B2B influencer marketing content can deliver 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing, according to TapInfluence. But I’d argue that it isn’t enough to just have great content. You need to have a holistic strategy that leverages influencer insights across multiple channels and tactics.
Bottomline Technologies has taken this approach since 2018, when the company first embarked on an influencer marketing journey with us. Together, we’ve acquired some fantastic lessons and keys to success, which Andrea Eaton, Bottomline’s VP of Solutions Marketing and Sales Enablement, shared during a session for the SiriusDecisions Summit this week. If you attended Summit, you can watch the full case study here through early August.
The 2019 influencer E-book, The Future of Business Payments, generated 10 marketing-qualified leads and 10 sales-accepted opportunities since its launch in October 2018, and it was the biggest source of inquiries overall, driving the most traffic to the company’s website in 2019.
Although the 2020 E-book, Global Payments & Banking 2020, just launched a few months ago, it has already generated six MQLs and one SAO. Both assets have garnered stellar results in email, social and paid search campaigns.
Here are some takeaways that I think will help you if you want to test or expand your use of influencers.
1. Involve relevant stakeholders from the beginning.
Andrea noted that for both the 2019 and 2020 influencer programs, several divisions played a role the planning and amplification of the content. Members of marketing, PR and communications were constantly in tune with all stages, from foundational messaging objectives to influencer selection and draft reviews. This helped ensure coordinated launching and promotional efforts.
2. Develop a foundational story that drives your content.
Before determining who to reach out to for these campaigns, we aligned to finalize the core narrative for each piece. We discussed the target audiences for the E-books, their priorities and top-of-mind trends and issues. This helped us ensure that we were hitting on the most relevant points and would be able to find influencers who could speak to these points effectively.
3. Tap a diverse range of experts.
Andrea emphasized the importance of engaging the right influencers for your content and campaign goals. She also noted that having a pool of experts with varying areas of expertise, passion points and even social communities helped set Bottomline on a path to success. Both campaigns touted Bottomline SMEs, consultants, authors, speakers and even partners.
In fact, partners Visa and Bank of America added additional fuel to the promotional flame, tapping their employees to share the E-book across their personal social networks. Although our collective team did in-depth research and used BuzzSumo to find some new influencers, we relied significantly on established relationships to ensure we were able to represent the right level of knowledge and thought leadership.
Tapping Bottomline executives was also a great way to establish the company’s expertise and helped get leadership buy-in for the programs.
4. Design the content to be broken down and reused across channels.
Creating a successful influencer-fueled asset isn’t exactly a turnkey process. It has a lot of moving parts, from researching and reaching out to influencers to managing those relationships, holding interviews, writing the content and managing internal editing and influencer reviews.
You should be proud of the final product and be ready to show it off. Bottomline knew from preliminary internal discussions that the E-books would be used for PR outreach and media placements, as well as for social and blog activation. As a result, we were able to go into the content creation and design phases knowing how we planned to break the content down and reuse it for all these different vehicles.
Bottomline released the latest iteration of the E-book, Global Payments & Banking 2020, earlier this year. The team has been slowly integrating it into campaigns after having to pivot priorities and messaging as a result of COVID-19. The results so far have been extremely promising, helping solidify media relationships and reaffirm Bottomline as an authority in the space.
If you want to learn more about Bottomline’s campaigns or receive guidance on how you can see similar results, get in touch! We’d love to talk all things influencer marketing with you and your team.