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Audience Retention for Influencers

Sam Couch
5 min read
TL;DR ::
The days of influencers solely relying on platforms for distribution is long gone. It's time to invest in owned channels for a sustained, long-term approach to operating as a business and influencer. The same tools that have helped traditional businesses scale from 5-figures to 6-figures in monthly revenue are available to influencers and open up an abundance of growth opportunities. Email marketing is a great channel to tap in to and start investing in today.

If you've been successful at growing your audience on social media platforms, chances are that you understand your power as an influencer. Marketing to your audiences across social media platforms can help businesses extend their scope, enhance brand awareness, and find new leads. Additionally, it allows you to build your own brand and sell products.

Research shows that 51% of people have made purchases after seeing their favorite influencers use products. That explains why interest in influencer marketing has skyrocketed 90x in less than a decade.

From small family-owned businesses to international brands, everyone wants to work with influencers.

And while it sounds like a lot of fun, you have to develop new and better ways to give your partnering businesses what they want, distribution. As an influencer, your job is to create content that aligns with your brand, audience, and sponsor partners. But then you are at the mercy of various platforms to distribute that content to your audience.

The idea that you have no ownership in the distribution is problematic because your income, everything from merch sales to sponsorships, is directly tied to systems with minimal control. The same solution that has allowed traditional consumer products to grow from 5-figures to 6-figures monthly revenue is also available to influencers, email!

Email addresses are a valuable commodity. Why do you think fashion companies offer you a percentage discount on your first purchase if you sign up for their newsletter? It allows a direct line of communication to an audience. It enables you to build a strong retention strategy for long-term value both for content distribution and product sales.

Here are a few reasons why building an email list is essential and worth the investment as an influencer:

Social Media Can Only Do So Much

Relying on social media platforms solely for your follower growth and engagement is not enough. These platforms have specific rules that they want for their community. Recently, the trend of "shadow banning" has also increased. It refers to the act of banning your content from distribution sections and limiting your visibility. Instagram often does this if a user is detected using a hashtag that is forbidden or posting content that doesn't align with their guidelines. In this case, email campaigns can be used for additional distribution and ensure that your audience sees your content.

Email Provides Scalability Beyond Social Media

An efficient email list also gives you the chance to interact with your audience and tell them about new products or launches without producing any extra content, like Instagram IGTV videos, YouTube vlogs, or TikTok videos. Additionally, your email following has a longer lifespan than a social media following. You might have a following of 50,000 people. Still, if only 500 of them are active and engaging, your large following is rendered to have a virtually small reach. The problem of reach and engagement may be due to several reasons. For starters, your followers might not be interested in your content anymore (aged out, for example), or the platform algorithms may favor different content now. A second situation is if your primary content changes platforms and your audience doesn't also move. For example, when Ninja and Shroud moved platforms from Twitch to Mixer, only about 33% of their respective audiences moved with them. But your products aren't necessarily tied to your content, people may still be interested in purchasing even without being a continued viewer. For example, Gymshark or Emma Chamberlain's coffee products likely have many customers who no longer consume the original influencer's content. Owning a distribution channel that allows you to inform your audience about new products and sponsorship partners without discovering your content provides enormous upside potential.

Overcrowding on the timeline is also a real issue. To reach your entire audience, you may have to launch an elaborate campaign, including several posts on different platforms. And while this can be effective, it doesn't guarantee that your entire fan base will see the posts.

So how do you make sure that your audience is aware of any new merchandise, flash sale, or inventory re-stock?

Emails targeted at the right segments of your audience can be beneficial. And ultimately, email gives you the control necessary to send these types of targeted messages. Even if users aren't opening your emails immediately, you can create an email series to win back unengaged members of your community with new strategies. While you may fear sending too many emails or appearing spammy, your email strategy can be heavily driven by data to ensure that users aren't overwhelmed.

Emails Are The Best Way To Reach Your Loyal Fans

New content and collaborations are a great way to make new people aware of you, but how do you keep them engaged and informed of new content? Your social media posts are for all your followers, regardless of their age or location. Email campaigns allow you to segment your audience based on demographic, gender, age, or any other metric so you can speak directly to their needs and interests.

The flexibility is beneficial for brands and influencers with a wide range of products catering to different market segments. And as an influencer, this allows you more freedom and creativity to explore and test other products and content that may differ from what you typically do.

You can also separate your loyal fans and customers from new fans with the right email marketing strategy. This can help create specifically curated referral programs like VIP discounts, behind-the-scenes look, etc. Your most loyal fans are also likely your highest valued customer. Any brand or influencer needs to look at your audience's lifetime value and optimize for the highest ROI (measured both in content engagement and dollars spent). Targeted emails at this core group can make a lasting impact on your brand and ultimately drive higher retention with your content and products. Whether you have your own products or are working with other brands to promote their products, focussing on your audience retention is a strategy for long-term value.

A Chance For More Sponsored Engagement With Brands

The reason brands reach out to influencers with a large following is because they want their product to reach a wider audience. Not only that, but influencers can change people's opinions on products, and 40% of people are more confident about a purchase if an influencer recommends it.

However, while brands trust and understand the value of influencer reach, they want to ensure that their products are actively reaching people and driving measurable results (clicks, purchases, etc.). So if you have an active email list to tap into, it can become a lucrative part of your marketing or partnership package for brand sponsorships. For companies, specifically curated emails and CTA's asking audience to "watch now" or "buy now," instead of a generic "link in bio" or link in a YouTube video description can generate better results for the sponsor and provide additional leverage for larger deals.