Over the last few months, our Trust series of blog posts has focused on the difficulties of marketing in a trustless environment and the resulting importance of focusing your marketing efforts on sources consumers find credible and trustworthy, such as health influencers.
In this final post of the series, we take a look at how healthy brands can build a relationship with these trusted health influencers and earn a coveted face-to-face brand recommendation to their target consumer.
It’s important to note that while the keys below have been critical success factors for virtually all of the face-to-face, influencer-to-consumer programs and platforms we’ve built for clients over the past 18 years, there is no magic formula for success. Effective health influencer marketing requires understanding not just which health influencers are critical to your brand, but also the best strategy for engaging those influencers, including the right mix of messaging, outreach, and communication.
But for those marketers just starting down the path of talking to health influencers and encouraging them to share their brand with patients and clients, these three keys are vital:
1. Don’t Be One and Done:
Far too often these days, marketers “pilot” programs at a small scale, hope to measure some form of success, and then move on to the next tactic if results from this modest investment of time and dollars don’t deliver oversized results. Frankly, this approach is guaranteed to fail with health influencers. These dedicated professionals are eager to engage with and support healthy brands that are committed to providing them with outstanding products and resources that improve the health & wellness of their patients and clients. But, they’ve seen “one and done” before and are naturally skeptical. Demonstrate your commitment to meeting their needs by emphasizing frequency of communication. Recognize that developing a relationship of trust and credibility with health influencers—a relationship that will deliver branded recommendations—is a process, one that involves ongoing engagement.
2. Educate First, Promote Second:
Just as health influencers are skeptical of brands that make a big splash never to be heard from again, these professionals are also wary of brands that make bold but weakly substantiated claims or bombard them with promotional messages better suited to consumer-focused channels. Market your brand responsibly to health influencers and you will see results. Focus on adding value to their interactions with patients and clients through educational materials, product samples, and coupons. And don’t forget that the influencer needs education about your brand and need-state as well. Year after year, our research with PulseConnect influencers shows that familiarity with a brand and depth of product knowledge are directly correlated to willingness to recommend.
3. Make Your Outreach a Two-Way Street:
One of the key reasons health influencers raise their hand and opt-in to PulseConnect to receive branded materials is the opportunity it provides to keep abreast of what is happening in the industry as well as the voice it provides them with manufacturers. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage health influencers in a two-way conversation about your brand. Solicit feedback about your product and programs, ask influencers for insights on upcoming innovations, and inquire about how your brand can better meet the needs of their patients and clients.
These three keys have been guiding principles for us as we’ve developed and executed hundreds of influencer-to-consumer marketing programs for healthy brands. The most successful programs have stuck to these core principles and developed into ongoing platforms that deliver significant value for the sponsoring brands.
Throughout this series, we’ve talked about the evolution of trust in the marketing world, as well as the desire of consumers to get valuable information and guidance from key trusted sources. At the end of the day, however, consumers and influencers alike want to support brands that share their values. Health influencer-to-consumer marketing, when well designed and executed, can be an invaluable way for healthy brands not just to communicate about their values to influencers and consumers, but to live those values.