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84. How to Find Influencers from Your Existing Customer Base with Gatsby

Raise your hand if you’ve been wanting to do more influencer marketing, but you find it too time-consuming to find the right partners? What if you could build an army of micro-influencers who you know already love your product and shop with you? It’d be freakin’ awesome, right!?

Well, guess what? There’s an app for that! Tune into this week’s episode to hear why micro-influencers might be the best way to do influencer marketing and why tapping your existing customer base is the best place to find micro-influencers.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why tapping your existing customer base is the best place to find micro-influencers
  • Why micro-influencers beat out the big names, and how Gatsby can help you do this at scale
  • How you can use an integrated email marketing platform like Klaviyo keep track of influencers 

Learn More About Gatsby

Website
Demo Video
Case Studies

Read the Full Episode Transcript

Raise your hand if you’ve been wanting to do more influencer marketing, but you find it too time-consuming to find the right partners? You have to identify people, check their engagement, reach out to gauge their interest in your brand… 

And you know that no matter how efficient you become with your process, it’s impossible to scale… even with help. 

But how cool would it be to build an army of micro influencers who you know already love your product and shop with you? It’d be freakin’ awesome, right!?

Well, guess what? There’s an app for that and today’s guest is here to tell us all about it. His name is Brett, and he’s the founder and CEO of Gatsby.

He started developing the technology in 2016 after recognizing that building an eCommerce site is the easy part now, but standing out from the competition and acquiring customers is harder than ever. Prior to starting Gatsby, Brett started and sold his first company that provided healthier vending machines to school districts throughout California, and he worked in Silicon Valley at Box pre and post IPO. He lives in San Diego with his girlfriend and puppy and loves good coffee, rock climbing, and honestly, just helping merchants.

I first met him about a year or so ago and at the time Gatsby was still cost-prohibitive for most of you, so I held off on sharing the platform. But boy have they grown a ton since we first connected, which has made Gatsby accessible to so many more small businesses. 

Why is it better to focus on micro influencers vs big influencers? 

A lot of eCommerce entrepreneurs get a little bit of FOMO. They see people with 30,000+ followers and they really want the big influencers but we have some of the largest customers on Shopify using the Gatsby software and they’re using it because they want micro influencers or they want to supplement their marketing with micro influencers. 

Micro influencer marketing requires scale

You can’t have 10 people with a small following talking about your brand and expect it to blow up. You have to build an army of micro influencers. 

When someone you trust refers you to something, you look at it. So If you can amplify that strategy, you will be better off. 

Challenge the belief that you need to have a large celebrity influencer to get into influencer marketing

A common engagement rate for a large influencer is 1.8% but we have a shoe brand that uses Gatsby and when their customers (aka micro-influencers) talk about their products, they get a 10.8% engagement rate, which is a wow-level of engagement. 

If you can get many more people that have a smaller, targeted audience talking about your brand, the magnification and the ROI is much better. 

People with smaller followings usually have much more engaged audiences who actually care about what that person has to say. 

How do you find micro influencers and how does Gatsby help?

This involves a bit of research. You have to pick and choose the people that you want, which is what Gatsby solves. 

When I started this company five years ago, I realised Shopify merchants were growing through one of two channels—either Facebook ads or Google ads or both. But there was a third channel on the peripheral, which was influencer marketing that couldn’t quite scale to the same degree as ads. 

When I looked at that, I thought, how can I make that approach scalable? 

One reason I couldn’t scale was how manual the process was to identify influencers. Jot them down on a spreadsheet, reach out to them through DM, follow up in a DM, answer questions, get them over product, track when they post, take screenshots of stories, send over rewards, give them affiliate links—so many processes that were very cumbersome. 

And a lot of times, if you went to micro, it didn’t pay off. You wouldn’t get enough reward for all that manual work. So you really couldn’t go to the most authentic influencers in the first place. And I thought, This is ridiculous, there’s got to be a way to reach or tap into this segment of marketing. 

The hypothesis I came up with was, if you are a large or moderately sized Shopify store, you already have customers and a certain portion of them are going to have a degree of influence. 

So if you strip away a lot of that manual work, suddenly it becomes profitable to reach out to all those micro influencers at scale through automation. 

Gatsby works to help you identify influencers by simply asking your customers to give you their Instagram handle somewhere in the conversion funnel. 

This could be in your Justuno or Klaviyo pop up on your homepage or it could be on a landing page where you ask for their handle to join your influencer program. 

The third way is to add a field in your post-purchase, asking people who just bought your product to provide you with their Instagram username.

With Black Friday coming up, this is the number one thing that I suggest you do right now. 

If you’re using Klaviyo and Shopify, it is extremely easy to add this form field to show up on the thank you page as soon as they complete the order. 

Gatsby then takes that handle and provides insights on that individual within a split second. For example, how many followers they have, their Instagram bio, and they receive a score using certain metrics. Basically, we tell you whether they’ve got any influence or not. 

What makes that truly powerful is that we don’t force you to go into Gatsby all the time, we send this influencer data directly back to their profile in Klaviyo, or Omnisend, or Yachtpo loyalty, or whatever you’re using to manage your customers, do marketing outreach and automation. 

