Tips for Influencer Outreach
Even if you’ve got an awesome strategy to hit the ground running, your efforts will ultimately fall flat if you can’t get the attention of good influencers.
This is especially true in today’s fast-swipe, full-inbox world of social media – where you only have a few words and a few seconds to show how credible and worthy you are.
Not only do your influencer outreach tactics determine whether or not you’ll even get a response from your ideal influencers, but they also lay the foundation for the future of your relationship.
That’s why you need to have your influencer marketing outreach strategy down before you dive in. That means knowing what you’re looking for (at least in general) before you reach out, and communicating that in a personal, clear, and appealing way.
If you’ve decided to let a full-service agency manage your influencer marketing efforts, they’ll handle all the influencer outreach steps for you. Huzzah!
But if you’re doing some or all of it yourself, this chapter is for you.
In this chapter, we’ll discuss influencer outreach strategies and tips, including:
- How to start building a relationship as soon as possible
- Some helpful influencer marketing outreach templates
- How to create a clear, goal-oriented campaign brief
Start Building a Relationship ASAP
As we discussed in Chapter 1’s intro to influencer marketing, strong relationships are at the heart of this marketing medium.
When you build real, authentic relationships with influencers, you’re opening the door for more mutual efforts. And when these efforts are mutual, it’s less like work and more like partnerships.
Take it from Karolis Rimkus, a successful dropshipping entrepreneur who built a trusted brand with the help of influencers:
I tried a few methods. There was a method where I asked straight-up: ‘How can we work together? What’s your price and how can you help me? And how can I help you?’ That was not the best thing I’ve done.
What worked for me was trying to make an authentic conversation. I would say, ‘Your content is great. I saw you went to an industry conference a week ago. How was it?’ And just talk to them.
When you start talking, some of them ask you to go straight to the point. Some actually talk to you as a friend, and it’s much easier to ask for something afterwards when you have a sincere conversation with them.
As the icing on the e-cake, this authenticity spreads into your sponsored content. The influencer’s audience will see that they truly enjoy working with you, which will give your brand lasting returns.
Here are some tips to start building relationships with potential influencers. You can start these today, even if you’re not quite ready to take official influencer outreach steps.
Learn More About Them
Try to really ‘get to know them’ apart from vetting things like follower counts, post quality, and the quality of their social media engagement across accounts.
What values can you glean from their accounts? What do they stand for and gravitate toward? Try to see the person behind the posts, as opposed to some numbers on a dashboard.
Start with Small-Scale Interactions
As you do your research and find more candidates, follow them on their social media platforms. Subscribe to their blog. Periodically share and leave comments on their posts, and respond if they ask questions to start a discussion among their audience.
Show respect and interest in their work, and let them know you think they’re great. If you have mutual contacts, see if you can get that contact to introduce you.
Influencer Marketing Outreach Templates
Once you’ve warmed up your ideal candidates and laid down the key goals and guidelines of your overall program, it’s time to start your influencer outreach.
Here are some quick tips for outreach, as well as some influencer outreach templates you can use for your initial messages.Remember: These outreach email templates are just that – templates. So please tweak and mix-and-match them according to your own personality, communication style, and goals. Keep it authentic for lasting relationships!
Influencer Outreach Tips
My #1 tip is to make each message as personalized as possible – don’t just copy and paste the same generic message to every person you reach out to.
Include their name, brand, and some things that stand out about their online presence. If you have a specific type of partnership in mind, include it in your first message.
Here are some more influencer outreach tips:
- Tell them what you have in common, whether it’s a shared interest in vegan food, a common audience that’s passionate about new tech, or a background in jewelry making.
- Tell them why you’d value working with them. Show them what makes them special and unique, and why you chose them over the other options.
- Leave the conversation open-ended so that you’re making a request instead of a demand. Suggest your ideal collaboration, but give them the opportunity to share their own ideas.
- Follow-up 5–7 days after sending your first influencer outreach message if you haven’t gotten a response. Chances are, they’re busy and they need you to set yourself apart from the clutter.
- Know when to cut your losses. Sending a couple of follow-up emails is fine, but it’s a slippery slope toward becoming a pest. If they haven’t engaged with your attempts, move on to the next opportunities.
- Look at it as a networking opportunity. Even if they’re not interested now, be cordial and keep the relationship warm. You never know if it could develop into something later.
