This episode features guest David Morneau. David is the co-founder and managing director of inBeat Agency, the #1 Micro Influencer Agency in North America. David and his agency specialize in using influencer marketing to scale and grow direct to consumer brands.
Find out how to use influencer marketing beyond just driving sales. Find out what micro influencers are, the other types of influencers and why David prefers using micro influencers to deliver the best results for their clients.
Thinking of getting started with growing your business using influencer marketing?
Then, listen to discover how many influencers you need to move the needle in terms of sales; some of struggles that companies commonly find when getting started using influencer marketing and what percentage of marketing budget should allocate to influencer marketing.
Episode Action Items:
You can find more information regarding David Morneau or his agency, inBeat at https://inbeat.agency or email David at email@example.com
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:02
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count podcast. This is your host, Andy Splichal. We are happy to welcome this week's guests to discuss today's topic, which is Growing your Ecommerce Business by Recruiting an Army of Influencers. Today's guest is both an agency owner as well as an entrepreneur. Currently, he spends his time as a managing partner of inBeat agency, as well as Breeze.co We are happy to welcome David Morneau. Hi, David.
David Morneau 1:16
Hi, thanks for having me on. Andy. It's a pleasure to be here.
Andy Splichal 1:18
We're glad you could join us. Now let's get right into it. So your bio, it says that you are known for your unusual approach to influencer marketing. And you have helped multiple DTC direct to consumer brands scale beyond six figures. So there's a lot to unpack there first, what are your unusual approach to influencer marketing?
David Morneau 1:41
So that's a good good place to start. So essentially, we view. Well, first of all, just to specify we work with micro influencer marketing, more specifically. And we view micro influencers and as an extension of the marketing team of any brands. So what I mean by that is that we use influencer marketing in one of three ways, the first being driving sales and awareness to the brand, the second being to create content that we can reuse in our paid media or on the e commerce website, or anywhere else, for that matter. And the third is just gather some market insights. So we do ask questions more specifically to the influencers we work with about how could we make our product experience better? How would you position our product if you were marketing director at our company, and so forth? So we try to derive market insights from them? Essentially, that's the that's the way we position it, we decentralized your your creative team is how we we position it.
Andy Splichal 2:37
And so the second piece there, where it says that you have helped multiple DTC direct to consumer brands scale beyond six figures.
David Morneau 2:48
Andy Splichal 2:48
Were were they when you started with that and it was it all through the micro influencer marketing?
David Morneau 2:57
No. So there's a couple of things, right, we work with brands that have you know, high six figures, high seven figures, and we work with eight figure brands, and all of them, you know, we can't attribute 100% of the success to influencer marketing, that would just be a lie. But micro influencer acts as a hub that just powers all other marketing channels. So for that instance, if you end up having micro influencers that are creating ads for you to scale, your Facebook ads, they're participating in that process that's helping you scale your company. And if you're if you're adding new product lines, because you're you're on trend with what's going on, because you're asking your influencers about that, then that helps you scale and so forth. So it's really more an amplification effect on effort. Of course, it does act as a sales channel. And you will see sales from this kind of strategy, especially if you know, track the results of influencers, and you keep the ones that perform really well on long term collaboration basis, then it becomes a marketing channel, which can, you know, drive seven figures and beyond every year in terms of revenue.
Andy Splichal 3:58
So those companies that you worked with, and help them explore their business? Were they just starting out? Were they already established? Where? Where were they in the business cycle?
David Morneau 4:11
So usually we have we work with businesses that are a bit more established or that are, are fast growing and are trying like, the business we work with usually have scaling Facebook ads, as a main issue. They're looking to scale really fast on that front. So they're established, our supply chain is figured out. They've got their email marketing figured out and so forth. Right. So we come in at that stage where they're looking to scale. Does that make sense?
