How to Create a Scalable Influencer Marketing Machine

Influencer marketing is set to grow to over $10 billion dollars by 2020 (Credit: Mediakix). Almost half of all consumers (49%) rely on influencer recommendations when making a purchasing decision (Source: Digital Marketing Institute). As paid advertising options are tuned out more and more by consumers, influencer marketing offers an alternative for brands looking for honest communication with their potential customers.

However, as the promise of influencer marketing grows, so does the question of how to execute these types of campaigns. How can a marketer create a sustainable system for their influencer marketing program?

Most Shopify marketers will not have dedicated time or staff to build up this effort, so automation is key. Influencer marketing should work on a continual loop, where each effort leads into the next and the next, repeating all along the way to fuel the impact of each campaign.

Step 1: Find Your Influencers

Finding influencers can be one of the biggest initial hurdles for marketers looking to kick-start their influencer marketing campaigns. You’ll need a steady stream of influencers in order to create a sustainable system.

There are a few ways to find influencers: 

Search by Geotags to find Local Influencers

If you operate a retail location or are looking to build foot traffic to a specific brand or business, then local influencers are the best option to get the word out.

Searching by location on Instagram will reveal all the people posting in your area. Taking a moment or two to filter through the content can help you find influencers that share your aesthetic, post about similar topics, or are visiting similar restaurants/stores/venues near your brand. You may even want to search by your competitors’ locations to see if influencers are visiting them.

Follow the Hashtags

Hashtags are the easiest way to find influencers that share interests with your brand. On Instagram, you can follow hashtags that overlap with your niche, to find great content. When you see an image that aligns well with your brand, you can view the profile and see if that person might be a good fit. Remember, it’s important to check not only following, but also engagement rate before working with an influencer. Higher engagement is the true metric for determining how many people will actually see the post, not their following. Following hashtags can also help reveal trends within your category, as well as finding like-minded influencers.

Browse Your Tags and Mentions

If you have a healthy following on Instagram, then you probably already have user-generated content. Tapping through your tags and mentions can help you find influencers that are already interacting with your brand. If someone has a sizeable following and had plenty of engagement on their mention of your brand, then you may want to reach out to see if there are ways you can partner in the future.

Let Carro do the Hard Work

Carro is the free Shopify app that discovers the influencers who already love your brand. Install the app, connect your data sources, and watch as Carro reveals influencers that already know you and your products. Find out how they are connected to your brand, and what their engagement score is, all within the Carro Dashboard.

Carro is the quickest way to find a group of influencers to start working with.

Step 2: Influencer Communications

Once you have a list of influencers, you’ll need to start inviting them to work with your brand. Mail merges, email automation, and the use of templates can all help you streamline this process and communicate with ease.

Depending on your industry, you can expect an average open rate on your cold emails of 15.22% to 28.46% (Source: Propeller CRM). That means you’ll have to send 100 messages to get up to 28 people to actually read.

The anatomy of a great outreach email: 

  1. Introduce yourself and your brand. 
  2. Add a compliment for their content. (Remember, you are emailing them because you like their content and want to work with them. Let them know!)
  3. Instructions for beginning the collaboration (It can be as simple as saying “Reply to this email if you’re interested!” but you should always include an action step for the influencer to keep the conversation moving.)
  4. Sign the email with your name, company name, and your job title so that the influencer knows who contacted them.
  5. You must, must, must have a good subject line! Be sure to A/B test a few options when first starting out, and try to use subject lines that entice influencers to open that message! 35% of your recipients will open based solely on the subject line (Source: Propeller CRM). 

Some tips for email outreach: 

  • Use their name if it is available, but don’t use their username. Influencers want to know that you put in the effort to get to know their profile before reaching out. Nothing says “form letter” like “Hi @Username.” Better to use a generic greeting like “Hi there” than to risk them tuning out because you used an auto-filled username in your email.
  • Keep your general email template customizable with dynamic fields. This will save a huge amount of work as you send out emails to your influencers. Design each email with quick customization in mind.

Step 3: Send Products and Let Influencers Create Content

Once influencers have agreed to work with you, you need to get your product into their hands. Carro has a simple and effective system for sending out products through our Product Requests feature. Influencers can submit product requests, then brands can review and approve them. Carro creates an order through Shopify to be fulfilled through your brand’s normal process.

If you’re doing influencer gifting the old-fashioned way, you’ll need a spreadsheet to track when each influencer got their products and you’ll have to manually enter all of the orders into Shopify.

When the influencers receive your products, they can get to work doing what they do best. At the heart of it, influencers are content creators. Allowing them the freedom to create can result in amazing videos, reviews, pictures, and promotions that your brand may have never thought of before.

Asking an influencer to use your branded hashtag or to mention your brand’s Instagram can help you see the content as soon as it’s published.

Step 4: Measuring Success of Influencer Campaigns

You’ll need to have a system in place to easily track your influencer campaigns. Your measurement for success will differ, depending on the goals you have for your influencer program.

  • If your goal is brand awareness, engagement on the influencer’s post is the key metric of success.
  • If your goal is conversion, you can have the influencer mention a coupon code or use a unique link to track how many purchases they referred to your site.
  • If you are just starting out with Instagram, you can track the general success of your influencers by seeing if Instagram improves as a channel. You can view these metrics within the Shopify dashboard or by checking the Acquisition module within Google Analytics.

Step 5: Repeat!

The #1 factor for success with influencer marketing is the ability to create a cycle that continues to grow your online mentions and your own following continually, rather than relying on clusters of mentions with long gaps in between. Continuing to get products into the hands of influencers and spreading the word about your product is essential to the growth of your brand.

As you find a pool of influencers, set a weekly or monthly goal for how many influencers you would like to work with and reach out to them with that goal in mind. You should always be building your list of influencers through any of the tactics listed in Step 1. Carro automates this process entirely and sends you an email notification when new influencers are found.

Each week, you’ll also want to send emails to your influencer pool, inviting them to collaborate. Doing email outreach on a regular basis will ensure that you always have influencer mentions and promotions trickling in for your brand, at a steady pace. 

Carro is a free Shopify app that can streamline this process. From Quick Invites for email outreach to Product Requests for influencer gifting, Carro has improved each step, so that your brand doesn’t have to struggle through influencer marketing. Instead, Carro lets you grow your influencer marketing machine with just a few clicks.

Sarah Donawerth is the content manager for GoVyrl, Inc., the company behind Carro. Whether you’re a new brand or a well-established store on Shopify, we can help you find and understand the influencers that already love your brand. Visit for more information.