Two French Women Entrepreneurs Build an Empire Leveraging Influencer Marketing
While women make up the biggest group of ecommerce shoppers, most ecommerce businesses are run by men. This includes dropshipping businesses. However, at Oberlo, we also aim to empower women entrepreneurs to build successful businesses, which is why today we’re profiling a women-run business. We hope Audrey and Sarah’s story will inspire many women to follow their own path.
Sarah and Audrey are 25 and 26-years-old, respectively. Each had started dropshipping businesses before they met at the end of 2019 and joined forces. While many dropshippers focus on using Facebook Ads, Sarah and Audrey saw the potential of influencer marketing, something they’ve found to be very profitable and scalable in the long run. Today we’re taking a look back at their journey and will share their ten tips to help you succeed with influencer marketing.
- From Employees to Entrepreneurs
- Building an Empire Based on Influencer Marketing
- Sarah and Audrey’s 10 Tips for Successful Influencer Marketing
- 1. Create a beautiful site
- 2. Have a quality product
- 3. Approach as many influencers as possible
- 4. Be responsive
- 5. Don’t make it personal
- 6. Prepare a good brief
- 7. Prefer product placement in the form of stories
- 8. Have a personalized approach
- 9. Establish a direct relationship
- 10. Build a long-term collaboration
- The Future: Developing Their Brand and Helping Other Entrepreneurs
- Want to Learn More?
From Employees to Entrepreneurs
Sarah’s Beginnings: Influencer Marketing in France and the US
It was Sarah who first started dropshipping. While she was still a student in France – and working in a fast-food restaurant at the same time – she dreamed of starting a business that would create value and allow her to make money. She set out in November 2017 after spending the summer watching YouTube videos from successful dropshippers. Her first shops were failures, but she continued to learn through free videos and improved her marketing skills.
In March 2018, she re-launched an online store and established her very first partnership with an influencer. She paid €400 ($471) for a product placement, which quickly generated €7,500 in sales ($8,836). She was officially in business!
Sarah spent many evenings fine-tuning her store on Shopify and importing products with Oberlo. She continued to learn more about influencer marketing, securing new product placements in another niche. After making over €300,000 in sales ($353,454) within the French market, she decided to try other markets.
During the spring of 2019, Sarah launched her shop on the US market. She continued building partnerships with influencers and quickly saw that this strategy was even more effective in the US. She rapidly achieved excellent results, with high profitability.
Audrey’s Journey: From Working Two Gigs to Dropshipper
Audrey started her professional life working at clothing shops in Paris. But after working for three major sport equipment brands, she began to think about her future. Audrey didn’t want to work in sales for the rest of her life. In addition to her job, she decided to become a self-employed entrepreneur and set out as an independent real estate agent at the end of 2018.
Audrey managed to generate some income from this pursuit, but it wasn’t significant, especially given the time she was investing. So, she started watching YouTube videos about how to make money online.
In early 2019, Audrey launched her first online store, but sales didn’t take off. Like many others, Audrey figured that dropshipping wasn’t for her and it was impossible to make it work. But after several months working two jobs, she decided to give ecommerce another try. This time she invested time in educating herself and created several shops with products she would’ve never considered. It worked! She managed to land her first few sales.
At this point, Audrey realized you could sell products that don’t necessarily appeal to you and that the most important thing is choosing quality products and good marketing. Audrey promoted her products using Facebook Ads, as well as Google Ads and Pinterest advertising. At the same time, she invested some money in cryptocurrencies and trading.
Around this time she met Sarah at an entrepreneur event and approached her, asking for advice on influencer marketing. During their discussion, they discovered they had a lot in common, both professionally and personally. With the same mindset, the same long-term vision, and the common desire to build a brand on the US market, they agreed to join forces in 2020.
Building an Empire Based on Influencer Marketing
Working together can make you go faster and take you further. Since joining forces, Sarah and Audrey have been working hard to expand within the US market and reach new heights. The pair have been hugely successful during the various US lockdowns, managing one million dollars in sales in just a few weeks.
The two are currently building two mainstream brands that have already made more than $2.5 million in sales in four months. And with a profit margin of around 45 percent, they’re able to continue developing their business.
To quickly deliver products to customers, Sarah and Audrey have stock in a warehouse in the US, which has allowed them to continue shipping orders throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
They recently hired three full-time employees who take care of customer service and advertising on Facebook and Google. They also have an agent who takes care of their product sourcing and manages orders.
