Influencers are the modern key to launching and amplifying successful marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, reaching out to them and coming to an agreement is challenging if you’re not representing a famous brand. Waiting for a response from these social media pros can add extra stress to the overall pressure of building your marketing campaigns.
There’s good news: plenty of tools and strategies can improve your influencer outreach efforts. Today we’ll discuss some of the most efficient approaches to contacting influencers and building lucrative campaigns.
1. Find relevant influencers for outreach
What’s worse than not finding an influencer willing to collaborate with you? Finding the wrong ones. These are people whose audiences don’t match yours, so you can’t benefit from their notoriety. That’s why it’s important to find the right influencers whose content falls into the same niche as yours and who have considerable audiences. There are a few good tactics to filter for the right fit.
Use an influencer search tool
Such tools have excellent filters that allow you to specify not only the niches of the influencers you’re searching for but also the platform, following size, location, engagement rate, and other parameters.
For instance, using Modash's discovery platform, you can search through their database of over 200 million profiles with advanced filters that allow you to find your ideal influencers. You can filter creators by:
- Minimum growth rate
- Audience location
- Minimum engagement rate
- Contact information, etc.
Using an influencer search tool saves you the time of manually browsing for profiles. This is especially helpful when you’re searching for a large list of influencers. But even for only a few profiles, you’ll have to contact more influencers than you need because not all of them will be interested in working with you.
However, if you are working for a big brand, there’s another way of making influencers come to you instead.
Use a landing page to capture inbound interest
Brands aren’t the only ones searching for partnerships. It works the other way around, too. Chances are, influencers are visiting your website or your social media outlets to look for collaboration opportunities, so it makes sense to make it easy for them.
Build a website or landing page dedicated to recruiting influencers for your brand. It’s often called an ambassador program, and it’s the most straightforward way of getting in touch with potential partners. A landing page for this purpose is more compelling if you include social proof from current influencers and a clear call to action.
Even though it seems difficult to find influencers, sometimes they might be closer than you think. They might be visiting your website and even already be your fans or customers.
Recruit your existing fans and customers
The people who can speak honestly about your brand in the most compelling manner are your clients. Besides announcing your ambassador program to them, you should also consider lowering the requirements to make it easier for micro-influencers to work with you.
For your existing customers to be notified about your partnership opportunities, don’t limit the information only to your landing page. Engage users in the comment sections of your social media posts, emails, and even on the order confirmation page. Also, see who has already spoken about your brand on social media by checking your mentions or using a tool like Brand24.
Get your program attention in relevant articles
Logically, the first thing anyone does when seeking new opportunities, including influencers, is a Google search. Dozens of articles appear, listing brands that accept ambassadors, and that’s where you should get your brand too. Start by contacting websites where similar articles are published.
Analyze your competitors
Regardless of the industry you’re in, chances are that someone else has dipped their toes into influencer marketing in the same niche before you. They have saved you the work of finding and selecting high-performing ones. What’s left for you to do is find these influencers. Don’t worry; here’s how:
- Check social media mentions. Tracking the mentions of your competitors is the first clue that will lead you to successful influencers. Do this using the influencer search tools we mentioned above or manually.
- Scroll social media feeds. Sift through your competitors' social media feeds and scan their content for influencers. If they’ve worked with a few, they’d have reposted some of their content, as doing so is one of the most prominent marketing strategies.
- Analyze competitors' backlinks. If your competitors run websites, they have likely created blogs too. If they’ve collaborated with influencers, you’re likely to find backlinks that direct to these influencers’ profiles. Tools like Ahrefs can help you discover influencers who have promoted your competitors in their blogs.
- Search for brand-related hashtags. The oldest and simplest way to find influencers is through hashtags. Search for hashtags of your competitors' products, and check influencers’ posts. You can contact them directly to see if they’re interested and available.
These steps will help you find influencers who match your brand’s niche and budget without spending much time and effort. Before deciding with whom to collaborate, you should check out a few of their metrics.
2. Vet your prospects and make a shortlist
Metrics contain pretty much all the data you need to decide whether or not you want to work with an influencer. Don’t ignore the metrics just to find as many influencers as possible. Shortlist your influencers ruthlessly only when they check all the boxes. Sometimes even their manner of communication can be a decisive factor, but other than that, here are five elements you should look up for every creator.
- Audience breakdown. Does their audience match yours in terms of demographics, location, gender, and interests? It doesn't matter whether they have a high engagement rate if you’re selling products locally in the US while their audience is from India or Europe.
- Engagement rate. There’s no better indicator for the quality of an influencer's content than their engagement rate. A high engagement rate shows that the creator has an active audience, which makes a partnership worth the investment. To derive the engagement rate, all you have to do is divide the average number of likes per post by their total number of followers.
- Fake followers. Nowadays, it has become easy to trick others by buying likes and followers to appear as if you have a huge active audience. These are the types of influencers you should avoid at all costs. However, all accounts have fake followers to some extent due to bots or users that go inactive. As long as the active followers beat the fake followers in number, it’s okay.
- Post frequency and quality. Content quality and frequency also indicate whether the influencer is worth collaborating with. Estimate whether you’d like to see the name of your brand on their feeds as a partner. Also, make sure their metrics are frequent and fresh; if they’re from a year ago, they might have lost their audience’s interest.
The shortlisted candidates will vary when it comes to their follower base; therefore, they might not respond immediately, which leads us to the most efficient method of contact: email.
3. Collect email addresses
Influencer search tools make it easier to find influencers’ emails and get in touch with them. If you’re not using this kind of software, seek out an email finder tool that comes with an extension for your browser, so you can quickly snag contact information.
