Influencer Outreach: The Ultimate Guide for 2021 (Strategy, Tools, and Templates)
Imagine running an influencer marketing campaign with a celebrity on Instagram.
The content gets thousands of views and likes. The influencer promises to increase engagement levels even further.
Everything seems to be on the right track.
But there’s a problem. For some crazy reason, you’re not selling anything. Despite high content engagement, you’ve managed to sell only a few products in several weeks.
“What’s going on?”
The most common reason is you’re sharing a campaign with the wrong influencer. As you investigate the problem, it turns out you used a poor influencer outreach strategy that resulted in choosing them.
These outcomes are pretty common, and having millions of followers doesn’t guarantee anything. In 2019, for example, an Instagram star with 2+ million followers failed to sell 36 t-shirts.
To avoid losing your investments like this, you need a solid influencer outreach strategy.
In this post, you’ll find everything you need to build one for successful influencer marketing:
- Great influencer outreach templates
- How to put together an effective influencer outreach strategy
- Best influencer outreach practices and tips
- Identifying the right influencers for your business
- And some of the best influencer outreach tools.
Outstanding Influencer Outreach Direct Message Templates
When it comes to approaching an influencer, it all comes down to making a personal connection with them, and often sending them a direct message (DM) is the best first point of contact.
Here are some helpful DM templates to get you going, and remember to make them as unique as possible for each of your influencers.
Generic Collab DM Template
Hey [insert influencer name],
My team and I loved your recent post regarding [insert description of related post]. We at [insert company name here] sell or provide [insert what you do/sell]. We would love to send some of our products your way so you can give them a try and share them with your audience!
If you’re interested, let me know! We’d love to hear from you.
-[insert your name here]
Brand Ambassador DM Template
Hey [insert name here],
We’re getting ready to launch a new marketing campaign for our [insert product here] and would love for you to become a brand ambassador for our company, [insert company name here]! We really loved your post on [insert a reference to a topic they post about], and would like to talk more in depth with you about our brand and how you could partner with us.
If you’re interested, please send me an email at [insert email here].
We’re looking forward to you joining our team!
[insert your name here]
Giveaway Collab Pitch DM Template
Hey [insert name here],
We really liked your [insert topic] content and thought you would enjoy our [insert company name and products]. We would love to send you a package of our products for you to try out. If you’re interested, we would love for you to host a giveaway for your followers! Let me know and I’d be happy to chat with you over the details!
[insert your name]
Outstanding Influencer Outreach Email Templates
Okay, so how to ask an influencer to promote your product or brand?
Many businesses are struggling with writing influencer outreach emails. For some, it’s a business transaction, so they treat it as such (which not all influencers appreciate).
To avoid these mistakes, take a look at these influencer collaboration email templates.
Influencer Outreach Email Template I: Let’s Connect and Start a Relationship
Notice how the title says a “relationship,” not something like “business partnership”?
With most influencers ready to endorse brands and products they’ve tried personally, you need to be cautious about the language and tone of the email.
Businesses typically use writing tools like Grammarly, BestEssayEducation, TrustMyPaper, and GrabMyEssay to create multiple templates and respect these requirements. They also help clarity and focus of the email.
Here’s how to word the first influencer collaboration email:
Subject line: (Influencer Name), Let’s Work Together!
Hi (Influencer Name),
My name is (name), I work for [name of the brand].
I’ve been following your profile at (social media name) for quite a while now, and I’m impressed. Your content is great and your ability to provide value is simply amazing.
Is there any way we could start a relationship and work together?
We have a product that we think your followers will love. Would you be willing to test and review (product name)?
Please reply if interested.
Why this template is good:
- It’s friendly
- It gets straight to the point
Be sure to know what you’re talking about in your email. If you say you have been following the influencer’s profile for some time, it is better to be true.
Also, note that this influencer outreach email subject line includes their name. This technique could increase the open rate by 50 percent.
Influencer Outreach Email Template II: Someone Introduced You
Send this template to influencers who were recommended to you by someone you know.
Hey (Influencer Name),
My name is (name) and I’m a friend of (mutual connection’s name).
