hether you're an emerging brand or a 100 year old manufacturer, if you're launching a new product, you have to put in the work to learn about your target customer and how to market to them before making significant investments in your marketing spend. Think of it this way — you have a certain number of audiences who may or may not be interested in your product. Your new product may also have 2 to 5 benefits or market differentiators. This micro-influencer testing exercise will help you figure out which benefits will resonate with which audiences.
Micro-influencers provide fantastic grounds for testing given they cost significantly less than macro or mega influencers. Before investing in a larger influencer and signing onto a 6-12 month relationship with someone of that size, you should be highly confident that they're the right fit for your brand and you have as much knowledge about your customer before doing so.
Not only does this micro-influencer testing framework provide the foundation to expand your broader influencer strategy, it also provides insights for your brand voice, messaging, and paid media strategy. Once you glean insights form this campaign, there are a number of possible next steps. You can launch a larger-scale influencer campaign, you can put ad spend behind the winning creative, you can hire a macro-influencer, or you can run further tests to continue drilling down on product-market fit.
In this experiment, you will be testing to learn the following:
1. Who is my target audience — both demographics and psychographics
2. Which of my unique selling points (USPs) resonate the best with my target audience
3. What type of video will yield the best reach vs. which type of video will yield the highest sales
This framework involves leveraging 24 micro-influencers and testing different creator types and value propositions. We will explain the steps and use an example and graphics to illustrate the method.
Tee up 24 micro-influencers to post about your brand. You can find these creators using a service like Upfluence or Grin, doing it yourself through organic outreach, or a service like Crafted who will curate this list for you from our vetted network of food & beverage influencers. While the technical definition of a micro-influencer is a creator with a following of between 1k and 100k, we would recommend sticking with a range of 5k to 50k. We've found that this range provides good balance of having a meaningful audience while also keeping costs manageable.
When selecting these creators, choose 3 niches that are the most likely to be consumers of your product.
You are a premium olive oil brand that has some early data to show your consumers are upper middle class and aged 30-65. To learn more about your target audience to start to construct your customer persona or ideal customer profile (ICP), you'll break out your variables into 3 groups of micro-influencer niches that you can confidently assume will align with this brand. See below:
This type of micro-influencer documents her busy family lifestyle. Their content includes prepping lunch and dinner for the kids, funny relatable moments about motherhood, family vacations and activities and the occasional dance videos with their kids.
This type of micro-influencer shares both complex and simple recipes right from their own kitchen. They may be professionally trained or self-taught, but have attracted an engaged audience because of their mouthwatering and doable recipes.
This group is similar to the Recipe Creators, the content includes both indulgent and healthy dessert recipes, providing both instruction and inspiration for their followers to try these recipes at home.
The next unknown you'll want to test is your unique selling proposition (USP). You can do so by incorporating 2 or 3 selling points or market differentiators into the campaign.
Your premium olive oil brand boasts the highest quality and it is sustainably produced. By testing these 2 different selling points, you can get a better sense of what resonates most with certain audiences and ultimately your core target audience.
Within the first group of 8, Millennial Mom Lifestyle Creators, split them 2 ways and write 2 briefs honing in on the core USP:
"This olive oil is the best quality olive oil I've ever tasted but it's still affordable. It makes me feel like a fancy chef at home."
"This olive oil is produced using traditional methods that promote biodiversity, so I can feel good about its low impact on the planet."
You'll do the exact same thing for your group of Recipe and Baking Creators. This will give you an opportunity to not only test which USP is more compelling, but also test how each USP lands within your 3 groups.
There is an optional step before Step 3 where you can choose a last layer of what you want to test. Among the 24 posts, you can test different video styles, call to actions, products, or offers. However, we already have a lot of moving pieces in place so we'd recommend keeping it as simple as possible so it's easy to manage and measure.
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness you'll want to look at 2 things — performance of the video and conversions.
You won't be able to simply look at the highest viewership of the videos and deem those videos the winners of this experiment. Because the creators will vary in size and average engagement rate, you need to look at performance relative to their profile's average performance. We recommend using Upfluence to make note of each creator's engagement rate and average viewership. Then after 1 week of them posting, look at the engagement rate of the sponsored video. How did it perform relative to their status quo? Evaluate those deltas across all of the influencers and judge performance accordingly.
Assign each creator a promo code so you can see which creators drove the most sales. You may have a video that did not attract as many viewers as others, but drove higher sales. Measuring both video performance as well as conversions will give clues as to what kind of content will get you the most reach, and which will drive people to buy.
You got statistically significant results. Now what? Let's take a look at the results of the olive oil experiment. Winning category highlighted in green.
In this example, when marketing with the goal of building community, gaining reach, and building brand awareness, using cooking influencers and their audiences are your best tool. For the messaging of these marketing efforts, focus on the quality of the product. There are still other ways you can convey the messaging here and even continue testing — quality because of the region, quality because of the ingredients, quality because of the production process, quality relative to price, quality relative to competitors, etc.
Let's say however, that despite Recipe Creators beating out Millennial Mom Creators in terms of video viewership and engagement, the moms actually drove more purchases. This should inform your paid media and affiliate marketing strategy. Use ad creative from lifestyle creators and target audiences that are focused on parents and families; use millennial mom nano, micro, and macro influencers as affiliates.
If your results were inconclusive, you can run more tests narrowing down the variables. You can also run similar tests across paid ad campaigns and with your own original content. In this example, Quality was the clear winner for the USP. But let's say you want to test another USP – aesthetic packaging. Your next A/B test might want to pin Quality against aesthetics to learn which one is more effective.
This simple testing framework can be adapted for other testing needs if creator types and value propositions are not your priority. Here are a few other examples of things you may want to test with a micro-influencer campaign:
If for some reason you aren't able to run a test like this for influencers, you can adapt the same framework for paid media and original branded content tests.
Besides learning key insights that will inform your overall marketing strategies, there are several more benefits of leveraging micro-influencers at scale.
Putting content out there to promote your brand is a good thing, even if you don't have everything figured out yet. Having 24, 100, or even 200 people posting about your brand will only increase the awareness (and sales!) for your brand.
When running this campaign, it's important that you build licensing fees into your budget so you can leverage the best content for paid media and your website. When it comes to organic content and growing your own following, you can never have enough content, so you'll likely want to leverage all of it for organic social media presence and keep re-posting it across Instagram, TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Pinterest.
Finding quality influencers that are a match for your brand and target audience, drive sales, and are reliable is incredibly difficult. By casting a wide net in this micro-influencer campaign gives you the chance to evaluate each creator as a potential longterm partner. You'll want to use the 1 or 2 breakout creators again and again as affiliates and original content creators to continue driving positive impact for your brand.
In conclusion, launching a new product requires significant investments in marketing spend, making it important to learn about your target customer and how to market to them before taking any action. Micro-influencer testing provides a cost-effective way of understanding your target audience and determining which unique selling points will resonate with them. Through this testing framework, you can also gather insights for your brand voice, messaging, and paid media strategy. By selecting a range of 5k to 50k followers, three niches, and testing two or three selling points, you can gain a better understanding of your target audience, core USP, and their preferences. Once you have these insights, you can use them to make informed decisions on next steps, including launching a larger-scale influencer campaign, putting ad spend behind the winning creative, hiring a macro-influencer, or running further tests to continue drilling down on product-market fit.