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What E-Commerce And Marketing Growth Strategist Chris Orzechowski Looks For When Choosing Influencer Partners

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What ECommerce And Marketing Growth Strategist Chris Orzechowski Looks For When Choosing Influencer Partners

Chris Orzechowski found his passion in helping brands grow through e-commerce and marketing strategies. After beginning his career as a public school teacher, Orzechowski pivoted into copywriting and eventually formed his own email marketing agency catering to brands looking to boost acquisition.

Having generated over $120 million in revenue for clients through comprehensive e-commerce growth plans, Orzechowski has established himself as a highly sought-after expert. His proficiency extends across email, advertising, influencers and affiliates – all targeted areas brands leverage to drive online sales.

The seasoned strategist explains his motivation behind launching 100 Year Brand, stating “I kept reading these stories about these heritage American brands that have been around for 100, 150 years, 200 years. And I thought to myself, there’s probably brands that are starting right now that will be around 100, 200 years from now, and it’ll be really cool to help, you know, some of them get their start.”

Intrigued by companies building with long-term, generational visions rather than seeking quick exits, Orzechowski spotlights key differences in their business mentalities. “There’s a lot of people out there who ‘ll start a company and they’re trying to blitz scale and exit in 18 months and they hey, that’s totally cool. You know, there’s nothing wrong with that,” he clarifies. “But it’s a different mindset than the company who’s building to, you know, that’s going to be passed down from generation to generation.”

Orzechowski views influencers as “the new magazines,” emerging as leaders and tastemakers that respective tribes look to for recommendations. He explains, “when someone else is endorsing it, they’re like, oh, okay, well, this person that I really like and follow every day, they use this product. Okay, maybe I should give it a shot too.” This transfer of trust accelerates sales.

What ECommerce And Marketing Growth Strategist Chris Orzechowski Looks For When Choosing Influencer Partners

Tapping into Latent Influencer and Brand Advocates

Orzechowski harnesses the influencer potential already present among a brand’s existing customer base. He explains, “If you have a decent sized email list, there are people there who are themselves influencers” – boasting anywhere from 5,000 to over 100,000 followers. Identifying these invested micro and macro influencers transforms them into valuable marketing assets.

Some activation tactics include email contests for user-generated content and affiliate sign-ups. By securing rights to featured submissions and creative, brands can incorporate fan spotlights into paid advertising to attract fresh customers. Orzechowski details the multilayered benefits: “We get a bit of a boost from the influencers posting the UGC to their own account themselves. And hopefully we can monetize those through the affiliate relationship. But then we also get the asset of the advertisement that we could use to then acquire our own customers.”

For client Perennial Pastures Ranch specifically, influencers boosted direct sales and email list growth simultaneously. Even when first-time traffic didn’t immediately convert, retargeting efforts remained possible across ads, organic posts, email and beyond. Orzechowski summarizes the chain reaction simply: “Every single time they’re driving traffic to the site, they’re either buying, they’re either opting in or they’re getting pixeled. There are three things that can happen. And either one of those, no matter which one of those three things happens, we have another opportunity to remarket to them.”

What to look for with potential creator partners

When exploring influencer partnerships, Orzechowski weighs congruency and trust above vanity metrics. He explains, “if you have high [congruence] with that influencer and there’s someone who uses those types of products and has built that trust and has demonstrated success with other campaigns, then usually it’s a good idea to partner with those people.” Regardless of following size, the top 20% of brand advocates will drive 80% of sales.

Rather than one-time payments, Orzechowski incentivizes through affiliate commissions, aligning incentives for mutually beneficial outcomes. “If I own a brand and I want to sell a lot of products and this person owns a following and they want to make a lot of commission, then we’ve been married. Those two things, then usually it leads to a pretty good result,” he illustrates. This performance-based approach empowers influencers to maximize earnings in tandem with the brand’s growth.

When activations incorporate dedicated links and promo codes, revenues trace back to precise partnership sources. Email marketing platforms like Sendlane and Klayvio integrate crucial sales and engagement data as well. For maximum transparency, Orzechowski says, “I like just kind of setting everyone up with their own unique tracking and then having that ability to just, you know, look at the data and say, who’s driving sales and where are they coming from?”

But successful influencers offer more than transient traffic and sales. Orzechowski coaches brands to fully capitalize on their skills and existing creative. “A lot of times, people who have grown an organic following on their own tend to be pretty good on camera, right? They tend to be pretty good at social media. So like, you don’t need to necessarily go out and hire a professional actor or a spokesperson.”

Instead, brands can repurpose user-generated content into owned advertising assets. Especially as creators produce ongoing merchandise and tutorial videos, this bank of authentic social proof compounds over time. For cost-efficiency and continuity, Orzechowski spotlights this internal sourcing approach.

Once identified as top-tier partners, brands can further strengthen relationships through VIP treatment, exclusive product access or insider content sharing. Special recognition through digital badges and leaderboards also inspires ongoing participation across the affiliate community.

Insights into what’s next for the Creator Economy

Orzechowski sees no signs of the creator economy slowing down anytime soon. He explains, “People are addicted to social media, and they love following the people. They love following. It’s where people form bonds with influencers and love the content they get from them.” This emotional connection and trust simply aren’t cultivated through traditional channels.

As more monetization tools and incentives emerge, like performance-based affiliate structures, incomes and participation rates will only climb. Orzechowski notes, “Now it’s only getting easier” for creators to build businesses around content.

For brands debating marketing spend across platforms and channels, Orzechowski distills decisions down to return on ad spend (ROAS). “You have to think like a capital allocator and think, I have money that I’ve made from sales. How do I multiply this and turn it into more money? You could pay Facebook or pay Twitter. If you pay Google or YouTube, you could also pay influencers. But you think, where am I going to get the best rate return on my capital?”

Rather than chasing trends or vanity metrics, this straightforward framework optimizes budget for profitable and sustainable growth. And with creator content only becoming more embedded into consumer habits, their authentic voices will likely continue driving returns across ecommerce.

Nii A. Ahene

Nii A. Ahene is the founder and managing director of Net Influencer, a website dedicated to offering insights into the influencer marketing industry. Together with its newsletter, Influencer Weekly, Net Influencer provides news, commentary, and analysis of the events shaping the creator and influencer marketing space. Through interviews with startups, influencers, brands, and platforms, Nii and his team explore how influencer marketing is being effectively used to benefit businesses and personal brands alike.

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