Andy Splichal 4:39
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Now, another thing that I saw on your website on the title tag was that it reads the number one micro influencer agency in North America, which automatically left me with a couple of questions. One why a micro influencer opposed to using influencers? And two, make it two, who's the number one influencer in the whole world?
David Morneau 5:12
So those are good questions. Right? And then well, we just decided to specifically target micro influencers and work with micro influencers across the board. So, you know, we've got 25,000 Plus collaborations orchestrated, we worked multiple brands. And that's why we're really just on the micro influencer side, although sometimes we do work with bigger influencers, that is not the core of our business. And we focus strictly on scaling micro influencer programs. And usually, you know, we we excel at that we're pretty good at that we know how to scale programs and hundreds and thousands of micro influencers under one campaign. So we've got a good skill set around that. And to your second question, who's the number one influencer in the world? I'm not sure to be honest.
Andy Splichal 5:57
No, no, no, I'm sorry. It says, who's the number one micro influencer agency in the world? Because you on your website, it says you're the number one micro influencer agency in North America.
David Morneau 6:08
So I mean, the research is probably done on our side by, you know, comparing ourselves to other micro influencers. I mean, we might be the agency that works with most micro influencers in the world. Who knows? We haven't checked on that. But yeah,
Andy Splichal 6:20
So there's not somebody you're going after? that on
David Morneau 6:23
Not on that front. We're going, yeah, not enough right now.
Andy Splichal 6:27
Hey, let's, let's take a step back. Sure. For those that might never have heard of micro influencer, or influence or anything like that, can you define what the difference is?
David Morneau 6:40
Of course, yeah. So essentially, the way we see it, and then this is like a loose definition. There is no standard in this industry, it might come at some point. But essentially, we view a micro influencer on Instagram with 5000 to 25,000 followers. And on TikTok, we bumped that up to 100,000 to 250,000 followers, just because TikTok has more followers, and you know, we look at like the the kind of pricing and so forth on that front. Micro influencers usually don't have an agent meeting, you're dealing directly with the influencers. So that's one of the big distinguishing factor. And then you could just go and geek out and say hey, you know, there is the Nano influencer, which would be you know, 1000 to 5000 followers, right? And 1,000, 200,000 on TikTok. Right. So, terminology is really all around there. But that's how we define it internally. And then, you know, if we're talking bigger influencers, there's macro influencers in the industry, will that define macro influencers and celebrities as being two different tiers of influencers. So celebrities being the biggest macrobid in say, 250,000 to one 2 million on Tik Tok and 2 million and beyond would be celebrity on Instagram, you could probably qualify 50k and above and so forth really depends on how you cut it out.
Andy Splichal 7:57
So for me to make sure I understand. So you have to know when nano influencers are the smallest, yeah, then you have micro influencers, then you have just plain influencers, and then you have macro influencers. And then you have celebrities.
David Morneau 8:12
That's about right, Andy. So I know that it's not clear cut, and the industry is not clear cut on that. But that's that's how it's been defined and tossed around. And when people are looking for micro influencers, or look in a bow for some people are coming to us looking for micro influencers, and they'll say anyone with 10,000, 200,000 followers, so that's their definition. So really changes based on definitions.
Andy Splichal 8:35
Okay, so why do you believe that using micro influencers is the most effective way to incorporate influencer marketing into your business?
David Morneau 8:46
So that's a, I like the question. The reason I think it's, it's, as I mentioned earlier, right, it really acts as a hub that just all other business kind of marketing teams can rely upon. And what I mean by that is that, you know, you can essentially get the get, you know, 2550 100 graders, creating content for your direct to consumer brand, or Ecommerce brand or mobile app, whatever you're working on. And you can just get all this content input, which is a massive upside for brands, it's just, there's no other way to get that much content effectively. And you're just gonna, you're gonna hit a wall, right, just to get tons of assets, different concepts, different kinds of staging, different different backgrounds, different you know, it just it just, it just adds up to have all that library of content. And then after that, you know, like if you if you treat the relationships well with these influencers and you you actually build rapport, then all of a sudden they become, you know, become essentially a small army upon which you can call when you have a new product that you're releasing and you want to liquidate some stuff and so forth. So you can just call on them and and you track their sales by giving them either an affiliate link or you know, a promo code promo code is usually pretty standard. And then you can see who your top performers are, can incentivize them and so forth. So it's it's really why I think it fits really well in any director, consumer brands, marketing stack.
