Okay, so you’ve completed the first step of the influencer campaign: identifying relevant influencers for your campaign.
Maybe you’ve found these influencers through regular manual search, or maybe you have used an influencer directory.
A study found that marketers idetnify that the single biggest challenge of influencer marketing is finding relevant and suitable influencers for a campaign. But what about when you have found them? The next step is reaching out to them and ultimately agreeing on a partnership. But you will be surprised at how difficult this task can be.
You probably already know that influencer marketing is among the most powerful and effective ways to market your brand, so I won’t be going on and on about its benefits. But remember that nothing worth having comes easy…
Influencer marketing isn’t difficult if you know how to effectively set up a successful influencer marketing campaign. But again, is anything you know how to do difficult to do?
If you don’t know how to effectively set up an influencer campaign, it will be both time-consuming and demand a lot of resources. One place where many marketers get stuck is with their influencer outreach. The influencer outreach is a relatively small part of the whole influencer campaign, but it’s still a very crucial part.
If you are lucky, your influencer outreach will run smooth and you will have a partnership agreed within a few hours.
But the truth is that most of the time, it won’t run that smooth. Unless you know exactly how to execute it.
But with the right strategy, and with the right approach, you can significantly increase the numbers of responses, the number of yes’s, and establish stronger relationships with the influencers you’re about to partner with.
In this article, you’ll learn how to manage your influencer outreach in the right way, and how you can streamline your influencer outreach process to get more responses and more positive responses. Ultimately, this article is about streamlining your influencer outreach process, increasing its succees rate, and saving a ton of time.
Begin with finding the right influencers
There are two core issues marketers have with their influencer outreach processes.
First, it is that the influencers might not respond.
Second, it is that the influencers don’t want to partner with them.
But do you know why influencers don’t want to partner with a brand?
Most of the time, it is because they feel like the brand doesn’t resonate with themselves nor their audience. The rest of the time, it is because they are simply not interested for some reason.
And remember that influencers are very careful with things that can put their trust and authenticity on the line because the trust is all they got.
If they lose the trust people have in them, they lose the most important thing they have.
Yet, still, marketers and brands get disappointed when influencers don’t want to partner with them.
Instead, see it this way:
An influencer saying no is a good thing.
Most of the time, it means that you’ve done your influencer identification wrong and that the campaign wouldn’t have generated very good results anyway. The rest of the time, it is that your offer simply was not interesting enough for the influencer.
Therefore, by identifying the influencers that are perfect matches for your brand, you significantly increase the chances of them actually saying yes to your proposal.
In fact, this is the foundation of having influencers saying yes.
Influencers might even agree on being paid less, or just receiving product samples if they are genuinely passionate about your brand.
When it comes to “paying” with products, it is more common with micro-influencers.
There are several factors you want to consider when identifying influencers to reach out to.
Everything from their visual theme, follower count, authenticity, niche, and much more.
You can filter and find influencers that are perfect fits for your brand with the help of our influencer directory of carefully selected, hand-picked influencers.
If you have not yet identified influencers to partner with, I advise you to read our complete guide on finding influencers that are the perfect fit for your company.
How to succeed with your influencer outreach process
When you’ve identified influencers you think would be perfect fits for your brand, it is time to reach out to them.
This is often where marketers find themselves struggling.
They might reach out to 10, and only a handful will respond.
But by optimizing the way you reach out to the influencers, and the way you craft your messages, you’ll be able to dramatically increase the number of responses. Ultimately, you increase the number of people who say yes to your partnership offer.
A study found that 69% of marketers say the biggest challenge for them is to find the right strategy to engage with influencers. A part of that is their influencer outreach strategy.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve identified influencers who are perfect matches to your brand. The ultimate way to ensure a partnership is to build a strong, long-lasting relationship with them before asking them for anything.
I mean, who are you most likely to say yes to?
A stranger who asks for 100 dollars, or your best friend asking for it?
When you establish a strong relationship with the influencers before you run a partnership with them, not only do you significantly increase the chances of actually having them say yes when you ask, but the influencer campaign will also come off a lot more authentic, as the influencer has gotten engaged and genuinely interested in your brand.
Make the first connection
There are many ways to reach out to influencers. If the first ever contact you make with an influencer is via email or message you reach out to them, your message will be just another cold-outreach in their inbox.
And as you know, people are not very likely to respond to cold emails, right?
Therefore, you want to make the first contact so they become aware of your existence and who you are before you reach out to them.
Start by following them, commenting on their content, asking questions, and giving your thoughts and ideas.
The purpose of this is that you first want to make them aware of your existence so that when your cold email (or message) reaches them, it won’t be as cold, and secondly, to show them that you care about their content.
