The Handbook
The Handbook

People always ask me “What does it take to get an influencer raving about my product or business?” My answer is that it takes a lot of determination, perseverance, a plan of action and making use of a really useful platform which provides contacts and data on influencers and celebrities, such as The Handbook’s celebrity and influencer resource.

Covid19 has had a huge impact on businesses, however influencer marketing is one thing that seems relatively un-effected, in fact unsurprisingly Social media usage among consumers has seen a marked increase throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. According to data from Connect with Influencers , social media engagement  has increased by 67 percent over normal usage rates. The use of video platforms is also increasing, and we are seeing influencers and celebrities utilising platforms like Instagram Live to entertain and connect with their audiences. Just in March, TikTok saw 6.2 million downloads, a 27 percent increase compared to February. This has been emphasised with influencers pivoting their content too, from Joe Wicks hosting daily PE classes and Jamie Oliver launching a new show dedicated to utilising store cupboard essentials to Olivia Bowen donating 100% profits of her new fashion range to charity.  Here are 10 reasons Influencer Marketing is thriving more than ever

Four years ago, the average person needed to see an advert six times before they responded to it, that number has now risen to an average of 16 exposures, because of this the world of marketing, advertising and media has undergone an enormous power shift in recent years, driven by consumers’ demand for more authenticity from brands. The rise of digital influencers and celebrity influencers has gone through the roof. One of the main drivers of influencer marketing is the fragmentation of consumer attention but also we are no longer just interested in watching television, our attention is spread across various digital channels, with a major focus on social networks. Other huge platforms such as YouTube and Instagram are currently seeing a lot of the influencer marketing spend but platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are also on the rise every day.

With the emergence of this new type of marketing, technology is being developed to improve the effect and reach of influencers. Existing influencer platforms are becoming more sophisticated in matching brands to influencers. People come to our site for influencers’ insights now almost as much as celebrities. As well as providing the influencers’ contact details, users are now equally interested in the demographic data which allows companies to determine the influencers that are right for their brand. You might think a set influencer is perfectly suited to your business, but actually what is key is how relevant their audience is to you, so, providing the user with clear data on the interests of the audience, their location, their spending habits and social status is of equal importance.

I constantly have to remind my members and subscribers that celebrity association should not be merely an option, it should be part of every company’s marketing plan. In today’s world, celebrities and influencers dominate social media, news headlines, TV channels and people’s conversations. Celebrities grace the cover of every magazine and they’re achieving an ever stronger online presence through their massive social media followings. Using social media as an online currency, brands can be made (and broken) through as little as a single tweet or a Facebook posts.

According to a recent poll on Tomoson blog, 59% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets over the next 12 months. They’ve found that businesses are also making $6.50 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing and that influencer marketing was also rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and even email marketing. Interestingly, affiliate marketing performed worst in this category with just 5% of businesses counting it as their fastest-growing channel, with the top 13% earning $20 or more. A resounding 70% are earning $2 or more, with the rest either breaking even or failing to generate a return on investment.

When banner ads first came out the click through rate was 40%, now its just 0.001%, and perhaps this, in part, explains the rise in influencer marketing?

So what is an influencer?

An influencer is someone that has an influence over someone else, it’s the essence of selling. You are influencing someone to buy something.

For example, beauty vloggers like Lisa Eldridge will often be seen promoting a new line of beauty products or fashion bloggers like Aimee Song (Song of Style) will promote a new fashion line. Their endorsements are considered trustworthy and relevant because they’re considered experts in their respective niches. Influencers will also often be seen using the products and giving demonstrations with them, as Lisa Eldridge does in her make up tutorials, but this sort of promotion rarely happens with celebrity endorsement.

Why do we need celebrity association and digital influencers?

  • We have faith in these people, we are invested in them, we follow them, we talk about them and we watch their every move
  • They have credibility
  • We subconsciously want what they have
  • FACT: You can charge a lot more and will sell a lot more if you have celebrities linked to your business
  • Celebrities and influencers dominate every aspect of the media. We want to know what they eat and wear and where they party, holiday and shop. This interest isn’t just about adults – teenagers and even children have become obsessed with celebrities too.

