Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - 24

bu s i n e s s p e r s p e cti ves What Is Influencer MarketIng? Cultivating the right relationships can help you grow in exponential ways. ross Yamashita Ross Yamashita has more than 20 years of public relations, marketing, and advertising experience for both local and national companies and brands. He owns a public relations and marketing firm in Las Vegas and is the owner and operator of Naka Apparel, a screen-printing and embroidery shop. Reach him at ross@nakaapparel.com. A s a shop owner focusing on perfecting your craft and growing your business, you don't necessarily have the time to devote to marketing. You know it needs to be done, but where do you start? Everyone talks about search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay per click, directory listings, and more. Are these the right tools for your business, or are there other ways to move the needle and grow your sales? One very effective strategy that many business owners don't take advantage of is called influencer marketing. Technically speaking, influencer marketing utilizes the influence of key leaders to direct other people to a desired action. Influencer marketing is essential to your marketing and growth strategy because it harnesses the power of leverage and authority to your advantage. This is especially important for smaller shops with no salespeople. For the most part, influencer marketing is a strategy employed by e-commerce sites where a potential buyer is looking for confirmation that they are making a wise purchasing decision. But, we're going to expand the scope a little and show you that, if done correctly, influencer marketing can quickly build your brand, leading to a dramatic increase in sales. how to Identify and target Influencers A common problem I see with marketing campaigns of screen-printing shops is they are focused on selling to the end user. This approach may bring in orders but requires a lot of time for a single sale, making it almost impossible to take your shop to the next level. It would be safe to say most screen-printing companies focus their sales efforts on businesses. But, rather than focusing on one business at a time, what if you found someone who has influence over several? By implementing an influencer marketing strategy, you take the focus off the end customer and concentrate on the people who have influence over a broad range of customers. Marketing and public relations companies, accounting firms, and business consultants have all established a trusted business relationship with their clients - one that would be very difficult for you to achieve on your own. These are the people and companies you need to target because these businesses have a direct influence over their clients - better known as your potential customers. 24 screenprinting Our shop is located in Las Vegas, a city that hosts conventions, tradeshows, and special events on a regular basis throughout the year. Convention and event organizers can be great customers to have but they can also become great influencers as well, if you're smart about it. I've actually had event organizers not only provide me with their exhibitor lists, but also directly contact exhibitors they know that may be interested in my services. One way I've found to be effective in accomplishing this is to approach the event organizer as a "media partner." Some event organizers may not use that exact term or they define it differently, but these administrators are always looking for ways to cut costs. Offer them heavily discounted, wholesale pricing for their shirts. Remember, the objective is not to make money off them. Your goal is to get the exhibitor list and establish your credibility with vendors as an official media partner. In this role, organizers are generally happy to share their experience with your company with exhibitors. Those companies may not purchase from us for the tradeshow, but we've had exhibitors contact us months later and order from us. The most lucrative influencer marketing strategies target leaders in your shop's specific niche and location. In our case, in addition to the convention and special events business, we also realized that Las Vegas is a popular place for weddings, and more importantly, bachelor and bachelorette parties. Oftentimes, the groups will get custom shirts to wear for the weekend. Just take a stroll down Las Vegas Boulevard on a Friday or Saturday night and you'll see dozens of groups wearing them. We targeted companies and services who dealt directly with the bridal party, such as wedding planners, venues, VIP hosts, limousine drivers, hotel concierges, and travel sites. There was basically zero competition because we were the first company to approach them. Our sales in this niche grew 50 percent in a short period of time, and this increase in sales was a direct result of simply establishing relationships with the right influencers. Why You need to Be Doing Influencer Marketing There are two distinct advantages to influencer marketing

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - August/September 2016

Contents
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - Cover1
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - Cover2
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - 1
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - Contents
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - 3
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - 4
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - 5
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - 6
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Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - 8
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Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - Cover3
Screen Printing - August/September 2016 - Cover4
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