The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Outreach [+2 Free Templates] | 2020 Update
Influencer marketing is no new thing. We have been influenced by others for as long as the human race has existed. It is not influence itself that is new, but the advent of the social media influencer which has changed the way in which businesses leverage influence to their benefit.
Before, those with significant influence were few and far between and insanely difficult to reach. But social media has changed the entire landscape, drastically increasing the networks of previously ‘uninfluential’ individuals AND making them significantly easier to reach (DM’s, comments, emails etc).
Those that jumped on the trend for influencer marketing early saw HUGE success as a result – check out GymShark or Daniel Wellington if you want a couple of examples.
However, as more businesses join the influencer marketing party, influencers attention is becoming stretched, making it increasingly difficult to grab their attention and get them to collaborate with your brand.
In this article, we take a detailed look at how to get influencers to engage, how to write an awesome influencer outreach email and what to do next...
Do your influencer research and engage
When it comes to successful influencer outreach, the better you know your target, the higher your chances of success.
Spend time researching and understanding the influencers you want to work with:
Follow their accounts
Read their blogs
Like their stuff
Post relevant comments
Share their content with others
Reach out with questions and ideas
Basically, make sure they know you exist before you reach out with an unsolicited proposal. This process is time-consuming, but you would be surprised by how much of a difference it really makes. Plus, on occasion influencers will spot you and your brand and reach out about collaborating - ultimately putting you in a much stronger position.
The information you gain from these types of interactions not only makes the influencer familiar with your brand but allows you to further screen the influencer and assess their suitability to work with.
Kiss (just a little) influencer butt
Nobody likes a suck-up, but everyone loves being recognised and praised for their efforts and creativity.
When communicating with influencers don’t shy away from mentioning some of their achievements, some of the content you love or something they have achieved that you would also love to do.
Note: If you can’t find anything nice or relevant to say – do you really want them representing your brand?
Don’t go too far with this, but be specific.
“I love your stuff”
Doesn’t quite have the same clout as...
“I was just reading your latest blog post on why dogs are better are humans…I have to say I totally agree and you present it in a way which I am sure is going to convince others to think the same – great job”.
Align your goals and vision
So you have caught the influencer's interest by giving genuine praise of something you love. Now you need to convince them of the values of your brand and why they align with their own values and goals.
Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve as a business. Perhaps you have a mission or vision statement which will help you do this. Then ask yourself how you can align with what the influencer is looking to achieve.
Take for example that you are a male skincare brand, that has a mission to spread the word of ethical and organic skincare products amongst men. Are you looking to work with influencers that have the same or similar goals? Perhaps they are trying to build a name for themselves in the same space.
Make it clear in the email why you think there is good alignment between your business and the influencer. Again, if you can’t match your mission to the goals of the influencer you should really question whether they are the right influencer for your business.
Don’t (always) show them the money
Whether you should be paying an influencer is a subject that deserves its own series of blog posts. For now, let’s assume that you have a budget that can be used to facilitate influencers to create content with your brand.
This may be a controversial point, but from our experience, we VERY RARELY mention money in the first email. The initial email should be used to judge the suitability, availability, alignment and willingness of the influencer to work with your brand.
This gives you the opportunity to test whether the influencer is in it for the art or the dollar. Although a reply email will very rarely not mention payment or value exchange of some sort, there are two common replies to the initial outreach email which are cause for concern:
Their reply does not contain any mention of your brand, why they agree with your points on partnering or even any effort to highlight why partnering would be a good idea.
They simply send you their rate card and very little else.
This being said, if the influencer makes some effort in the email, it Is less concerning if they ask about your budget or what other value you bring to the table. One statement that we often use in initial influencer outreach emails is:
“We do have a small budget for this project, but we are currently just judging interest at this time”
This allows influencers to naturally mention potential fees or ideas in the reply but also acts as a subtle way to remind them that is they do not show some interest then they aren’t the right match for you.
Again, whether you should pay influencers or work on other exchanges of value is a whole topic which we could (and will) go much deeper into detail on. Understanding the value that you bring and that the influencer brings will help you at this point.
For example, when working with micro-influencers who may be starting in their content creation journey, you are likely to be able to find a reasonable value exchange. Working with larger or celebrity influencers will almost certainly require some sort of financial incentives.
Be clear on what you are looking for
What do you want to achieve from working with an influencer? Is it to leverage their expert knowledge, their highly relevant content or their reach into your target audience?
You need to make it very clear in your initial outreach email what your motivation is to work with them. Some of the wider elements of this will become clear when aligning your values. However, you should also take the opportunity to explain the specific steps you are hoping to take with them.
This saves both you and the influencer a considerable amount of time. They can review your thoughts and weigh up whether they have the time, energy and inclination at this point in their journey.
REMEMBER: When working with influencers for their expert skills in content generation, it is a bad idea to maintain too much control over the content they generate. Although it can be a good idea to present some ideas, make it clear that they will maintain a good level of creative control over the content and that you would love to hear their ideas.
This is an obvious one which so many people seem to forget.
At the end of your email include a call to action highlighting exactly what the influencer needs to do next. It may be as simple as:
“Please reply to this email with your ideas for moving forward”
“Please give me a quick call on [….] as we need to get this project moving asap”
If the next step isn’t clear, you are going to lose the interest you have fought hard for through the initial outreach email.
Influencer Outreach: In Summary
Writing effective influencer outreach emails is a fine art which requires constant adaption, research and testing to get right. Influencers tend to be very busy people and you will often need to reach out a number of times before they get back to you.
By following the influencer outreach principles we have highlighted in this article you give yourself the head start you need to get the job done.
Want a helping hand? We have included a link below to two influencer outreach examples which we have tried and tested with great success. If you have any questions or need any support with your influencer marketing campaigns get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org