Zero to 4,000+: How Primally Pure Grew through Influencer Marketing
Learn how Primally Pure grew their business to over 4,000 customers a month and landed a major retail partnership using nothing but influencer marketing.
If you make a great product, customers will flock to you in droves, right?
Well… not exactly.
First, you have to help them find you.
Building a great product is the foundation of a successful business. It’s 100% essential.
But it’s just the start. Getting customers to find you can be half of the battle!
Thankfully, social media and the rise of online influencers have made it easier than ever to reach niche markets and attract the right customers to your brand.
Today I’m going to show you how Primally Pure, a natural skincare company used social media and industry influencers to build their brand from 0 sales to over 4,000 a month.
Primally Pure’s Philosophy
Bethany McDaniel, the founder of Primally Pure, became interested in natural skincare products after she discovered the power of eating real, whole foods.
She looked in her bathroom cabinet and read the labels on her skincare products. Most of them were filled with toxic chemicals that were hard to pronounce. She threw them out and began formulating her own replacements.
Unlike the major brands dominating the industry, she made her products from real, recognizable ingredients that were organic and fair trade.
After testing and tweaking her personal formulas, she began to find some that were delivering better results than any of the chemical-filled big brands.
And in February 2015, Primally Pure was officially born. After connecting with a few key influencers, they were doing almost 1,000 sales a month by the end of 2016.
They kept repeating the process (which I’ll share with you today), and in November 2017 they made nearly 4,000 sales.
They aren’t slowing down, either. They recently signed a partnership with Neiman Marcus to start selling their products and have since gotten a number of other offers from major retail outlets.
The best part? There’s no secret trick to Primally Pure’s marketing. There’s no reason that you can’t follow in Bethany’s footsteps and use the same system to bring your product to market.
Bethany has said that her marketing philosophy so far has been pretty simple:
- Find like-minded influencers like bloggers who write about health or authors of cookbooks.
- Keep putting out great products.
- Reach out to influencers and offer to give them samples.
- Be a nice person.
- Profit from all of this.
Today I’m going to show you how you can implement their strategy to identify influencers and use social media to grow your business.
Why “Traditional” Marketing isn’t the Answer
The internet brought on an advertising revolution. It made many brands and entrepreneurs millionaires by offering more targeted and affordable advertising. It changed what we think of as “traditional marketing.”
The internet is still the most effective way to reach out to niche customers across the world. But old-fashion banner ads and popups simply don’t do the trick anymore.
Our minds have been conditioned to ignore these advertisements. It simply filters them out. In fact, back in 2013 Infolinks conducted a study to examine the problem.
They found that only 14% of respondents could even recall the last display ad they saw. And only 2.8% felt that it was relevant to them.
Since then, our attention span has only decreased. So it’s doubtful we’d see any improvement in that metric.
If that weren’t enough, since then, the rate at which people have been installing ad blocking tools on their browsers has skyrocketed:
This is because customers don’t want to be interrupted by advertisements when they’re trying to do something else. They don’t appreciate when brands intrude on them to say “Wait! Wait! Buy our stuff!”
That doesn’t mean they’re completely closed to advertising. It just means that advertisers need to do it more naturally and tastefully.
Instead, consumers choose brands that offer useful information, appeal to their passions, and demonstrate its principles.
How Primally Pure Uses Influencers to Reach Their Customers
Primally Pure decided early on not to rely on traditional advertising to drive eager customers to their store. Instead, they relied entirely on the power of influencers:
“We just worked with influencers. That’s all we’ve done up until pretty recently. We were already in touch with a few in the Paleo or Real Food communities through Primal Pastures.”
- Bethany McDaniel (founder)
Influencers are effective because 92% of people trust individuals over brands. And already in 2012, 22% of millennials said they turned to social media for opinions on products to buy. They’re three times more likely to use social media for this purpose than boomers are.
And the ROI is among the highest of all marketing channels.
On average, for every $1 invested in influencer marketing, businesses receive $6.50 in return. Twitter reported a 5.2x increase in purchase intent when people were exposed to content from a company and an influencer. And 70% of businesses earn $2+ for every $1 invested. The top 13% earn $20 or more.
But social media isn’t the only place where influencers can be effective. Many of them have blogs with engaged audiences.
If you Google “primally pure” and look past their own online presence, you’ll see a number of product reviews:
This goes on for pages and pages.
