With influencer marketing and the creator economy in all its forms being as popular as ever, many companies and agencies are looking to collaborate with content creator talent. After all, the right influencer can dramatically increase sales and exposure for almost any brand. At the same time, influencers need to know how much to charge for their services.
Certainly, any discussion about influencer services will include pricing and other payment terms. However, it’s easy for influencers to feel lost at this stage of negotiations, especially if they’re new. And with companies often trying to get the most out of limited cash, being unprepared as an influencer can keep you from getting the money you’re worth.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re compensated fairly is with an influencer rate card.
What is an Influencer Rate Card?
An influencer rate card is a document outlining an influencer’s pricing and services for collaboration with brands. Typically, the card will include multiple levels of service or types of collaboration. It should be revised as an influencer’s popularity, reach, and other aspects of value fluctuate.
Besides providing prices for services, these cards are available upfront and often serve as a kind of advertisement.
Benefits for influencers
While it’s easy to think, “I’ll just negotiate with the company after they ask for details,” doing this isn’t the best idea. Trying to decide what you consider is fair on the fly can be difficult – especially if you aren’t sure what the market prices are.
Here are the benefits of having an influencer rate card ready when businesses reach out.
Establishes professional image and value.
In the early days of influencer marketing, social media personalities selling their services was mostly a side gig – or a small part of what they did. While many influencers still do collaborations as a side gig, the level of professionalism has dramatically increased. Consequently, developing an influencer rate card helps establish you as a professional who knows your market value.
Streamlines communication and negotiation.
Your rate card acts as a starting point for negotiations. Often, your potential client will be ready to pay your stated rate. But even if they want to revise the compensation – or do something slightly different from your list of services – you’ll have a good place to start.
Saves time and avoids misunderstandings.
No matter how professional influencer marketing becomes, there will always be companies that want to spend the lowest possible price. These brands will often look for people without fixed rates or who are new to the business of influence. However, if you have an influencer rate card, you’ll automatically screen out brands that want to pay dramatically lower rates. This keeps both you and the brand from wasting a lot of time when there’s little chance of an agreement.
Ensures fair compensation based on reach and engagement.
Ideally, your influencer rate card will have well-thought-out pricing for your services. I’ll talk about pricing strategies later, but you should ensure that rates are consistent with the market. Otherwise, you can sell yourself short or scare off brands that wish to pay market rates.
Benefits for brands
Influencers aren’t the only ones who benefit from rate cards. In fact, knowing how much an influencer wants to be paid can be a major help to your potential customers.
Provides clear expectations and budget planning.
Like all businesses, brands have a particular marketing budget. Chances are that they also have a specific line item for influencer collaborations, too. If a brand manager can see upfront how much an influencer charges, they can prepare a draft budget for the engagement before contacting that person.
Helps evaluate influencer fit and potential ROI.
All brands have a maximum amount of money that they can spend on each campaign. So, if an influencer is too expensive to hire, the marketer will move on. Similarly, having an approximate rate upfront lets marketers decide if the ROI from engaging an influencer is high enough to justify the spend.
Similarly, if an influencer’s prices are significantly lower than the market, it might signal that they aren’t experienced enough or lack confidence. Then again, sometimes, a brand will want to give that person a chance to establish a track record.
Promotes transparency and trust in the partnership.
Brands don’t like it when they feel an influencer might be taking advantage of them. Similarly, influencers shouldn’t be happy with lowball offers. If both parties to the agreement can set expectations upfront, there will be a lot more trust.
Deconstructing the Rate Card
Developing an influencer rate card can seem intimidating at first. That’s unsurprising when you consider that many influencers have never run a business before – and consider this one to be a side gig. However, knowing what you need to include will make the process much easier.
Here are the most important items to include in your influencer rate card.
First, include basic information about yourself. This includes your name, platform(s), follower count, demographics, and engagement metrics. If you have a different username on various platforms where you offer services, be sure to indicate this.
Further Reading: The 21 Top Influencer Marketing Platforms
Here, you can discuss types of content creation you’re familiar with, such as posts, stories, videos, or blog reviews. Also discuss your campaign participation, product placements, or anything else you’re willing to provide. This will let brands see right away if you offer what they’re seeking.
Next, tell people about your pricing. Generally speaking, you’ll have various rates based on what kind of content people want. For example, you might include per-post rates, package deals, and tiered pricing based on reach/engagement. Similarly, mention if you’re interested in deals like affiliate agreements and commissions.
While some services might be self-explanatory, be explicit about what your prices include. For example, you might have a price for guest blog posts, a single Instagram post, or a YouTube Short. In addition, you can have pricing based on the number and type of hashtags, length of captions, and so forth. Package deals should mention which deliverables are included.
Terms and Conditions
Finally, specify any terms and conditions that you have. An important term is how you’ll be paid, such as through PayPal or company check. Don’t forget to include other conditions, like your turnaround time, revision policy, and any restrictions on exclusivity clauses. Doing this will let brands identify any dealbreakers upfront.
