Influencer Marketing 101: Lessons from Athletic Greens, Pura Vida, and Lululemon


by SARAL in partnership with Common Thread Collective

Feb. 27 2024

This is a sponsored post by SARAL in partnership with Common Thread Collective. More influencer training content can be found here.

Influencer marketing has shed its old skin. It is no more about celebrities with their large fees and entourages.

Today, it's about micro-influencers who pack a punch with their engaged followings, bringing the power of personal endorsement within arm's reach of emerging brands.

But many of these emerging DTC brands still fail to take advantage of influencer marketing because they lack a strong strategy.

They fumble in the dark for a playbook that doesn’t demand deep pockets or an army of marketers to handle a horde of high-maintenance influencers.

You don't need a hefty marketing budget or a large team to benefit from influencer marketing and achieve your marketing goals.

To guide you, we're going to share a 6-step strategy that's easy to understand & implement.
  1. Find The Right Influencers
  2. Build the Best Creator Offers
  3. Reach Out to Influencers
  4. Ship Your Products with a "Wow" Unboxing Experience
  5. Track Performance & Posts
  6. Build Long-Term Relationships

🔍 1. Find The Right Influencers

The first step is to find influencers who align with your brand values, have the same target audience and can create compelling content to make your product desirable amongst their audience.

When Fiat enlisted Jennifer Lopez to feature in their commercial for the Fiat 500, the campaign resulted in sales of ~15,000 vehicles, falling short of the anticipated 50,000.

The reason? No one believed that a celebrity like Lopez would drive a Fiat 500 in her daily life.

Athletic Greens Started with Their Customer List

Athletic Greens initiated their influencer strategy by examining their own customer base. During an interview on the Leveling Up podcast with Eric Siu, Athletic Greens' COO, Kat Cole, shared that their approach focuses on collaborating with creators who genuinely use and enjoy their products.

Tim Ferriss, who has publicly supported Athletic Greens since mentioning them in his 2010 book "The 4-Hour Body" without any compensation, now serves as one of their influencer partners. This strategy emphasizes the importance of authenticity and genuine product endorsement.

This is about choosing influence over an influencer.

👉 Look into your customer list.

Do you recognise anyone with a following? Check your social media mentions, did anyone with a 3000+ following recently tagged you? Reach out to them and see if they'll collaborate to become long-term ambassadors of your brand.

Pura Vida, Lululemon, and Others Created a Dedicated Landing Page

A dedicated landing page for your influencer marketing program can attract potential partners who are already interested in your brand and want to promote your products.

By providing clear information about your program, you can attract influencers who are excited to work with you. This saves both the brand and the potential creators' time, making the entire process more efficient.

Make sure you clearly mention the kind of creators or partners you're looking for.

Athletic Greens influencer marketing landing page
The best examples of influencer marketing landing pages are from brands like — Athletic Greens, Pura Vida, and lululemon.

Use Tools Like SARAL to Find the Right Influencers for Your Brand

👉 You don't have to wait for the right influencers to find you.

You can look for them using a tool like SARAL. In SARAL, you type in what you need, like "natural skincare" or "makeup artist." Then, with a few clicks, it searches through many influencer profiles for you.

It shows you a list of influencers who fit what you're looking for. You can keep all their information in one simple list. This means no more messy spreadsheets, just a clean and easy system.

SARAL's creator discovery platform

To check if an influencer is a good fit, like if they really engage their audience and have fans that trust them, try SARAL's free Chrome extension. This tool lets you see an influencer's stats and even suggests what you should pay them.

Chrome extension available for SARAL influencer marketing

📦 2. Build the Best Creator Offers

A "creator (or influencer) offer" refers to the package or proposal that brands give to influencers as part of their influencer marketing campaigns.

Three Ingredients of an Irresistible Creator Offer

This outlines what the influencer gets in return, such as payment, free products, or other perks, for promoting the brand. The purpose of this offer is to create a win-win relationship between the brand and the influencer.

Sephora creator perks for influencers
Notice how these perks from Sephora are more than the monetary benefits — which are harder to get!