These kinds of reviews will not only go out to an engaged audience of readers, but they’ll also boost your search engine visibility by providing important backlinks. And that provides strong social proof whenever someone searches your brand name.
All they had to do was identify influencers and send them free product samples for review.
How to Find Niche Influencers to Work With
Of course, if you know your industry well, you may already have an idea of the key influencers. Who do you follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook? Which blogs do you read to keep up with industry trends? Who inspired you to build this business?
Write them all down on a list. That’s where you start.
Now, you’re going to expand that list.
First, visit the websites and profiles you listed out. Look at who they link to and tag in their posts.
Let’s take a look at that review we saw at the beginning of the post:
Here Vanessa mentions two other blogger friends. If they aren’t on your list already, click through to their sites and give them a once-over.
Does it look professional and updated? Does the writing match your brand? If, so add them to your list.
You can keep repeating this process for each site you add to your list.
If you don’t know many influencers to begin with, here are a few tricks to get started:
Go to Google and try different combinations of these queries:
- [niche keyword]
- [niche keyword] blog
- [niche keyword] reviews
- [niche keyword] influencer
- [niche keyword] unboxing
Then do the same on YouTube:
And don’t forget to click through and find out who else these influencers talk about too.
By now, you should have a pretty decent list.
But you’re not done.
Next, you should search on social media using tools like Twitter’s advanced search.
Unlike Google and YouTube, which sort their content by relevance and authority, Twitter is going to hit you with a flood of posts. In fact, you have over 500 million tweets a day to search through.
Sujan Patel put together this helpful guide to make the search on Twitter easier.
Now here’s where we’re at:
Hmmm, but what about Instagram?
You can certainly use a generic hashtag search to start and check the top posts:
Getting started with TRIBE is easy and creating an account is free.
Start by signing up here:
Then upload a good photo featuring your product. It helps a lot if you show it in use or with other lifestyle products that show your brand image:
Then, upload a high-resolution copy of your logo:
Next, fill out information about the products you are trying to promote. Be sure to emphasize the unique benefits it offers:
Then click next. It’s on the bottom right, so you may have to scroll down to see it:
Now put together your creative brief, including at least 3 “mood” images that represent your brand:
And select the social channels you’d like influencers to tag you with during the campaign:
Hit “Next” again and pick a target creator audience (not necessarily your customers). Often your influencers may be a part of your target customer demographic, but there can be some differences.
For example, while your customers may often be interested in travel, you don’t necessarily need your skincare products featured by travel bloggers:
Review your campaign and get ready to go!
Now you just have to submit your payment information so that TRIBE can verify that you’re able to pay creators whose posts you approve.
Creating the campaign is free. You only pay for posts that you approve after creators submit them.
Create an Affiliate Program to Motivate Influencers to Promote Your Brand.
You can take this paid influencer promotion to the next level by creating a full-fledged affiliate campaign that pays commission on sales made by influencers on your behalf.
This is a great way to sell to customers beyond your existing audience. In fact, 25% of Primally Pure’s sales now come from affiliates.
There are two main ways to set up an affiliate:
- Traffic tracking
- Promo codes
The first system is a bit more complicated and requires a third-party management platform. This way, influencers can link to your site naturally inside their content or anywhere on their sites:
You then track that user for the next 30, 60, or 90 days (whatever you agree on) and record their purchases. Influencers are paid a certain percentage of every sale their referral makes during that window.
Primally Pure implemented a strategy like this with industry bloggers:
Another method you can use is including promotional codes. The downside to this is that it’s much more obvious to the audience that the influencer is trying to sell them something.
However, it does have some strong benefits. It’s easier to set up, easier to leverage on social media, and easier to record sales with.
The influencer can also pitch it as a benefit exclusive for their followers. This provides value for followers and increases the perceived value by consumers.
“I managed to get you free 2-day shipping when you use my code JENSFRIEND!”
Shopify has a “Discounts” feature built right in. Most other online marketplaces have this feature as well:
Inside, you can create custom codes for each influencer you want to work with:
And then send them a quick email. Pitch them why your product is a great fit for their brand, offer to send them a free one, and give them a code to start promoting it if they’d like to.
Corey used a template like this:
Though the template does the bulk of the work, it’s personalized with specific examples for each influencer. He specifically lists why the influencer’s audience would benefit from his product. Then after he’s pitched why the product is awesome, he offers them a way to make money.
