As influencers take a cue from innovative brand relationships with consumers, we're now seeing these names use their prowess to new heights.
Our very own chloédigital strategy consultants (the CDC's as we like to call them), who work with our VIP and Luxe members on their strategies, have been working behind the scenes to bring you answers. How do you know what to do with your site beyond the norm? When do you know the time is right? What do I need to see this through?
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Now authorities in their fields, innovative influencers have taken the step to diversify their revenue streams with stand alone brands. But why is this important? Traditional revenue streams for influencers consist of sponsored content, brand partnerships and affiliate commissions.
These revenue streams do have the potential to generate substantial revenue however none of these streams are entirely in full control. This also means that the growth of your brand as an influencer is determined by parameters to which aren’t in your remit. Diversifying your revenue streams puts you in a good stead to maximise your growth potential in an ever increasingly dynamic consumer world.
You have the needs addressed and power to generate content. These are major building blocks to create a successful brand. When we look at how consumers interact with brands we see consumers wanting a more intuitive and closer process between maker and user. By creating revenue streams that don't include a third party you put yourself in control to create a more intuitive product that speaks to your followers needs. So why not make this your bread and butter?
Click in the icons to find out more information about each revenue stream.
As an influencer you are super familiar with using tech products in your day-to-day life to help you with numerous tasks: taking & editing photos, connecting with your community, pitching to brands, creating & scheduling your content,... We can’t think about a single task on your computer or phone that doesn’t require a tech solution behind it.
When you are an insider, you know exactly what is lacking in the market and that gives you a great and privileged input to fulfill the needs. Even with many apps available at your fingertips, we are sure you already saw something missing in the market that would make your daily life much easier if it exists.
Recently we have been seeing not only more tech products focus on the influencer industry but also influencers becoming tech founders. Hello Jenny, with TIVVIT; Hello Danielle, with MOE Assist!
Through mediums such as Instagram, revolutionising the way in which the individual can edit their imagery to a more professional standard, having a unique aesthetic is now imperative to digital identity. Today brands (and influencers alike) have become synonymous with their visual editing.
In modern product development, providing a vignette of the world through an authorities’ eyes is a great way to bolster consumer understanding and leverage credibility. Anyway to create a consumer tribe around your USP is gold.
Presets are a way in which you can share your editing aesthetic in a cookie cutter fashion to the consumer so they can literally “see life through your eyes”. It’s also a great option to choose to better promote your brand whilst capitalizing on your digital platforms.
After the “boom” of influencers doing partnerships with brands to launch a new line or product, influencers began to see that they could launch their own brand instead, allowing them greater creative control. Capitalizing on the bond with your followers, you know your audiences’ likes and their needs - a perfect marketing position to be in.
For those doing this effectively, it’s also about expanding the mission that your blog has laid foundations for but with a new brand, a new name and a new channel to expand revenue. Using your social listening to fill an unmet need with the right spin.
Publications for example have used these models for decades. However, as digital has expanded its territory, there are increasingly more opportunities to utilise a subscription model to provide both services and content in a timely manner to your readership.
A number of brands have replaced their services entirely by a subscription based model due to the consistent contractual revenue generated. Some brands have added a subscription lens on top of their pre-existing products/ services to better serve the growing demand of real-time support from brands.
Influencers have utilised these models to supplement their revenue directly through their website, given that they already have an engaged and committed audience. Now whether you’re providing a service or a product is dependent on you, but it can be a healthy and stable way to grow your revenue.
The downsides of subscription models are that it’s hard to pin a consumer down in the long term. This is becoming even more of an issue as consumers strive for greater flexibility for purchasing products, which means that your service needs to be adaptive to changing needs. You also need to address that the service/product is consistently providing value that outweighs cost as consumers are more likely to outweigh DIY costs vs you offering value for this kind of model.
E-learning, whether it’s via an ebook or via a multi media masterclass, is a great way to monetize from your area of expertise whilst delivering lasting effects for your buyer.
Ebooks are a publication made available in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both. They have now evolved to audio books.
Once obscure, ebooks are now a norm to deliver evergreen content on the go. Once a land for authorities, the ebook arena gives a voice to those without publishers behind them. In fact, accordingly with The Balance Small Business, 38 percent of daily sales of ebooks on Amazon goes to self-published titles.
Why stop at standalone content? Take a leaf from education innovation, where hard copy learning materials are forgone for online multimedia content (spanning literary, visual, auditory and now, virtual reality) and the delivery of content is focussed on real time learning.
With the increase in mobile, online courses are taking a more immersive turn with brands utilising geo-location to provide real time insight to enhance the learning experience. Ecourses focus on 3 key areas:
It is clear to see the parallels between a digital authority using online for parts A and C. Part B is where we see even further innovation, namely around community learning and continued experience post e-course.
Single use products run the risk of losing value and ultimately longevity. In a world that is becoming more and more volatile, consumers demand more valuable interactions and ultimately experiences from their purchases; so much so that brands have innovated to leverage the “experience” rather than the product.