1st Phorm's influencer marketing strategy goes beyond just offering money. They focus on how influencers can build their brand, improve their skills, or get better at social media.

1st Phorm's influencer marketing strategy

They offer extra benefits to influencers, not just sales commission. This approach creates a partnership feel, not just a pay-for-post deal. Influencers are more engaged when they see real value beyond money.

👉 Think about special offers or experiences your brand can provide.

Your deal with creators should be more appealing than just a "get 10% commission." That alone won't make you stand out or keep influencers loyal.

Offer unique things like personal coaching, a spot higher up in your brand's ambassador program, or early access to products and events. Adding these to your influencer program can make it more attractive.

8 Ways to Collaborate with Creators by Creating a 'Yes-Worthy' Offer for Them

Don't forget that clear financial rewards are still important. Always be open about how much they can earn and how the payment works.

📮 3. Reach Out to Influencers

After compiling a list of influencers you wish to connect with, the next step is determining the best method of reaching out to them. Should you go for direct messaging (DM) or email?

Below is a straightforward framework to help you decide:

DM or Email?

Sending a DM on Instagram is an effective way to catch the attention of a micro influencer, as this platform is often their main workspace. It's a personal approach with a high likelihood of receiving a response, given that influencers can easily explore your brand without leaving Instagram.

👉 When crafting a DM, make sure to include these three key components:
  1. Brand Value Proposition:
    Start with a single sentence that highlights the essence of your brand or the unique benefits of your products. For example, "Our brand was founded on the principle of _" or "Our products stand out because _."
  2. Why Them:
    Clarify why you've chosen this particular influencer. Mention what drew you to their profile … be it their content, creativity, or personal brand. This shows you've done your homework and see a genuine connection.
  3. Your Offer:
    To minimize the chances of rejection, lead with an attractive proposal. This could be a free product sample, a significant discount, or some branded merchandise. The goal is to demonstrate your interest in a genuine partnership by offering them something of value right off the bat.
If you're sending an email to an influencer, here's a template you can use …

Subject: Loving your vibe! Interested in a [Brand-Name] partnership?

*Hello [Influencer's First Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I'm the [Your Position] at [Brand Name]. We've been admiring your work on [Channel] and really appreciate the way you [specific compliment about their content/style].

We think that [Brand Name]'s [Product/Value Proposition] aligns perfectly with your content, particularly because we share a commitment to [shared value, e.g., sustainable beauty]. We're keen on exploring a collaboration with you and would love to chat about how we can support each other.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Warm regards, [Your Name] [Your Role] at [Brand Name]*

👉 Remember, not hearing back from influencers doesn't necessarily mean they're disinterested.

Life gets busy, and emails can be missed. It's perfectly fine to follow up to ensure your message was received. Use automated email campaigns in SARAL to remove the time-consuming nature of sending follow ups.

How Triangl, the Bikini Brand Connected with Influencers

When Triangl was launching and the founders wanted to get in touch with influencers, there was a challenge … direct messaging wasn't an option back then.

So to get in touch with influencers, they had to leave public comments on the influencers' most recent posts.

Their comments usually went like this:

“Hi [influencer. name], we’d love to get in touch, if you can please let us know your email. Erin.”

The lesson to takeaway is to be thoughtful, and aim to make a personal connection.

Graza's First Message to Influencers

A couple of weeks prior to their product launch, Kendall Dickieson, the Social Media Marketing Manager at Graza, started reaching out to influencers via direct messages.

The approach was friendly and intriguing, posing questions such as …

"Imagine how simple life could be with olive oil in a squeezable bottle?"

If an influencer showed interest, Graza would send over a complimentary bottle of their premium olive oil. Should an influencer request payment, the reply was polite yet straightforward:

"Let's discuss this in the future; our current focus is on distributing complimentary products."

The key to successful influencer outreach is personalization, persistence, and a clear, respectful communication style.

SARAL streamlines the follow-up process by allowing you to set up your messages in advance. The platform then takes care of sending these messages at the time you would've set.

