Influencer Outreach 101: Strategy, Tactics, Examples, and Templates

Learn how to connect with your influencers with these simple techniques.

Priya Nain

Priya Nain

April 23, 2023

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The perfect influencer for your DTC brand is just a message away, but how do you break through the noise and get their attention? Or how do you make sure that the channel for outreach (DM or email) is correct?

In this blog, we'll dive into a step-by-step framework of successful influencer outreach, right from deciding whether to slide into their DMs or hit their inbox, to providing you with tried-and-tested templates that will maximize your chances of hearing back from your favorite creators.

DM or Email?

The first step in influencer outreach is deciding whether to slide into their DMs or send them an email. It can be quite a dilemma, but let's break it down and find a solution that works best.

What do they prefer?

Before reaching out to an influencer, the basic step to do is to understand their preferences for communication.

Some influencers might have a strong preference for email communication and mention it in their bio.

Or they might say DM for collaborations.

That settles the debate of how you should reach out to them. Respecting their preferred method of contact can help set the stage for a successful partnership. Try to hop on a call if you need them to and consider connecting via your business phone system.

Followers count can be a guiding factor

A helpful way to decide between DMs or emails is by looking at the influencer's number of followers.

👍 If they have less than 10,000 followers, there's a good chance your DM will get noticed and might even spark a conversation.

👎 But for influencers with over 10,000 followers, your DM could easily get lost in a sea of unread messages. At this stage, they're receiving countless DMs and may not have the time to sift through them all. So it's better to email them.

The goal of your DM is not to get a contract signed

If you do choose to send a DM, remember that Instagram or TikTok is not the ideal platform to dive straight into business talk. Instead, use the DM as a conversation starter.

Your goal should be to obtain their email address or direct their attention to an email you've already sent. This will allow you to continue the conversation in a more professional setting.

Email: The ultimate channel

Creators are in the business to make money, so it makes sense to approach them via email, which is generally considered more professional than a DM. When reaching out through email, you have the space to provide more details and present well-thought-out proposals or ideas.

👉 The takeaway is that while DMs can be useful for starting a conversation with influencers who have smaller followings, it's essential to transition to email for a more professional and detailed discussion. For influencers with larger followings, it's advisable to skip the DMs altogether and opt for an email to ensure your message doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

How to DM Influencers to get replies

✍️ So, you've decided to DM an influencer with less than 10,000 followers. Now comes the crucial part: writing a DM that grabs their attention and encourages them to take action.

Few things to keep in mind before we give the ready-to-use templates.

Make it easy for the influencer

When reaching out to influencers, it's essential to make their lives as easy as possible. Don't ask them to do any heavy lifting in your initial message – your goal is to pique their interest and guide them toward the next step.

Be clear about what you're proposing and how they can benefit from it, without overwhelming them with too much information.

The first 25 characters of your DM are crucial, as they often appear as a preview in the influencer's inbox. Use attention-grabbing hooks to spark curiosity and encourage them to open your message.

Some examples include:

  • Saw your post on...
  • Emailed you an offer...
  • Am I wrong to assume…
  • You won't believe this...
  • Loved your take on...
  • Excited about your {topic}...
  • Your latest {content} was...
  • Noticed we both love...

By mentioning a specific post or story, you demonstrate that you're actively following their work and genuinely appreciate their content. This can create a stronger connection with the influencer and make your message more compelling.

Guide them to the next step

Once you've captured their attention, it's time to guide the influencer toward the next step.

This could involve sharing your email address, asking for theirs, or letting them know you've already sent an email with more information.

Make it clear what you'd like them to do and why it's worth their time. You can also provide a brief outline of the collaboration opportunity or mention any potential incentives to pique their interest further.

How to find influencer’s email addresses

Manual methods: Free, but slow

If you prefer to search for influencers' email addresses on your own, follow these steps:

  • Instagram: Look for an email button on the influencer's profile. This feature, if enabled, lets you tap it and directly send an email through the Gmail app. Remember, this can only be done through the mobile app.
  • TikTok: Go to the influencer's profile and check for an email address in their bio.

Is it available? Great! Now one option is to painstakingly write it in your spreadsheet because copying it is disabled by TikTok. This process is pretty inefficient and also error-prone.