Taking cues from the hospitality, food service and beauty industry, innovation in this area centres around providing a holistic experience starting straight from the first interaction (i.e. sales process) going beyond the service has finished (i.e. the lasting effect). These types of offerings lead to sustained referral systems, community creation and great User Generated Content which is known to drive significant sales.
If you are a specialist in an area, you will notice an increase in requests to collaborate and offer your expertise to third parties.
You can work as a consultant or as a freelancer, or create your own agency, and provide a valued service sharing your expertise.
In the influencer’s world, this could be from 30-min consultation for a customer to create an editorial for a magazine, a workshop or even a private consultation.
Love to talk and audio entertainment? A podcast will be a good option for you to explore a topic you are interested in.
The audience for podcasting has reached mainstream levels providing an opportunity to reach a wider audience and connect deeply with your community. Edison Research's Infinite Dial study estimated that podcasting has 40% of the North american listenership of online audio overal.
The potential revenue gets stronger when you start having partnerships and sponsored content to support your podcast. However there are other ways to monetize this medium behind ad revenue: subscriptions and crowdfunding - appealing directly to the consumers.
An annual study of advertising revenue in podcasting made by The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC, expects the podcasting industry to produce more than $1 billion by 2021.
So far we have covered the role of an influencer in 2020, ways to diversify your income by creating something truly yours and now it is time to give you some examples from fellow influencers turned into entrepreneurs.
Our CDBabes are so incredibly awesome that we didn’t need to look outside our digital walls to find plenty of great examples to share with you. From their background Ready to be inspired?
Known as the Fitness Barbie, Lauren Gleisberg started publishing her workouts and recipes to be easier to share with her friends. With the power of the Internet, she was attracting a new audience each day and she realized what her passion was.
After her Bachelors of Science and a decade of personal and professional health and fitness experience and a blog full of content, she decided it was time to launch her first e-book “30×30 Fat Loss Shred: 30 minutes for 30 days to a leaner you”. Since then, Lauren has published five more workout books, two nutrition plans and a specific plan training for abs and even for mums. All of this without ever stopping blogging.
Along the journey, she turned her followers into a community, always giving support by commenting and replying back to all the questions.
The creation of my business was a very organic transition from the blog I was running. I took what I was sharing on a daily basis through blog posts and turned that into a product with added features. For over a year, I posted daily workouts on my blog for free. I listened to my audience who were requesting a workout plan that they could download and take to the gym. That lead me to establish a business that now sells digital, downloadable workout and meal plans.
My business direction was and continues to be inspired by the needs of my audience. I aim to provide valuable solutions to struggles my audience face. In listening to my readers and staying connected to them, I am able to direct my business to best serve them. I can listen to their needs such as “effective, shorter workouts” or “workout I can do right at home” and I create products around those needs. It’s a win win in that my readers receive exactly what they want and in turn, my business grows.
When I first began my business, like many, I did absolutely everything. As my business grew, I learned to let go of tasks that I could delegate to individuals who could complete them with better quality and greater efficiency: graphic design, web development, tech strategy, photography, etc. Delegation allows me to stay on the content creation/visionary side, which allows my business to grow.
My blog plays a huge role in my business. First and foremost, my blog is about connection and community. Blog posts allow me to share valuable content and preview products while infusing in who I am to establish a personal connection. In my opinion, people prefer to buy from people not businesses. My blog allows me to serve my audience and showcase who I am so that readers can connect with me as a person.
Sona dreamt of her own makeup brand since she was a little girl going to her mum’s salon. And she worked on that dream. She built experience, she worked as a makeup artist and she got million of followers on her social media and blog. She is an authority voice to take the step to conquer a dream and launch a makeup brand.
On an article announcing the launch of her brand, Sona revealed that her online presence gave her “the ability to create intimate conversations with (...) subscribers, on a daily basis and find out exactly what you wanted from the beauty world. With my vision and your voice, I had the opportunity to start a makeup line that would help shape the new wave of beauty.”.
At a young age, Amber loved to create and experiment with new hairstyles but her fine hair made it difficult to try certain styles. When she was fifteen she purchased her first set of hair extensions and eleven years later she launched her own brand: Barefoot Blonde Hair.
Amber started her journey in inspiring other women to be creative and confident with their hair on blog barefootblonde.com via posting hair tutorials and how-to’s. Since then she gathered thousands of followers, who quickly became her target consumer for: Barefoot Blonde Hair.
Her past experience as a hairdresser shone through before launch, making the credibility of the product, in a saturated market, that much stronger and sustainable. This year, Amber launched a new haircare brand called DAE expanding her hair focus business.
Starting the blog in 2011, Julia Engel has taken the Gal Meets Glam brand to stratospheric heights. By separating her name on social media from her blog name, Julia was able to build a business that could be centered around like minded women instead of solely herself. The blog served as a way to build the consumer base for the future product development that will and has now come out of the Gal Meets Glam label.
