How to Choose Sponsors and Product Reviewers for Your Vape Business

 

E-cigarette and vape product reviewers have become a big part of our industry. These folks can range from professional, businesslike reviewers to the “living in mother’s basement” crowd. One thing is for sure: there will come a time when your desire to grow will require you to leverage the large social network of a reviewer or offer a sponsorship to a local vaper. Giving away your products for endorsement can be both good and bad. On one hand, you want to get the word out about your business or product but on the other hand you are worried that the ROI may not be that great.

 

Here are a few quick tips regarding product reviewers and sponsorships:

 

Do not choose a reviewer that solicited you (generally):

Lot’s of new vapers or even seasoned vape veterans feel that they can emulate the major players of the review scene. These people will solicit companies asking for free stuff for review purposes. The best reviewers are the ones who started out by reviewing products that they purchased, built up their viewership organically, and grown by providing good insight into the products that they review. You might already be getting solicitations from people who are offering to review your products and mention you online. By wary of these people and do your due diligence to make sure that you get the most out of your investment. If someone solicits you and you feel good about them, they have a good following, and you don’t smell BS, it might make sense to give them a shot.

Using YouTube reviewers:

Many vapers who are new to the vaping world see YouTube channels like VapingwithTwisted420 or Rip Trippers and want to emulate them. While we want more engagement from our users, they need to put in the work to become an industry personality. Many would be reviewers will assume that if they solicit vape shops and ask for freebies to review, the vape shop will bless them with mountains of free vape gear. From a business standpoint you need to be careful on who you select in order to maximize ROI. When sending products to a YouTube reviewer take the following into consideration:

1. Number of subscribers – Choose a reviewer that has a good subscriber base. A word of caution though: If a reviewer is a well known personality they are already getting loads of things for review and they may choose to overlook the item that you sent. If you are not the product manufacturer it may be best to go with a channel who is popular, but not too popular.

2. Number of views each video gets – Look at the upload history for the reviewer’s channel. See how many views his/her older videos have. This will give you an idea of how many people will hear about your business over time. Then, look at their newest upload to determine how fast their videos get viewed. For example, if a video from one year ago has 6,000 views but a video from yesterday has 10 views, your ROI will come slowly over time.

3. Will they link to your website in the description? – This is very crucial. Choose a reviewer who links to the person that sent them the device for review. This is excellent for generating web traffic and will give you a great backlink that Google will love.

4. Are they an ass-hat? – The better question would be: Do you like their style? Do feel that they would represent your brand well? The good news is vape reviewers come in all shapes and sizes so it will be fairly easy to choose one that fits your brand and your store’s unique style.

5. Is every review positive? – If every review is positive then it is very likely that the reviewer is simply paying lip service to the companies sending them free vape gear. While this is dishonest on the part of the reviewer it could be beneficial to your brand. If the all-positive reviewer has a large fan base, large viewership, and large social presence then it might be a smart move to send them your product and reap the benefits of a great review. Just be prepared when the reviewer’s viewership discovers their dishonesty and drops them like a smoking habit. In the meantime you can enjoy the benefits of a positive review.

If the reviewer is a blogger, do some research:

There are oodles of vape bloggers just dying to have to you send them some free stuff for review. Many reviewers worth their salt have moved to YouTube but it is possible to find a good blogger with a loyal reader base to review your products. At the very least working with a blogger will get you a good backlink from a relevant website in your niche which is awesome for SEO. When deciding to send something to blogger ask the following questions:

1. How much web traffic do they get? – This is important because if the blogger only gets 200 visitors per month then you might be wasting your time.

2. What is the website’s bounce rate? – The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing one page. A bounce rate of around 50% is the average.

3. Does the blog have social presence? – Is the blogger sharing their posts on social media and if so do they have a decent following?

4. Does the blog have a ton of ads? – Some bloggers use ads to pay for the costs of operating their website – which is fine. However if the blog is an “ad farm” full of flashy, spammy ads, it might be advisable to stay away. You don’t know if this site is engaging in spam practices and having a link from a spammy site can hurt you more than help you.

Vape Sponsorships (from a business standpoint)

Sponsoring a local vaper might seem like a great idea and in many cases it very much is. Having someone constantly representing your shop to the people of the local vaping community is an excellent way to drive more customers into the store. It also might the dream of many local cloud comp competitors to have a vape store pay for their gear. When selecting a local vaper to sponsor be aware that it is purely a business relationship. This vaper essentially works for you in exchange for products, swag, and fame. The sponsored needs to understand that things they do in public while representing your brand affect your business. Here are some things to think about when choosing someone to sponsor:

1. Are they well liked? – The perfect sponsored vaper will be well liked in the community. Look for the kind of person who everyone wants to be friends with. Make sure they are nice to people =, even in awkward situations. Professionalism is paramount here.

2. Do other vapers look up them? – You want a person who is a trendsetter. For example, if they come into the shop with a certain build, do others all of a sudden want that build too? Will the people follow their lead and truly listen to what they have to say?

3. Are they business savvy? – You want someone who understands the reason that you are sponsoring them. They need to understand that you aren’t just giving them free stuff because you like them, you are investing in them. Ideally they will have some concept of what the relationship is about and will understand that they are obligated to mention your shop at every opportunity.

When initiating a sponsorship relationship it is best to spell out your terms in writing so that everyone is clear on what is expected from the beginning. You should include several things in your sponsorship agreement: what you are willing to give, what you expect in return, and things that you DO NOT want your sponsored to do. For example, you may state in the agreement that you are allowed to use the vaper’s photo in marketing materials, the vaper must mention your store in every public statement, or that the relationship will end if the vaper does certain things that you deem inappropriate. Be fair in this area as you don’t want any local vape celebrities bad mouthing you in the community.

 

We hope you enjoyed this article. choosing reviewers and dealing with sponsorships can be a daunting task but in most cases all of the headaches are worth it. Just follow your gut and use common sense and everything should go smoothly. If you are interested in web design, SEO, or anything related to vape shop marketing feel free to send us an email: [email protected]. we are always happy to engage with our readers and offer free advice.

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