Influencer seeding is a marketing strategy in which brands send a selection of their products to influencers in the form of a branded gift kit.
This is not a paid collaboration and does not require influencers to post about the gift, but it gives them the opportunity to try the products and potentially promote them to their followers if they enjoy them.
The goal of the influencer seeding strategy is to establish a relationship with influencers, making it easier for the brand to reach out to them for future collaborations.
It also allows influencers to connect with the brand and potentially create more authentic promotional content if they genuinely enjoy the products. The long-term goal of influencer product seeding is to increase brand awareness and potentially drive sales by endorsing influential individuals.
If you’re a brand or marketing agency looking to try influencer gifting as a way to promote your brand or products, keep reading!
Over the past year only, we worked with some huge companies like HP, Amazon, ByteDance, and 356 others companies. We’ve reached 14.7M creators to collaborate with brands including influencer seeding, and combined, our clients raised $213M while working with us.
So, we will take the right to walk you through every step of the influencer seeding process:
- Step-by-step guide: From finding and reaching out to influencers to measuring the results
- Bonus tactics to keep your influencer marketing strategy in the right direction
- Tips to create the perfect irresistible branded kit
Influencer seeding 101
1. Find and identify influencers that are best for your brand
Whether you did a good job and found the right influencers for your campaigns or you made some mistakes and hired some that can’t identify with your brand directly affects the ROI of your influencer campaign.
Since the point of influencer seeding is to attract influencers to fall in love with your brand, you can’t achieve that if your product doesn’t align with their lifestyle, and they can’t put it into use. It is important to choose influencers who have a relevant audience and who consistently create content related to your brand or industry.
For example, if you are a business in the food industry, it would not be effective to send products to an influencer who does not regularly create content about food or cooking. This is because its followers may not trust their recommendations on the topic, as it is not an area in which he or she is established as a trustworthy source.
To find and identify which influencers are most suitable for your brand, follow these steps:
- Identify your target audience and set criteria for influencers (following size, gender, location, language, niche, etc.)
- Find influencers that match your criteria using:
- Influencer data providers
- Influencer platforms
- Search influencers through social media platforms
- Analyze the influencer’s values and interests
- Check their engagement and reach (this doesn’t apply if you buying data from influencer data providers, as you will already have very detailed insights for each influencer on the list)
Build a relationship with them
Reach out to influencers
For influencer outreach to be successful, there are three crucial factors:
- Finding the right influencer for your brand – that’s why you need influencer data
- Figuring out the right message – make an enticing offer that will be irresistible to them
- Figuring out the right time to reach out – will increase your chances of getting a reply and a positive reply. You will know if it’s the right time if you observe their account for some time before you reach out.
Simply put, you need to find out as much as you can about a certain influencer and then leverage your knowledge when contacting them.
For example, you can give compliments about specific influencer posts, mention something you saw posted in the near past, etc.
That will help you get the attention, so, next, you need to introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in working with them. Provide some details about your own brand or project that you think will be of influencer’s interest.
Furthermore, make your offer match the influencer’s taste to increase the chances of them trying the free product you’re offering. To do this, think about what you know of their style and interests based on observing them.
I am not gonna lie, reaching out to influencers (especially for unpaid collaborations) is onerous. You need to be prepared to be constantly ignored or rejected.
Yet, there are proven things we’ve tested through the years that bring guaranteed results when doing influencer outreach. By leveraging our detailed influencer data, we are successfully reaching out even to influencers with 100k+ followers and we can do that for you as well. We have an average 68% open rate, and 10% average conversions of the open rate.
Additionally, here are a few of our best-performing templates for reaching out to Instagram influencers. You can customize the templates and test them for your next influencer outreach campaign.
Follow up with the influencer
There are a few steps you can take to follow up with an influencer after sending them free products to try:
- Reach out to them saying that you hope they enjoy the gift. If your conversation has a natural flow, you can use the opportunity to begin a conversation about a potential collaboration.
- Ask for feedback on your product – If the influencer says he or she tried your products you can ask for product feedback. This can be a question of whether they like the product, if they have any suggestions for improvement, or if they have any questions.