Andy Splichal 10:12
Now you use the word army, which is kind of funny, because the title of this episode is growing your Ecommerce business by recruiting an army of influencers. But in your experience, how many influencers do you need to move the needle to substantially grow your business with this type of marketing? And is it truly do you need an army?
David Morneau 10:32
You don't need an army, right? But let me let me let me unpack that. So the way we typically approach let's say, just a sales focused campaign, okay, we're just talking, we want to build, like this army that we can activate when we release a new collection for fashion companies, it's, you know, they're like, hey, you know, winter collection is here, and we need to get that out and get everyone talking about it, we need tons of content and so forth. Right? So let's define that, okay, let's, let's say like, Well, okay, we're just gonna go and find 50 influencers, to work with 100 to find that and then, you know, you collaborate with those 100 influencers, you're gonna realize, by collaborating with these influencers, that, you know, 25 of them are amazing to work with to create good content, or they drive sales, and they drive good sales figure, and or they're easy to talk to. So a lot of people you know, are not professional in their relationships, as micro influencers, this is not their main business, so we don't expect them to be but you'll, you'll end up with, like 25% Being your top end distribution. So what you can do from there is for your next kind of, of drop that you're orchestrating, you can work with another 100 influencers plus those 25. Exactly, and so forth. Right. And that's, that's how you build your your army. As you said, right now, you end up with this, this roster of people that either create awesome content or drive sales. And yeah, that's really what what we define as an army of micro influencers, and you can start from there, right? And then, if you're, if you're seeing good results, then why not go after 200 and so forth?
Andy Splichal 11:59
Sure. Now, how much marketing budget is this going to take? Like? How much personally do you think that a company should allocate toward influencer marketing? And? I mean, how much do you recommend for your clients to to allocate?
David Morneau 12:14
Yeah, so give or take this is, this is a channel that's going to cost at least you know, $15,000 a month with all the kind of cost of goods that you're going to have to ship out? So like, when you think about shipping 100 product? If the cost of good on that is 30 $40, that's 4000 right there, then, are you going to pay them if they're creating more complex content, and so forth? Of course, you can, you can pull it off with a lot smaller amount. If anyone is looking to dip their toes in the water in this industry, I'd really recommend just looking at who's currently following you on your Instagram or on your TikTok, if you have one. Who's interacting with your content? Do you have any creators in your, in your, in your in your client base and start small from there, right. But when you're looking to scale that, like, you know, like, just just maintaining relationship with these people it can be can be challenging, right? You need to have someone operating the CRM, making sure that they post, making sure that they they do the right posts and so forth. So it adds up on that front. Yeah.
Andy Splichal 13:14
So you mentioned a couple times Instagram and are these TikTokhe two channels that you really specialize in? What if you said check your check those accounts, if you're a brand, what if you don't have a Tik presence or, or Instagram presence?
David Morneau 13:34
Then you can you know, you can work with YouTube influencers, which is just this is just another type of influencer marketing. YouTube tends to be a bit of a different game, though, in a sense that it's much more media bi driven. So the input you're getting from the YouTuber is usually is measured by like, Okay, we're gonna get this amount of views, we're willing to pay this amount per 1000 views and that's how we're going at that. Okay, yeah.
Andy Splichal 14:01
Now what are some of the struggles that you've gone through over the years perfecting this and, and trying to deliver results using this type of influencer marketing?
