Influencer Marketing Guide for D2C eCommerce Startups

Rachel Smith
Communications Executive
December 14, 2021
5
min read

Newsflash: The influencer marketing industry is on its way to becoming a $13.8 billion industry in 2021, but you probably already knew that given its skyrocketing popularity! With influencers becoming such an essential part of marketing, brands are gearing up to spend around $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022.

But if you thought that only traditional large brands could afford to play this game, you're wrong. Many new-age D2C brands and startups find influencer marketing to be one of the best ways to not only launch their brand, product, or service but also as the most effective marketing strategy. The main reason for this is because influencer marketing gives D2C startups easy access to their target audience while driving brand awareness and sales. In fact, influencer marketing is the answer to several pain points and challenges that D2C startups face.

Challenges of D2C eCommerce Startups That Influencer Marketing Can Help With


  1. Finding and Retaining the Right Customers
  2. A major challenge faced by new D2C businesses is attracting and retaining the customers and buyers. Most D2C brands face a high level of competition from similar brands offering similar products with massive discounts and offers year round. To gain the attention of your target market a new D2C brand has become difficult, and that’s where influencers can prove to be a blessing.

    By collaborating with the right influencer, you can gain customers for your brand for a fraction of the marketing cost it would take to attract the same number of customers otherwise. Influencers have a loyal follower base who look out for what brands that particular influencer endorses. This is how an influencer can help in engaging masses and significantly reduces cost as compared to other marketing channels.

  3. Building Credibility and Trust
  4. Influencer marketing can also help D2C brands garner maximum customer engagement and insights - almost at par with traditional retail brands. Customers are more comfortable ordering off of eCommerce platforms over a new D2C brand directly when it comes to credibility. They trust their orders to reach them ideally through a well set up distribution channel. D2C eCommerce influencer marketing is very useful in addressing the challenge of building credibility and trust with the customers by leveraging the impact that an influencer has on their audience. This helps attract and retain customers as influencers have the built-in eyeballs that D2C brands need to ramp up in the initial stage.

What is Influencer Marketing & Why it Works Well for D2C eCommerce Startups?

Influencer marketing happens when a brand collaborates with social media influencers to promote a product or a service. It is the new way of word-of-mouth marketing where like-minded audiences look up to an influencer for product recommendations. An influencer's opinion highly affects the purchase decisions of their followers, which is why creating quality content for maximum engagement through strategic influencer marketing tools has become the key to successful influencer marketing.

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How Can Influencer Marketing Help D2C eCommerce Startups and Small Businesses?

With businesses earning $5.20 for every dollar spent, it is no surprise why more and more startups are turning to influencer marketing to take their brand to the next level.

Influencer marketing for D2C brands help in -

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Boosting sales
  • Creating legitimate content across social media
  • Gaining a dedicated audience
  • Driving engagement
  • Improving ROI

Types of Influencers

Influencers are typically categorized according to the number of followers they have.

  1. Nano Influencers: With 1000-10,000 followers, nano influencers maintain a tightly knit group that engages with them often. These influencers find a niche and nurture their online community and hence are suitable for driving sales of D2C brands.
  2. Micro Influencers: They typically have 10,000-100,000 followers. Micro influencers are perfect for investing with as they deliver quality over quantity, and their followers trust them enough to get product recommendations.
  3. Macro Influencers: Bordering on celebrity status, macro influencers have 100,000-1,000,000 followers. They might fit into the budget if you have a well-funded startup and want to introduce your brand to the masses while creating a social media buzz.
  4. Celebrity (or Mega) Influencers: They have over 1,000,000 followers, and partnering with them to promote your brand can be considered a form of celebrity endorsement. While these influencers' engagement rates may be high, they sure can create the desired noise for any startup brand.
  5. Brand Ambassadors: A company essentially signs a brand ambassador to be the 'face' of their brand for long-term promotion. A brand ambassador can be an influencer due to their high fan following, but every influencer is not a brand ambassador.