If the influencer shares that he or she loves your product, you can remind them they can share it on social media, but do it in a subtle way. For example: I am glad to hear you love our products. If you are planning on sharing a word about our products sometime, don’t forget to use our hashtag #YourHashtag
This will give you valuable insights into the influencer’s thoughts and help you understand whether they are interested in becoming a part of your influencer marketing campaigns.
- Be patient – Influencers may be overflowed with other messages or may not have had a chance to try out the product yet. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away, and continue to reach out in a friendly and professional manner.
- Remember that when you reached out to influencers you made it clear that this is influencer seeding and that they are not obligated to post or to give you detailed feedback.
Overall, the key is to be respectful and considerate when following up with an influencer. If you are open to feedback you can build a positive relationship and increase the chances of a successful collaboration.
Track and measure results
This is a crucial part of every marketing strategy. When it comes to influencer seeding, tracking and monitoring are options only if a certain influencer decides to post something about your gift.
If that happens, there are a few ways to monitor the results of the collaboration and the way you can do this depends on how you found influencers.
If you used an influencer platform, make sure you use a platform that has a campaign analytics feature integrated.
If you outsourced creator outreach as a service, the team that works for you will keep you updated weakly (or less often monthly) by sharing the campaign results. This includes the number of sent emails, open rate, reply rate, conversion rate, and more.
If you were searching for influencers through social media platforms by yourself then you need to find a campaign analytics tool for influencer marketing and enter the required information so the tools can monitor the results.
Repurpose influencer-generated content
In the end, if you get influencer-generated content out of your influencer seeding strategy, repurpose it to get the most out of it.
One of the many reasons why you should do this is because it’s basically new and authentic content that can do a great job so you won’t need to create content yourself. It’s even more trustworthy and it can also be considered a client testimonial.
So, here are a few ways you can repurpose your influencer-generated content:
- Share it on social media
- Embed it on your website
- Use it in your ads and marketing campaigns
- Turn it into branded content (blog posts, infographics, or videos)
- Include it in email newsletters
Influencer seeding case study: How Granza launched itself before launching
Graza is a DTC olive oil brand that launched in January 2022 also known as the squeezy bottle olive-oil brand.
In the months leading up to the launch, the company gifted 25 packs of olive oil per week to food creators. Rather than targeting large influencers, Graza focused on smaller creators who could showcase the versatility of their product in unexpected ways, such as using it on pizza, BBQ, or ice cream.
This helped to organically grow the brand’s online presence and build a loyal fanbase.
As the launch date approached, Graza also sent packages to larger, more traditional partners, like chef Emily Marikos. The brand also targeted local retailers, focusing on stores where olive oil isn’t traditionally sold, such as toy stores and pet shops. This helped to position Graza as a trustworthy and unique brand.
So, not only did the team of Graza think outside the box for their packaging, but they also reached out to influencers that other competitors won’t reach out to and retailers that other competitors won’t aim for.
In addition to its influencer strategy, Graza’s packaging also helped the brand stand out on store shelves. The company’s yellow and green squeeze bottles, marked with the words “Sizzle” or “Drizzle,” were a visual differentiator from traditional olive oil bottles.
Their Shopify page had plenty of visitors before the launch, and Graza was sold out in the first week of business. The new followers had a chance to buy olive oil, and the brand sold out very fast, all thanks to the perfect timing of influencer collaborations:
- The brand sent packages to smaller influencers two months before the product launch and got a follower base and build brand awareness before the launch day.
- They kept the branded kit for larger influencers until the day before the launch so they won’t sell out before the official launch. This way people who just found out about Graza still had a chance to buy the already famous olive oil.
Overall, Graza’s marketing strategy was successful in building demand for the brand through strong relationships, solving a need, and standing out from competitors.
The combination of influencer seeding, targeted retail presence, and unique packaging helped Graza achieve a successful launch and sell-out in its first week of business.
3 Bonus tactics to stand out in influencer's inboxes
Leverage detailed influencer data
Influencer data refers to information about influencers, including demographics, interests, reach, and engagement on chosen social media platforms. Brands use influencer data to identify influencers who are a good fit for their products or services or to create targeted influencer marketing campaigns.