David Morneau 14:11
So a couple of things, automation, versus relationships, getting that balance is extremely hard. What I mean by that is like, how do you scale a program? But how do you keep everyone feeling like you're engaged with them? On a almost personal level, that's extremely hard on on the relationship side, it's been something that, you know, we're constantly trying to build better workflows around that and we're constantly trying to make this better. We've gotten pretty good at it, to be honest, but it's still such a work in progress. And it would always be because new technologies are going to come out allowing us to do that and other struggles or you know, platform changes, right. So you know, like, Oh, now we have to take into consideration reels and an IG TV we need to be on that we always need to be on a new thing, understand how we can leverage attention in a better way how we can build all these different types of content approaches and so that our strategy makes sense, right? Because the, the thing is that if you don't get the positioning, right, like content angle is not right. The unique selling proposition is not right. These influences are going to pose but they're not going to drive any any real results, right? It's not going to work. So you're going to conclude that this channel is not good, but strategy might have been the issue. So that's a tough one, right? Making sure that we hit the strategy as good as we can, every time is something that we perfect every day.
Andy Splichal 15:32
You know, you might have hit on this next question, some of the points there, but what are some of the struggles that have a business decided, hey, I'm just going to try if this influencer marketing works myself, before I hire an agency, what are some of the struggles that they might expect to go through trying to do this in house?
David Morneau 15:54
Yeah, so positioning is probably where it falls, like, how is your position your product position, like, visually, texturally? Like, how does it look? What does it do? What's your offer? What's the offer, you're given? Like, all these things are gonna make or break your campaign. So that's really, really the the biggest struggle that brands are going to face, like just making sure that the positioning is right. And for that, like, if you're starting out and you're looking to dip your foot in the water, your feet in the water, excuse me to get this rolling, then I'd recommend just asking the influencers, like, hey, you know, how would you position this right? When you're onboarding them, just pick their brains even get on a call with them and just pick their brains? Like they, they're gonna give you some good advice, I'm pretty sure. And if their advice is not good, then you just, you just discard it and call it a day. But that's really what it's gonna boil down to, like, how does your product end up showing up in a feed of other people?
Andy Splichal 16:49
Oh, it makes sense. Now, can you do me a favor? Can you tell us a favorite success story? I'm sure you have one on one of your clients, what you've done for them how they've grown and how they've been able to use this strategy?
David Morneau 17:02
Yeah, so one of our favorite clients is phone loops, right cell phone accessory brand. And just love I love good friends with the owner now was you know, we started with a business relationship, but and it's an amazing brand, right, we scale that program up to 2000 Ambassadors, wow, you know, crazy amount. But you know, what's amazing about them is the low cost of goods, right? It's a cellphone accessory, very easy to ship very, very low cost of good making this like a new impulse buy as well, on a purchase side. So has a ton of good criteria that are very forgiving, in terms of like, we can play a numbers game, right? We can play a numbers game, we can say like, Look, we're not going to reject anyone, as long as they have 1% engagement rate. And they have, you know, 5000 followers, right, and we can just say anyone that fits these criteria, we will ship them product, no questions asked. And then we identify the ones that posted that credit content, some of them are not even going to be posted, right. And then, and then after that, we just, we just curate them. And then you know, we tear down that, alright, VVIPs, those are the ones that created content, drove some sales. And we have, you know, regular ambassadors and so forth, right. So really an amazing kind of way to scale that up is, you know, if you have any, any of your listeners out there that have a low cost of good on their product and are looking to scale, I'd really recommend taking a bulk approach, and being really forgiving about vetting the influencers sending product to as many people as you can, as long as the costs makes sense, but it's gonna make your life a whole lot easier.
Andy Splichal 18:36
Yeah. Great tip. Great tip. Hey, so how long has your HC and BT. HC been around.
David Morneau 18:46
So we've been around for three years now? I'd say three years. Yeah.
