Start-ups are typically cash-poor, at least in their very early days. So how the heck are CEOs supposed to get the word out about their fabulous offerings? Marketing firms, publicists, advertisers…everything costs MONEY! CEOs need boku bucks in order to develop their ideas into something saleable but then they need even MORE money to reach customers.
But not if they can appeal to key influencers in their market segments.
Influencers are people who have a respected voice in a specific niche area. They have an avid group of followers that holds their opinions in high regard. They are a trusted source of information and opinions about a given area.
They trick is to figure out WHO the influencers are in your niche. There are tools you can use to find them. I’ve used Klout and Kred but i found another one I like better called Followerwonk. You look up keywords and search results are presented with a ranking. Pick out 10-20 influencers and then the fun really begins because you’ll need to incent them to endorse your product or service. They may accept payment, although this is not as effective as getting editorial review for your company. Positive affirmation from an unpaid source is always preferable, just not always possible.
Sometimes incentives come in the form of some type of gift, like product, tickets to an exclusive company-hosted event, or swag of some sort. But what happens if what you have to offer isn’t really enticing enough? This is the issue for most of us, if you were wondering. =)
That’s when you have to get creative. And believe me, it isn’t easy. I’ve tried a few different things as an indie author to raise interest in my books. Most times, it doesn’t work. On rare occasions, my efforts pay off. It’s those few and far between wins that I choose to focus on, because maybe it’ll be one of those influencers that will ultimately help me spread the word. Too bad I don’t have any more Krina handbags to send out. What romance aficionado wouldn’t love to tote around a luxurious leather handbag for an e-reader and some assorted favorite novels? And maybe a bag of Starburst jelly beans.