All of these things make it the fastest growing customer acquisition channel. Like all businesses, brand, recognition and outreach are exceedingly important to success, using a celebrity to create this recognition can be an excellent tool. In short, choosing the correct celebrity will create great media exposure. Not only do people pay attention, but they also talk; and with the power of social media, conversation momentum is more important than ever for campaign support and success. Top celebrities and influencers get approached by hundreds of people and companies weekly wanting their support to endorse their product, support their charity, or attend a high-profile event. This means that being able to successfully communicate with the celebrity or influencer of your choice is crucial.

Brands and retailers are turning towards influencers as major marketing channels. Influencers are the golden children of marketing strategies right now. Influencers including 15-year-old Loren Gray (6.5 million Instagram followers), 16-year-old Nia Sioux (4.5 million Instagram followers) and 13-year-old Jacob Martin (309,000 Instagram followers) began raving on their social media platforms about  a new clothing collection they designed for Target. Part of Target’s children’s apparel line Art Class, which is designed for kids by kids, the new fall collection features clothes inspired by six influencers who were involved with the design of the clothes but also played a big role in its marketing strategy. Each of the six influencers used Instagram to tell his or her audience how much they had enjoyed working with Target to create the awesome and very unique designs. The result were staggering, resulting in loads of traction and awareness of the brand. The collaboration is part of a trend that’s seen brands revamp their influencer strategies.

Other examples of brands working with influencers is water brand Fiji who has begun working with Instagram influencers such as Danielle Bernstein of @WeWoreWhat to create sponsored posts about Fiji Water. These promotions help consumers see Fiji in a different light. For most consumable goods, half of brand awareness comes from seeing other people consume it, it becomes more relatable. In this way, Fiji’s campaign has helped place their product in front of the eyes of  a much more targeted audience.

What is a macro influencer vs micro influencer

In simple terms, a macro influencer has a large global following, whilst a micro influencer holds a smaller, often local following. Normally a micro influencer is anyone who has between 10,000 and 500,000 followers on their social media channels, and a macro influencer is anyone with figures greater than these.
However, the key thing to consider it not the numbers but the level of engagement. Micro-influencers can be found in almost any sector, our platform categorises these influencers into focused groups, such as beauty, fashion, health etc.

How can micro influencers help brands? Micro influencers spend all of their time building up their following and not necessarily much time monetising on that following, therefore not only do they generally put in a lot of work to ensure they offer the brands as much value as possible but they also have a highly engaged audience who trust them and are not used to being constantly sold to by them. Often the larger the following is the lower the engagement rate is, therefore brands can benefit from hiring a group of micro influencers, or a combination of micro-influencers and celebrities to raise the ROI of a campaign.

However, you don’t have to be a big brand with huge budgets to work with influencers, there are many ways in which you can reach out to them, even if your budget is nominal. I have put together below a checklist of things you  need to be considering.

Secret checklist with things you need to do when contacting influencers…

• Identify your influencers /celebrities really early on, find the right influencers/celebrities for your brand
• Get to know who they are
• If you are a small business try going super niche, don’t go after the big names a) they will get approached loads b) they won’t necessarily have the same target market as you, look for micro influencers who have a smaller audience but the audience is more engaged. See who has the most influential voice in your space
• Collect their info. We have all of their info on The Handbook; name, contact info, all their social handles and who their audience is to make sure they are relevant, along with our notes section to make sure you don’t reach out twice with the same celebrity too.
• The Handbook Audience Insights gives you a super clear breakdown of who a celebrity’s or influencer’s followers are, and what their interests are as well as full demographics. If you’re a travel brand for example look for celebrities or influencers whose audience are interested in travel.
• Build a relationship, get to know them first. Even if they are big support them, share their content, ask them questions, it gets you on their radar. No one is unreachable. Build relationships with those who are in their circle and around them as they will help you get in with that influencer
• Consider customising a product for them
• It’s a numbers game, check out The Handbook PRO – reach thousands of celebrities instantly
• If gifting, make the package stand out
• Hand deliver it to the agent
• Send a hand written covering note
• Send it recorded delivery so you know it reaches them
• Ask for something small
• If an event, book a car and velvet rope
• Consider the indirect route if no joy, gift to celebrity assistants
• Create a niche and get noticed e.g. Vampire breast lift cream at the Oscars
• When doing the outreach, reach out on email and on all the social platforms, email has the best retention rate and conversion rate for getting response. When I write an email I always follow the same method.
• Look at who the influencer’s followers are and what their interests are e.g. if you are in the fashion business look for influencers whose audiences are interested in fashion. We give you this data on The Handbook, we provide full audience insights and intelligence.

