Product seeding is a great strategy for brands that want to work with influencers but have a small budget.
However, product seeding comes with its challenges as it can be difficult to find the right influencers willing to create high-quality and authentic content after using your products.
Plus, distributing your products to influencers can be time-consuming and challenging.
The good news is….we will show you how to overcome these challenges below.
Expect to find:
- The meaning of product seeding.
- Several tips for running product seeding campaigns with little or no stress.
- How to use Insense's platform to create, manage, and monitor your product seeding campaigns.
Let's get to it then, shall we?
What is Product Seeding?
Product seeding, sometimes called influencer gifting, is when brands send free products to influencers or content creators.
In exchange, the influencers or creators share their experience—usually positive—of using the brand’s product on their social media channels.
Sometimes, the influencer also shares a link for their followers to buy the product at a discount.
And you know what?
Even if you're a small business on a shoestring marketing budget you can still enjoy the benefits of product seeding because:
- Gifting free products can be a cost-effective way to reach a large audience since you’re not paying the influencer for a post.
- Small businesses can use it to launch their products and start influencer marketing programs.
- It’s a great way to get product feedback.
- It can start long-term influencer partnerships.
- It puts your products in front of a large pool of loyal followers who are also potential customers.
- It helps increase brand awareness.
- It's a great way to get word-of-mouth referrals. The influencer’s loyal followers can recommend your product or service to their friends and family members.
Here's a great example:
After one month, they got a library of 300+ user generated content (UGC) assets to post on Instagram and TitkTok, like this one…
And in no time, Instagram became one of their main acquisition channels.
This comes as no surprise since many people trust product recommendations from influencers.
In fact, 21% of people who responded to a survey by HubSpot said they bought a product because an influencer posted about it.
Now, we listed earlier some challenges of product seeding work, remember?
Here are the solutions:
Step #1: The Art of Selection
Imagine this for a moment:
Company B, a high-end clothing brand, sends free samples to a micro-influencer who’s usually promoting fast fashion.
The influencer puts on the clothes and posts about it on their socials.
But the campaign flops.
No engagement. No sales. Nothing happens.
Uhmmmm…but why did this happen?
The answer is pretty straightforward: the influencer was a bad fit from the start.
First of all, their niche wasn't high-end fashion. Plus, their followers are likely to buy mostly fast-fashion items and may not relate to luxury fashion products.
This shows one thing…
Finding the right influencer or creator is important for the success of your product seeding campaign and your influencer marketing efforts in general.
Because they're more likely to enjoy your product and post a positive and authentic review about it. Plus, their followers are more likely to love and buy your product because they can relate to it.
So, when you’re choosing a micro-influencer or digital creator, ask yourself:
Does it look like your product relates to their niche? And do their followers use products like yours?
If the answer to both questions is yes, they’re perfect for your campaign.
However, the art of selection doesn’t stop at identifying them on social media; you must now follow them for a while. Moreover, note down the types of things they post, those that receive the highest engagement rate, and the types of people engaging with them.
Now, let's be honest…
The manual process can be hard and time-consuming.
Think hours scrolling through social media feeds and many hours more vetting influencers.
For example, the hashtag we used above has almost 6 million posts on Instagram alone. So going through all of them simply sounds impossible!
How to overcome this?
Insense is an influencer marketing platform with over 20k influencers and creators working in different niches.
You can use filters like languages, age ranges, social media reach, location, and ethnicity, to find influencers and creators to work with.
They can help you with authentic user generated content (UGC), post directly to their audience, or you could run whitelisted ads with their social media handles.
So, if you’re looking for the right influencer for your product seeding campaign, hop on the Insense platform right away!
Pro Tip: When running product seeding campaigns, it's advisable to stick to micro- or nano-influencers.
Because they usually have a large proportion of highly engaged followers.
Step #2: Crafting Compelling Offers
Your offer has to be irresistible to convince influencers to take part in your campaign.
One way to do this is to personalize your offer to the unique needs and style of each influencer.
To do that, pay attention to their recent posts.
Are there recent life changes? What are their interests?
For example, let's say you sell travel products.
While scrolling through the influencer's page, you discover they travel to Europe on vacation at a specific time of the year. Maybe toward Christmas.
You could send them the travel product you want them to test, alongside a universal adapter to charge their electronics and a beautiful wash bag with more travel-related and travel-size products.
This kind of stuff can convince them to say yes.
Another way to make your offer compelling is to add incentives.
This can include month-long discounts, early access to new products, the opportunity to become a brand ambassador in the future, or even commissions.
Or something as simple as a sincere handwritten note will do the trick.
Step #3: Effective Outreach Strategies
Shhhh….here's a secret:
Influencers have hundreds of reach-outs for seeding requests sitting in their inbox at any given time.
To stand out, your outreach email must be persuasive, to the point, and clear.
Here's how you achieve that:
- Keep your email short and sweet. If it’s too long, they may never get to your offer before tuning out and deleting the mail. So, focus on the important details and leave out the rest.
- Give a brief breakdown of your brand. Let them know what you do and the people who use your product.
- Appeal to their self-interest. Why should they use the product? Why did you choose them over others? How do you know their followers will love the product?