Her much loved Gal Meets Glam dress Collection came out with a bang in 2018 with an exclusive outlet collaboration with Nordstrom - the readers’ trusted online retailer. Dresses were an authentic way for Julia to step into product development, by creating a synonymous product that allows others to obtain her well-known style. Through blog content and social, the simple feminine dress became a staple for the GMG imagery therefore an easy place to start. Using only one garment type allowed for a scalable product business model to build on as the Gal Meets Glam appetite grows.
Now a fully fledged part of her website under her SHOP tab, the Gal Meets Glam collection is now updated seasonally with prices that match those who purchase online for masstige, affordable luxury goods. Not only does having the product outlet on the same site as your blog a good way to capitalize on website traffic but also allows for synergy between different email marketing and content strategies between readers and shoppers across platforms. This smart move enables the brand to deliver a lifestyle value beyond a simple product.
Money can’t buy taste….or can it? Mary from Happily Grey set to use her signature style to curate a selection of products that would benefit.
Focussing on the accessible home decor market first, Mary was able to provide a lasting touch of her style in her audiences homes beyond the garment. Wanting to innovate beyond ecommerce, team HG have set up roots in her local Nashville to reinvent the shopping experience. Less like a store, more like a buyable showroom, her audience, and now buyers are able to visualise themselves in HG’s world and aesthetic. Such a great way to translate the digital to real life.
Since becoming a mum, Chriselle has always shared her struggle to balance motherhood with a successful and busy career. By sharing her reality in an honest way, she bonded with their audience feeling the same struggle in life. The door was opened to create a new community and business to connect parents together. With a business partner, Chriselle launched Bümo.
Bümo’s mission is to make “parenting easier, reimagining the way Millennial and Gen Z parents work and live through fostering community and innovating solutions to parenting hurdles.” Think about targeted content but much more. With bümoCIRCLE, parents will have access to webinars, meetups and even a market place. The first physical space is set to open in Summer 2020 where parents can work and kids can get education and childcare. And this is just the beginning...
With years of experience on her curriculum in the affiliate space, Jenny felt the urge to create a place to bring social interaction back to social shopping for smart shoppers around the globe.
Social shopping and Influencer marketing has been increasing in the last few years because of YOUR work . What about people that don’t really want to be on the content creator sphere but also wanted to share their fashion recommendations? What about when you get questions like “have you seen any nice work bag lately”? There was a lack in the market that made Jenny and her husband Freddie launch TIVVIT.
TIVVIT is an app where you can give and receive shopping recommendations and get commissions while you do it.
The importance of the blog in the middle of launching a tech product? Major! Not only because it gave Jenny the knowledge about affiliate networks, but also because it gave her an amazing network to business with and the push from her community. She learned from her blog that her audience wanted more and the role of an influencer is constantly changing. It is case to say, from an influencer to a founder of a tech company.
One thing is for sure, when your community engagement is through the roof and your past collaborations sell out in seconds, it’s time to think about doing your own thing. Team JH know a thing or two about how to launch a product with their presets at the beginning of 2019, and then later on in the year their digital prints.
Wanting to add other avenues to bring Jillian’s quintessential style whilst also bringing a real life element, the Jilly quarterly subscription box was conceived. Dispatched every quarter the subscriber opts in for annual membership to receive a mystery box of goodies of curated products from their collaborations, products the team love and exclusive tasters of what’s to come. With exclusivity and audience connection (there are a limited number of boxes for grabs…) the Jilly box gamifies the subscription model whilst also delivering on the “unboxing” experience.
Finding how to best connect imparting your knowledge whilst building a community is a great step to building your own secondary business, Lesley from The Road Les Travelled, has made a name for herself in providing niche travel guidance for women who like to take adventures off the beaten track. Through documenting her own health struggles in the past and realising how it helped bring the stories of other women with like situations to light, she placed her attention to her retreat business, LimitLes.
Through these exclusive, women only, adventures she has been able to build a tight knit community of women through delivering enriching experiences around the world, using her own expertise. Taking mindfulness, adventure and nature to a whole new level these trips have taken a life of its own where the LimitLes Alumni continue to nurture the bonds made with strangers long after taking part.
Using her content, her dialogue with her audience from both her adventures, her yoga and her health journey, Lesley has been able to create a foundation for a coveted service designed for a niche demographic with life-long benefits and killer word of mouth.
More influencers will turn into entrepreneurs and create their own business in line with their vision. They will be using their authority, followers and knowledge acquired from their blogs to create new businesses and strengthen their audience connection.
So where can you grow? There is no right or wrong model moreover a question of if your product offering is in line with what your readers want.Strategize with CD
Check your analytics: what does your demographic tracking say? Where are your readers mainly coming from and where are they likely to grow?
Need some support on how to use Google Analytics? Check out our Blog.GA TUTORIAL
Take cues from the brands that inspire you. What are they doing to innovate and how can you learn from this? Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box for inspiration. The very definition of innovation is to take ideas from different worlds and build them together to fulfill an unmet need! There’s no need to reinvent the wheel...but there is a need to do something engaging for your audience.
Be aware of consumer behaviour and how that relates to your community. Does your product offering provide a level of value that consumers need? Does your service/ product delivery model speak to how consumers want to be communicated to?Strategize with CD