For example, you can email customers that have between one follower and 500 followers, asking them to post about the brand. Or if they have between 500 and 1000 follower, they receive a different email asking them to post about the brand and offering a sweet little discount. 

Each of your customers are broken into influencer buckets automatically and it can go even deeper by segmenting them by specific products purchased, ect.  

You can scale outreach and you can scale rewards because Gatsby automatically tracks when they mentioned you in content. It then scores that content for you, saves it and triggers a Klaviyo flow, which thanks them for the mention. All that happens automatically.

It puts your influencer marketing strategy on autopilot, which is what we all want to do because the amount of work it takes is one of the major barriers to embracing influencer marketing. 

Who do you see Gatsby being successful for and what is the initial ROI on this platform?

There are two categories that are important to consider: 

  1. The industry you’re in 
  2. The amount of traffic that you have 

Of those two, the amount of traffic you have is going to be more important. As long as you have customers, no matter what you sell, people will love your products if they’re a fan of your platform. 

If you’re in industries that are more visually appealing like fashion, apparel, athletics, those things are naturally going to yield a larger category of influencers. 

If you don’t sell something as visually appealing, like say power tools, don’t count out the strategy because, at the end of the day, we’re giving you more data on your customers. 

Smaller merchants that may not collect a lot of emails or handles on their website yet, we have a plan for you as well, which adds value to merchants early in their micro influencer journey because even if you only collect a handful of handles per day or per week, you still can import people you’re tracking and automate a lot of processes manually with Gatsby as well. 

The only limitation for pushing through Klaviyo is you have to have an email address. So the real magic is getting the email and handle together. If you don’t have their email, Gatsby can still track when they mentioned you their posts and you can see their stats in one place.

TikTok integration is coming

We’ve largely been Instagram focused, but in October 2021, we’re rolling out TikTok insights. You’ll be able to collect Instagram handles and/or TikTok handles. The tracking of content on TikTok will not be live this month but obviously it will come out relatively soon. 

You want to know all the content that you’re being tagged in by your customers and inside Gatsby, you’re going to see the images and Instagram story videos and you can sort them by engagement rate, by number of likes, and see the most high performing content. 

Easily turn your UGC into ads

One of the biggest hurdles I hear from our larger merchants is the constant demand for fresh UGC, or fresh content for advertising and Facebook ads. Managers often screenshot Instagram to get the picture they’re tagged in, download it, manipulate it a bit and upload it back to Facebook ads. Now, Gatsby actually saves the raw image for you and we’re building out a feature to automatically turn those pieces of content into ads directly from within Gatsby. So you can just take the top three or four pictures you’re tagged in and turn them into a carousel ad on Facebook. 

How do you get approval from users to use the content? 

The simplest way to do this is to include a checkbox for Terms of Service on the platform you’re using to collect the handle. When they give their handle, the influencer is agreeing  this could be used for marketing and repurposing when advertising. However, make sure you put the language in there. Inside Klaviyo, you’ll have a checkbox that says they have approved influencer marketing.

Not everything runs smoothly all the time. Has anyone ever used your platform without results? 

In the past, merchants who wanted the most amount of influencers would put a handle field on their initial pop-up window, which is pre-conversion. And with any form, the more fields you add, there’s often a decrease in conversion. Lots of customers avoided signing up to Gatsby because they were afraid that there was no good way to collect handles. They didn’t want to build a landing page, and they didn’t want to mess with their conversion rate.

Typically, it’s less to do with a failed strategy and more about not having enough volume, or misaligned expectations. 

If you have a relatively small brand, and you come to Gatsby and expect to have 100 influencers a week coming on board, it’s just not going to be a fit. 

That’s why I love having an order confirmation page for collecting handles. For a long time, we didn’t have that option, so merchants didn’t get enough traffic on their pop up, or they didn’t want to mess with their pop up. But now that it’s post-purchase order confirmation is page available to all Shopify merchants, we’ve solved that. 

What are brands who are having the most success doing? 

They’re actively promoting the strategy. They’re building landing pages and driving people to them through social posts that say join our influencer program. 

A brand who does this well is Kulani Kinis out of Australia. They just launched this beautiful strategy that involves using Gatsby as a loyalty program. For example, on your first mention, you get XYZ code. On your fifth mention, you get a different code for a higher discount. Basically, the more you engage with Kulani, the more benefits you get. 

Another brand who does very well is Volcom, the skate brand. They have us in the pop up. Volcom really cares about quality data, so on that pop up they actually ask for more than just Instagram handle and email, they also ask for preferences and what you’re looking for. They really care about personalizing the experience and giving you the right content that’s going to resonate with you. 

If you have any more questions about whether this platform is the right fit for you, come join me in the eCommerce Badassery Facebook group.

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Hey, I’m Jessica!

eCommerce + email Marketing Strategist

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. Learning from the top experts in the digital marketing & eCommerce industry she loves working with female entrepreneurs and teaching the secrets of 7-figure eCommerce businesses.

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