- End with a clear CTA. There should be no confusion about the next step.
Well, this email sample explains it better:
Subject: Would you like a [name of product]?
Hi [input influencers name],
My name is [Your Name] and I'm [position] of [Your Brand]. We create [name of product].
I'm reaching out because I saw [insert how you found them and why they may need your product].
I'd love to send you our [name of product]. Interested? If yes, please reply to this email with your address.
Notice we didn't mention anything about a free post or content of any kind and that was intentional.
Successful seeding campaigns are built on relationships, not quid-pro-quos.
It's advisable to send the product first, seek their feedback after they've tried it out, and then subtly suggest later if they'd mind posting about it.
You could even give them a discount code to promote to their audience.
This way, they won't feel like you're only sending the product for a post.
Plus, it can mark the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.
Additionally, it helps ensure that only influencers who had a great experience with the product post about it.
Pro Tip: You could send a list of the products you wish to use for your seeding campaign. Besides, they have a better idea of what they like and they know the type of products their followers buy.
Step #4: Shipping and Presentation
The package you put your gifts in is your opportunity to make a positive first impression.
When done correctly, the packaging can increase the chances of the influencer posting a glowing review of your product.
That's not all…
Great packaging can help influencers and their followers perceive your product as high quality, especially with the help of great unboxing videos like this one from goPure’s seeding campaign…
So, try to aim for packaging that:
- Competitors can't replicate,
- Delivers a great unboxing experience to the influencer, and
- Is difficult to throw away.
To do so, use eye-catching colors and graphics.
And consider personalizing it with their name or initials, or even the name of their pet (which you may find during research).
Simply put, do whatever you can to make the package memorable.
Before we jump to the next step, remember:
Packaging the product is one thing. But getting it to their doorstep is another big problem entirely.
Firstly, use high-quality materials for the package. This will protect the product from damage during transit.
Secondly, you can seek assistance from a fulfillment company, especially if you don't have the resources to handle the logistics yourself.
And finally, keep track of the influencers you've sent products to. Notify them when the product is on its way.
Step #5: Content Guidelines
Earlier, we said it's best to wait for some time before you subtly ask the influencer if they’re willing to post.
If they’re up for it, the question becomes…
What do you want them to post about?
Do they have sufficient knowledge of the product to make a post that's authentic and accurate?
The chances that the answer to this question is no, are very high. Besides, you know your product better than anyone else.
For this reason, sending a detailed creative brief with content guidelines is essential.
At the very least, it should give a brief explanation of your product and what it does.
Aside from that, the guidelines should also have suggestions—not hard rules—on what the influencer can use to create the content.
Because allowing flexibility gives the influencer the creative license to come up with the shout-out, which will appear more authentic.
Basically, the guidelines should suggest:
- The tone and style of the content
- Hashtags and keywords to use
Also, use the opportunity to request usage rights for the content they create.
They may ask for a small fee, which we advise you to pay, since influencer content can convince customers to buy your product.
You can use Insense’s creative brief template to build your own brief. Just input the details of your campaign and the influencers you wish to work with.
Step #6: Focus on Compliance and Transparency
It's disappointing when an influencer you reached out to suddenly ghosts you.
Or when an influencer posts the wrong information about your product, leading to legal troubles.
So, ensure every communication you have with the influencer is clear and don't leave out even the minutest of details.
You can also seek guidance from a legal professional when creating the content guidelines, especially if you're in a sensitive industry like healthcare.
Bonus Step: Propose a Long-term Relationship with the Influencers you Enjoyed Working with
Good thing about product seeding is that it’s low cost.
So, you can use it as a trial ground for influencers, before transitioning to a long-term partnership.
You can create a contract, laying out the financial remuneration they’ll receive and the duration of the partnership.
Start Your Product Seeding Campaign Today
You've now learned quite a lot about product seeding campaigns.
They’re simple and effective when you implement the right strategies.
Find the right influencer aligning with your brand, create an enticing offer, ship your product to them, and suggest some guidelines for posting.
Need help finding the right influencers and managing your product seeding campaign?
Try Insense today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some answers!
Q1. How do industry experts foresee the future evolution of product seeding and influencer marketing?
Experts strongly believe product seeding will be an avenue many businesses use to start their influencer marketing strategy.
Q2. How can I maintain the authenticity of influencer endorsements and comply with regulations?
- Always define your goals and the methods by which you’ll measure their achievement, before searching for influencers.
- Research every influencer deeply before endorsing them.
- Set clear guidelines. Always communicate with them.
- Keep track of the performance of each influencer.
Q3. Which key performance indicators (KPIs) should I track to measure the success of my product seeding campaign?
You can track performance KPIs like sales, impressions, clicks, conversions, or reach.
Overall, what KPIs you measure depends on the goal of your campaign.
For example, if it's brand awareness, you'll measure impressions and reach.
Q4. What strategies can I employ to handle influencer-brand mismatches and ensure campaign alignment?
Create and send detailed contracts and briefs before you begin collaborating with them to ensure campaign alignment.
Q5. Can you provide some real-world examples of exceptionally successful product seeding campaigns across different industries?
Here are 2 examples of successful product seeding campaigns: