Wondering when it’s OK to offer influencers product samples? When working with influencers, you have a lot of options when it comes to payment for their services. While many will want to see at least some monetary compensation, there is still a lot of flexibility. One option that might work for your influencer is to offer product samples in lieu of money or in combination with money. However, there are a few guidelines you should keep in mind.
It is important that you do not misunderstand what is meant by product sample when using it as part of the compensation package. We are not talking about travel sizes of products or old items that did not sell. The product samples you offer should be full size and from the current season. If the influencer doesn’t feel that what they are getting has a high value, it will read as though the services they offer do not have a high value to you.
If you give the influencer a sample of the product they are helping you promote, is that sufficient as payment? In many cases, no, it is not. This is because it only makes sense that the influencer would need to be given the product they are promoting in order to understand it and talk or write about it effectively. While you do not need to go too crazy, offer a little something extra if the product they are promoting is the main sample being offered as payment.
Selecting the ideal time to introduce the idea of a product as payment is something of a balancing act. It also depends on what you can actually afford to offer.
For example, if you can afford to pay the influencer outright, but would like to cut down on costs if possible, you have a bit more wiggle room. No matter when you bring up the idea, you should be okay because if the influencer is not open to products as payment, you can still offer monetary compensation. The big thing to worry about in this situation is introducing the idea smoothly so as not to offend the influencer.
If you cannot afford to skip the product as payment aspect, you need to work to introduce the idea at the right time. Doing so right from the start may put the influencer off of the idea of working with you. Doing so too late into the negotiations may make them feel tricked, also turning them off of working with you. The best option is to give the influencer a chance to hear about what you are looking for, and after a bit of back and forth, bring up the topic of compensation, being honest about your need to work in a product as payment as part or all of the compensation package.
Have you ever negotiated product as payment with an influencer? We would love to hear about how your experience went.