It’s one thing to say “I’ll make you one Instagram post for $100,” and another to help brands decide if you’re the right person to help them. Here are some considerations to weigh in on as appropriate.
- Niche Expertise: Highlight specific areas of knowledge or specialization. If you can be more specific here, you’ll get higher quality inquiries.
- Case Studies: Showcase successful past collaborations with brands. Potential clients will have more confidence if you can demonstrate effectiveness. Also, having good case studies may increase the rates you can command.
- Testimonials: Include positive feedback from clients. Some of these will touch on less objective measures of performance, like your flexibility or professionalism. Or, they might validate your effectiveness.
- Visuals: Use professional photos and graphics to enhance presentation. Let people see that you are as serious about branding and marketing as they are.
- Call to Action: Encourage brands to contact for custom proposals. Not every influencer does this, but CTAs are essential in sales. Believe it or not, your influencer rate card exists to drive sales!
Including these items, as appropriate, will help you stand out from the competition.
Crafting Your Influencer Rate Card
Of course, your rate card has a lot of individual considerations. Not only do you have different testimonials and niches from others, but there are plenty of variables that can help determine your value. Fortunately, the process is manageable if you follow these steps.
The first thing you need to do is analyze your platform performance. Ask yourself, how many followers do you have? What are their demographics? Is your engagement rate relatively high or low? Each of these factors will help determine how much you can charge for services.
Research competitor rates in your niche
Ideally, you should find rates for every type of service that you offer. This may take some work, such as viewing influencer matching sites. You can also ask around, especially if you know a lot of other influencers. If it’s hard to get information for your niche, look at similar specialties to get a rough idea of pricing.
Every influencer is different, so pricing for the same services in the same niche can still vary significantly. Here, think about your experience, content quality, and production costs. A very experienced influencer who produces high-quality work can charge more than a rookie with more primitive content. Then, think about what it costs to produce your content. Even if you’re doing this for fun, you want to make a profit.
Target audience and brand type
Finally, think about who you want to work with. On the audience side, think about your audience demographics and to what extent it matches your target. For instance, you might want to reach people who are your own age or go for an older audience with more money. Likewise, consider the ideal brand partner. Your collaboration pricing should be consistent with what that brand would expect to pay.
While most of us initially think of pricing as a fixed amount of money, that isn’t the only way to get compensated. As a beginning influencer, you might have worked in exchange for free products. You may want to include that as part of your terms (hey, it’s practical since you’d otherwise need to buy), but when you craft an influencer rate card, there should be cash. There are several ways to structure cash compensation.
Set per-post or package prices based on your value. Fixed pricing is straightforward and easy to understand but offers little flexibility.
Offer different rates based on follower count or engagement. If you work on multiple platforms, then this approach can work well. It also gives you automatic raises as your account grows.
Tie rates to campaign results so that you get paid better if the content performs especially well. In other words, a viral post can be worth more than the one that doesn’t get seen. Choose different “triggers” for compensation, such as views, conversions, or changes in website traffic.
Writing Compelling Content
Even if you don’t typically produce written content, make your influencer rate card compelling. While the products and rates are important, brand representatives need to know what makes you special. Luckily, you don’t need to be a wordsmith if you follow these tips:
- Clearly explain your services and value proposition. In other words, tell people what you have to offer and why your services are worthwhile.
- Use concise and professional language. Don’t beat around the bush or make people guess at what you’re trying to say. Similarly, avoid excessive slang, informal language, or anything else you wouldn’t use at work. Remember, this is a proposed business transaction.
- Highlight unique selling points and niche expertise. Every influencer is different, including you. Show marketers they should hire you rather than your competition.
- Showcase your personality and brand voice. Ultimately, potential clients will hire you for your personality, your influence, and your brand. That’s what helps you be influential.
Negotiating with Confidence
Simply preparing an influencer rate card and posting it on the Internet isn’t enough to land a deal. Instead, think of your rate card as marketing material and a starting point for negotiating with potential partners.
Do your research
Know the market rates for your niche and influencer tier. While you’ve already done this to prepare your rate card, it’s critical to keep on top of the latest trends. Sometimes, the “going rate” will change rapidly, especially with changes in an industry.
Similarly, when you get an inquiry research the brand and their budget history with influencer partnerships. Doing this will give you a good idea about how much they’re willing to pay. At the same time, consider how similar you are to other influencers who got paid a certain amount.
Be clear and upfront about your rates
Transparency is more important than ever in business nowadays. Present your rate card as a starting point, but be open to discussion. Brands have their budgets, and they might have a service suggestion that could effect the price.
On the other hand, you also have bills, and your work is valuable. Explain the value you bring and justify your pricing with data or previous successes. If the brand is realistic, they will consider whether or not stellar performance or especially high quality work justifies a higher price.
Focus on collaboration, not just compensation
Naturally, your brand manager might not be immediately agreeable to your pricing. Similarly, they may still be deciding if you’re their ideal choice. Discuss the campaign goals and how you can contribute to their success. Ultimately, they want the right person for a rate they can afford.