Influencer Outreach Email Template Ideas
Gifting for Review or Mention
Subject line: Collaboration Opportunity with a New [your product/service type] Brand
Hi [influencer’s name],
I’m [your name] from [your company]. I’ve been following your [blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc.] for about a year now and I love your work!
It seems to me that we both share a passion for [common ground].
Overall, I think my brand really aligns with yours, and that your audience would be a great fit for [your product]. I’d be glad to send you one for free in exchange for a [review/mention] on your [blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc.].
Please let me know if you’re interested.
Subject line: [Influencer’s Name], would you like to be our brand ambassador?
Hi [influencer’s name],
I’m [your name] from [your company]. I’ve been following your [blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc.] and I’m consistently impressed with it.
What sticks out to me most is your [name 2–3 positive traits].
I’m looking for brand ambassadors that really fit with my brand. I think you’d make a fantastic partner!
As an ambassador, you can expect to:
- Receive [your products/services] for free
- Discuss them on your [blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc.].
- Get an extra commission for [sales, new leads, social media growth, etc.].
- Work with us for a few months to start, then extend if we both love it
The terms are flexible, so I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
Would you be interested in working with us?
Product or Collection Collaboration
Subject line: Let’s build something together! [Influencer’s Name] + [Your Company]
Hi [influencer’s name],
I’m [your name] from [your company]. We’re dreaming up a new [product/collection type], and we’ve been hoping to partner with an expert influencer who wants to help us develop it and make it their own.
I’ve been following your [blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc.] and I think you’d be the perfect fit.
Here’s how the process would work:
- We’ll ask for your unfiltered input on designing and producing the [product/collection]
- It will be released as YOUR exclusive line – you can even name it [influencer’s name] if you like
- You’ll receive 10% of all sales!
Do you have some time this week to chat about what this partnership could look like?
Look forward to hearing from you,
[your name]Pro tip: If you have trouble finding email addresses of promising influencers, try free tools like Hunter.io or ContactOut.
Create a Clear, Goal-Oriented Campaign Brief
Once you’ve gotten their attention and interest from your initial influencer outreach tactics, send a campaign brief that clearly states your goals, rules, and requirements for the partnership.
As we mentioned in Chapter 2’s discussion on types of influencer marketing campaign examples, it’s mission-critical that you give your influencer creative freedom to craft the details of their content.
Our theme of authenticity and relationships is coming back – if you control too much of the content, the influencer’s audience will know it’s staged. And that can damage your credibility faster than you might think.
Another key to focus on is setting goals.
Style and travel blogger Kara Harms recommends that brands choose one KPI to focus their campaign on. When she can use this approach with her own clients, she feels better positioned to help the brand succeed.
Set one, clear KPI you want to hit in your influencer marketing campaign. If a brand partner doesn’t have a clear KPI, I always ask them to set one for me.
Why? Because knowing the one goal my partner has means I can structure content in a way that will help them hit that goal.
While everyone would love to make a lot of conversions, new email signups, grow social media following, earn millions of impressions and get a lot of swipe-ups all in one campaign, that’s just not possible. Be realistic and set one KPI.
In addition to your main KPI, your campaign brief should also include:
- Key points about your product or service that you want to convey in the post(s)
- Your desired posting dates and requirements, for example: they must post on a specific date/time, or within 2 weeks of receiving the product
- The deliverables you expect, which could look like:
- 1 Instagram post including a photo of a product. The caption must include company @tag and campaign #hashtag – posted January 5
- 1 Instagram story including a product in use, as well as verbal mention of product name – posted January 10
- 1 blog post reviewing the product, including product photo and special discount code HOORAY123 – posted January 15
- General direction on what you want and don’t want – a dos and don’ts list can be handy for this
- Some visuals to give an example of what you’re looking for
- An overview of your approval process, if you choose to review their content before they’re allowed to post
- A reminder of FTC regulations, including a requirement that they use labels like #ad, #sponsored, or something similar
- Other details to include in the content, like your brand’s relevant social media handles, trackable links, and branded hashtags (which we discussed in Chapter 5’s influencer strategy)
- A bit of personalization – change each brief to address the influencer by name and note any details from your discussions
- Contact information for the person your influencer will be working with the most
In general, your campaign brief should be crystal clear in outlining how the partnership will work for both of you. This way, everyone’s on the same page, and there are fewer opportunities for missed marks and misunderstandings.
All righty then! Now that you have some influencer outreach best practices and strategies, let’s look at some of the top influencer marketing platforms and apps that can help you find influencers and manage different aspects of your campaigns.