So you’ve come up with a great product. Now comes the harder part: convincing your potential customers to try it.
One of the most cost effective ways to introduce new products is to get influencers to use it and tell their followers what they think. Consumers are looking more and more to influencers for guidance. About 77% of them will use product reviews from someone they trust to make a purchase decision, according to Vocus.
But getting the right influencers to review your product requires some thought. If you make a misstep, you might yourself just spinning your wheels – or worse, you’ll find yourself portrayed as dishonest.
So spend a little time and effort with the process. We’ll break our advice into two posts:
1. Locating the right influencers
2. Starting and maintaining a good relationship
And in the end, we’ll show you how Raynforest can manage the entire process for you.
This post will focus on #1, finding the right influencers.
Let’s start with the basics.
1. Try a Google search
A Google search can locate people and web sites that have reviewed products similar to yours. Even the simplest search terms are likely to produce some worthwhile results. Let’s say we designed a new type of shin guard for soccer players. Just typing in “soccer reviews” got me this:
That simple search already provides a few productive leads. Sharpening the search term finds a few more. “Soccer shin guard reviews” produces:
We haven’t reached any specific influencers, but we’ve just found a half-dozen or so potential reviewers of our product with less than a minute of work. Not a bad start.
But we have to do a lot more homework before we’ll locate the best targets for our product and our business. If we’re a start-up company, do these reviewers tend to focus on the Nikes and Adidases of the world? Are they reaching the right age range or geographic area for us?
2. Follow your competitors
What influencers have reviewed your competitors’ products? They might be willing to review yours, too. Do a Google search on your competitors, and find them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and anywhere else they’re talking with their customers to see who’s talking about them.
Here’s a portion of the Twitter feed for Mercurial FlyLite, a popular Nike brand:
3. Build Twitter relationships
A service such as followerwonk.com can allow you to identify people who like to discuss products like yours on Twitter.
Clicking on the Search bios tab and entering the term “soccer shin guards,” we get:
A couple of soccer players with a few followers, some equipment sellers and a charity or two. Not terribly useful. Let’s try something more general, like “soccer lover.”
That’s a bit more interesting. We’re starting to hit some influencers with at least a passing interest in soccer. In the very least, it’s a list we can start to work with.
4. Identify bloggers in your business
Technorati had been the bible for identifying popular blogs on any subject until earlier this year, when the popular site quietly dropped its blog index. But there are plenty of other services to locate relevant bloggers.
Alexa, for example, does a nice job of organizing the world’s blogs by country and category. This search brought up global soccer blogs:
As the subcategories list suggests, we can dive deeper. We recorded a video showing exactly how to do this step-by-step.Get it free, here
Cision publishes and occasionally updates a Top 50 list of new product review blogs.
Tomoson matches businesses willing to provide free samples of their products to bloggers who are willing to review them. You can search by category the type of bloggers you’d be willing to send products to for review. A search for “sporting goods” produced:
Tomoson lets you specify the types of bloggers that you’d like to work with, such as those with high social media followings.
5. Review the potential reviewers
By now, you should have an extensive list of potential reviewers, way more than you need. Let’s pare the list a bit before we begin approaching them.
Step 1: Start by paring away any long shots. If this is your first product, or you’re new to the industry, or you’re a small player, you’re probably not a great fit for an influencer with a particularly large following. It’s likely the influencer prefers working with larger companies with presumably larger marketing budgets than yours.
Step 2: Other influencers might have an audience that’s not the best fit for your target. If you expect to sell your shin guards almost exclusively to youth and high school soccer players, a blogger who writes about Manchester United probably isn’t going to do you much good, no many how many people read her posts.
Step 3: Beyond that, is the reviewer’s style a good fit for you? What kind of reviews has he already written? Do you like his reviews? Do they tend to get you interested in the product?
Step 4: Most bloggers that regularly do product reviews also will have a page that explains their review guidelines. For example, Chef Kristen Suzanne writes about, among other things, preparing interesting raw food recipes in this blog. And here is a taste of her product review policy:
Be sure to read that page before you approach the blogger. It will save you a lot of time and help you avoid inadvertently crossing any ethical boundaries.
Have you tried other ways of identifying potential product reviewers? I’d love to hear them. Please tell me about them under comments.
Now that you’ve assembled an impressive list of potential reviewers, how do you get them to act? That’s the subject of our next post.
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