One of the best solutions to this problem is using free Chrome extensions like the one offered by SARAL. It is not affected by updates and can help brands analyze an influencer's profile and show all their details without the need for copy-pasting.

It is incredibly simple to use.

Install the extension in your browser, and with just a few clicks, add influencers to a list and use email campaigns right from the list. Further, segment the email list for better targeting of influencers. The extension automatically populates the email with the influencer's details, making the process of managing an influencer program so much easier.

The SARAL Chrome extension can cut down a process that used to take up to 10 minutes to just 10 seconds! Imagine how much time and effort you can save by using this extension. This is the one absolutely essential tool you need if you wish to build a sustainable, long-term, growth-oriented influencer program.

  • YouTube: Email addresses can often be found in the "About" section of the influencer's channel. Be sure to check there for contact information, it will be hidden under a “I am not a robot” form. This will stop working after you do it for a dozen creators every day. Plus having to solve multiple captcha’s to reveal emails makes it a not-so-pleasant experience.

If you'd rather outsource the task of finding email addresses, you can hire a virtual assistant. Websites like Fiverr and Upwork offer a pool of talented individuals who can research influencers on platforms like Instagram and compile a spreadsheet of their email addresses for you.

Using tools: Come at a cost, but fast

There are specialized tools available specifically for finding the email addresses of influencers such as SARAL, Heepsy, or Izea.

Here's a brief overview of how SARAL and other tools work:

  1. Search for influencers: These tools allow you to search for influencers by keywords, hashtags, or other criteria, narrowing down your list of potential collaborators.
  1. Find email addresses: Once you have identified the influencers you're interested in, the tool can help you find their email addresses by scanning their social media profiles and other online sources.
  1. Verify email addresses: Many of these tools also offer email verification to ensure the email addresses you find are valid and deliverable or, you can employ Google sheets email verification technique.
  1. Export data or send an email: Once you have compiled your list of influencers and their verified email addresses, you can typically export the data into a CSV or add them to a list in the platform itself.

And then you can use the email feature inside the tool to send emails.

Consider the pros and cons

When deciding whether to use a paid tool, do it yourself, or hire a virtual assistant, weigh the pros and cons. Paid tools are fast but might be expensive, while manual methods are free but can be time-consuming. Consider your budget and the urgency of your outreach efforts to determine the best approach for your brand.

Of course, we recommend trying SARAL because it’s the simplest and most affordable option. So you get the best of both worlds. Check it out, it’s free to try!

Crafting perfect email for influencer outreach

You've done the groundwork, found the email addresses of the creators you want to collaborate with, and now it's time to write the perfect email. Crafting a well-structured email is crucial to make a positive first impression and increasing your chances of getting a reply. Here's a structure you can follow to create a compelling email:

Personalize your opening

Begin with a personalized touch that shows genuine interest in their content. Mention a recent post, video, or campaign they were a part of that caught your attention. This demonstrates that you've done your homework and aren't just sending a generic email.

Transition smoothly

After your personalized opening, connect it to your outreach purpose. Explain how their content or style resonates with your brand, and why you believe a collaboration would be beneficial for both parties.

Appeal to their audience

Highlight how your brand aligns with the creator's audience and how the collaboration will make the creator look like a hero. Show that you understand their followers' preferences and how your brand can complement their content.

Appeal to the creator's self-interest

Mention what's in it for the influencer. Focus on deeper, more meaningful benefits, such as opportunities for personal growth, creative expression, or supporting a cause they're passionate about.

Emphasize the value they'll gain from working with your brand, beyond just monetary rewards. By doing so, you'll create a more genuine connection and a stronger foundation for collaboration.

You can chalk out offer details once you get a yes from them.

Close with a soft CTA

End your email with a gentle call-to-action (CTA) that encourages the influencer to take the next step without feeling pressured. Examples of soft CTAs include:

  • "Would you be interested in discussing this opportunity further?"
  • "If this sounds like a good fit, let's schedule a call to chat more."
  • "Feel free to reply if you'd like more information about our collaboration proposal."

By following this structure, you can create a well-crafted email that effectively communicates your intentions and increases the chances of receiving a positive response from the creator you're reaching out to.

