SARAL Forensics

SARAL Forensics: Athletic Greens Influencer Marketing Teardown

Dive into Athletic Greens' influencer marketing strategy
Posted on
August 31, 2022
7 minute read
Priya Nain
Marketing at SARAL

Do you agree with these tweets?

We sort of do agree. 😅

And that's one of the reasons we are excited to give you a deep dive into the well-oiled engine that is Athletic Greens Influencer Marketing. Let's find out what you can take away from a strategy that's already been mastered and how you can squeeze out more ROI when you work with creators.

About Athletic Greens

Athletic Greens is a New York-based company that created AG1, a green powdered beverage designed to provide nutrition. It is a blend of dried and powdered vegetables and fruits, probiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. CEO Chris Ashenden founded it in 2010. They have one channel — their website — to sell their flagship product, AG1.

Athletic Greens was bootstrapped for a very long time, from 2010 to 2021. They didn't raise outside funding until they hit $150M in revenue. The bootstrapped approach helped them stay conservative with their marketing expenditure as they didn't have the cash to blow up on performance marketing or billboards. They chose influencer marketing. Optimizing each stage of the influencer marketing funnel was the only option to ensure maximum ROI.

And that's why studying their influencer marketing would be super helpful for anyone trying to scale their eCommerce or SaaS business without a bottomless pit of money.

8 Note-worthy Observations Of Athletic Greens Influencer Marketing

Dedicated page for partners to connect

Athletic Greens have created a dedicated page where anyone with an audience that aligns with the brand and would like to try their product can come and register to become a partner.

It helps them get inbound leads for influencers instead of reaching out and waiting for a response.

On a side note, to ensure conversions, they've placed the CTA above the fold. This page is a great source of inspiration for you to create a partnership page.

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This dedicated partner page talks about who is the right fit for their influencer marketing program, what's in it for them, and how they can get in touch with the influencer marketing team directly by filling up a quick form.

"We’re more than happy to shape relationships around individual partners, whether it’s helping build your audience or a product offering for your followers."

Partnership contact form

As you can see from the form, they work with people with an audience on multiple platforms with audio, visual, or video content — YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, etc.

Partnering with customers

In Leveling Up podcast with Eric Siu, Athletic Greens COO Kat Cole mentions that they only partner with creators who are also their customers.

“I’ve been using Athletic Greens since 2012 because it’s the simplest, most straightforward way for me to get my basis of important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.” ~ Dr. Andrew Huberman, Host of Huberman Lab Podcast & Athletic Greens customer

Tim Ferris, a long-time advocate of the brand on his podcast, says that he recommended Athletic Greens in The 4-Hour Body book in 2010 and did not get paid to do it.

Athletic Greens want that if someone DMs a creator asking 'Is this real?', they can confidently say 'yes! It does work, and it's real' so that it's authentic and doesn't come across as 'just another paid promotion.'

It's totally possible that they sent out packets to health experts and creators to turn them into customers & potential partners. But the focus was less on paying to get a shoutout and more on creating natural advocates for the product.

Creator-themed Landing Pages

When listeners of Tim Ferris Podcast go to the link that Tim tells them to check out Athletic Greens, they don't land at a generic page. It's a Tim-themed landing page. It sells the unique offer they created for Tim's audience.

They've added extra social proof by putting reviews from health experts and other people using Athletic Greens.

SARAL tip: They could probably boost the conversion further by using a picture where Tim actually uses the product than his profile photo. A bit more about Tim's routine of when and how he uses AG1 can also add more personalization and authenticity to it.

Influencer Promo Offers

Create an offer for the audience of the creator you are partnering with. It can be via promo code, or a special link. This motivates the influencer since they can look like heroes to their fans, offering them great discount opportunities. And a good deal would nudge people to try out your product.

Athletic Greens has one offer they send to each of the creators they partner with.

Whitelisting Influencer Ads

Whitelisting is when you use the influencers’ accounts & their social credibility to run paid ads about your product. Athletic Greens does that with multiple influencers.

This is helpful because:

  • You reach a new audience and are not limited by the influencer’s following.
  • People are more likely to buy from whitelisted ads rather than just brand ads because it’s a stamp of approval from the influencer, which builds trust. It's more organic and looks genuine.
  • You don't have to spend too many resources on creating ad creatives in-house.

If you want to do this, your pitch to the creator should be that you would be spending your marketing dollars on growing their audience. It would also urge them to create compelling content for you as you’re working to grow their audience and to get you more sales. Win-win!

You can use platforms like Madgicx, or Lumanu that integrate directly with Facebook Ads Manager to run whitelisting campaigns.

This partnership should be done with creators who drive more than average revenue to your store or are willing to create free content.

Influencer content as testimonials

Athletic Greens uses a photo of the creator and an excerpt from their promotional pitch (see the pitch from Tim Ferris in another section) as a testimonial on their home page & landing pages.

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A recommendation from an influencer that people recognize and admire shows your audience that you too are trustworthy. Even if site visitors don’t know the creators personally, people trust a review from another person more than they trust the brand's claim that something works.

