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 influencer marketing is way more successful in driving results than any other marketing strategy. However, much of the success of influencer marketing is an outcome of an effective influencer outreach program.
According to a recent study, influencer marketing delivers an ROI of 7.65x, which is much more than the return marketers get from traditional advertising.
Hence, it is no wonder that brands flock towards influencers and are willing to pay fortunes for a mention as part of their marketing strategy.
Image via Instagram
That being said, not everyone can afford to work with the likes of Selena Gomez in their influencer marketing. 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 and then conduct effective influencer outreach.
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 for your influencer marketing efforts.
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 in your influencer marketing.
But, before you get to that, you need to do some groundwork and find the influencers that you want to reach out to as part of your influencer marketing.
This is an important step because working with the wrong influencers can do more harm than good.
So you need to be careful about the influencers that you choose to work with when it comes to influencer marketing.
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, or almost brand ambassadors, who are likely to be truly invested in your business and influencer marketing efforts.
You must make sure that their niche is in alignment with your products or services in the influencer marketing campaign. If that happens, it’s a win-win situation for both of you.
Influencers can build their credibility by promoting products that their followers might actually be interested in. And you get to win customer trust since the recommendation comes from a credible influencer.
Relevance is the first and foremost factor that you should look at while searching for influencers to use in your influencer marketing.
Ensure that the influencers that you work with are within your industry niche and their personal brand matches your brand’s values.
In the example below, a travel influencer is promoting a useful product that comes in handy while traveling.
This brand influencer collaboration is relevant because the post fits naturally within the influencer’s feed and is relevant for her target audience.
Image via Instagram
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 influencers who are relevant to your brand.
Tools for Finding Influencers
These tools will help find the right micro-influencers, social influencers, Instagram influencers, or bloggers to help you generate leads.
Image via BuzzSumo
Factors to Consider While Evaluating Influencers
The following are three of the most important factors to consider while evaluating social media influencers for your influencer marketing plan:
Take time to go through the content posted by your influencers on their blogs and social media channels. This will help you understand what kind of messaging they use and if it aligns with your brand or not.
Look at social media platform metrics such as the influencers’ 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 engage with the influencer’s content.
Simply having a large following on social media doesn’t mean that they can be influenced easily. This is especially true for paid followers.
Hence, you need to check the percentage of followers who regularly like, comment, and share an influencer’s content on social media. That is the true measure of their influence.
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 influencer 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 before you get to the actual influencer outreach. 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?
Image via Instagram
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 for the influencer outreach 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 influencers that you’re in it for the long haul, and not myopic in your approach.
So, don’t start by sending your pitch and starting influencer outreach 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.
This way you will be able to build a relationship with influencers before you do your influencer outreach for paid collaborations.
This will also be beneficial for you because when you finally get to influencer outreach, chances are that they’ll recognize you.
This will make the influencer outreach process easier and smoother for you and will increase your chances of getting a positive response from influencers.
Step #3: Start Your Influencer Outreach
Once you have successfully made your presence felt, and have built an initial relationship with influencers, you can start your influencer outreach.
There are several ways in which you can do your influencer outreach, but direct influencer outreach is the most common method. According to an ACTIVATE study, 72% of marketers choose to reach out to influencers directly.
- A catchy subject line that makes them want to read your email right away.
- Your introduction and the context of how you know them and what you like about their work.
- The reason why you are writing to them.
- The compensation that you’re willing to offer and other non-monetary benefits that they will derive out of the collaboration.
- A conclusion with a definitive call-to-action.
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 or just completely ignore it.
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 after your initial influencer outreach. You can use email templates like the one above to do so.
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 social media platforms 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, for your influencer outreach.
“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.
Also, in the meanwhile, be sure to continue trying to get their attention by liking and commenting on their posts. If they start recognizing you, you’ll have much better chances of getting a response.
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 schedule your meetings efficiently.
Remember to focus on building a lasting relationship with influencers once they’re onboard. They may end up as your brand ambassador
Only if your influencers feel comfortable working with you and are finding the partnership valuable, will they deliver stunning content marketing 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 digital marketing tips related to conducting effective influencer outreach programs? Let me know in the comments below.