If you are gifting, make sure your package stands out so there is more chance of it getting noticed, send a hand written personalised note. Also follow the celebrity or influencer on social media to make sure what you are sending is something they may like and you can even mention that in your note. For example, if on social media the celebrity or in uencer says she loves hair masks, then mention that in the note, or if she’s recently had a hair cut, say that you think this mask would be great for her new hair style.

I actually recently put together a book ‘Proven secrets to celebrity and influencer marketing’ with everything you need to know for reaching out to celebrities and influencers . I urge you to check it out.

Another tip is it’s best to use next day or special day delivery or Federal Express. FedEx has a delivery option called Express Saver that’s cheaper but it has a better chance to get into the right hands and past the gatekeepers because it’s in a FedEx envelope, and people will see it as more important.

Celebrities and influencers like products that are customised. If you have a way to customise your product such as an engraving or embossing something like their initials, then the product is much more likely to be shared on social media and get noticed- it may take longer but you will reap the rewards. For example, ClaireaBella gifted bags to Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore and Binky from Made in Chelsea.

Juicy Couture is another great example of a brand that grew from noting they set up the company with $200 and grew it into a multi million pound business with the likes of Madonna and Paris Hilton frequently wearing their products. The owners Gela and Pamela turned it into a multi million pound business, and the growth was largely down to celebrity gifting and sending out personalised gifts. They sent out a personalised hoodie to Madonna and it went all around the world, so they then sent them to Cameron Diaz with ‘Cameron’ on, and one to Drew Barrymore with ‘Mrs Green’ on, as she was married to ‘Tom Green’ at the time. Any time someone got married the business women sent them personalised tracksuits.

Make sure you include all of your contact details and some info on the product. Try to also include a photo of you using the product, or other celebrities using it. If you don’t hear back then follow up to check they received your gift and see if they liked it. The world of marketing, advertising and media has undergone an enormous power shift in recent years, driven by consumers’ demand for more authenticity from brands.

The most important thing is to build a long-term relationships with your celebrities and  influencers, this will always be better for you, your brand, and also the celebrity and influencer. The ultimate focus is on relationships after all, not one-off campaigns. Actually get to know what the celebrity likes and the sort of things they are likely to promote. As well as what they like, look at what their problems are and how your brand can solve them. When Estée Lauder first started out she gifted celebrities – the company is now worth $5 billion with Kendall Jenner the current face of it. Other smaller brands, such as Rodial, gifted to Kylie Jenner. She Instagrammed the product to her millions of followers, and sales went through the roof, from just the cost of one product.

Another great example of a brand that successfully grew through influencer gifting is the watch brand Daniel Wellington, they took what resources they did have (around $30k) and focused on micro-influencers. They understood way back in 2010, when Instagram was in its infancy as a social media platform, that they were far better off utilising their financial means to reach out to smaller micro-influencers rather than big celebrities. The rationale was simple, the total reach of using multiple micro-influencers was similar to that of one  A list celebrity and the asking price but a fraction of their more famous counterparts. Daniel Wellington offered influencers a free watch in exchange for a post on their Instagram accounts. They asked the influencers that they worked with to include their own unique code to offer their followers 15% off, this enabled influencers to offer not only  additional value to potential consumers but also allowed them to make money through tracked sales. A win-win on both fronts.