Some influencer data providers can get as detailed as you can imagine, so brands who know exactly what creators are targeting can easily get a list of influencers that match that criteria.
Hire an influencer outreach team
When outsourcing an influencer outreach team you will outsource the whole process from finding and identifying the right influencers with manual prospecting to reaching out to them for product seeding.
Wondering how can this help you stand out from other brands that are reaching out to the influencers you are targeting?
It’s because even if you hire a whole internal team that will do influencer outreach for your company, they can never get the experience an outreach team that sends 1M cold emails per month can have.
For example, by outsourcing our influencer outreach team, you will get a team of more than 30 people that:
- Have an experience with other creator economy, eCommerce brands, and marketing agencies.
- Know how to get replies from influencers and entice them to agree on a collaboration.
- For one particular client have sent 3M cold emails in 1 month, with a 63% open rate and a 24% reply rate.
- Know how to write and optimize copy
- Know how to make data-driven decisions
In other words, you will get a creator outreach team that will do whatever it takes to find creators that want to collaborate with your brand.
Experiment with different tactics
What works for one business model doesn’t mean it will work for another. That’s why experimenting with different tactics is crucial to achieving greater results.
For example, for our clients, we experiment with different outreach templates, influencers niches, influencers with different following sizes, etc., all until we find the ones that are most suitable for their brand.
Yet, if you experiment with different tactics by yourself, you need to make those changes based on previous analysis and campaign tracking, so you can be sure you are on the right track the whole time.
4 tips to create an attractive branded kit
Imagine doing all the hard work finding the right influencers, reaching out to them, developing a relationship, sending free stuff, and then disappointing the influencer with an average branded kit.
Influencers receive gifted products from many brands. So, to impress influencers you need to pay attention to every detail of the product seeding strategy, including the influencer gifting itself.
Hence, we are giving you 4 of the most effective tactics for creating a branded kit influencers will love.
Make it visually appealing
Send your best, not your cheapest products
When doing influencer seeding for the first time you might be considering sending some of your cheapest products so you don’t take a big risk if you don’t have any benefits, but this is a huge mistake a brand can make.
Remember you are aiming on collaborating further with the influencer and that you need them to fall in love with your brand and products. Influencers are impressed if they receive high-quality items, and the more they are impressed the more likely are to share their experience with their followers.
Personalize the kit
Personalized gifts will definitely steal the heart of any influencer. You can do this by adding their name or initials to some of the products you are sending or getting items like water bottles or notebooks customized with their initials.
Another idea is to include items that reflect their personal interests. For example, if a certain influencer is a fitness enthusiast, you could include a branded gym bag or yoga mat.
Handwritten heartfelt note also makes a great gesture. You can write a note thanking them for the support and explaining why you chose each item in the kit.
If possible, include exclusive or limited edition items. This can make the gift feel more special and valuable and it also aligns with the strategy to send your best and most attractive products when doing influencer seeding.
Spice up the unboxing experience
In this part, you have all the creative freedom. There are plenty of ways to spice up the unboxing experience when doing influencer seeding. Most of them bring additional costs, but there are many that won’t go over the budget but it will bring more value to your branded kit.
Here are some examples you can copy right away or that can inspire you to come up with something new:
Add surprise elements – This could be something like a bag of gourmet chocolates, a pack of fancy pens, or a keychain.
Use interactive elements – You can include a scratch-off card with a secret message or a pop-up book with branded content.
Create a theme – Create a beach-themed gift box with items like a branded beach towel, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Use sensory elements – You can include a scented candle or a bag of lavender to create a relaxing atmosphere. Branded snacks or treats, and sound-making items also bring excitement and influencers will be surprised.
With this comprehensive guide to influencer seeding you can now tap into the power of influencer marketing. Not only we outlined the basics of influencer seeding, but we even gave you some tactics to stand out in influencers’ inboxes.
After creating an influencer seeding strategy, make sure you created a remarkable branded kit that will make a lasting impression on influencers using the tips above.
By following the strategies and tips outlined in this article, you can effectively use influencer seeding to reach new audiences, drive sales, and build buzz around their products and services.
Lastly, if you decide to go a step further and find the best influencers for your brand by leveraging influencer data, get in touch with us and share your requirements.