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Playbook to Launch a Low-Budget Creator Program

You've heard it a thousand times: "Leverage influencers."

But if you have limited budget, how do you launch an influencer program with maximum impact?

Here are some unconventional tactics to launch a low-budget influencer program.


1. Seed Micro-Influencers with the Right Followers

The standard playbook is to collaborate with creators who have an audience that matches your brand's target demographic.

But let’s think 10x.

Collaborate with micro-influencers that have a celebrity following.

For example, if you had sent me product a few years ago when I started Marketing Examined - you could have gotten a shout out for cheap, if not free.

Even though my following was small, I was working with professional athletes as the CMO of Kollective.

So if you got me to love your product, it’s likely that you would have influenced a few NFL players as well - for a fraction of the cost.

Tactic 1: Seed influencers who are followed by the celebrities you want to reach.


2. Seed a celebrity through their inner circle

For a small brand, it’s hard to get your products directly into their hands.

So the next best approach?

Get your product samples into the celebrities inner circle.

For example, Truff sent product to Lizzo’s hairdresser and people around Machine Gun Kelly to try to get them to try the sauce without direct solicitation.

Next thing you know, Lizzo filmed a viral TikTok pouring Truff sauce onto her burrito.

Tactic 2: Get your products into the hands of people who work directly with celebrities.


3. Values Alignment > Clout

Don’t just collaborate with someone because they have a large following.

When Fiat signed Jeniffer Lopez to star in their Fiat 500 commercial, only 15,826 of an expected 50,000 were sold.

Why? No one believed that Lopez would drive a Fiat 500.

On the other hand, Phil Knight launched Nike on the back of a collaboration with the Oregon Ducks track team.

Pretty unsexy - but as a running shoe founded in Oregon, the partnership was 100% values aligned.

And it worked.

Because Values Alignment > Clout.

Tactic 3: Successful collaborations rely on a genuine match between values of the brand and personality.

So let’s put it all together to get your low budget creator program off the ground.

  1. Define your brand's core values.
  2. Brainstorm a list of celebrities that align - think big.
  3. Put your private investigator hat on.
  4. Pick the top people you want to work with.
  5. Brainstorm 10 people in their inner circle - their hairdresser, trainer, personal chef, videographer, nanny, best friends, etc.
  6. Find micro-influencers with macro-influencer followers. (Like me at Kollective)
  7. Send product to a combination of micro-influencers and people in their inner circle.
  8. Go above and beyond in the unboxing experience. You have 100% of their attention to make a wow impression.

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