Andy Splichal 18:50
And just for the agency owners out there, are there any struggles that you've gone through as an agency owner in finding clients scaling your business? How have you done that?
David Morneau 19:02
Finding clients, we've been quite lucky with that. Eventhough we operate a software tool that allows us to drive tons of traffic so that's really good for us. For us, scaling is been really about recruiting at first it is something that I am learning, recruiting people, training them, making sure they're in the right seats. I'm hundred percent sure that any agency owner listening to this is gonna be in the same situation that recruiting, it wins you the war essentially. If you get recruiting right, everything just falls in into place so that's really been a challenge throughout all this and still is and will still be probably 3 - 5 years down the line but wish I could give something more tactical but it really is the biggest challenge we're facing.
Andy Splichal 19:57
Alright, well, here's your chance for more tactical stuff. On your personal journey as an entrepreneur, have there been any business books that have influenced you, or you can attribute to some of your success?
David Morneau 20:11
Yeah, so, you know, like, I mean, this question I always answer the E Myth. It's extremely, it's a cliche book, you've probably had this recommendation so many times, but it's just been an eye opener. I remember reading that book. And I was like, Well, okay, this is like, I remember reading that book as like, you know, Freelancer way back. And it was like, Whoa, there's like such a thing called a process, right? It didn't even realize you could like put together processes and so forth. And it was so eye opening at that moment, probably that I had reread this book. And it's pretty simple in terms of like, how it's packaged. But at the moment I read that it was It was eye opening.
Andy Splichal 20:48
Yeah, that's a great book.
David Morneau 20:49
Yeah. eye opening.
Andy Splichal 20:51
Now about your agency, what problems do you solve for your clients? And how are you standing out from the competition?
David Morneau 21:01
Yeah, so we saw we saw the problem of building, managing and building an ambassador program that boils down to, you know, sales, content, insights, buzz on social media, right, just growing your follower count. So we, we do solve around? It depends on which level you want to you want, you know the answer to be but essentially, I think one of the biggest needs that we solve is content. And it's by far, the one that our clients love the most, especially when we start doing research around competitors and their ads and what they're running in terms of influencer generated content. And you know, finding influencers that match that like content is where social media teams love us is where paid media teams love us. It's you know, it's where email marketing teams love us, they just have content for every kind of segment they have under the sun. So I'd say that's probably the biggest one we're solving just content.
Andy Splichal 21:53
So what what are the services that you guys offer?
David Morneau 21:58
So we offer a wider I mean, influencer marketing, of course micro influencer more specifically.
Andy Splichal 22:05
So somebody comes somebody comes to you and says, I want to get my stuff to influencers? Is that how it works or
David Morneau 22:11
Exactly, exactly, yeah, they'll tell us like, Okay, here's what we're looking to accomplish. And then they'll come to us. And there's two types of campaigns, one offs, bigger brands tend to do one offs, where they're like, Hey, we're launching this on this event, and we have this budget and we want to X amount of influencers, right, super kind of campaign focused. Whereas in, you know, direct to consumer brands that are like more Ambassador centric will come to us and look for like a monthly kind of recurring package where we can just help them out on that front. Then we also do Snapchat ads and Tik Tok ads, we've got, you know, of course, we've got partner for Facebook and Instagram ads that, you know, we just wanted to take our niche. And like we said, hey, there's not a lot of people doing Snapchat ads and TikTok ads. So we took that. And we're also doing content creation, right, where we just have a network, you know, we've worked with what 25,000 I think I need to check on I figure we're probably well beyond 30,000. Now, but yeah, and you know, out of those influencers, we just identified the best creators that are like all semi professionals, I call them they create good content, and, you know, we just, we just ship them product and get them to create content. So some people come to us strictly for content. So that's really the array of all our services on that front.
Andy Splichal 23:22
So do you use some of the same or all of the same influencers? For different products? I mean, I assume you're kind of like a public relations firm, in a way where you you've already built your relationship with a list of influence? Or is it different for each? I mean, you've got different influencers, probably for each vertical, or, I mean, how does that work?