He/she mentioned you recently when I talked with him about (marketing, promotion, social media, etc.). I became interested in your experience as an influencer because I think we can collaborate. (Mutual connection’ name) told me to get in touch with you and ask if you’re interested.
Would you be willing to consider this opportunity?
Why this template is good:
- It has a friendly and open tone
- It grabs the attention of the reader by mentioning the mutual connection right away
Influencer Outreach Email Template III: We Share a Passion/Interest
This is a great technique to use for influencers interested in a specific topic.
Hey (Influencer Name),
I’m (name),from (brand name).
We’ve been following your (blog, social media profile, etc.) for 6 months now and we’re thankful.
We share the same passion for sustainable living (or any other topic).
At (brand name) , we’re on the mission to encourage more people to live sustainably, so we thought that your followers would like our (product). We have package-free shampoo bars, reusable food wraps, environmentally-friendly deodorants (relevant characteristics of your products).
Would you like to test some? We’ll be happy to send them to you for free in exchange for a mention on your (blog, social media profile, etc.).
Please let me know what you think.
Why this template is good:
- It has a friendly tone and conversational language style
- It focuses on a mutual interest to attract attention
Please keep in mind these are recommendations. Be sure to add more details to personalize every influencer collaboration email.
If you decide to go with cold emailing, you should check the following tools:
Important! Follow up after a few days if you don’t get a response. Influencers are busy people, so there’s always a chance they simply missed your outreach email.
Influencer Outreach Strategy
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective strategies in the world of marketing, however, many brands do not understand how to effectively use this popular marketing approach.
Many followers of a particular influencer, are not always going to automatically use or purchase the products or services they share. And in some cases, the endless stream of adverts flooding their lives can cause followers to become numb or disinterested in what they see.
Rather than rushing ahead and setting up an influencer campaign that you’re not certain whether it will work or not, it is best to take a step back and to compile a well-thought-out and effective influencer outreach strategy.
So here are some key strategy points to get you off on the right foot:
Set Realistic and Achievable Objectives
This may sound easy, but sometimes this can be one of the more challenging tasks. To get a clear picture of what you want to achieve, you may need to do some research before-hand to understand your clients better and to see which influencers will be the best to approach.
One example of a realistic goal is to start with determining how many influencers you want to reach. You can also get a bit of experience yourself under your belt, which will enable you to set more achievable goals from the start. These goals will be things such as determining the traffic you want to generate and the leads or conversions you want to reach through your influencers.
Understand That It is NOT About the Numbers
It’s important to remember that every influencer is a unique individual with different preferences and a unique personality. We can’t expect all the influencers we approach will necessarily be interested in our products or services and whether or not they will be comfortable sharing your ads with their followers.
That’s why it is important to start getting to know your influencers before you approach them and make sure you understand WHO they are, as individuals.
Here are some things you can do to get to know them better:
- Start to follow their different social media accounts (like, share, comment etc.).
- Take the time to read through their content to understand how they communicate.
- Try to understand their particular niche.
- When you reach out to them, start by showing your appreciation and praise for their work.
Decipher the Difference Between an Audience and Influencers
If you find an influencer with a large audience, it doesn’t automatically mean that the influencer influences that audience as you might imagine. Sometimes, this can lead to a mismatch between the content and the influencers, especially when brands focus too much on the numbers, as opposed to the relevance of the content and the influencers.
You should aim to find an influencer who shares very similar interests or perspectives with you and someone you can easily connect with from the start.
Sometimes, influencers with a smaller audience will be the easiest to connect with and may hold greater influence over their followers. It’s also important to find an influencer who is genuinely interested in your product or services and who would want to share them with their followers.
Influencer Outreach Best Practices
Take a look at these helpful tips to get you started on reaching out to your influencers:
- Make sure your strategy is down – once you have done some hard work and have clearly defined your goals, you can then start by standing out to influencers. Here are some good practices!
- Start fostering a relationship with your influencers as soon as possible – it’s never too early to start getting to know the influencers. Relationships and real connections are at the core of outreach marketing, so this is always a good place to start.