The thing is, you don’t have to do a lot, even though the more the better unless you go overboard.
By just engaging with them a few times, you can significantly increase their chances of responding.
Give them value first
If you bring the influencer value first, before your influencer outreach, it will be a much better relationship.
A win-win relationship is a lot better than a win-lose relationship, right?
There are several ways you can bring the influencer value, but one tremendously effective way is to start writing guest posts for popular websites.
What you do then is contact influencers (the ones you’ve identified) and ask them for quotes that you can use in your article.
The vast majority of influencers will respond and contribute, because who doesn’t want to be quoted, linked to, and mentioned on a popular website?
Doing this creates a win-win for both parts!
The influencers get exposure and can build their personal brand, the influencer shares the post on their social platform thus boosting the exposure of the post, and you establish an initial contact that significantly increases the chances of them responding (and saying yes) if you approach them for an influencer campaign.
Create a personalized message
Most influencers get approached by brands several times a week. The macro influencers – the thought leaders, get tens of messages each day.
Don’t you think they’re tired of boring, generic messages by now?
No matter how hard you try, a canned message comes off as just that: canned.
And think about it:
How often do you actually respond to messages that seem automated and robot-like?
Not too often, right?
Email templates save you lots of time, and makes the influencer outreach process a lot easier, but what is best?
Using email templates and having 0 out of 10 responds,
spending a little more time writing personalized emails one by one and having 9 out of 10 respond?
Considering your goal is to start partnerships with influencers, not just contact them I’d believe you’d choose the latter.
By personalizing your email (or message), you’ll dramatically increase the number of responses you get, because it shows them that you’ve actually put time into it, and see them as individuals, not just an email address.
Because if you show that you’ve spent time writing the message, they will feel guilty to respond to it.
Make your subject line attention-grabbing
No-one can resist the power of a strong subject line.
If it grabs our attention and sparks our interest, we just can’t help but click on it.
The fact that humans are curious creatures is great news if you can create an attention-grabbing subject line.
The thing is, there’s not much point in spending a ton of time writing a personalized email if the influencer doesn’t even open it.
Therefore, you need to write something in the subject line that makes them so curious that they cannot resist opening – and then also continuing to read.
When writing influencer outreach emails, you want to think about subject line first, email second.
Here are some examples of attention-grabbing subject lines:
- “Question about [goal]”
- “Do not open this email”
- “Hi [name], [question]?”
- “Should I stay or should I go?”
- “We have [insert fact] in common …”
Share their posts
Another great way to increase your response rates is to start sharing the influencer’s posts a week or so before you approach them.
Sharing a post is some kind of value, which means you’ve given them value before you even ask them for anything.
What’s more, by sharing their content, they will also become aware of your brand. and therefore also be more likely to respond when you approach them.
Present the benefits of partnering with you
If the influencer doesn’t feel like they won’t be getting something out of the partnership, they won’t respond to you.
Nobody wants to go into a relationship (or partnership) where they feel like they are the one that is being used.
This is why you make it clear what is in it for them, as well as tell them what is in it for you.
By being transparent, you increase the chances of them seeing the partnership as a win-win partnership, and if they do, they don’t have anything to lose!
I cannot emphasise this enough, but make sure the partnership is mutual. Focus on presenting the benefits so the influencer feel that they will get something out of it. And remember, money is not everything.
Show that you’re a loyal fan
We’ve all received emails saying “I love your stuff”, and “I’ve been following your work for a long time”, from people who clearly have no idea about what we even do.
These emails also scream templated messages, because they don’t tell us what exactly it is they like, and it is all just very generic.
This is why you want to write emails that aren’t generic, and come off like mass-send, spammy emails.
Instead, tell them that you’ve followed them for some time, and give real examples of what it is you like about them, and things, in particular, you like about their work.
For instance, instead of saying “I love your work”, you say “I love your work, especially article X where you talked about Y. Really interesting point of view”.
If you really do enjoy the influencer’s content, and you regularly visit their blog, then tell them the reason for why you are doing so!
It should come from the heart because if it does, it becomes much more credible and authentic.
How are you reaching out to social media influencer?
The way you reach out to influencers is tremendously important.
Marketers say that the most difficult part of the influencer marketing process is finding influencers, and if you’ve completed that process, you’ve probably spent a lot of time and effort into identifying suitable influencers.
But now what?
If you don’t reach out to the influencers in a good way, they’ll never respond to you, and then, all of your influencer identification efforts will be in vain.
Don’t only focus on identifying influencers, instead, put great thought into how you approach influencers and your influencer outreach campaign as well in order to truly succeed.