The value of genuine influence is being realized and appreciated by more and more businesses with each passing day. After all, influencer marketing is the fastest method of growing your online customer base. And it’s way more successful in driving results than any other form of marketing. However, much of this success is an outcome of an effective influencer outreach program.
A study by TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions revealed that the ROI from influencer marketing is 11X greater than traditional approaches. Hence, it is no wonder that brands flock towards influencers and are willing to pay fortunes for a mention.
Image via Instagram
That being said, not everyone can afford to work with the likes of Selena Gomez. And trust me, you don’t necessarily need to. For successful influencer marketing, the key is to focus on finding influencers who are right for you.
But then again, that’s easier said than done, right? That’s exactly why I’m here today. To talk about a simple step-by-step guide to conduct an influencer outreach that delivers stunning results. So let’s get started, shall we?
Step #1: Influencer Outreach Groundwork
Essentially, influencer outreach is the process of connecting with relevant influencers and persuading them to work with you. Hence, the first step in this process would be to do some groundwork.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to success. However, this part of your outreach will lay the foundation for a successful campaign. So make sure to invest your time and efforts diligently here.
Identify the Right Influencers
The first step in your influencer outreach program should be to find the right influencers. Think of them as your partners who are likely to be truly invested in your business. You must make sure that their niche is in alignment with your products or services.
If that happens, it’s a win-win situation for both of you. The influencer can build credibility by promoting products that their followers might actually be interested in. And you too get to win customer trust since the recommendation comes from a credible influencer.
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A celebrity influencer whose niche is completely unrelated to your products won’t help you in any way. They will simply eat away your budgets. So, you must find a way of working with influencers who matter.
Find And Evaluate Influencers
Platforms like BuzzSumo or Grin can help you find influencers across various niches as well as categories. You can filter them by their reach, authority, and influence. I would recommend evaluating the following three factors in your evaluation.
Image via BuzzSumo
Take time to go through the content posted by your influencers on their blogs and social channels. This will help you understand what kind of messaging they use and if it aligns with your brand or not.
Look at metrics such as the influencer’s follower counts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages. You should also try to find out the number of monthly visitors to their blogs, their MozRank, and Alexa rank. This will give you an idea of the number of people you can reach by leveraging an influencer.
More than the number of people you can reach, it is important to understand how many of them genuinely care. Simply having a large following doesn’t mean that they can be influenced easily. This is especially true for paid followers.
Step #2: Warm Them Up Before You Reach Out
Once you’ve identified a set of influencers who seem right for your brand, you need to work on your outreach. Before you start connecting with them, though, you need to think about a few things. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Why should these influencers respond to you?
- What’s in it for them?
- What kind of perks or compensation are you willing to offer?
- What are your campaign goals?
The answers to the above question will actually help you draft your pitch to influencers. Make sure to articulate your goals clearly. What you are hoping to achieve from an influencer marketing campaign and how it will help your brand?
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Also, how are you willing to help your influencers? Are you going to offer them free product samples, pay for posts, commissions on sales?
Keep your draft ready but wait, don’t pitch just yet. Remember, successful influencer marketing requires you to build long-term relationships with influencers. You must make an effort to nurture these relationships. You need to demonstrate to your influencers that you’re in it for the long haul, and not myopic in your approach.
So, don’t start by sending your pitch as soon as you’ve identified your influencers. Instead, start engaging with them on social media. Like and comment on their Instagram or Twitter posts. An easy way of doing this is to add them to a Twitter list. This way you can monitor their accounts daily and engage with their posts.
Step #3: Reach Out to Influencers
Once you have successfully made your presence felt, you can start your outreach. Write a personalized email to each of the influencers you have identified. Your email should be genuine and authentic. A good influencer outreach email must include the following.
- A catchy subject line that makes them want to read your email right away.
- Familiarize yourself telling them where and how you came across their work and what you liked about it.
- Do not beat around the bush. Instead be precise and tell them your objective of reaching out to them.
- Talk about the value you can offer them, both monetary and non-monetary benefits.
- Conclude your email with a definitive call-to-action.
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A clear, concise email that puts across all the relevant information and prompts the reader to take an action. That is the definition of an effective influencer outreach email.
There’s no need to write multiple paragraphs of how you loved their work or about your business mission. Instead, talk precisely about what’s in it for them and why they should work with you. Make sure to frame it in a way that sounds like an exciting opportunity.
Also, make sure that your subject is intriguing enough. If it’s not, they might just save your email for later which might never happen, given how busy we are.
And definitely, include references to your past collaborations with influencers. Such proofs build your credibility and are essential to the success of your influencer outreach. Here’s an example of a great email template.
“Dear [NAME OF INFLUENCER],
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR JOB TITLE] at [YOUR COMPANY].
I’ve been following you on Twitter for some time now and have been really impressed with your content. I’ve even shared some of your posts on our social channels and they’ve resonated quite well with our audiences.
We’ve been working with [OTHER INFLUENCERS YOU’VE WORKED WITH] for some of our past social media campaigns [MENTION THE LINK] and they’ve loved it.
We’d like to invite you to work with us on a Twitter campaign that we’re currently finalizing. If this interests you, please reply to this email so we can set up some time for a conversation.
I look forward to hearing from you.”
Step #4: Follow Up With Influencers
All of us get tons of emails every day and hence it’s quite possible that your outreach email gets lost in the clutter. So, make sure that you send follow up emails to the influencers if you haven’t heard back from them.
I recommend waiting for a couple of days before you send your first follow up email. You can even send them a direct message on Twitter asking if they’ve had a chance to check your email. Essentially your follow up email should contain the following.
- A reminder about the previous email you have sent
- A summary of what’s in it for them
- A clear call-to-action that informs them about the next steps
Here’s an example of a good follow up email.
“Dear [NAME OF INFLUENCER],
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR JOB TITLE] at [YOUR COMPANY]. I wanted to check if you’ve had a chance to go through my previous email. It was about a project that I was hoping we could partner on.
I’ve been following your work closely and was really impressed with [EXAMPLE OF THEIR WORK].
I thought this partnership might interest you because [SHARE REASONS]. If it does, we’d love to get on a call to discuss the details and how we can help each other.
Here are some of our past projects for your reference [MENTION THE LINK].
Looking forward to hearing from you.”
If you don’t hear back after your first follow up email, I’d recommend waiting for a week. Then send a final follow up email to an influencer. Sometimes they might just miss out on it for various reasons. And it might not necessarily mean that they aren’t interested. So give it a couple of attempts before moving on.
The most important thing that you need to do is stay organized during your influencer outreach. That way you’ll be able to easily keep a track of whom you’ve contacted, who’s responded, and who has not. This will help you plan when to follow up and also schedule your initial meetings efficiently.
Remember to focus on building a long-term relationship with influencers once they’re onboard. Only if your influencers feel comfortable working with you and are finding the partnership valuable, will they deliver stunning results.
Provide them the creative freedom they need and try to promote their work in your professional networks. This will make them truly involved in your business, and focus on giving it their best.
Can you think of some more useful tips related to conducting effective influencer outreach programs? Let me know in the comments below.