the bigger the influence. Consumers put more trust in smaller communities, a factor that brands shouldn’t overlook when it comes to conversion rates. According to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer research, ‘people like me’ consistently falls in the top tier of influencers when it comes to brand conversions. What’s more, Edelman believes that in many cases relevance is far more important than mass reach to the wrong audience. For independent designers or smaller brands, working with smaller bloggers can help them build a ton of support, which builds significantly over time. 

Now, we aren't suggesting you partner with bloggers that have very small audiences as that too can backfire. Just take the time to understand the different ways of utilizing influencers and the value that big versus small bloggers can offer. You may just find that the smaller guns are the perfect fit to help grow your brand. Look for passion and authenticity – both key elements that resonate with customers – and you will be set.