What happens when you give businesses, both big and small, the opportunity to grab instant eyeballs, and drive traffic and conversions? All while riding on the coattails of someone that’s already in touch with their target audience and enjoys their trust? You get influencer marketing, a marketing juggernaut that perfectly balances reach and relatability. 

Ever since it took off in the late 2000s, influencer marketing has gone from strength to strength. Its projected valuation for 2022 is $16.4 billion, a nearly 20% uptick from last year. From mammoths like Coca-Cola and Zara to up-and-coming businesses, you’d be hard-pressed to find a brand not associated with influencers. But identifying and reaching out to relevant influencers is turning out to be a challenging ordeal for many.

What is influencer outreach and its importance?

Influencer marketing’s increasing popularity has caused an explosion in both the number of influencers and the brands vying to partner with them. This means that the process of finding and reaching out to an influencer that fits your brand – also known as influencer outreach – is now more difficult than ever. Indeed, influencer marketing has shown high ROI for many brands leveraging this channel which contributed in its craze. 

Yet, social media spend is set to increase by 53% this year. So what makes influencer outreach worth it?

  • Increase in sales87% of consumers in a survey said they purchased a product based on an influencer recommendation.
  • Amplified reach – Influencers are more than just content creators, they are community leaders and trendsetters, and can help your brand bridge the trust gap.
  • Cost-effectiveness – An Influencer Marketing Report from 2020 puts the ROI of influencer marketing at $18.
  • More trustworthy than ads – The use of ad-blockers has increased over the years, and 61% of customers trust recommendations made by people over self-promotion by brands.
  • More user-generated content – Good influencers don’t just influence, they inspire. A well-planned campaign can result in a lot of brand-specific consumer content.
  • Creativity and quality of content – Unless your brief leaves no room for authenticity, each influencer will bring their individual style to the product promotion. They could work it into a comedy skit, or even an original song, like CashApp’s hit TikTok campaign. 

TikTok influencers

Before you launch your influencer outreach campaign, make sure you’ve finalized these details:

  1. Product/service/(s) being promoted
  2. Target demographic (Gender, age, location, profession)
  3. Social media channel popular among target audience
  4. Campaign objective 
  5. Budget 

Make a list of relevant influencers

The more aware you are about who you’re targeting and why, the easier it’ll be to find an influencer that can help you reach them.

Method 1: Google search 

Influencers in google search

You can run a simple search on Google, but be warned that this only works if you’re looking for the top influencers on a platform. 

Add specific terms like “k followers” and site:instagram.com to see the follower count of the results that show up on a particular channel you’re looking for. To avoid getting irrelevant results, use additional tags like natural or herbal for skincare to narrow down suggestions.

Method 2: Social media search tool

The search feature on every social media platform lets you look for posts corresponding to a certain word or phrase using hashtags or plain searches. 

For cluttered niches like skincare, use low-density hashtags (#accutanejourney) to get more accurate results. Dedicate time to monitoring these hashtags, branded hashtags, posts and comments where you (or your competitors) have been tagged to keep finding new influencers for collaborations.

Method 3: Influencer marketplaces and freemium tools 

You can filter influencers based on important metrics like number of followers, location, audience demographic, etc. using tools like Aspire and CreatorIQ. A free fake follower checker may also come in handy to analyze the audience quality of influencers.

Audience demographics_TikTok

You can also analyze your own comments (topic modeling) to see what your followers are talking about, and then find an influencer that regularly posts on the same topic. 

Most of your shortlisted influencers will have their contact details in their bio. You can also DM them initially, but since emails are more convenient for sending proposals and contracts, it’s best to have those details handy. If their email address isn’t easily available, try using an email finder tool

Before you move on to the next step, check if emails you collected are valid to avoid deliverability issues due to high bounce rates. 

Email verifier

It helps you weed out invalid or non-functional email addresses so you can devote your energies to making your campaign a success. It’s also a good idea to have a verified backup address for their manager or agency, if they have one. 

Connect with the influencers on social channels 

Influencers deal with their fair share of ghosters and scammers, so you can’t expect them to jump and grab your offer if they don’t know who you are. Some of the best influencers are wary of taking on too many brand collaborations so as to not be seen as a sellout. And quite a few of them simply don’t have the time for another partnership.

Influencers are rich in social currency, and that makes them the primary target for anyone seeking to borrow it (like us), which means their inboxes are probably drowning in cold emails. If you want to land that pitch, you’re going to have to put in some legwork first. 

Spend time (a couple of weeks at least) building a rapport with them by:

  • Commenting on their posts
  • Reposting them
  • Featuring them in your round-up

on the channels they actively use to increase their awareness of you. 

Influencer on Twitter

It also gives you the opportunity to see how they interact with their followers, and decide if that aligns with your brand values.

Craft your pitch

The collaboration email you send to an influencer asking them to promote your product is the deciding factor in whether your influencer outreach is successful or not. When you’re writing it, 

  1. Always use a personalized ice-breaker.
  2. Open with a genuine compliment, not something generic like ‘We saw your post on {social media} and thought we’d reach out to…’ 
  3. Give a quick introduction of who you are and what your company does.
  4. Lay down in clear terms what you’re asking for. The influencer needs to be able to tell from your first email if you want a shoutout from them, branded content, an honest review, etc.
  5. Tell them how you’ll compensate them. Most influencers prefer to be compensated monetarily, but they get a lot of requests asking them to work for free or offering compensation in kind, like a free product, trial, or backlink, so it’s best to discuss it upfront.
  6. Have your social media profiles in your email signature.