- Start small – begin by engaging with them on their social media posts, showing them a genuine interest in who they are and what they do. Start by showing your respect for them. Then when it comes to offering them a formal partnership, it will be a lot easier and will come from an existing connection.
- Use message templates – these are always helpful and will make messaging a whole lot easier. Just make sure you personalize the templates as much as possible for each influencer and include something specific that you pulled off one of their posts.
- Then follow up – if you haven’t heard from them within 5 – 7 days, then it will be worthwhile following up with them. Here are some more pointers to keep in mind:
- Let them know what you both have in common.
- Tell them why they stood out to you and why you would value working with them.
- Present them with your partnership idea, but then leave it open-ended allowing them to also share their ideas with you.
- Send one or two follow up messages, but then rather leave it if you don’t hear back from them. It will start to seem desperate if you follow up too much.
- See it as a networking opportunity. If they are not interested now, they may be in the future, so keep that in mind.
- Provide your influencer with creative freedom – this will show that you trust their vision and creativity and will help foster an authentic and lasting partnership. An influencer might also come up with some other ideas that you may not have come up with yourself.
- Keep the relationship going – it will be beneficial to keep in touch with your influencers even once the partnership comes to an end. This will make it easier for you to contact them again in the future if you want to work with them another time and will continue to strengthen an authentic relationship.
How to Choose the Right Influencers for Your Brand
Influencer marketing is one of the best strategies to promote brands online, predicted to reach $15 billion in value by 2022.
According to a recent survey by Tomoson, 59 percent of digital marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets.
However, using this strategy could be a total waste of money if you’re working with the wrong influencer. It’s very easy to make a poor choice because of two reasons:
- your influencer outreach strategy is ineffective
- there are simply too many influencers to choose from
But there’s some good news, too. Although there’s no universal formula on finding the best influencers, there are a few critical things that can drastically improve your chance of finding “the one.”
1. Research Different Types of Influencers
Many brands make a mistake by focusing too much on the industry during influencer outreach. While important, it’s just a part of the puzzle.
“Besides industry, there are different types based on the number of followers,” advises Sara Ottaviani, a digital marketing expert at Studicus. “Knowing them is important to ensure proper campaign reach and plan a sufficient budget.”
Here are the four most common influencer types:
1. Mega Influencers
These are celebrities and other very famous individuals followed by over 1 million subscribers.
Pros: they are able to reach millions in one post and make a brand look exclusive.
Cons: don’t have a personal connection with their audiences; are very costly. Known for not using products before promoting them, which is something to keep in mind, as 82 percent of consumers agree that influencers should disclose any history of personal use of a product or service they endorse.
Best For: quickly raising awareness of a new product or service.
2. Macro Influencers
Influencers who have between 10,000 and 999,000 followers. Typically, these are individuals interested in a specific subject, so their content is perceived as more authentic.
Pros: have large loyal fan bases, perfect for targeted reach; are often interested in cooperating with brands.
Cons: quite extensive and hard to secure; don’t have a personal connection with their audiences.
Best For: reaching a certain audience for a relatively low budget.
3. Micro Influencers
Those with between 5,000 and 50,000 followers.
Pros: cost less, are more trustworthy, and generate higher engagement compared to the previous types.
According to influencer marketing statistics, 82 percent of online shoppers are more likely to use advice from this group. Business2Community claims that micro-influencers generate a 41.7 percent higher engagement rate than the macro.
Cons: very hard to find someone legit.
Best For: increasing conversions, subscriptions, and lead generation.
4. Nano Influencers
Those with less than 10,000 followers.
Pros: have a high conversion rate; perfect for local promotion.
Cons: often poorly experienced with driving conversions and creating content.
Best For: driving engaging brand conversations on a small scale.
- Macro Influencers VS Micro Influencers: The Ultimate Review [with examples]
- Top 42 Digital Marketing Experts & Influencers in 2021 You Should be Following.
So, no one-size-fits-all approach here. Review your campaign and brand goals to know who you’re looking for during influencer outreach.
2. Ensure that Influencer’s Values Align with Your Brand
Before looking at things like followership and assessing their content marketing strategy, check out how an influencer’s values align with your brand image.
