PPE supplier thrives on influencers (and in Hollywood)
Roman Zrazhevskiy’s company, Mira Safety, sells protective gas masks. It was launched in 2018, targeting consumers, medical providers, law enforcement and military personnel. Masks protect against tear gas, chemicals and, yes, viruses. Yet reaching prospects was a challenge.
“We did a lot of influencer affiliate marketing,” Zrazhevskiy told me. “We reached out to industry experts and said, ‘We would love for you to check out our product and write an unbiased review. “”
Fast forward to 2021, and Mira Safety has thrived. The Covid-19 has created unprecedented demand. But Zrazhevskiy’s influencer marketing program got the word out. A Hollywood movie added even more exposure.
He and I recently discussed his trip. Our entire audio conversation is embedded below. The following transcript is edited for length and clarity.
Eric Bandholz: I guess 2020 and 2021 have been good for Mira Safety.
Roman Zrazhevskiy: Yes, we have had amazing years.
Bandholz: How did people find you?
Zrazhevskiy: It was one step at a time. We started selling on Amazon. We channeled the money we made on Amazon to build a robust website. And we’ve done a lot of influencer affiliate marketing. We reached out to industry experts and said, “We would love for you to look at our product and write an unbiased review no matter what you think of the product. We are very confident. We stand behind everything we sell.
The most important thing is to have a top quality product, to know the market and what else is out there. All the influencers who received it were like, “Wow, that’s great. We manufacture at a defense contractor, who has been making similar products since the 1920s or so.
Bandholz: How does influencer marketing for personal protective equipment work?
Zrazhevskiy: I went through a process called research hacking, where I put myself in the shoes of someone who is researching that product niche, looking for a product like this, and I see who is talking about products like this and who are the main players.
For gas masks, I would google “best gas masks”, “kids’ gas masks” – all of those keyword variations. I would list all the blogs I found on a spreadsheet. Then I would personally contact everyone. I would describe our product and invite them to join our affiliate program.
It is essential to be transparent. Give them the resources they need to write great content, including quality images and technical specifications. Send them a product. We give them access to our affiliate reseller file which has product by product information, 360 degree photos, everything.
Raising awareness among influencers has a cascading effect. When some greats introduce you, others want to. Now we have some cool people contacting us and saying, “I love your brand. I like what you are doing. I think my audience would be receptive to this. They would like to know more. Could you send me something and I’ll create some content? “
Bandholz: Do you have any requirements, such as a minimum number of subscribers or a domain rank?
Zrazhevskiy: Yes. Twenty thousand subscribers per channel, with commitment. We are looking for someone strong in at least one channel. It is rare to be strong in all channels. Our deciding factor is whether they create quality content. We’ll use some of this content and split it into ads later. No one has ever had a problem with that.
For example, I could take their video and split it into mini ad segments on Facebook. It is successful for us. We don’t have to produce the content ourselves.
With advertising, you have to keep creating new content. If you stop, your ads die. Then Facebook sees that engagement is decreasing and penalizing you for assuming the ad is no longer relevant to the audience.
Creating content requires someone to work full time. Targeting is easy. What is difficult is to produce the creatives.
Bandholz: Back to influencers. You reach one by one. What are your goals?
Zrazhevskiy: I will decide what to work on every day. I’m going to wake up and decide, for example, to focus on influencing stuff. I’ll be doing a full day of influencer sprints – researching, raising awareness, sending lots of emails.
I will create a series of models. I personalize these models. And I start to reach out via email. I keep a pipeline of these influencers in HubSpot as a deal. This way I know who I reached out to. I take notes if they answer. My goal is to move from awareness sent to products sent for published review.
We work with an influencer agency for adults. They have custodians, managers. With the big guys, you have to pay for the videos, and they create the content. There is no guarantee of performance.
Bandholz: How many of these emails do you send each day?
Zrazhevskiy: Around 20-30. It’s all about quality, not quantity. You don’t want to go for it, make mistakes, and write something that is impersonal or doesn’t read well.
I am a student of neurolinguistic programming. I write things a certain way and then I test them by the response. I try to create my posts to attract a response.
Bandholz: Which subject lines get the most responses?
Zrazhevskiy: One of my main ones is “Product review with 15% commissions.” »I tell the influencer what I want and the commission percentage.
Sometimes I negotiate the percentages, but usually it’s 10-15%. To the people we really want, we will offer 15%. But about 95% of influencers get a 10% commission.
Bandholz: What affiliate software do you recommend?
Zrazhevskiy: For anything outdoors – camping, hiking, fitness – I would go with AvantLink. It is an affiliate network. AvantLink has tracking technology. They show click-through rates, earnings per click, everything. They make 3% on every sale.
Some affiliate networks take more, others less. But the most important factor is finding a strong network in your niche. For my niche, it’s AvantLink.
Bandholz: How often do you pay commissions?
Zrazhevskiy: Each month. AvantLink takes its share and pays the influencers.
I intended to mention one more benefit of affiliate marketing beyond immediate sales. It is a form of social proof. I put affiliate videos on my product pages.
I give visitors all the research they need on these pages immediately. I provide them with a question and answer section, which delves into common questions. I give them my Instagram feed, which has the product on Instagram used by customers. I am including 360 degree rotations. Most importantly, I am including my YouTube feed. Some of our product pages contain 15 influencer videos. And, also, I include user generated reviews.
This strategy has worked for us. We provide so much information that someone could spend hours on this product page without having to look elsewhere.
Bandholz: Can we talk about your victory in Hollywood?
Zrazhevskiy: Sure. In May 2019, I received a voicemail from Warner Brothers. At first I thought it was a scam. But I called back. I spoke to a lady who is a product placement specialist at Warner Brothers. She said they were working on a new film by Christopher Nolan, the director of “Inception”.
She called the new movie “Merry Go Round”. It was the working title. She said Chris loves our mask.
Then we negotiated. It is imperative to negotiate the terms before sending anything, although it is an exciting opportunity, especially in Hollywood. You have to have everything in writing. We negotiated the credits. Initially, they didn’t want to include us in the credits. We insisted. We sent them around 300 masks and filters. That’s a lot considering each one sells for $ 250. But it was a dream come true, a once in a lifetime thing. So we sent them the products. The movie was released in 2020. It’s science fiction, called “Tenet”.
Bandholz: It’s such a cool movie.
Zrazhevskiy: For sure. A 10 minute section of the film featured 300 people in a battle scene wearing our masks. It has been shown to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Bandholz: The whole premise of the movie wore these masks.
Zrazhevskiy: Yes exactly. It is a blessing. I think it was God who shaped this whole opportunity. It was such a humbling and exciting experience. It’s incredible. Since then, we have had three to four other films, major blockbusters, which will feature our masks.
Bandholz: How can listeners learn more about you and your business and contact you?
Zrazhevskiy: Our website is MiraSafety.com. We are on Instagram @MIRASafety or #MIRASafety. I’m on LinkedIn.