July 05, 2014

How to Work With Bloggers to Grow Your Sales

In a nod to a post from a while back on a recap from a digital conference, I wanted to take time to blog on how to work with bloggers more effectively. 

Bloggers nowadays for retailers are THE advertising channel. So close to consumers, and for e-commerce retailers, they can be directly linked to sales (unlike TV advertising!).

However, Bloggers are enterprises.

This is a fundamental point.

Though I know many bloggers do it for joy, they are also running businesses just like you and I. They expect (and should be) paid for their time. Or at least, given product.

The thought of demanding a blogger to promote your product without payment or even a sample is crazy. Seriously. 

My most successful blogger 'relationships' are the long-term ones which are a combination of a friendship with a business partnership.

Here are 3 ways you can start to build better relationships with bloggers, which will in turn grow your revenue!

1. Find the Right Fit (and quality over quantity)

Just like any sort of relationship, finding the right bloggers for your business is time consuming. You wouldn't ask a guy to marry you on a first date? (Or maybe you would... no judgement).

Finding the 'right' fit of blogger for your business will take time and trial and error. I've tried with Encircled a number of different angles with bloggers from Mom bloggers, to fashion, to eco, to travel. It took time to find which one really worked (and it wasn't on the first try). 

The worst thing you can do is just throw your hands up, and NOT do anything. Set a direction, and try it. Google bloggers related to keywords that speak to your brand. 

Once you've found your 'niche' of blogger, the responsible thing to do is to research. Read a couple of their posts, see how they integrate brands into their posts and socialsphere. Inquire as to how many unique visitors they get, their newsletter size, research how active they are on social networks. Skype with them.

I've been lucky to have only one non-compliant blogger. A mom blogger in Canada who took my money and never did a thing for it. How now!

However, for the most part bloggers are honest, and by doing your research (reading their posts, reaching out to other people they work with), you can get a feel for their vibe, and what it's like to work together.

2. Establish your Objectives

Why are you working with this blogger? Is it to gain brand awareness? Is it to drive traffic to your website and encourage purchase?

Is it to grow your Instagram following? Is it to increase the number of shares of your photos on Facebook?

Think carefully and clearly about your blogger partnership before kicking it off. 

Like any marketing campaign, you should set a clear objective and align this with the blogger.

For example, for one campaign my number one goal is to drive revenue. Everything needs to be connected to my e-commerce website, and I even provided an incentive ($ off for her readers) to help drive conversion. Guess what? It worked!

Set clear tactics with the blogger. How will they promote the post? Will they repin it and tag you? Will they put a mention in their newsletter?

When you align your objective with your tactics. That's when the true magic happens!

3. Help a Blogger Out

I consider my best blogger relationships (Here's four of them, HerPackinglist.com,  TheProfessionalHobo, Hitha on the Go and Clotheslinefinds.com) to be friendships. Seriously.

In addition to proactively reaching out to them when I have new designs, I also often repin, repost and share their blog posts just for fun.

I add comments, I read their newsletters and retweet stuff.


Because I like them! (And I dig their content).

You should aim to never work with people you don't like. It will drain your spirit.

And it's nice to promote people's work. I have no hidden agenda here, I just truly like these people and love their content and want them to be successful.

Do you work with bloggers to promote your e-commerce site? What's your #1 tip for working with bloggers? Leave it below!


Wishing you blissful retail!

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