For example, if you see customer-generated content, it’s definitely a good sign of engagement.
But you might also find that the influencer isn’t a perfect match for your brand because they have a different personality.
Look for those who share a similar tone of voice and values. This is done by researching:
- Content they create, share, and promote
- Brands they had previous partnerships with
- Engagement level (do they engage with followers? What kind of responses do they write? etc.).
3. Check an Influencer’s Image and Reputation
Would you be willing to work with an influencer whose every third post on social media is sponsored? Of course not.
Even though this suggests that the person is popular among brands, a high ratio of sponsored content also means lower trust.
Check what kind of comments the influencer’s followers write about them. For a broader search, use a social media listening tool.
Dive Deeper: 6 Social Media Listening Tools
The 4 Best Influencer Outreach Tools
To find a key influencer in your niche, you can use specially made tools:
An easy-to-use, professional influencer search engine for brands and agencies. With Heepsy, you get access to 7 million real influencers and tons of useful data to determine the right fit for your campaign.
One really cool thing about Heepsy that both brands and agencies will appreciate is advanced reports on audience and authenticity. The reports contain the authenticity score calculated based on an influencer’s profile data.
For example, Heepsy analyzes the influencer’s audience growth rate, engagement rate distribution, and follower evolution to help users pick the best candidate for a collab.
- Starter plan for small campaigns: $49/mo
- Business plan with extended search features: $169/mo
- Gold plan for large-scale campaigns: $269.
Buzzsumo is a content discovery and influencer outreach platform created specifically for brands and digital marketers.
Basically, it’s an influencer search engine. Enter details like niche, a period of activity, topics, and country, and Buzzsumo will generate a list of people meeting the criteria.
A major benefit of this influencer outreach software is a lot of helpful details. They include page authority, domain authority, response ratio, followership, shared content, domain, and many more.
Pricing: From $99 monthly. Free trial available.
It gives you a complete profile of an influencer so you could make an informed decision. Thanks to Upfluence, you’ll know everything you need about an influencer, including:
- Engaged audience by country, age, and country
- History of engagement by post
- Brand mentions
- Performance compared to other similar influencers
- Estimated engagement
- Estimated campaign budget
- Profile check to filter out fake influencers and bots.
With this information, you’ll know how to message influencers and what to propose to them.
Pricing: Based on individual clients. Free trial available.
Pitchbox is one of the most popular influencer outreach tools thanks to easy keyword search, informative profiles, and overall user-friendliness.
Start your research by using relevant keywords and get a list of influencers meeting your criteria.
Thanks to the integration with other popular content and SEO tools like Moz, Pitchbox improves the quality of the results to generate influencers with the greatest authority and reach.
Another great feature is the opportunity to send personalized influencer outreach emails to those you’re interested in collaborating with.
Pricing: Individual pricing for every client. Free trial available.
Putting it All Together
Now, you know enough about influencer outreach to make your next campaign a success. Be careful, though. It’s important to remember that finding the right influencer will take time, so it is best to not rush the process.
With proper preparation and a little bit of patience, you’ll definitely find an awesome partner to tell the world about your brand in a way your customers like.
About the Author: Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of words. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin is gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she works as a freelance writer at Wowgrade. Kristin runs her own FlyWriting blog.
Insider, “An Instagram star with 2 million followers couldn’t sell 36 T-shirts, and a marketing expert says her case isn’t rare.”: https://www.insider.com/instagrammer-arii-2-million-followers-cannot-sell-36-t-shirts-2019-5
Business2Community: Influencer Marketing: 2020 Trends & Stats: https://www.business2community.com/marketing/influencer-marketing-2020-trends-stats-02279198
Toomoson. Influencer Marketing Study- https://www.tomoson.com/blog/influencer-marketing-study/
Forbes: Can We Trust Social Media Influencers?https://www.forbes.com/sites/petersuciu/2019/12/20/can-we-trust-social-media-influencers/#33ee804b63e8
YESMarketing. Data: Personalized email subject lines boost open rates by 50 percent: https://www.yesmarketing.com/who-we-are/news-and-events/news/data-personalized-email-subject-lines-boost-open-rates-50-percent