Gather contact details
Some influencers might use other communication channels, and it makes sense to have all their contact details. The finest way to structure this data is through a table where you can list the influencers' social media handles, emails, and even phone numbers if possible. The more contact details you have, the better. Let’s look at the ideal approach.
Sending your pitch
It makes sense to start with email as one of the most official and professional means of contact. However, these emails need to be well-worded and concise. Here are three points they should include:
- Be clear about why you’re contacting them. This might be an invitation to an ambassador program, wanting them to try your product samples, or collaboration for a giveaway. The more specific you are, the better you’ll avoid a misunderstanding.
- Provide a collaboration timeline. Clarifying when you want to start your promotions is crucial, as this will help the influencers check whether they have space in their calendars. Make sure this date aligns with your own marketing initiatives to drive traffic at the right time.
- Highlight the compensation. What will they get in exchange for promoting your brand? Will there be a flat fee, gifted products, etc.? Make a clear offer they can decline, accept, or counter.
What if emails aren’t useful enough to get your partnerships started? Not all influencers have their email addresses publicly listed. If that’s the case, you’ll have to contact them directly via the direct message feature on whichever platform they use the most. Try to move the conversation over to email as quickly as possible. This keeps your information confidential and provides a way to easily track each stage of the partnership.
Be ready to negotiate with influencers
Not all influencers jump at business partnerships. In fact, 66% of them turn down such offers. What would make a difference, in this case, is the message/email you decide to use when contacting them. These three points will set you apart from others.
- Personalize your approach. No one likes to receive copy-pasted emails or messages. That’s a direct indication of spam, and no one takes spam seriously. Almost everyone receives such DMs daily. That’s why personalizing your messages makes a difference. Start off with a sentence or two commenting on their recently published content or their feeds. Then, list the main reasons why you think they’d be a good partner for your brand.
- Work on a specific offer. Without a specific offer, you’re wasting both their time and your own. Unclear clients who don’t know what they want are red flags, and no one wants to work with them. Build a detailed offer that covers what you want them to do for you and what they get in return.
- Be clear and concise. In cases when your offer needs further clarification because it’s new to the market and not everyone understands it well, aim for a call. Don’t explain all the details of the promotion you want them to do, but talk about the rewards and then ask for a suitable time to hop on a video or voice call.
4. Scaling up email
You know that reaching out via email remains one of the best practices, but are there tools and templates that would make this process easier? You can’t always rely on manual work when you want to build a campaign that drives results. So, find influencers fast using these tips.
Automating influencer outreach
How do you keep the balance between personalization and automation, and at what point is it actually worth starting to automate the outreach process? If this is the beginning of your campaign and you want to get the first influencers onboard to see whether this approach is worth it or not, consider starting manually.
This way, you’ll find out which approach works best before putting efforts into automating the process. Once you have a few partnerships and want to scale up, employ outreach and automation tools.
Contact influencers with the help of an outreach tool
Sometimes, contact details such as social media handles or emails won’t be obvious, and you’ll have to use tools to find them. These tools not only find the contact details but also provide the option to reach out to influencers with little more than a click. Let’s take a look at two of these tools:
- Apollo.io. This email-finding service helps you to find influencers by searching through its database.
- Respona.com. An outreach tool built by Visme, it helps you reach bloggers and journalists via highly personalized messages.
These tools will make your outreach efforts pay off. Don’t forget to study up on how to unsend an email as well, just in case you’ve clicked ‘send’ a little too quickly. However, we still haven’t discussed what exactly you should write on your outreach messages.
Influencer outreach templates
Even after getting all the tools in place, there’s one last thing you might be struggling with, and that’s the message itself. To make your job easier, check out the following email templates.. If you’re looking for more quick plug-and-play responses to a variety of email situations, check out Parakeet by Mailbird. Their app lets you enter your details and generate loads of unique emails.
Sample Instagram DM
Hi [name of influencer],
Your content is pretty impressive. I’ve followed you for a while, and I really like the [mention a piece of content]. Our team is searching for influencers who would be interested in establishing a partnership with us and promoting [brand’s name].
We’re optimistic about this collaboration and wish to turn it into a long-term partnership. Considering the rewards and exposure this will add to your reputation, we’re sure this is an excellent win-win opportunity.
Feel free to respond with your questions and thoughts on this.
[name, title, company]
Hey [name of influencer],
Your [blog or profile] is quite impressive. It vouches for your experience and a strong background in the field of [mention their niche]. I’ve enjoyed reading your work for the past week, especially [mention a piece of content and what you liked about it].
Considering your expertise and reputation, we at [brand name] would like to have you join us as a partner and help promote [your service or product]. We’re more than happy to offer [describe what’s in for them] in exchange.
If you’re interested, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it further.
Hi [name of influencer],
I hope these days have been filled with peace and achievements. I really liked your recently published [mention a recent update/post/article]. You’ve probably been busy working on your business, and that’s understandable, but did you have the time to check out our proposal?
I’ll be happy to answer all your questions regarding this potential partnership. Let me know what you think about it.
These templates can be modified to represent your brand’s authority and niche. For instance, if you’re promoting a SaaS product, you could be techier with the word choices, and if you’re in the fashion niche, adding some emojis makes the message more appealing.
Influencers play a major role in the growth of brands in any niche. While advertising may require testing until you get it right, promoting your business via influencers guarantees direct results since they’ve already established an engaging audience.
Approach them with finesse by acknowledging their work and then talking about your offer. Once you’ve established your first partnerships, others will be easier.