Email Drips Pro inside SARAL's Email Overview

It automatically pauses follow-ups when an influencer responds, preventing any unnecessary messages. Try it out for free.

🎁 4. Ship Your Products With A "Wow" Unboxing Experience

When you send your product to creators, making sure they are impressed or curious about your brand is important. One way to do this is by giving them a great unboxing experience. This is the fun and emotional moment when they open a new item.

Here's why a great unboxing experience is important when sending gifts to influencers:

  • It creates a positive first impression and shows you value their work and are eager to collaborate.
  • Opening an exciting, memorable package encourages influencers to share the experience with their followers.
  • A great unboxing experience makes your brand look professional, reliable, and high-quality.

For example, Pura Vida gives free gifts to its ambassadors when they reach a new level. The gift box includes a card about their status, ambassador stickers, and a card to share their code. It's all in attractive packaging with bright colors and as personalized as possible.

Pura Vida influencer marketing swag box

Sephora sends a big swag box to every new ambassador.

Sephora's ambassador swag box

Graza included a handwritten note with every package they sent to influencers in pre-launch phase …

Graza handwritten note to influencers for influencer marketing campaigns

👉 One of our features in SARAL is a built-in shipment tracker that works with most postal services, so you’d be sorted if you simply use SARAL to ship your products.

Ship Free Products with SARAL

📈 5. Track Performance & Posts

On Tracking ROI:

When measuring the success of your influencer marketing campaigns, look beyond just the numbers to track the return on investment (ROI).

While traditional advertising focuses on measurable data, influencer marketing can offer a wider range of benefits. Consider changes in brand perception, the unique and interesting content being created around your products, and whether there has been an increase in engagement and conversation about your brand since partnering with influencers.

The Real ROI of Influencer Marketing

On Tracking the Number of Posts Done by Influencers:

If your product is something people use daily or weekly, it's ideal for your ambassadors to post about it once or twice a month. They should also share weekly stories featuring your product, including swipe-up links for easy access.

👉 Using SARAL provides you with a performance dashboard that offers an overview of your influencer marketing campaign's effectiveness.

Saral performance dashboard

It’s also helpful to have a social listening tool to track when influencers post about you, SARAL does it within the platform:


When you carry out your influencer marketing strategy, you might find that some influencers don't post as consistently as expected, despite the promise of sales commissions or strong relationships.

However, don't write off these influencers just yet. It's simpler to re-engage them than to scout for new ones. Here are some strategies to re-motivate your ambassadors and boost their enthusiasm to promote your brand.

🤝 6. Build Long-Term Relationships

When influencers develop a strong and positive relationship with your brand, they have the potential to transform into passionate brand advocates. This genuine affection for your brand means their endorsements feel authentic and less like traditional sales pitches, which resonates well with their audience.

As a result, their followers are more inclined to become your customers, naturally leading to an increase in sales.

Here are some fun ways to keep your relationship with creators strong …
  1. Work together on a cool project that fits both your styles.
    Maybe launch a new product together or organize a charity event.
  2. Invite them to spend a day at your place of work.
    Show them around your office or factory to see how things are done. It's a great way to build trust.
  3. Have them on your company's podcast or a webinar.
    It's a chance for them to reach your followers and share what they know.
  4. Create how-to videos together.
    If you're a beauty brand, make makeup tutorials. If you sell coffee, show people how to make a great cup. It shows you both know your stuff.

✨ Wrap Up

"Give me a lever, and I will move the world." This ancient quote captures the essence of what it takes to succeed in today's influencer marketing landscape.

To truly shift the world — or at least the world of your brand — you need powerful levers. One such lever is the strategic approach we've shared, focusing on authenticity, alignment, and creative collaboration with influencers.

Another indispensable lever is the use of tools like SARAL, which can streamline the search, management, and optimization of your influencer partnerships.

Reassess your current plan and think about how tools like SARAL can bring new efficiency and effectiveness to your efforts.


SARAL is your easy-to-use & affordable influencer marketing assistant built for ecommerce brands. Find creators, automate outreach, manage relationships, and much more! Claim your free access today to build a successful influencer program for your brand!