An influencer’s first point of contact with you and your brand is the first email or DM you send them. Making a great first impression is important as it creates an unshakeable perception about you in their mind. Read along to know how to make it count.
A lot of brands miss the point of influencer marketing. They focus too much on transactions and posts, and end up with a subpar, unprofitable influencer program. Your goal must be to build relationships with influencer partners, not pay them to post and never see them again.
It takes slightly longer, but it’s worth it.
Mistakes you should avoid
Sending too many details
The first email should be short and sweet, the goal is to just gauge interest, not to get the yes.
The basics of cold emailing apply when you’re emailing influencers too.
Send too many details upfront about your brand, your product, your mission, and how much you’ll pay them and so on... and risk being ignored. The worst thing that can happen to you is not a rejection, the worst thing is being ignored. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen if you send them a lot of stuff to read.
Keep it short and simple.
Just asking for a post
Some brands simply reach out to influencers, offer to send them a product and ask them for a post. You aren’t going to get many people saying yes to this. And those who do say yes to pay simply because you wave some cash in front of them, aren't going to be the kind influencers you want to associate with.
It feels a lot like a transaction. To them, it feels like you only care about them if they post about your brand. You don’t want to leave a first impression like this.
Lead with giving. And give without expectation, this is how you win. More on this in the best practices below.
Not following up
Never following up to your initial email or message ensures you don’t get as many replies as possible. Follow up at least 2 times after your first message.
Over half of the replies I get are on the automatic followups I send through the Saral influencer email tool. You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t do this.
Offering to pay per post
Never send them a creative brief or a budget in the first email. They don’t even know you. It’s like showing up to a first date with a ring and asking them to marry you. They will say no as they don't even know you yet.
If you offer to pay per post, you will get some influencers to post about you, but you aren’t getting any good ones if you just pay and seek transactions.
The kind of creators that would shill any product for money aren’t the kind you want to associate with. Sending them an offer to pay per post weeds out the good ones, and leaves you with the shill types. Avoid!
Now that we’ve covered what NOT to do, here’s what you should do instead.
Influencer outreach best practices
Keep the first email concise
The goal of the first email is to gauge interest, not to get a response. Keep the email simple and end with an “Are you interested?” or “Sounds like something you’d be interested in?”
It’s permission based marketing. Once you know they’re interested, you can work out a deal that works for both parties. Sending too much info in the first email is a deterrent to replies.
Lead with a give
Influencers get many emails every week that ask them to promote their products. It’s annoying how everyone wants to use them for their followers, with nothing to offer.
Be the breath of fresh air that they crave. Offer them free product and don’t ask for a post. Imagine if you simply offered to send a free product with no expectations... you aren't getting many rejections.
They’re likely to say yes, and also more likely to post about you if they like your product. If you choose the right creators for your brand, you know they will post.
Send at-least 2 follow ups after your first message. I personally send 4. You’d be amazed at the number of responses I get after the 2nd and 3rd follow up.
Space the later follow-ups out by 7-10 days or so. Sometimes, influencers are busy with other projects or just life in general. Reaching them multiple times, across months, gives them an opportunity to reconsider your offer and reply back.
Here are some ideas on what to follow up with:
- More clarity on what’s in it for them
- Results from other partners
- Examples of your ambassadors in their niche
- More insight on why their audience will find your product useful
Don’t make it a generic “quick bump” email, not in the first few followups at least!
Have a bias for affiliate deals
Asking influencers to post for a fixed $ amount gives the whole relationship a transactional flavor. You don’t want this. You want to build a relationship with them that grows overtime.
Like I mentioned before, just send them product and see what they think. You can track your shipments directly in our CRM. That makes this whole process simpler.
Then, once they tell you they like it or post about it directly, ask them if they want to earn commissions for what they already did for free. This is a no-brainer and they are going to say yes to you. Have a bias for these types of deals.
The best way to start is to work with influencers who are happy to post for affiliate commissions and/or special discounts for their audience. Starting off your program with pay-per-post deals will lead you in a wrong direction.
It’s very simple. Keep the first email short, lead with a give, don’t ask for posts, and don’t offer to pay upfront. Focus on transactions and you’ll see see poor performance. Build relationships with people of influence, and influencer marketing becomes a natural byproduct.
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