Branded merch for creators

In all of the Instagram posts, YouTube videos, or TikTok content promoting Athletic Greens, it's very easy to spot Athletic Greens merchandise. This creates brand recall and brings a virality factor to the brand when people start seeing the same product again & again.

If you send some extra, most creators are happy to do a giveaway to attract a new audience to their account, engage people plus increase awareness of your brand.

Source

Let's look at podcast ad scripts

Podcast ad scripts are a great way to make your message clear, communicate major benefits & generate enough interest for people to check out the product.

To make your ad effective, we recommend starting with a personal, attention-grabbing opening, then telling the problem that your product solves, outlining benefits or any unique value prop, and finally, ending with a strong call to action.

Here's an example from the script that Tim Ferris uses on his podcast and in his 5-bullet Friday newsletter to promote Athletic Greens —

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A script template you can use or send the creator to make it easy for them to talk about your product —

This episode is brought to you by {{brand}}. I get asked all the time, {{relevant question}}. My answer is usually {{ brand name}}, {{one line pitch}}.

{{challenge faced}}, but {{how product helps}}. It can help you if you are {{target audience}}.

Right now, {{brand}} is offering you {{offer and product}}—{{benefit of the product}}. Visit {{custom link}} to claim this special offer today and receive the {{product}}!

{{closing benefit, pitch, reminder}}.

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Now, coming back to where we started from…

Who are the smart, hard-working people managing influencer marketing for Athletic Greens?

Executing a marketing strategy effectively at scale requires a great team that considers it their major focus. Athletic Greens didn't consider influencer marketing as 'just another part of marketing' & built out a separate team under the Head of Partnerships to collaborate with creators.

With funding and a popular brand name, it must not have been too difficult for Athletic Greens to build that. LinkedIn shows that there are at least 10 people working on the team. The credentials of everyone on the team (especially folks like Emily Drake, and Brin Wilk) are impressive in the influencer marketing space. (last updated: 2022)

Athletic Greens' Influencer Marketing Team

What Athletic Greens could do better?

Amp it up at the right times

December to February is the time when most people are receptive to investing in health more than other months. If they are not doing it already, influencer marketing budget and efforts can be bumped up during this time. They also have the opportunity to send their products as gifts during holidays to creators in exchange for creatives, reviews, and reach.

Why so late on TikTok?

Athletic Greens chose podcast hosts and Instagram creators to start their influencer marketing but now they are exploring TikTok as well.

Athletic Green's official TikTok account

In just a few months, they are about to reach 100M views. Maybe they should have joined TikTok earlier, it’s good to diversify and be on as many “influence sources” (platforms) as possible.

With that said, we also think that they likely just focused on a few platforms that worked best for them. We covered which platform is the best in an older post.

Make it more believable

Athletic Greens flooded the market with a lot of influencers promoting the product that it drowned out normal people's reviews. People started questioning why AG has to pump so much into influencer marketing if the product is so good? They craved a non-paid review.

To balance out, Athletic Greens could have gone with more nano-influencers or used product seeding to get non-paid reviews from smaller creators that have a higher degree of trust with their audience.

Takeaways For Your Brand

Here's a quick summary of learnings from Athletic Greens to keep in mind when you create an influencer marketing strategy for your brand —

  • Stand out with a landing page: The best creators have all the brands lining up to partner with them, and their DMs are flooded. You can stand out by pitching to them why they should associate with your brand by building out a custom landing page for what you have to offer them. This is how you can achieve scale without relying on DMs as some of your site traffic will naturally go to this page.
  • Work with customers: Start off by working with customers who happen to be influential. Or if you’re a new brand, try using strategies like product seeding and cold outreach to make creators your customers first. Remember, advocacy first — ads later. They should want to recommend you regardless of the commissions.
  • Create compelling offers: Create a custom offer for the audience of your creators. The offer can vary depending on the creator, but it's better if the offer is consistent so people remember it. Eg: 10% off for the first 100 people who purchase.
  • Repurpose content: Influencer content can be re-used on your own social media and website via reposts, ads, and reviews to maximize ROI. Influence doesn’t have to be platform-specific. Make the most out of your partnerships.
  • Go above and beyond for your influence partners: Most brands try to extract value from creators and don’t give enough in return. Relationships are more than discounts or commissions.  Send them swag, invite them to a factory tour, and run ads against their content that boost their following. Go above and beyond.
  • Diversify your sources of influence: Influence doesn’t exist just on social media. There are blogs, podcasts, online communities, books, offline meet-up groups, and so on. Understand your customers, see where they hang out (online and offline), and partner with who they listen to. Be everywhere your customers are.

One of the best ways to be successful is to study successful brands and emulate what worked for them in their journey. Athletic Greens is one such example. We recently also covered Notion’s ambassador program if you want to check it out.

Know more brands we should study for you? Opt in to receive our Influence Marketing Letter and let us know your suggestions!