Influencer Outreach: the Ultimate Guide for 2020 (+ 3 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 just a few products in several weeks.
“What is 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:
- Identifying the right influencers for your business
- Influencer outreach tools [+ tips on using them]
- Writing an influencer outreach email [templates!].
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 most common influencer types.
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.
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.
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.
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 30 Digital Marketing Experts & Influencers in 2020 You Should be Following.
So, the 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.
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.
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.
Free trial of all features is 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.
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 like 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 goes straight to the point.
Be sure to know what you’re talking about in your email. If you say about 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) 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 II: 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.
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: Putting it all Together
Now, you know enough about influencer outreach to make your next campaign a success. Be careful, though. With thousands of influencers out there, choosing the right one for your brand will take some time.
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 a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was 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.” Source: 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