Most ecommerce brands have realized that they don't have bottomless pits of money to throw on advertisements that are getting horrendously expensive, while the attention of people who see them is getting scrambled.
And that's why you'll see an increasing number of brands (67% in 2021) investing in influencer marketing. The good news is, that by investing in influencer marketing, you would be doing something that is proven to get you an ROI.
But the bad news is — Getting the attention of 'The one' influencer who aligns with your business and has real influence over your desired audience has become challenging. Your message is easily lost in your influencer's inbox or flooding DMs.
Using tips like 'write short emails' or 'catchy subject lines' won't help you get their attention. And of course, you don't have weeks and weeks to 'hope & pray' for their reply.
There's a way out!
If you are an ecommerce brand that wants to get in touch with their ideal influencer without sending endless emails into their bottomless inbox, then this post is for you. We have listed 9 unconventional ways to do that & how you can use each one, starting today.
Note: For big influencers, you'll have to reach out via their agencies or managers. The ideas below are great for connecting with nano, micro & mid-tier influencers directly. We categorize influencers according to their number of followers.
9 ways you can be noticed by a creator without sending them a cliche email
Sliding into their DMs
A direct message on Instagram is highly likely to get seen by a nano influencer as that is their primary platform for work. It is personal and has a high-response rate as they can check out your brand instantly without switching the platform.
To reach out via DM for a campaign-specific pitch, you should include 3 essential parts — brand value, why them, and your ask.
Part 1: One sentence of brand value prop.
Our brand was created because_____ or
Our products are ________.
Part 2: Explain Why them
Answer why this influencer is perfect for your brand. What attracted you to them (content, creativity, who they are, etc.)
Part 3: What you have to offer
Reduce the risk of them saying no to you by leading with a give. Send them a free product, or offer them a huge discount, you can also send them swag. Be creative! Show them you actually care about building a relationship.
Before you do this: Make sure that your brand's Instagram presence is strong enough to allow before you send any DMs. You might not have 100K followers, but your content should be genuine, authentic, and aesthetically pleasing (as a bonus!).
Here are some additional influencer DM templates from our academy.
Start a conversation
Commenting with something thoughtful on their latest post/story/reel (or whatever is the newest content format) is a great way to get the influencer's attention. Don't overdo the praise & don't leave one-word, emoji comments that just scream 'attention.' Turn on the notifications for their posts or stories, so your comment doesn't get buried if you reply too late.
Often, influencers will reach out on their own accord to ask about your brand.
On a side note, even if this doesn't get you the influencer's attention, it will help spread awareness about your brand amongst the influencer's audience in their comments section.
Share their content
A creator’s currency is attention and appreciation — they want more of it, and they don't have enough to spend. So how can you give them more of this currency before you ask for it? You can do it, not just by your comments, but by sharing their content on your brand’s social media.
Did they launch something new? Did they announce a giveaway? Did they make a statement that would resonate with your audience? Share it, Retweet it, help spread the word publicly, and they will start noticing your brand.
Attend their events
If your influencer hosts live events — webinars, Twitter Spaces, IG lives, or in-person meetups, those are your best shot to communicate one-on-one.
Attending their event shows that you are genuinely interested in knowing about them so that you can respect their work better. And because these events don't have as many people as their actual followers, they are more likely to remember you afterward.
You need to do things that don’t scale, especially when starting out.
Help them out
Instead of being like every other brand that's asking them to promote products, be unique, and offer value in unconventional ways.
- Email them some ways they can grow their following/business.
- If you are building a tool that would be useful for them, offer a free subscription. If you run a DTC brand, send some gifts they might use.
- If they are looking for some recommendations, send your best suggestions.
- Are they looking to hire someone? Send some relevant resumes you might have in your archives.
The possibilities are endless, and it all depends on how badly you want to work with them and how creatively you can help them.
Create posts highlighting them and their work
You can feature them on your blog, in your IG feed, or mention them in your online/offline events. For example, if you are targeting fitness influencers, how about sharing a post for best home workouts and linking their Instagram for some inspiration.
You can also use a quote from them in your work and link back to their main social media channel or blog. DM them or share content on your channel to let them know they were featured. Provide a link to the post so they can share it with their audience.
Send customized freebies
Every brand would be sending free stuff to influencers to get a shout-out from them or get their attention. What can you do better? — You can send customized freebies. Selling cookies? How about a box that has their name on them. Selling stationery? How about a desk planner that shows their branding.
Make the unboxing experience extremely personal and you will have a fan for life!
Run Ads targeting influencers (works best for nano-influencers)
Just like brands run ads to get the attention of their target audience, you can run ads to get the attention of the influencers you want to work with.
Run Facebook Ads inviting them for collaboration & qualify them via the information you collect in the form in the ad or on your landing page. Based on their answers, send them a different sequence of emails. For example, offer to collaborate with free products for nano-influencers, pitch to get on a call with micro or mid-tier influencers.
You can also send them direct affiliate links to your products that they can share with their audience. This way, you can scale influencer marketing as everything can be automated and set up once to run for a long time. We will write another post on automating this whole process soon.
Ask for a referral from a current ambassador
The best way to bypass a long wait to get noticed is to connect to the influencer by being referred by someone they know. It can be a friend of a friend, an ex-colleague, or even other creators you work with.
Go through their profile and check the brands they've collaborated with in the past. Do you know a brand or marketing manager of that brand? They would indeed have direct contact with them. Even if you don't know the brand manager, you can find them on LinkedIn and ask for a referral.
You might not get a response from an influencer even after trying for weeks, and sometimes, they might decline your offer after a lot of chasing around. So you want to start engaging with multiple creators at a time and move on when you don't see anything concrete happening.
If you don't want to hit & try, wait & repeat, or hope & give up on influencer marketing — we've built a tool to help you reduce hours of work and stress in finding the RIGHT influencers, contacting them, and managing your relationships long term. I recommend you get a risk-free trial of SARAL.
Did we miss any excellent idea you might have tried? Sign up to our Influence Marketing Letter and let me know!