Influencer marketing has been super popular with brands and marketers alike the past few years. And it's only going to keep growing in popularity this year. In fact, it's gotten so popular that even business-to-business companies are starting to use it for their marketing campaigns. But how can small businesses, startups, and brands with limited budgets make influencer marketing work for them?

From a distance, it may seem like influencer marketing is an expensive way to market your products or services. But the truth is that it's one of the most cost-effective marketing channels, (along with email marketing). And if you do it right, you can make it work for you, even on a shoestring budget.

Here are three of the best ways to do it:

1. Make the most of free tools.

Successful influencer marketing starts with finding the right influencers. But to find the best influencers for your brand, you also need the right tools.

This is where it can get tricky as you may be unable to invest money in an influencer marketing tool. And it can get too time consuming to manually look for influential people in your industry.

The good news is that you can make use of free platforms like Influence.co to conduct your influencer search. You can select from several existing niches, and then conduct searches for influencers in those niches. This particular platform also lets you filter results according to location and follower count, which makes it easier to find the influencers you need.

2. Work with micro-influencers.

Your choice of influencers has a massive impact on how much you spend on influencer marketing. So you need to choose influencers depending on your influencer marketing budget. This means that for those with a tight budget, it would be best to work with micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers are minor celebrities with social media followings that cover specific niches--and although they may not have millions of followers, they can still help you engage your audience. Plus, they charge less for sponsored posts than top influencers so you could work with multiple micro-influencers for the cost of one regular influencer.

According to research conducted by Bloglovin, 84 percent of microinfluencers charge $250 or less for one sponsored Instagram post. And 97 percent do not charge more than $500 for one sponsored Instagram post.

A few additional takeaways from the same research:

  • Brands could spend $5000 for 35-100 Instagram posts, and reach 200,000 followers.
  • For the same cost, brands could get 35-100 influencer posts on Facebook and reach 125,000 followers.
  • Or they could generate 60-200 Twitter posts from influencers and reach 315,000 followers.
  • $5000 could also get you 10-35 blog posts by influencers, and reach 315,000 followers.

3. Build a compensation model that works for both parties.

Every business that plans to execute an influencer marketing campaign needs a compensation model that works for them.

What kind of compensation will you provide to your influencers, and how will you provide it?

Will you be paying them for every click to your website or a percentage of every conversion resulting from their promotion?

Or maybe you could provide a fixed amount for every post they create for you. But don't forget to think about how the compensation model would benefit the influencer too. You need to consider their needs and expectations so you can build a strong relationship with them.

According to a report from Linqia, cost per engagement and cost per click seem to be the most effective pricing models for businesses. This is likely because you'll be paying for results and not just blindly investing in an influencer.

Pay per post and free products or experiences are also considered among the more effective pricing models.

Conclusion

So you now understand the basics of executing a successful influencer marketing campaign, even on a budget. It's clear from these tips that you don't necessary have to spend tons of money just to ensure positive results from your campaign.

Got any questions about these tips? Ask them in the comments below.