Influencer Pitch DM Template

Hey, absolutely terrific series on {topic}! I sent it to a bunch of friends and colleagues here at {brand name}, and we’re all collectively in awe of how you {insert compliment}. 

We’re a {what your brand does} and would love to partner up with you on a {pitch offer – product shoutout/review/giveaway contest/brand ambassadorship}. I can send you more details if you’re interested. 

Thanks, 

{your name}. 

Influencer Pitch Email Template

Hi, {influencer}! 

Someone just sent me your series on {topic} and I know I’m late to the party but what an ingenious take on {…}! I’ve shared it with so many people I know, both personally and at work here at {brand name}, and we’re all collectively in awe of how you {insert compliment}. 

We’re a {what your brand does} and thought you’d be the perfect person to have on board as a {pitch offer – product shoutout/review/giveaway contest/brand ambassadorship}. We love your vibe and work, and would be so thrilled to partner up with you. Please let me know if you’d be interested and I can send you more details. Thanks!

{Email signature with social media links}

Follow-up sequence

Reaching out to an influencer is one thing, getting a response from them is another. Influencers with massive followings may prove especially difficult to contact. It’s also possible that you haven’t received an answer because your request wasn’t clear enough, or your message simply got buried under hundreds of others. 

Send them a second email or message specifying your proposal. Are they willing to do a product review? Do you want to sponsor one of their videos? Make your intent clear. 

You can also ask to be redirected to another person, like a manager, that handles collaboration requests for them. 

Content cooperation_emailA multi-channel outreach strategy can work when all else has failed. If you’ve already tried emailing them a few times, tweet at them, comment on one of their latest Instagram posts or send them a DM on any channel other than the one you’ve already contacted them on.

Focus on building relationships

Unlike other channels, influencer marketing hinges on interpersonal relationships. Between the influencer and their followers, and between the influencer and you. One-off sponsored posts can increase awareness and generate buzz for your brand, but long-term brand ambassadorships build you a highly engaged community of users and loyal customers. 

Use Sotrender’s Competitor Analysis feature to study metrics like follower growth rate, engagement rate, top-performing posts, formats, etc. That information will help you decide which influencers are worth forging lasting relationships with.  

Analyze any profile’s growth

If you have a successful collaboration with a social media influencer and their content is aligned to your brand goals, a continuing association with them will establish authenticity and trust in your brand, provided they fit into your budget. 

For example, instead of promotions, they can integrate your product into their lifestyle and feature it across a number of posts or videos. When their followers see the influencer has been a long-term user of your product, they’ll be more willing to try it themselves. 

Extras: 3 Influencer outreach email templates that work 250

Figuring out how to reach out to influencers is one of the most intimidating parts of influencer marketing, so we thought we’d give you a leg up with our influencer outreach email templates.

1. The Initial Outreach Email Template

Your opinion_email

Think of this influencer pitch template as an icebreaker and trust-building exercise combined. 

See how it starts with a heartfelt compliment? It comes across as warm and the request, which itself is pretty minor, is easily fulfilled. Even if the influencer doesn’t have the time to offer them feedback, they’re likely to appreciate being someone’s inspiration.

2. The No-Nonsense Proposal Email Template

Product/service review_email

Even if business-like and formal isn’t your style, this template can serve as a great base to which you can add more frills. It follows a simple structure of:

  1. Introduction
  2. Compliment
  3. Product Details
  4. Collaboration Request
  5. Remuneration

You can start with a personalized opener about the influencer or include the product link in the email for them to check out.

But the best part about this format is that it’s a time-saver. It leaves no room for doubt about any aspect of the collaboration and makes it easy for the influencer to accept or reject the proposal without any of the usual back and forth.

3. The Hyper-Personalized Pitch Email Template

Guest for your podcast_email

You can customize this one to fit any collaboration request – from asking an influencer to feature your product in a round-up to offering them a brand ambassador role. 

Templates like these take time to write, but the influencer you reach out to will know they’re not one on a list of thousands. For someone inundated with impersonal, irrelevant outreach emails, a pitch like this will make your email stand out and improve your chances of closing the deal.

Wrapping Up

Social media trends change at dizzying speed and there’s no one better equipped to help you ride the wave than a savvy influencer. So do your research and reach out to influencers you can trust with your brand.

When you team up with an influencer, you’re essentially borrowing their reputation and sharing yours with them. When planning your outreach, along with glitzy metrics like follower counts, engagement rates, and ROI, delve deep into the influencer’s values and ethics. 

Take time to cultivate relationships with your partner-influencers and communicate your brand values to them. Don’t just encourage them to disclose posts as sponsored, put it in an iron-clad contract, along with other stipulations like the scope, time frame and commitment involved in each project.

To find what resonates with your audience, be open to experimentation. Authenticity, transparency, and creativity in content will take your influencer marketing campaign places. 

Author

Antonio Gabrić

Antonio is an outreach manager at Hunter. He is passionate about testing different outreach tactics and sharing results with the community. When he is not connecting with industry leaders you can find him on his motorbike exploring off-the-beaten paths around the world.