He covers both of the influencer’s primary objectives: provide value to their audience and make a living.
He also made it super easy to get started by handing them the code. They’re one tweet or Instagram post away from getting paid.
Launch Giveaways to Attract New Audiences
Affiliate partners don’t always have to focus on making direct sales, either. You could use them to grow your own audience with giveaways and contests.
Every month, Primally Pure partners with a brand that compliments their own. PaleoEpic is one example:
This achieves two primary marketing objectives:
- It raises brand awareness and establishes social proof by associating the brands (and positioning the brand as a prize to be sought).
- It collects email addresses and social followers for them to put in their own marketing funnel.
You can set up your own giveaways easily with a tool like Rafflecopter.
Click “New Giveaway”:
Name your prize:
(Note: With a paid subscription, you should include an image of the product you’re giving away or a lifestyle image that represents your brand.)
Then select how people can earn entries. The free version allows you to send people to your social channels and publish posts. But a paid subscription will let you collect their email addresses and create viral referral codes.
Then set your contest duration:
Click “Preview & Install”:
Then you have three ways to share your contest: embed it on a website, promote it on Facebook Fan Pages, or share a direct link.
Ideally, your partner should use all three! But don’t turn down a great affiliate just because they want to stick to one channel (email, Facebook, or a website).
Influencers Work with Your Social Media Too.
As you can imagine, these promotions are a great way to grow your own social following, which can be an important sign of social proof for many customers. It also gives you an audience to promote new products and sales to.
And promotions aren’t the only way to grow your social media using influencers. If you don’t already have a social following, you can leverage your partnerships to start growing it.
When you run promotions, ask influencers to tag your brand to send traffic your channel:
And remember that platforms like TRIBE have this built right in:
Growing your social presence with influencers is a two-way street too.
It can help you connect easier with influencers and convince them that you’re a brand worth partnering with.
If you’re following is big enough, you may not even have to pay influencers for promotion. You might be able to exchange placement instead.
You post on your channels, and they post on theirs. Everyone wins.
While Primally Pure has relied heavily on external influencers to grow their own business, they haven’t neglected their own social media:
One great way to grow your own following is to curate value. That means sharing useful and interesting content.
Remember that survey from earlier?
And you don’t always have to create unique content. Many experts say that you should follow the 30 / 60 / 10 rule. It says that roughly three out of ten posts should be your own content. Six out of ten should be from other industry experts. And one out of ten can be some type of promotion or offer.
Once you have solid content, use strong, click-worthy headlines to encourage social shares and get your content in front of more people.
And despite what a lot of marketing influencers would have you believe, social automation does work.
Narrow grows your following naturally by engaging with users who are discussing topics relevant to your brand. This ensures that you get your account in front of them.
To get started, head here to sign up:
Once inside, start adding some keywords that are relevant to your brand:
They include some good suggestions for types of words to target:
- Keyword Guide PDF
- Hashtags (the more specific, the more targeted)
- URLs and Twitter handles of competitors
- Twitter handles of influencers in the industry
- Names of popular industry blogs
- Upcoming conference names and hashtags
- Exact phrases with quotations
Keep in mind that Narrow works best with 20 to 40 active keywords.
Once you set up your keywords, Narrow will get to work analyzing all of the Twitter traffic for them.
After it’s done, it will begin engaging with them automatically by liking favoriting tweets and following users who have used those keywords.
It also gives you a total count of followers earned from that keyword and the conversion rate you receive from each engagement (follow or favorite).
Of course, this strategy will be much more effective if you keep your profile full of useful and unique content so. When users click on your profile, you want to make them interested in keeping up to date with your feed.
Having a solid product is great, but it’s only the first step in building your brand. You need to help people find it before you can expect them to buy.
The problem is that today’s consumers are bombarded with advertisements, and they’re constantly looking to avoid them.
If you want to get their attention, you have to do it more naturally. Working with influencers is an efficient way to establish trust and reputation for your brand.
Get genuine, authoritative reviews from industry leaders and encourage them to promote your brand by offering affiliate deals. Co-sponsor giveaways to provide more value to their readers in exchange for joining your audience and spreading the word to their friends.
And leverage your connections and activity to continue growing your own social media so that as your brand matures, you can introduce them to new products you develop.
What are you waiting for? Once you have the product, you just need to get it into the right hands.