How a Simple Handwritten Postcard Resulted in $64K Influencer Marketing Sales

June 14, 2024
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10 Min
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Peter Nettesheim
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How a Simple Handwritten Postcard Resulted in $64K Influencer Marketing Sales

We lost thousands $ in potential revenue for one of our clients..

The solution: one simple handwritten postcard led to $64K in additional revenue. 

Here is what happened

It all started with one of our standardised influencer affiliate & gifting campaigns which we strongly recommend for e-commerce brands to reduce cost in the early stages and “test” influencers before allocating larger budgets. 

Context

  • Client: e-commerce D2C brand in the home & lifestyle sector 
  • Country: United States 
  • Platform: Instagram 
  • Type: Influencer marketing 

Once we started the campaign we were tasked to deliver 50 influencers / month. We explained to the client that we should be able to identify around 3-5 high performing influencers / month with this approach with which we want to build long term partnerships.We used Influencer Hero’s search & discovery tool to find influencer in the US and used the following additional filters:

  • Audience location > 60% US 
  • Audience gender > 60% female 
  • Engagement rate > 2%+ 
  • Audience growth > 2%+ 
  • IH Magic (Conversion enhancement): Very promising 
  • Lookalike to find influencers in the right category 

After setting up the outreach we were read to negotiate and onboard influencers to our campaign. We initially offered a free product (retail value around $75) + 10% affiliate commission + 10% discount for the influencers followers. By using affiliate links and personalised discount codes which we created through the Influencer Hero CRM we were able to track the performance of the influencers we onboarded. 

In month two an influencer with over 400K followers replied to us showing interest in the collaboration but explained that she usually always works with a fixed fee. We saw a lot of potential in the influencer so we increased the original offer to 20% affiliate instead of 10% and added another product through which the total retail value in product gifting accumulated to $120. The influencer agreed! She posted a review on her IG stories which generated $5-6K in sales! We used our A/B tested negotiation template below to close the deal: 

Negotiation Template

Hi {{firstname}},

Thank you for your reply.

We completely understand that you don’t work on an affiliate basis. However, we hope you understand that the first story post is only to get a better understanding of the match towards the brand.

We work with a wide variety of different compensation packages which include fixed payments and long-term brand ambassador programs. We have been collaborating with creators for a few years now and from our experience, we know that the performance varies widely which is why we work with an initial story post in order for us to make a fair offer. 

Based on the results of this initial post we would be making you an offer that includes one or a combination of the before mentioned packages.


IF INITIAL OFFER IS INCREASED

Usually, we only send out the
ENTER INITIAL PRODUCT OFFERED, however, because we value your work and accommodation, we'd love to offer ENTER UPDATED OFFER

Please let me know if I can send you the ENTER UPDATED PRODUCT OFFER.  

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best,

ENTER YOUR NAME

Through this negotiation strategy we explain to influencers that we would like to receive one post to get a better understanding of the match towards the brand. This has several benefits:

  • The influencer puts more effort into the post as they know that we would offer fixed payments if the initial post performs well 
  • We can reduce cost for the initial post thus hedging our downside while testing the performance of influencers 

After the post we sent a flower bouquet as a thank you and did our best to onboard the influencer as a brand ambassador to establish a long term partnership. At first everything seemed to go smoothly as the influencer thanked us for the flowers and agreed to an additional post in exchange for additional products and a fixed payment of $1,000 for 4 additional posts. It was September and we knew that it would make a big difference to have this influencer participate in our Black Friday campaign. 

The Problem

A few weeks later when we reached out we received the bad news. The influencer hired a talent agency to manage all brand partnerships for her. The agent denied us to talk to the influencer directly and the fee’s the agency requested were so high it made the partnership unprofitable despite the high amount in sales the influencer could generate. 

The Solution

We first tried to circumvent the agent by contacting the influencer through DM instead of email. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive a reply and after several follow ups we knew that we had to come up with another solution. It was mid October and the time was ticking as BFCM was approaching. 

After a quick brainstorming session we decided to send a handwritten postcard as we still had the address of the influencer from the previous collaboration. We used the copy below for the postcard to make it personal and explained that as a small business we had to work with a limited budget but that we would love to work with the influencer again. 

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Postcard Letter

Hi {{influencer_name}}

We wanted to thank you from everyone here at {{client_name}} for your awesome content!

Starting from the 20th we have our biggest sale of the year (30% off) which we exclusively give access to through our favourite creators. As a small business we can’t match the budgets of larger companies, however, due to the holiday season a lot of people will be looking for gifts, which will be greatly benefit your affiliate (20%). Your current balance from the previous post is at $542 waiting to be processed. 

You can continue to use your link and code and if you want us to process the payout please contact: {{clients_email}}

Link: {{affiliate_link}}
Code:
{{discount_code}}

This is all optional and the {{clients_product}} are a gift so not strings attached. It means the world to us having you use our {{clients_product}}. Thank you again for inspiring all of us with your amazing content. 


Greetings and all the best from {{clients_country}} 

Your
{{clients_name}} Team 

The Result  

It worked without any message from the influencer she decided to share our Black Friday offer with her audience. In the post she showed the post card and how she valued brands which go the extra distance. She posted in total 3 times which led to a total attributed (tracked through the affiliate link and discount code) revenue of $44.8K. As we knew that the industry average attribution rate when using affiliate links and discount codes is around 70% the personalised letter resulted in an additional total sales of $64K. 

Using Influencer Hero’s campaign reporting we were able to monitor the overall performance in detail.

Why Is It Complicated to Work with Talent Managers

This example shows how difficult things can become if you have to negotiate with a talent manager. Starting from around 100K followers a lot of influencers will start to work with talent agencies and managers to negotiate their brand partnerships for them. The issue is that if you work on performance driven influencer campaigns even large influencers with professional management agencies can often disappoint. You ideally want to test a new partnership small with a low budget so you are certain about the outcome and reduce risk. The reason it is so difficult to strike a deal with a talent agent is because of the way they are compensated.

Their compensation is in most cases a % cut of the brand deal meaning that they have no interest whatsoever in a product gifting or affiliate deal even if the influencer would most likely appreciate the gift and benefit from a potential long term partnership. 

There are two solutions:

1. Trying to reach the influencer directly through DM

If you go this route be careful not to upset the talent agent if they notice that you are trying to go behind their back. Be gentle and upfront. The message should be clear and concise as you want to catch the influencers attention and try to make clear that you have a limited budget but that you would love to work with them so they might make an exception and accept gifting. Your product offering has to be attractive for this to work. 

2. Try to offer something of value to the agent

Remember the agent only gets paid a % of a fixed fee so if you only offer a gift to the influencer chances are that the agent doesn’t see any value in the partnership. Try offering a free product for the agent as well. We experienced great success using this approach. If the agent is interested in the product you might be able to convince them to make an exception and at least present the proposal to the influencer.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our campaign demonstrated the power of personalized touches in influencer marketing. By sending a handwritten postcard, we re-engaged an influencer and generated $64K in additional sales. This approach highlights the effectiveness of combining traditional methods with modern influencer strategies, especially when navigating the complexities of talent management. Personalized outreach not only fostered trust and appreciation but also showcased the importance of building authentic relationships with influencers to achieve remarkable results.

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