A Complete Guide To Product Seeding: Benefits, Best Practices, And Tips
If you are an eCommerce marketer or an owner of an eCommerce store, then you are already aware of the skyrocketing significance of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is the way to go for any eCommerce business planning to follow digital marketing trends in 2023.
However, today, being just aware of the idea of influencer marketing is not enough; you also have to always be up to date with the latest influencer marketing strategies, which are constantly evolving. One of these strategies is something called product seeding, which, in simple terms, means influencer gifting.
In this article, we are going to discuss the concept of product seeding, its importance, benefits, how it works, and how to properly use it for eCommerce businesses.
Table of content:
- What is product seeding? And How Does It Work?
- What are the benefits of product seeding?
- Product seeding best practices and tips for eCommerce
What is Product Seeding? And How Does It Work?
Product seeding, also known as influencer gifting, is an influencer marketing tactic that revolves around brands sending free products to selected influencers. In return, these influencers might post pictures and videos that include reviews about the products.
However, one of the important keywords that should grab your attention in this definition is the word “might”. When influencers receive gifts from brands in the context of product seeding, it does not create any obligation on them. In other words, brands send gifts to influencers knowing that they are not obligated to post about it but hoping that they will.
The way product seeding works is very simple:
- You choose the influencers, content creators, or customers to whom you will be sending gifts.
- You choose the products that you will be sending as gifts.
- You put your best effort into the gift and then send it.
- You patiently wait for the results of the process.
What are The Benefits of Product Seeding?
In addition to all the general well-known benefits of influencer marketing, product seeding has some additional specific benefits that eCommerce businesses can leverage. In the following points, we show you some of these benefits.
A Kick Start For Influencer Marketing
Product seeding can be a great kickstart for eCommerce brands that are entering the world of influencer marketing for the first time. To demonstrate, today, we find a lot of new eCommerce businesses wishing to reap the benefits of influencer marketing but still do not have enough budget to make paid or sponsored partnerships with influencers.
We also see eCommerce brands that have been around for a while but still can’t get the hang of influencer marketing.
In both cases, product seeding can be the answer. It is a very straightforward and less time-consuming strategy that is simple to understand and easy to implement for any brand that wants to start working with influencers.
Product seeding is a cost-effective influencer marketing strategy. With influencer gifting, you are not paying the influencer. Also, you are neither paying for an ad nor a marketing agency. The only costs that your business incurs are those related to the product itself, in addition to shipping costs.
For eCommerce marketers, the results that you can get from product seeding, while not guaranteed, are worth the costs of the product you’re sending. They believe that the benefits outweigh the costs.
The lower costs incurred here can also lead to reducing your customer acquisition cost (CAC).
Successful Product Placement
Product placement is a marketing strategy in which you showcase your products or services in some form of media. Studies show that 80% of customers prefer product placement over traditional forms of paid advertising because it looks more organic.
Product seeding offers you the best opportunity for effective product placement. It does not even require the influencer to tag your brand in their stories or posts. The influencer can simply just share content where they appear using your product, and it will be great product placement for their followers.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Product seeding can help you gather a huge amount of user-generated content. It starts with the content created by the influencers with whom you share your products. Then, it spreads to these influencers’ followers who, motivated by social proof, buy the same product and start creating their own content featuring it.
There are so many ways product seeding can attract customers to your eCommerce store because it allows for the opportunity to leverage different types of marketing strategies.
- Gifting influencers might lead to them talking about your brand, which leverages word-of-mouth marketing; and hence, builds brand awareness.
- Product seeding can also leverage FOMO marketing because followers might buy the product that influencers are using out of fear that they might be missing out on something great.
Moreover, following the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines, when influencers talk about a gifted product, they disclose the fact that the product was a gift. This way customers know that the influencers are talking about the product not because they were paid nor because of any kind of obligation but because they genuinely love and enjoy the product. This increases customers’ trust in your brand, which attracts them to buy from you.
Good Authentic Relationships With Influencers
Product seeding allows your eCommerce brand to build good and strong relationships with influencers. Sending a gift to an influencer without asking for anything in return is a great way to start a partnership with them. Instead of just basing your relationship with influencers on transactions and obligations, product seeding adds trust and authenticity to the equation.
Moreover, the fact that, with product seeding, influencers are not obligated to post about the product means that they will only post about it if they like it. This is very helpful in identifying the right influencers to work with. Influencers who post positive reviews about your gifts without you asking are the ones who you should be making long-term partnerships with.
Reviews and Honest Feedback
Product seeding can also involve you sending gifts to content creators, loyal customers, and frequent buyers who can provide you with product reviews. These reviews are a great form of eCommerce customer testimonial that you can display on your website or social media platforms.
Another benefit you get from product seeding is honest feedback. To demonstrate, even if the influencers or content creators to whom you send the gifts do not like your product, they would likely provide you with constructive criticism that you can use to make your products better.
Product Seeding Best Practices for eCommerce
In this part of the article, we gathered some of the best practices and tips that will help you reap all the previously mentioned benefits of product seeding for eCommerce.
1- Choose your influencers wisely
The choice of who you send your products to is probably one of the most critical decisions in the whole product seeding process.
It does not matter whether you send your products to influencers, content creators, affiliates, loyal customers, frequent buyers…etc. What matters is that you send your products to someone who shows an interest in the type of products that you’re selling. The aim behind this is to increase the likelihood of this person liking and enjoying your product; and hence, increasing the likelihood of them positively talking about it.
