Is Your Influencer Marketing Budget Is Being Put To Good Use?

2024 has been a year of tightened budgets. Every penny is expected to work hard, especially in marketing, which means that analytics and tracking metrics are more important than ever. However, there’s one key area in which the value of analytics programmes is limited – influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has been big business for years now. Getting your product promoted by the latest YouTube or TikTok star holds the potential to dramatically boost your sales, to the point that Statista predicts that the industry will reach a value of $24 billion by the end of this year. The difficulty is that the industry is now so diverse that it can be hard to know if you’ve chosen the right influencers to work with, and even harder to track your return on investment.

Expensive influencer management tools or a dedicated in-house coding team have typically been the only options for businesses looking to gain true insights about their influencer performance. But tech has changed significantly in the last year or two, making sophisticated new solutions like plug-and-play referral software available to businesses of all sizes, opening the true potential of influencer outreach and management to businesses of all levels.

The Value And Limitations Of Influencer Marketing

Like any form of marketing, working with influencers has its pros and cons. On the plus side, if the process is properly managed, influencers can get your products or services in front of thousands of potential customers who trust the influencer’s opinion. This can increase visibility for your brand, broaden your customer base, and build public trust and brand reputation. But if poorly managed, influencer marketing can be a waste of money at best, and damage your brand at worst, by using strategies that go against your brand ethics. This is why having a tight rein on your influencer marketing is so important. But how can you do that, if you lack the technical expertise, or the budget to invest in costly tools?

No-Code, Low-Cost Influencer Campaign Management

A common mistake made about working with influencers is that it’s a standalone, niche marketing effort. And because it’s viewed as separate, it’s treated as such, leaving small businesses reaching out to PR agencies to manage what could be a simple in-house process. But when you come down to it, working with influencers isn’t hugely different to running a referral programme and you can use the same plug-and-play SaaS platforms to manage the process.

To make a success of any influencer marketing, it’s essential that you can monitor its progress. But rather than looking at how many clicks, how many visits, how many leads each influencer campaign brings, what you need to focus on is how many leads convert into sales. To do that, all you need to do is build a no-code referral programme (you can use code if you want to, but no code is easier!).

By connecting every lead to an influencer through a unique link specific to each person you’re working with, the referral programme enables you to follow individual referral journeys and track the true value that each influencer brings back to your business. If something is working, you monitor the strategy deployed and use that influencer again. If the reverse is true, you again monitor to find out why. And then you redeploy your budget away from the influencer in question. Maximising the return on your investment, and reducing waste.

And when you manage your influencer programme in-house, you have the added advantage of being able to hand-pick the people you work with. Giving you the power to better maintain your brand and target your desired audience.

How Can You Enhance The Success Of Your Influencer Programme?

Working with influencers can be its own reward. Simply having your products promoted by someone with a massive follower base can be enough for some brands, but if you want to optimise the process, there are some strategies you can use.

Just as you would with referral marketing, combining influencer marketing with special offers – coupon codes, giveaways, free gifts – can be an easy way to hook new customers in. But this process carries extra weight than when used alone because it is supported by the endorsement of the influencer.

If you’re working on a tight budget, sponsored posts can be a cheaper form of influencer marketing. And by paying an influencer to host content you’ve created yourself, you can be certain that you’ve got the tone and messaging just how you want it.

Alternatively, content campaigns optimise the skills and experience an influencer has, and their understanding of their audience. You can work with them either on their channel, or invite them for a ‘brand takeover’, for a collaboration on your business’ social media platforms.

Influencer marketing isn’t new for the big, high-profile brands – they’ve been working with celebrities for decades and with social media influencers since the phenomenon took hold. But for smaller brands, it’s remained not quite out of reach. The opportunity was there, but accessing the full potential was often too costly. With plug-and-play referral software, that need no longer be the case.


Kirsty Sharman is a referral marketing expert and founder of Referral Factory, which provides easy-to-use, plug-and-play referral software to help businesses of all kinds build, launch, and manage referral programs.