S2E2: How Honeybook perfected Influencer Marketing as a traction channel

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Martha Bitar is the head of business development at Honeybook, and she has a pretty in-depth and excellent user-advocate affiliate program case study to share.

If you’re unfamiliar With HoneyBook, it’s a Tel-Aviv-SF based startup that aims to make the life of freelancers and creatives that much more comfortable — from onboarding new clients, sending price quotes, time tracking, invoice and even charging their clients. It’s an all-in-one perfect suite for all of your freelance out there.

As head of Biz-Dev, Martha works with other companies to partner up to help growth. From product integration to co-marketing partnership and influencer marketing to chatting with other people looking to get into Honeybook.

In this episode, Martha joined us to talk about the company’s unique Educator relations program.

The educator’s program is Honeybook’s take on the classic affiliate program in a more personal and less transactional manner. The focus is on creating fans who want to share their love for the product.

If you’re looking for new traction channels for your product, or simply looking to improve your affiliate program’s results, this episode is right up your alley.

Our main takeaways

Stay away from the “transnational feeling.”

In 2019 people can spot “fake” or “pushy sales” from miles away. 

For Honeybook, the critical component in creating the right program was to start with people who genuinely know and love their product. 

They didn’t want people to “pitch” Honeybook just for the sake of it; they wanted the advocates to be real.

Finding the ideal candidates

As one would guess, when looking to leverage advocates, the company started by trying to harness the “super users.” Still, after some trial and error, they’ve noticed the top-performing affiliates had something else in common.

They were educators – teaching other people how to build their business. That set the motion for building the model by which they find and nurture potential affiliates. 

To make this work at scale, Martha and her team needed to find the formula to track who would make the perfect candidate. 

They found three parameters had to be met:

  1. They have to be an excited Honeybook user
  2. They needed to be an influencer (with over 10k followers on IG, so they can utilize the swipe up feature). 
  3. Be an educator – someone who’s teaching other businesses on how to build their business.

As long as three criteria are matched, that user will be a good candidate.

You have to get your affiliates to fall in love with your product

You can only do so much with existing users before having to branch out and find more affiliates, so how did they duplicate that model?

The next step was to test the assumption if any educator – influencer can bring great leads, or maybe even at a more significant amount (going to 100-200k follows influencers). 

The answer was no – being passionate about Honeybook was vital.

These sparked off a new attempt to nurture new affiliates and influencers to love the product. To do that, they’ve tested ways to get them to the product’s a-ha moment. 

Only then, they were able to integrate and advocate for the product honestly and authentically, which made all the difference. 

Work with affiliates from the start.

Martha has a side project called floe desk, an email marketing platform. 

One of her key takeaways from the educator program is that you have to start empowering your base and nurture them to be your advocates. Have a program in place to scale their WOM help from the get-go.

Make sure they are getting something back straight from the beginning, Start by giving them their unique link so you can track who’s performing best and find ways to compensate them on it. 

"Implement an affiliate program to your product from day one, and us it to motivate your early adopters " Click To Tweet

Be in contact with your influencers

At least once a month – check out what’s going on with your influencers.

Share the campaigns you’re launching or features you; ’re working on. Nurture the relationship so you can expand your partnership to more things. 

Brainstorming and getting feedback from your influencers is a great way to spot more opportunities and motivate them for better results. 

It’s also a great way to learn what’s working for them. You have influencers using different methods for getting people excited about your product; you can ask them to create templates from what’s working for them – and share with others

Start with experiments

Because you don’t know what would work, you have to start with tests.

It’s essential to let your advocates in on the fact that you are experimenting so you can roll it back if needed, so it wouldn’t feel as if you’ve taken a step forward and two steps back every time. 

The best way is to start with a limited-time test, and if it’s successful, roll it out as a permanent change. 

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