- Conduct thorough customer segmentation and then find influencers whose followers reflect your target audience. Converted.In can help you with that because its marketing automation tool can easily segment your target audience without you making any effort.
- Make sure the influencers’ followers are engaged with them.
- Target influencers who explicitly express interest in the industry your products belong to.
- Content creators, micro-influencers, and nano-influencers can be as effective as macro and mega-influencers. So do not underestimate an influencer with a small list of followers. What matters is how much these followers trust the influencer and engage with him or her.
- Keep an eye out for highly engaged customers who regularly tag you in posts and stories and who mention your eCommerce brand in comments. These customers are very much likely to create content that includes positive reviews about your gifts.
- Regularly check industry-related hashtags to find people talking about products similar to yours.
2- Employ personalization
In today’s world, there is no way to separate eCommerce from personalization. Fortunately, the digital age now offers endless opportunities for personalization.
One of the product seeding best practices for eCommerce is to personalize the gifts you send to influencers. We indeed said that there is no guarantee that influencers will post about your gifts; however, that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to increase the likelihood of them doing it.
One of the ways you can increase your chance of influencers posting about your gifts is to show them that you care. In other words, make the influencer feel that they are not just an unfamiliar name in a long list of other unfamiliar names to whom you are distributing a bulk of gifts.
- Personalizing the gifted product with the influencer’s name is the easiest way you can employ personalization in product seeding. For example, if you are an eCommerce brand that sells hoodies, you can send a hoodie with the influencer’s name printed on it.
- You can also show the influencer that you care enough to know their interests. Sticking to the same example, if you know that an influencer likes Harry Potter, you can send them one of your hoodies with a quote from the Harry Potter movies printed on it.
- Including a customized handwritten note with the gift is a nice gesture to show that you are not sending all influencers the same standardized note.
- Make sure you communicate to the influencer why you chose them specifically. This makes them feel that they were not chosen haphazardly and that there is something special about them.
- Personalize affiliate codes and promo codes with the influencer’s name so that they get encouraged to post about the gifted products.
3- Carefully choose the products you send
Imagine with me that someone is coming for dinner at your house for the first time. Wouldn’t you want to serve them the best dish you can make?
Well, it is the same thing with eCommerce product seeding. It is all about first impressions. That is why you want to send the best products that your eCommerce store has.
- Do not hesitate to send your expensive products. It is still a small price to pay compared to the benefits that you can get from product seeding.
- Make sure the product you are sending can solve a problem that the influencer is facing. For example, if you are an eCommerce brand that sells hair products, make sure you are sending curly hair products to influencers that do have curly hair.
- Make sure the product matches the influencer’s aesthetic and is relevant to what they like.
- Put effort into the product packaging. Make sure it attracts the influencer’s attention at first sight. You can also use recyclable packaging. This will not just make them love your brand but also respect it and respect the fact that you have values.
4- Communicate With The Influencer
Good communication is the key to building long-lasting relationships, which is all that we want when dealing with influencers.
- Always inform the influencers of the day and time they will be receiving their gift to make sure that it arrives at a convenient time for them.
- You can communicate with them via messages on their platform. However, if you want to do it more professionally, you can always send them an email.
5- Don’t Be Pushy!
As we said in the previous point, communication is important. However, always remember that these influencers are not obligated to post about your gifts. You are indeed trying to build a relationship with them. But, within the framework of product seeding, there are no strings attached.
- Be patient and give the influencers enough time to try the gifted product and see if they want to post about it or not.
- As we said, influencers do not have to post about it. Therefore, if you send a gift and receive no reviews or post mentions, or story tags, do not spam the influencer’s inbox with messages.
- If you decide to ask the influencer about the review, make sure you do it in a friendly and casual way. For example, make it sound as if you are making sure that they’ve received your package and that they are happy with it.
6- Get The Most Out Of Influencer’s Content
When influencers post about your gifted products, that means your product seeding campaign is succeeding, but it does not mean that your role has ended. Your product seeding can still take you to more success if you know how to leverage the content that influencers create featuring your product.
- Make sure you engage with the influencer’s content with likes, comments, and shares.
- Take the influencer’s permission and start reposting the content on your brand’s social media platforms and eCommerce website.
- You can also get into an agreement with the influencer to use their content in future paid advertising campaigns. This is another thing that Converted.In can help you because its marketing automation tool will create, customize, launch, and automate personalized ads for your eCommerce brand at any time you need.
7- Evaluate and Optimize
There is no way of knowing whether your product seeding campaign has succeeded or not without evaluating it. Evaluation is what will allow you to optimize your influencer gifting techniques.
- Regularly gather your campaign’s data, including social media tags, mentions, comments, and interactions.
- Always check the engagement rates of influencers’ posts.
- Make a count of the number of new followers and new website visitors you got since you started your product seeding campaign.
It is clear now that the benefits of product seeding are too significant for any eCommerce business to miss. In other words, influencer gifting is something that should be sought by any eCommerce business trying to find its way into influencer marketing.
In this article, we have shown you the numerous benefits of product seeding, we have told you about the best product seeding practices and tips for eCommerce, and we have also offered you a great marketing automation tool that will facilitate the implementation of all this.