Here's an email you can use:

Hi {Influencer's Name},

I recently came across your post about your eco-friendly skincare routine, and I was genuinely impressed by your commitment to natural products.

I'm reaching out from {Your Brand Name}, a sustainable and organic skincare brand dedicated to creating eco-friendly products that are kind to both your skin and the planet.

We believe our brand values align perfectly with your content and your message. Your followers would be excited to see how our skincare products can help them maintain a luxurious skincare regimen without compromising on sustainability.

If this sounds like a good fit, please let me know, and we can schedule a call to discuss the collaboration in more detail.

We are always looking out for ambassadors like you.

Looking forward to your reply!

Best regards, {Your Name}
{Your Brand Name}
{Your Phone Number (optional)}

Follow up with creators you want to collaborate with

Don't forget to follow up with creators after sending them an email. It's entirely possible they may have missed it or been distracted and didn't have a chance to respond. A lack of reply doesn't necessarily mean rejection, so be persistent and follow up strategically.

We recommend brands invest in long-term partnerships, such as ambassador programs instead of one-time posts, so it makes sense to spend time on follow-ups.

The 3-day follow-up

If you haven't received a response after 3 days, send more details about the partnership, such as your ambassador or affiliate program. Include any recent successes or positive feedback from other influencers to pique their interest.

The 7-day follow-up

After 7 days without a reply, focus on the benefits for the influencer and their audience. Explain why they should choose your brand for collaboration over any other. Mention your brand mission, and any causes you support that resonate with their values.

The 10-day follow-up

If you still haven't heard back after 10 days, consider sending a gentle DM or leaving a respectful comment on their content to remind them about your email. Remember, they don't owe you anything, so approach the situation with kindness and understanding.

The 12-day follow-up

After 12 days with no response, it's time to add some social proof to your email. Inform the influencer about other creators who are promoting your brand and how they're benefiting from the partnership. Share examples of successful collaborations and any exclusive perks or opportunities available for influencers working with your brand.

The monthly check-in

If you still haven't received a reply after multiple follow-ups, add the influencer to a list for monthly check-ins. This approach allows them to get back to you whenever they have an opportunity, keeping the door open for potential collaboration in the future. During these check-ins, provide updates on your brand's progress, new products, or upcoming campaigns to keep their interest alive.

But… follow-up is messy and time-consuming

Managing follow-up dates for multiple influencers can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Traditional methods like spreadsheets or manual reminders may lead to errors, missed opportunities, and inefficiencies in the process.

In search of a better solution, many brands turn to tools like SARAL.

SARAL streamlines the follow-up process by allowing you to set up your messages in advance. The platform then takes care of sending these messages at the appropriate time, ensuring that you don't miss any crucial follow-up opportunities.

It automatically pauses follow-ups when an influencer responds, preventing any unnecessary messages.

This not only saves you time but also allows you to focus on building relationships with influencers and growing your brand.

What we've learned

Here's a quick TL;DR for you to share with your team or jot down for future reference. These best practices for influencer outreach will help you navigate the tricky waters of partnering with creators, from choosing the right communication channel to crafting a perfect email.

  • Don't be a stranger! Get to know the influencer before you reach out. Check their preferred method of communication.
  • DMs are useful for influencers with smaller followings, but email is more professional and detailed.œ
  • Use attention-grabbing hooks to spark curiosity and encourage influencers to open your DM.
  • Make it all about them! Highlight how your brand can benefit the influencer and their audience.
  • Don't be discouraged if you don't hear back right away. Persistence pays off when doing influencer outreach.
  • Use SARAL to avoid the dreaded task of manually searching for influencers' email addresses - your time is too valuable for that!
  • Keep the conversation going with monthly check-ins to stay top of mind.
  • Collaborating with influencers isn't just about getting your brand noticed - it's about building meaningful relationships that can benefit both parties.

What's next?

As you embark on the journey to scale your brand with influencer marketing, let curiosity be your compass. Keep an eye on new technology and trends. Check out the new features of social media platforms that help brand-creator partnerships.

It's not easy to keep up! That's why we created SARAL No BS Influencer Marketing Newsletter. By subscribing, you'll gain insights into the extraordinary strategies that have propelled innovative DTC brands to new heights. Signup today 👉

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