Owning and growing a business takes responsibility, lots of cups of coffee, and successful marketing strategies.

Influencers are the new sensation in the world of digital marketing. Influencers have web sites, blogs, and video channels with large public followings.

These individuals usually specialize in a particular area such as vegan cooking or cruelty-free beauty products. The most successful influencers set themselves up as authorities.

Whether they focus on healthy living or antique car restoration, the influencers consumers trust practice what they preach, and they may include affiliate marketing links.

If you have a startup, an influencer marketing campaign can help you in significant ways, even without a huge budget. Here are seven effective influencer marketing strategies for startups.

1. Court Micro-Influencers

If you are just starting out and nobody knows your brand, forget about wasting time seeking huge celebrity endorsements.

Instead, build relationships with micro-influencers. These are people you can relate to, with families and clogged pipes.

They may have fewer than 10,000 followers. But if you begin building relationships with them and they review or mention your brand, you have gained the attention of a large audience. And this increased visibility could lead to sales.

The two-fold beauty of working with influencers is they quickly increase your brand’s visibility. And the backlinks they provide help you rank higher with search engines.

With an influencer marketing strategy, influencers are now your target audience. Send them free products, for example, and politely request feedback.

2. Write Guest Posts

Many influencers have blogs, and they often take guest blog posts. Perform market research and pay attention to which influencers might best relate to your service or product.

Write an authoritative, interesting blog post and send it to them. Do not hard-sell your brand in the post but do put a link to your web site in your bio.

Your goal with this is to present yourself as a trustworthy expert who has valuable information nobody else does.

3. Let Influencers Take Over Social Media

Influencers are already using the internet and are generally savvy with social networks. Make agreements with influencers you trust and respect to manage your social media presence for an agreed-upon period of time.

You can learn a lot from this sort of strategy and enjoy exploring how social platforms work for you. Your brand will gain visibility, and you will probably get new followers.

4. Invite Influencers to Group Interviews and Expert Roundups

As a startup, you need to build trust for your brand. Nobody can buy trust—you can only earn it. To increase your brand’s visibility, set up an expert roundup or group interview on your site and invite influencers to attend.

Try to get marketing experts and industry veterans to participate as well. You may need to invest in some paid advertising to promote this post, but the benefits could be great for all involved.

5. Establish Affiliate Marketing Relationships

Research influencers in your industry who are already affiliates for services and products related to yours, and approach them about starting your own affiliate relationship with them.

Introduce yourself and your brand and offer them a part of your revenue as an affiliate. This is easily done and worthwhile, as influencers bring you an audience already interested in your industry and similar products.

6. Give Free Feedback to Influencers

Offer influencers valuable, free feedback to begin building a relationship with them. Be careful to sound friendly, professional, and helpful rather than critical.

You can do this in multiple ways—point out a typo or a broken link or tell them if their web site’s load time is slow.

This is a simple way to begin building relationships with the type of influencers you feel are right for your brand.

7. Ask Influencers to Co-Host Events

As a startup, you want to get your name out there, and events on social media forums are an excellent way to do this.

Ask relevant influencers to lend their creativity and expertise to your brand by co-hosting public events.

Influencers can reach consumers that startups with small budgets may not be able to find. Another benefit is that the followers of influencers already trust them and may be more open to considering your product or service when presented by influencers.

You can put practical strategies to work for you right now to take advantage of all the benefits influencer marketing strategies offer.