At the same time, show genuine interest in the brand and their vision. Brands prefer working with influencers who are on the same page. Besides, enthusiasm would help you create better content if hired.
Be prepared to walk away
Unfortunately, not all brands are realistic about influencer service fees. As with many other things in business, some people want to get something for (nearly) nothing. Don’t accept lowball offers that undervalue your worth. Otherwise, you’ll set a precedent that you don’t value your own time and don’t care if people take advantage of you.
Know your bottom line and be willing to politely decline partnerships that don’t align with your pricing or values. There are other collaboration partners who will ultimately be willing to pay reasonable rates. Besides, collaboration with brands that don’t reflect your values can dilute your value as an influencer.
Optimizing Your Influencer Rate Card for SEO and Visibility
While rate cards are effective as a handout when people inquire about services, they don’t live up to their full potential unless people can find them easily. If your rates are readily available, though, you have a great advertising tool.
Use relevant keywords throughout the document
Include your main keyword (“influencer rate card”) and secondary keywords organically in headings, subheadings, and body text. Do research to identify keywords in your niche, and choose the ones which best describe your work. This way, people looking for influencers in your niche will be more likely to find you.
Create a landing page on your website for your rate card
You have a website, right? If not, build one because it helps people learn who you are. There’s more to you than your social media accounts. Then, put your influencer rate card on one page of your site. This will improve discoverability and allow you to track traffic and engagement.
Share your rate card strategically
Besides your website, offer more ways for people to find your rates. Promote it on your social media platforms, email signature, and relevant online communities. The easiest way to do this is by sharing the link to your landing page. Just be sure to identify what people will find on that page.
Regularly update your rate card
As your experience and market rates change, adjust your pricing and services to reflect your growth and value. For example, you might find that certain services are more popular, or that something you do is less common in your niche. Similarly, the market may change in ways that affect service prices.
Beyond the Card: Optimizing Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Your influencer rate card shows potential partners how you value various collaborations. However, behind that card is an overall business strategy. Besides your rates, strategic planning helps determine the success of your influencer business – even if it’s just a gig.
Building Relationships: Network with brands and agencies in your niche.
Ultimately, the brands and agencies are your potential customers. And as the saying goes, people pay people. As marketers get to know you, they are more likely to think of you first for a potential collaboration. To boost your chances of success, get to know the decisionmakers in your niche.
Content Quality: Focus on creating valuable and engaging content for your audience.
Just like people, agencies and brands often pay more for better quality work. After all, they get a better return on investment when superior content achieves top-notch results. As you become more recognized for great work, you’ll get more inquiries from potential collaboration partners.
Data and Analytics: Track your performance and measure campaign ROI.
Part of being an influencer is producing results. For your channels, this means getting high engagement rates and increasing the number of followers. At the same time, better metrics boosts your value to brands. Keeping track of the ROI you get from prior campaigns further helps to demonstrate what’s possible when brands hire you. And in turn, this helps justify the numbers on your influencer rate card.
Adaptability: Stay informed about industry trends and adjust your strategy accordingly.
As the market for services changes, you may need to adjust your strategy. For instance, right now freelance writers must work harder to demonstrate their value against competition from generative AI. Similarly, influencers in certain niches might find themselves more or less divisive based on consumer sentiment.
Both of these examples show how important it is to pivot your strategy as needed. The writers must emphasize the differences between AI and human-written content – and why the latter is worth paying extra for. And influencers who find themselves suddenly more divisive may need to shift their target audience to demographics who find them more compelling.
Further Reading: The 13 Influencer Marketing Trends You Need to Know in 2024
Transparency and Ethics: Disclose sponsored content and partner relationships clearly.
Disclosing sponsorships and partnerships is more important than ever. Increasingly, consumers value transparency and authenticity over opaque agreements. While your followers should value your opinion either way, they have a right to know when you’re making sponsored recommendations. This way, they can better evaluate your assessment of a product.
If you’re located in the United States, there’s another consideration. The FTC mandates that you indicate when a piece of content is sponsored. You must also declare any affiliate links and other ways in which you get money from brands. Generally speaking, brands will require you to comply with applicable laws.
Sample Influencer Rate Cards
In many ways influencer rate cards are similar to influencer media kits, but many influencers prefer to send their influencer media kits first, and then when there is interest, follow up with an influencer rate card. For that reason, rate cards tend to be simpler one-page solutions rather than a longer media kit, which could be one or multiple pages.
While there are many Etsy sellers of influencer rate cards, you can use graphic tools like Canva to create your own. The below are actual Canva influencer rate card templates that should give you some idea as to what they might look like. Clicking on the “Source” below the image will take you to the exact template in Canva. Happy designing!
Creating an influencer rate card is an important way to market your services. Not only can you help brands and agencies decide if you’re the right person to collaborate with, but you’ll have an important starting point for negotiations. At the same time, you’ll have a branding tool that demonstrates how you can make a difference for companies. Having a clear value proposition helps increase the frequency and value of collaborations.
Hero Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash