Something that I think influencers, you guys aren't thinking enough about is lifetime value of a customer. We've talked about that before where it's not about optimizing for how much money can I get out of this brand today, but optimizing for how much money can I get out of this brand over the next three to five years. That is where you really unlock value. You guys live in a world that is cyclical and is up and down.
I talk to influencers all the time. They say like, "One month I'll have 10 sponsored posts, and then over the next two months, I'll have three." It's really up and down and there's boom and bust periods that are really frustrating. Well, one way to alleviate that kind of cyclical bumpy nature of how you're making money is to build long-term partnerships with brands and build relationships with them, and have those brands come back to you over and over again.
To build long term partnerships, again, you have to think about the relationship in terms of what is the lifetime value of this customer, and optimizing for that, not for the short term. You've posted your post. Obviously, the first thing you need to do, as we said, is you've got to send a report. Send the content. Either send the content through to them. Show them if you got any DMs. Highlight comments where people talked about the product. Whatever you can do to make it look like your audience really resonated with this product and with this collaboration, the better.
Then you have to ask for the sale. You always have to say like-- If you hadn't gotten on the phone with them yet, I would say, "We'd love to get on the phone and talk about projects you have coming down the pipeline." If you feel like you already have a relationship with them, even when you send them that report saying like, "Hey, love for you to keep me in mind as you do have budget moving forward, and I'd love to be a part of any of the paid campaigns that you're working on." If you don't ask for things, it is obviously much less likely that you are going to get them.
Make sure you're asking for the sale and make sure you are keeping a relationship up with that brand. We have brands that it's taken us three or four years to close them. In those three or four years, we did work for free. We sent them lists. We sent them reports. We did a little favor here and there for them. We didn't ask for the money right away because we felt like what we were doing is proving ourselves and building a relationship long term. Those relationships have ended up paying incredibly well for us, but it is because we took the long term "This is a marathon, not a sprint" view. You really can turn a brand off pretty quickly by trying to soon to extract money out of the relationship. It is a little different if you're sitting at 200,000, 300,000, 400,000 followers because there's just an inherent value to those posts that is hard to deny, and there is only so much content you can post and such. Giving it free to someone else means you can't charge another brand.
That said, all the successful big influencers I know are posting for free, posting about brands for free constantly because they're savvy and they know that what better way to get someone's attention than giving them something for free that's worth $3,000 and saying, "Okay, I put my money where my mouth is. I gave you something and now it is your turn to give me something." Those are the levers that make all this stuff work. You have to learn how to pull them and be strategic about it if you're going to be successful.
- Everything you need to know about gifting campaigns start to finish