David Morneau 23:44
We, you know, if we can, we will reuse the same influencers, if we know this influencer is good and so forth. But you know, Andy, there's always like a client that's going to come to us and it's just gonna surprise us, we're like, Well, you know, we're just gonna have to go dig in and find new influencers, like it's, we do use the same influencers, on some campaigns, we do have a list of all the influencers we collaborated with, we also have a list of the ones that we know that were easy to talk to, you know, easy to communicate that create a good content, they drove sales, whatever the reason is that the we've selected them, we have them in our network. So that gives us an advantage. But as I said, we have a lot of clients that come in and they need a very specific kind of influencer, we just go out there and find them and negotiate them and onboard them and so forth.
Andy Splichal 24:28
So who is your perfect client for your agency?
David Morneau 24:33
I like that question. It's a moving target as you probably know, right? You know, this thing always changed but right now the clients that are we really love working with, you know, mid seven figure brands, eight figure low set, eight figure brands is really there we we can just create massive value just from the synergy that it brings and they're selling it direct to consumer or Ecommerce or they're running a direct to consumer or Ecommerce. First website and their their, their product is visually representable. So it looks cool, right? It's got goodwill built into it, people love the looks of it. And that's really best Klein for us.
Andy Splichal 25:14
So if you are an Ecommerce owner, and you're not anywhere near that, right? You're, I don't know, maybe you're doing three to five grand. I mean, you're just starting out, right? Yeah, three to five and a month. Would you recommend that they look into influencer marketing with you're looking look into it, but do it yourself? Hire? Where would any commerce owner like that go?
David Morneau 25:41
Yeah, I mean, I mean, that's a good question, Andy. I mean, from my standpoint, like, if you're making three to 5k a month, like I think there are other other problems to crack before this one. Of course, you know, if, because, as I said, right, positioning has to be nailed down for this to work. And if you're making three to 5k, your positioning might not be completely on, you might not have the right pricing, you might not have the right USPS. Right. If, and if you figure out, for instance, Facebook ads at that point, well, you know, figuring out Facebook ads usually means that you figured out your positioning, because it did go hand in hand. So I don't think it would be the first problem I tackled being in that range. But I really recommend that if you see the opportunity of someone just liking one of your posts on Instagram, and then you end up sliding into their DMS and saying, hey, you know, you want to collaborate, we'll send you some free product, like, go ahead, right, just just tinker with it. And then you might end up with an ambassador, that's, you know, we've talked with, we've talked with, we've talked with ecommerce brands, I had, like one ambassador that was driving, you know, that was driving like 100k a year or so. And that was like, essentially, half of their their revenues. And I was one single ambassador. So you know, it really it really like Don't miss an opportunity, because you don't think you're at that stage yet. But don't think about scaling that channel aggressively at the start.
Andy Splichal 27:08
David Morneau 27:08
Does that make sense? Did I answer your question?
Andy Splichal 27:10
Yeah, absolutely. That's a great answer. And a really good tip. Now, finally, how can an interested listener whether they're perfect or not for you learn more about working with you and your agency?
David Morneau 27:22
Yeah. So inBeat.agency, you can just you know, go to the website, book a call right there and probably going to be ended up talking to me. So, yeah, that's where they can find me or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send me a message on LinkedIn at David Morneau.
Andy Splichal 27:44
Great. Well, thanks for joining us today, David.
David Morneau 27:47
Well, thank you, Andy, for having me. Great talking with you.
Andy Splichal 27:50
Well, that's it for today. Remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave us an honest review. If you're looking for more information regarding David or his agency inBeat agency, you will find the links below in the show notes. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business using Google paid ads, request to join the Make Each click count Facebook group I've been releasing some brand new free live training some more will be happening soon. In the meantime, remember to stay safe keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.