Throughout your targeting, consider how you can work with your influencers as part of a long-term strategy. Look for innovative ways to encourage influencers to work with you, and if you are sending them anything, make sure you do it with their interest in mind, think ‘what is in it for them and why would they want to try your product?’ It’s about relationship building and when you do gift to them ensure that you grab their attention; this is usually the first thing the celebrity and agent will read. It’s important to get them interested and get them out of their current environment or activity. For example:

Hi Sarah,

I am Elly Stancliffe, founder of The Handbook and I want to officially welcome you to my world. About 10 years ago, I started my first online business and this hobby became my obsession and business.

Relate it to them early on.

Who/position: Who are you? Introduce yourself very briefly. Show/tell why they should they listen to you.
What: What do you have? Introduce your product or offer briefly. It’s important not to just go on about the opportunity; show how you deliver value.
Why: Why do you need it? Explain the benefits of your offer and ideally relate it to them.

I read your interview in xxx magazine, where you said you have dry skin, or you don’t wear make-up, If you’re struggling with ‘dry skin’ then I would love you to try this because it will help …

I read your great interview in xxx on xxx and I’ve got a question for you

I’ve got this great face cream that’s going to really radiate your skin

I read your interview in [xxx] magazine, where you said you have dry skin, or you don’t wear make-up. If you’re struggling with ‘dry skin’ then I would love you to try this because I think it will help.

Call to action: Ask for something small – If you like it let me know and I would love to keep sending you more.

The process is about sending a great product that’s going to add great value to someone. So instead of screaming for attention, you attract attention by giving value before there is a hint of asking for anything in return. Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers. Giving something as a whole is a lot easier than trying to pay for promotion, throughout this entire sequence you’re layering in all the mental triggers. Since you’re sending a free gift, you will hit the reciprocity trigger and by showing your knowledge of the topic and your position, therefore you hit the authority trigger. The more you reach out to them, the trust will become stronger between you and that person resulting in more feedback and hopefully their thank you’s will help build a community and endorsement. The more celebrities and influencers you write to, the better your chance of a productive outcome. If you have not heard back, you can always follow up – doing this via phone conversation or even a handwritten letter generally yields the best results. Remember that celebrities and their agents are being constantly bombarded with products and letters, so do not despair if you do not immediately get a response.

Just because you admire a celebrity or influencer does not mean they are right for your brand. Celebrity and influencer endorsements can often be incredibly expensive and very useful to enhancing a company’s awareness and credibility.  Endorsements can be particularly useful for brands that want to reposition themselves or those which are just starting out. In all of these scenarios, celebrities and influencers can create a surge of consumer interest that can be even more impactful with the addition of PR coverage.

Therefore its key that you do your thorough research. This is certainly a tip which seems really obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don’t follow it. ‘Do Your Research’ means think very carefully about the influencer you wish to get involved and whether they are actually likely to support your cause.  For example, if you have a charity that supports malaria, look out for any celebrities travelling to Africa that you could approach about issues that they may encounter. One of the most effective ways to get in touch with influencers is to either ring their agent, publicist or manager or to email them directly. When doing this you need to have a clear idea of the goals of your charity; why should this specific celebrity support your charity and why they are a suitable ambassador? If you get a negative response from their representative, then you could always ask them if they have another specific influencer on their books that maybe interested in supporting your charity. In the same way if you are sending a product , research the influencer and make sure they are likley to appreciate your product and is something that will benefit them, thus increasing the changes they may mention it to their followers.

The rise of digital influencers and celebrity influencers has gone through the roof. As well as providing the influencers’ contact details, users are now equally interested in the demographic data which allows companies to determine the digital influencers that are right for their brand. You might think a set influencer is perfectly suited to your business, but actually what is key is how relevant their audience is to you, so, providing the user with clear data on the interests of the audience, their location, their spending habits and social status is of equal importance.

Digital Influencers now represent new opportunities for brands to reach consumers through channels that they trust. Consumers attitudes have changed. However the celebrity pull is also still strong and represents some of the most memorable campaigns and adverts. I believe both areas need to be explored , there is no set rule as to which is more effective, as they both do different things and will create different results amongst different businesses. The key is in identifying the correct ambassadors and endorsers for you your business.

For full celebrity and influencer contact information and to get in contact with any celebrity you need, click here.

Good luck! If you need help do get in touch by emailing elly@thehandbook.com