Sarah and Audrey have done so well that they also decided to move from France to the UK to drive their business from London.
“Sarah and I, it’s a partnership that’s not going to end anytime soon! We really want to establish our brands in the US over the long term and build an empire.”
The pair was recently interviewed by another successful French dropshipper, Yomi Denzel. Check out their interview here (the interview is in French with auto-translated subtitles).
Sarah and Audrey’s 10 Tips for Successful Influencer Marketing
Almost all Sarah and Audrey’s sales come from influencer marketing, including numerous product placements with influencers on Instagram. They agreed to share their learnings on how to build influencer partnerships to increase sales. Here are their top 10 tips.
1. Create a beautiful site
If you want to build a brand based on influencer marketing, it’s essential to showcase your products on an appealing and attractive website. If your site is unattractive or unprofessional, influencers will not want to promote your products.
2. Have a quality product
If you have a good product, you will sell more and have fewer returns to manage. Focus on that before reaching out to influencers. All you have to do is build a list of influencers for your niche within your target market.
3. Approach as many influencers as possible
Don’t start small. At first, you may have to send hundreds of emails to get an answer and secure a product placement on Instagram. Sarah and Audrey sometimes send as many as 200 emails a day and then make a selection based on the answers they receive. If you look for the perfect match and target very few influencers, it will be hard to succeed.
4. Be responsive
Some dropshippers find it hard to do influencer marketing, and often that’s because they are not responsive enough when exchanging and negotiating with influencers. Many influencers make several product placements a day on their Instagram channel. So be responsive to reach an agreement quickly.
5. Don’t make it personal
You shouldn’t make partnership decisions based solely on whether you like what an influencer does or how many followers they have. Explore many opportunities. An influencer with a small number of dedicated followers could generate significant sales. Consider partnerships with both micro and macro influencers, as long as you can control the content of the sponsorship.
6. Prepare a good brief
It is critical to send a detailed brief to the influencer outlining your objectives and ways of working. Clearly explain the product benefits and prepare a mini scenario of what you expect in the sponsorship video to avoid bad surprises.
7. Prefer product placement in the form of stories
Look at the influencer’s Stories and their engagement rate. That’s more important than the number of comments, likes, or followers. Ninety percent of Sarah and Audrey’s product placements are Instagram Stories, which they have found to be the most effective format. Sponsoring a post on the feed can be 3-5 times more expensive than a story because it’s usually a three-month contract with the post removed from the influencer’s page at the end of that period. And creating the image that will be posted often requires a professional photographer and perfect staging. A story lasts just 24 hours, but it requires less work and is suitable for dynamic ads, playful videos, or flash sales.
8. Have a personalized approach
Design a personalized package where possible and offer for the influencer and their community. A tailored approach ensures relevance for the influencer’s audience and drives more sales.
9. Establish a direct relationship
It is easier to do influencer marketing in the US than in other markets like France, where there is a lot of competition. In France, influencers make several product placements a day and often work through agencies. In the US, it’s possible to negotiate a product placement with influencers directly, and they will often send you the video before the story is published.
10. Build a long-term collaboration
A partnership with an influencer doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. If you achieved good results, consider working with the influencer again, negotiating other product placements. You can also create a contract covering several posts from the start to avoid extra paperwork and negotiate a better rate. Remember, the influencer/merchant relationship is based on trust. Focus on the quality of your product and not on your dropshipping business model, which can scare influencers. It needs to be a win-win.
We hope you’ve taken note of these valuable tips from influencer marketing pros. Thanks to these techniques and consistent hard work, Sarah and Audrey have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. What’s next for them?
The Future: Developing Their Brand and Helping Other Entrepreneurs
In the coming months, Sarah and Audrey plan to continue growing their business, aiming to establish a monopoly on the US market. As part of their development goals, they also want to expand into other markets.
Despite their busy entrepreneurial schedule, they regularly take time to share tips with their followers on Instagram. They also coach some entrepreneurs individually to help them grow and build their business.
They also plan to launch the first 100% female Mastermind so that women in ecommerce can meet and exchange ideas.
We asked them what they were most proud of in their journey so far:
“I’m proud to have persevered, to have followed through. In any case, in entrepreneurship, there is no failure; there is only learning. The only true failure is to give up.” – Sarah
What makes Audrey proud is to have found Sarah as a partner and also to have never given up. They both encourage people who want to launch a business to get started as soon as possible: don’t wait, work on your skills and go for it.