Influencer Marketing

3 min read

Influencer marketing is a hot topic these days.

Too often I think companies believe they need to expend a lot of time, effort, and money to get influencers to promote their business. This past week Jay Acunzo—a marketer with a sizable audience and a good deal of influence in the "internet creator" world—hosted a webinar for Outseta customers. We didn't pay him anything, and it was actually his idea. You can watch a replay of the session on Youtube.

We've also been fortunate to have Justin Welsh and Rand Fishkin share Outseta with their audiences too—these people have huge audiences! So this got me thinking about how these circumstances came to be. Let's start with Jay. Back in 2022, Jay posted on Twitter that he was looking for membership software. I responded, arguably sounding a bit too desperate.

Jay became a customer and he genuinely loved the product. We did our best to earn his trust by being super responsive to his questions. He ultimately realized that our target audience is very similar to his—and he's running a business too! So he raised the idea and offered to cohost the webinar that he did with us. His hope was to drum up some business in the process.

I think the lesson here is simple—our product was super relevant to Jay and his own business. Influencers love to share products that are genuinely helpful to them.

Now let's consider Justin Welsh and Rand Fishkin. These two came to promote Outseta through permissionless co-marketing. Justin was a customer—Rand was not. In either case, I wrote an article talking favorably about how Justin implemented Outseta and how Rand funded his new business. When I shared these articles on social media, both Justin and Rand were more than happy to promote the posts. Customers still find us via these posts years later.

Too many people take these learnings as "suck up to influencers by writing nice things about them." That's not it.

In two of these three cases, the influencer was a customer of ours because our product was directly relevant to them. In the other, I wrote a post on a topic that was very near and dear to his heart. A relevant product, some relationship building, and publishing content that made it very easy for the influencer to promote our business were the keys to these successes.

I also happened to be traveling in New York this summer, in the general area where Justin lives. I made a point of inviting him to lunch, which he graciously accepted. This sort of thing takes a purely online relationship to something one step further. I'm no one special to Justin by any means, but when there's an opportunity for some sort of future collaboration I'm no longer just a face in the crowd.

I have a slight advantage; I've turned some degree of luck in my favor. I think taking online relationships offline is one of the great growth hacks that isn't discussed enough. And especially when dealing with influencers, everyone on the internet wants a piece of them online.

If you have a chance to build a relationship in the real world, do it.