Influencer marketing has been the talk of the town lately — and for good reason. With consumers that are able to block out the myriad of advertisements they see, forward-thinking brands take a different route. No more competing for air-time or ad space, these brands go directly to the people who live and breathe their industry. We call them experts, and they range from retail sales associates to qualified professionals to industry trainers. Brands have taken a sharp left turn in their marketing strategies to hook these experts up with pro deals.
After surveying more than a thousand of these experts, we received important insight for brands looking to scale retail sales and provide better consumer buying experiences — and discovered that pro deals are a great first step.
What’s The Deal With Pro Deals?
Simply put, pro deals are unique discounts provided to those who qualify. This sophisticated audience of knowledgeable and experienced experts love pro deals because they get the most innovative products at a discounted price. For example: a chef will enjoy the latest and greatest kitchen appliances at a fraction of the cost — just for being a chef (oh, and the thousands of hours of training and experience).
But what’s in it for the brand?
Brands invest in retail sales associates because they know their power to turn browsers into buyers. When they have the resources to be successful, retail sales associates are equipped to do their job — and sell your brand. This makes sense: investing in the people on the frontline helps sales. But, associates on the sales floor aren’t the only ones recommending products to potential buyers. Our survey found that industry professionals have a considerable amount of these conversations, too. When brands provide pro deals to both retail sales associates and pros, they give these powerful influencers the opportunity to try their products and bolster their brand.
Why Offer Pro Deals?
Great question. Why do brands offer these? Turns out brands have a lot to gain by offering discounted products to qualified experts. Let’s break it down.
- Increase sales. These influential experts give recommendations that sway purchasing decisions. According to the experts, the most important factor in likelihood to recommend a product is having a positive experience with said product. By getting deep discounts, experts are more apt to buy it and try it — meaning they’ll gain personal experience with the product, so their recommendations are authentic. It’s a no-brainer; pro deals create brand advocates and brand advocates generate sales.
- Brand awareness. It’s hard to compete with brands who can spend millions of dollars on advertising. How do you get your name in the game? Word-of-mouth. If it sounds old-school, that’s because it is — and it works. When a consumer wants to purchase a new snowboard, they’re going to ask for advice and recommendations from trusted individuals with experience hitting the slopes, they’re going to reach out to experts. When these experts have had the opportunity to take the product home and put it to the test, they’ve got knowledge to share — and your brand just found its place in the conversation.
- Experts are influential. As leaders in their industry, experts have a great deal of influence. Their position provides them with the opportunity to give recommendations every day. In fact, in an average week, more than half the experts recommend products at least 11-20 times per week with 24% of respondents giving 30+ product recommendations every single week! That’s a lot of influential people in the industry talking about their favorite brands and products. Are they talking about yours?
- Gain access to their target audience. Not only are these experts selling a brand’s products (not because they’re being paid, but because they’re passionate about it!), they’re also giving brands the opportunity to connect directly with their target audience. From this, brands can discover which products are favorites and why, where consumers are most likely to use their products, how a new technology is or isn’t translating, and more. When brands tap into these conversations, they get to communicate directly with their audience and find answers to crucial questions.
- Brand advocates in the making. When you discover a new favorite, you’re bound to talk about it. In 2008, I attended a concert in a small, dirty venue and was introduced to the vocal talents of a young artist that really impressed me. I shared her music with my friends and family and a decade later, I’m still proud that I was the one to introduce them to Adele. This is a real phenomenon: when experts have a positive experience with a brand, they’re going to share it. According to the panel, the majority of the surveyed experts stated that the best reward for giving a recommendation is just knowing that they shared their passion and expertise. These pro deals could be a shortcut to an even bigger fan base for your brand, just like I was for Adele.
Are pro deals right for your brand?
There’s a rise of consumer mistrust in advertising. With the market saturated with ads and sponsored posts, it can be overwhelming for someone trying to make a purchasing decision. So, are pro deals right for your brand?
If you want the most influential people in your industry recommending your products — then yes, this is the marketing strategy for you. Let the people whose joy and livelihood come from giving recommendations work for your brand. Provide them with the opportunity to love your products and give a knowledgeable, authentic recommendation that’s infinitely more powerful than traditional advertising.
Is ExpertVoice right for your brand?
The next question is: What about ExpertVoice? Are they going to help my brand achieve the results I’m looking for? We think so! We aren’t your traditional influencer marketing firm, but we’re the biggest one in the world with over a million vetted experts and 500+ brand partners. We know how to find the most qualified experts and set them up with the brands who are the best match for their expertise. We’re basically a dating site for pro deals — and being the third wheel has never been so great.
Explore ExpertVoice.com to discover how we provide scalable results by measuring your campaign effectiveness with the reporting dashboard, giving your brand the ability to review high-level trends around impressions, content interactions, transaction data, or dig into individual engagement behavior.