Social Channels for D2C eCommerce Influencer Marketing

Marketing is headed the digital way, and influencers have built their communities through popular social media channels:


  1. Instagram
  2. Believe it or not, Instagram was involved in 96% of all influencer marketing campaigns in 2020! Recently, Instagram influencer marketing has added many favorable features like shoppable ads, images, stories, reels, and lives.

  3. Facebook
  4. Facebook's popularity nowadays is credited to the older audience aged 35 and above. But because Facebook owns Instagram, Facebook influencer marketing can be leveraged by influencers to conduct cross-channel campaigns.

  5. YouTube
  6. YouTube influencer marketing is famous for longer video formats like travel vlogs, cooking vlogs, tech product reviews, etc. The new stories feature allows posting short-form videos as well.

  7. TikTok
  8. If you want to reach out to the younger audience, then you've got to get TikTokers on board. TikTok influencer marketing campaigns tend to be more casual and light-hearted, such as duets and challenges using short videos.

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How to Start (and Nail) Influencer Marketing Campaign for D2C Startups?

Influencer marketing for D2C brands doesn't have to be difficult if you've got your plan chalked out to perfection.

  1. Find Out Which Social Channels Work for You
  2. If your brand is not already on social media, then it's time to get on board with one that has a target audience relevant to your industry. Then start exploring different influencers that may work for your brand and marketing goal.

  3. Set Your Influencer Campaign Goals
  4. Setting goals is the first step in bridging the gap between where you are right now and where you see yourself in the near future. Being a startup, your goal could be brand awareness, higher web traffic, or sales.

  5. Decide Your Influencer Marketing Budget
  6. If you are just starting with influencer marketing, it is better to experiment with a smaller budget and micro influencers instead of going all out. Run A/B tests through influencer marketing platforms for small businesses and see what works for you.

  7. Discover the Right Influencers for Your Campaign
  8. Today, we have smart influencer marketing platforms available at our disposal to find influencers who have well-engaged followers in your target audience demographic.

  9. Analyze Influencers
  10. An influencer may have a high follower count, but evaluate how many of them are genuine and fall in your target audience demographics. Analyze influencers based on their content, other brands associated with them, engagement rate, etc.

  11. Reach Out to Your Target Influencers
  12. Once you have shortlisted the influencers you want to work with, reach out to them via emails or DMs. Offer them to test your product first and then recruit them for your influencer marketing campaign.

  13. Build Influencer Campaigns for Your Brand
  14. Depending on your goal and target audience, you can build various types of campaigns:

    • Giveaways - The influencer announces a giveaway alert requesting likes, comments, and shares to drive traffic to your brand's social page or website.
    • Affiliate campaigns - The influencer receives a commission for each sale that happens through them.
    • Sponsored campaigns - This involves paid social media posts that the influencers create solely to promote your product or service.
  15. Track and Measure the Performance of Your Influencer Campaigns
  16. With limited resources, influencer marketing for D2C startups needs to be tracked closely to ensure good ROI. Incorporate critical metrics like reach, impressions, clicks, conversions, revenue, and price per ticket to measure influencer campaign ROI.

How Can Affable.ai - An Influencer Marketing Platform Help D2C eCommerce Startups & New Businesses?

Looking into the above steps can be overwhelming for D2C businesses, and reaching out to influencers manually can be even more time-consuming. If you do find the right influencers, it is very important to recognize the genuineness of the influencers as many of them can have fake followers, and as a new business, it is crucial that you get this spot on. Managing the relationship with all influencers and accurately measuring the influencer marketing campaign's ROI can be grueling.

Enter Affable.ai – an automated influencer marketing platform that helps you find relevant influencers, reach out to them quickly, manage campaigns, and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Affable.ai's end-to-end influencer marketing tool can help you streamline all the processes in one place, right from the pre-campaign phase to measuring the ROI of the influencer campaigns. It is the ultimate solution that addresses the challenges that new D2C businesses face. So, request a demo and see how Affable.ai is perfect for your D2C brand.

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