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Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #138
It's time to take some of my own advice
I published an article last month that still seems to be getting shared around the Internet. It’s about a VC’s perspective on founders taking vacations.
In celebration of that article’s success (or… umm… using it as my excuse), I’m going to follow my own advice and take a bit of a vacation myself for the next couple weeks. Not a complete vacation, mind you. More of a half-cation. By that I mean I’ll be sending out one issue of EOH each week — the Friday issue — rather than two.
I know… I know… that’s not really much of a vacation. What can I say? I love what I do too much to completely disconnect.
In any case, I just wanted to mention it in case you find yourself staring longingly at your email, desperately waiting for that midweek issue of EOH. It’ll be back again, soon, I promise. For now, enjoy the newest articles in this issue, and, if you get really bored, have a glance through my archives. With nearly 300 articles in there, it should keep you plenty busy.
Entrepreneurs are so busy chasing billion dollar valuations that they’re missing out on an even bigger opportunity.
For fundraising entrepreneurs, getting investors to say “yes” is hard, but there’s something more difficult (and almost as valuable).
Office Hours Q&A
I’m trying to develop a marketing strategy for my CPG product and I’ve been thinking about influencer marketing. What’s the best way to get my product into the hands of influencers and get them talking about it?
“Influencer marketing” has become a trendy strategy. And, for good reason. What entrepreneur wouldn’t want someone with millions of followers pimping their products? It’s clearly an effective way to reach relevant audiences.
But let’s also remember that influencer marketing isn’t new. Sure, social media has expanded the pool, but even back in the 1800s, people’s favorite newspaper columnists were being paid to mention products.
I bring this up because the strategy entrepreneurs had to use back then was the same as it is now: pay for play.
If there’s an influencer you want sharing your product and that influencer has any semblance of an audience, I guarantee that person has been approached about doing some promotion work. Heck, I even get emails asking me to sell things to all of you. To this point I’ve said “no” because that’s not really why I create content, but… well… money talks. If someone offered me enough money, I’m sure I’d take it.
At a fundamental level, the same is true for any influencer you’d want to work with. Offer enough money (or something else of genuine value to them), and they’ll promote your product.
Granted there are some logistical issues with how you’re going to offer them money. Do you DM them? Find their email addresses? Etc. Or do they have some sort of representation you need to work through? And, keep in mind, a lot of influencers are part of influencer networks, which are companies designed to facilitate transactions between advertisers and influencers. It’s a big and somewhat messy ecosystem, but it’s all there and easy to access if you’re willing to pay.
The important thing isn’t so much about finding influencers. The important thing is making sure you’d actually be able to extract value from those influencers. Before you spend a dime paying someone to promote your product, do you have the rest of your sales funnel in place? Do you have a clear and trackable process for tracking leads as they go from an influencer’s social media post to your website and (hopefully) buying your product? If not, be sure you have those things in place first, otherwise you’re going to have no idea how valuable or effective your influencer marketing strategy is.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!