Creator Outreach

How to DM Influencers and actually get replies [Templates Inside]

Do influencers just not respond to your messages? Read this and *poof* problem solved!
Posted on
May 14, 2022
4 minute read
Yash Chavan
Founder at SARAL

In this post I’ll share some templates with you that are tried and tested, and have received higher than normal response rates.

The good thing about DMs is that they’re likely not handled by their agent, so it’s the only place you have direct access to the creator themselves. The not-so-good thing about DMs is that they work only for relatively small creators. Don’t waste your time DMing influencers with more than 100k followers. I recommend starting small at 5k-10k followers, and adapting your message for bigger creators as you go.

Some first principles

We’ll get to the templates, but before that, let’s see how it looks from the influencer’s perspective.

  1. They get 100s of DMs each day from fans, brands, and haters. Their inbox is noisy.
  2. Larger creators don’t check their DMs often.
  3. All new DMs go in the “Requests” folder, not straight into their inbox.

Replying implies doing two things:

  1. Opening your message
  2. Hitting “Accept” and actually typing a response

You need to craft your message such that it’s compelling for them to take both these steps.

Now that we’ve looked at the first principles, feel free to leave this blogpost and write your own message. Come back to check with the best performer templates listed below. Note how each line corresponds to making them take step 1 or step 2.

Here are your Influencer Outreach DM Templates

Send these from your personal account or your brand account, whichever one fits the message.

Simple Email Request

This one helps you find their email if it's not already listed on their profile.

Hey {{creator.first_name}},

I'm {{your name}}. Reaching out on behalf of my brand {{Brand Name}}.

{{Explain how your brand aligns with their content/way of life}}

We'd like to send some free {{product name}} and explore a collaboration. What's the best email to reach you personally?

Notice how this keeps it short, your DMs should be read within 10 seconds and have one clear ask. Don’t leave them with something vague like “Let’s discuss” or ask for too much like “Let’s hop on a call”.

It also offers them something (free product in this case) before you ask anything.

I’ve found the best ask is usually their email (assuming they don’t have it in their bio).

Product Seeding DM

Use this when you want to send them free product

Wanted to send you something, {{creator.first_name}} 👋

I'm the founder of {{brand}} and wanted to reach out to see if you'd want a free {{product}}, no commitments.

{{One short line about how your mission aligns with them, or why they'd like your product}}

What's your shipping address?

Note again how this has one clear ask - shipping address.

It also gives them a clear reason why you’re reaching out and touts your authority i.e. “I’m the founder of...”. They’re more likely to respond if it’s the founder themselves who’s reaching out. They’re less likely to respond if it’s an intern or a VA.

Direct Ask

Do this after you have some creators on your roster, this gives you social proof and builds your credibility even more.

Hey {{creator.first_name}},

I'm the founder of {{brand}} and we want to partner with you. Some of your thoughts are aligned with our mission of {{your important mission}}.

We've partnered with creators who live this philosophy, like @influencer1 and @influencer2. Would love to work with you too!

Are you open to hearing more?

They don’t want to miss out on partnering with brands their friends are partnering with. They will be open to hearing more.

Note how it’s a simple ask, the goal is to get accepted and open a channel of communication, not to onboard them asap.

The Follow Up DM

I recommend following up at least once, preferably after 10-14 days to make sure your response is bumped to the top of their request list. They may get 10 requests every week, so it’s important to be on the first page of their requests.

For the follow up, there is no fixed template. Just use any of the elements from the other templates to share more information or make the offer more compelling. Here are some examples:

Wanted to clarify that we simply want to send you a free {{product}}, no expectations.
I think you'll like it because {{alignment reason}}.

Shipping address, {{creator.first_name}}?

We've partnered with othher creators in the space like @influencer1 and @influencer2. I think you'd be a good fit too, as just like them, {{explain brand alignment}}

Where do I email you?

Yo {{creator.first_name}}, Checking in quickly to see if you saw my message?

At this point, you’re all set to send DMs to influencers and start iterating. There are some more things you can do, beyond the text of the message itself, that help improve your odds. Keep reading.

Photo by Jae Park on Unsplash

Improve your odds

Comment on their second or third latest post to direct their attention to your DM.

The first post is noisy. Comment on one of their older but recent posts to grab attention. You can also start commenting normally on some of their posts a couple of weeks before DMing or emailing them.

Influencers read all their comments 🙂

Get your account verified

It’s social currency. It’s like pulling up in a Lambo, but on social media. It gets you noticed. They’re likely to open an email from a verified account. If your brand is well known, mission driven, or if the founder(s) have been mentioned in public news article, apply for verification.

The best part is there is no follower criteria for verification, so apply even if your brand has been on IG for a few months and has a couple thousand followers.

Have a catchy profile photo

Human faces and pets attract attention.

Keep your profile active

Tell a story in your bio. Actively update your stories and highlights. Influencers will check your profile to see if you’re legit. If they see some brand account that posts once a month and doesn’t talk about their own mission, they won’t be keen on talking about it for you.

Make the first line compelling

When a message goes into someone’s requests, they can read the first line preview. This is your DM’s “subject line”. If you write it well, it will help you get better open rates. Make it something like “Wanted to send you something” from the Product Seeding template above.

For context, here’s what the average brand message looks like in a creator’s inbox.

We can keep it straight and call such messages spam. No one will respond to this message, it's an instant block or delete.

You will instantly stand out if you simply get your message opened. This is why taking some of the steps I listed here is important.

Adapting is key

I hinted at this towards the beginning of the post. Templates are a good starting point. but they are suboptimal if you just blindly copy-paste and keep sending the same message to everyone.

Start with these templates for smaller influencers, see which ones get responses and which ones don’t. Try adding your own flair to them based on your brand message and improve as you go.

Send me your final messages and I can review them for you!

I hope this was helpful and I wish you the best with your influencer program. Join our newsletter for more such pro-tips, weekly.