Compared to traditional marketing channels, influencer marketing has an 11x higher ROI. The strategy takes the central role in many marketing plans as it allows brands to address multiple marketing goals more organically.
But, the average cold email reply rate is only 7%. This means getting a response from influencers is unlikely, and challenging to say the least.
Luckily, we have a team of 40 creator sales experts, dedicated to reaching out to influencers and we share their most effective strategies.
With nearly 1M emails sent per month and an average open rate of 36% (some experts think 11% is enough), we know how to reach out to influencers and get a positive reply.
So keep reading to find out:
- How to reach out to influencers in 7 simple steps
- How to write the perfect email copy
- Free influencer outreach email templates
Let’s get started!
What is Influencer Outreach?
Influencer outreach is a marketing strategy that concentrates on establishing partnerships with influencers who have significant followings in specific niches.
Brands are reaching out to social media influencers to offer a collaboration so they can increase awareness, boost sales, increase customer engagement, etc.
There are 7 steps you need to follow to do this strategy effectively. In the guide below, you will learn what each step means and what to do to tackle it successfully.
7 Steps to Effectively Reach Out To Influencers
To get started with your influencer marketing strategy, you need to know why influencers ignore most emails. We asked 50 influencers from different niches and with 10k-60k followers on Instagram in which cases they decide not to reply to an email from a brand.
These were the most common answers:
- An all-in-one type of proposal
- Signs of automation in the email
- The collaboration offer is outside the influencer’s niche
Nikola Sokolov, CEO and co-founder of influencers.club who is known for his impeccable influencer outreach strategies, explains that the influencer outreach system is based on a mutually beneficial relationship between two parties. You must interest the influencer with your offer, but be realistic.
In other words, if you want a positive reply rate, ensure that the influencer you’re searching for is in a similar niche, shares the same values with you, and preferably is near your location.
So, as we now know the most common reasons why influencers don’t reply to emails, plus the fundamentals of partnership between influencers and brands, let’s discuss how to reach out to content creators with significant number of followers.
1. Find the Right Influencers
The best ways to find influencers that are suitable for your brand are creator intelligence tools and influencer marketing platforms.
Read more about what they offer and see which one is a better option for you.
Creator Intelligence Tools
Creator intelligence tools are helping brands understand and leverage the audience of different creators and their content. To do so, they offer audience insights, competitive analysis between brands, brand partnership matching, etc.
How does it work: There are two approaches to accessing the data. The first one is to use the tools yourself (self-service), and the second one is outsourcing the task to a service provider (managed service).
We at influencers.club offer both approaches. We have a database of 80M+ influencers across all platforms. To get a custom list tailored to your needs you can:
- Get in touch with us, share your criteria, and get a ready-to-use influencer list.
- Sign up for our dashboard, explore the database, and create and export custom lists by yourself.
You can search using some of the 50+ filters and get as broad or as niche as you want. You can find popular influencers in a specific niche, or rising influencers that already have brand collaborations.
The dashboard is intuitive and easy to manage. For example, you can find fitness moms, food influencers who are promoting affiliate links, artists from New York who are selling merch, etc.
You can narrow down your search by adding filters by keywords used in bio, location, hashtags used, engagement rate, audience size, brand collabs, etc. With these advanced filters, you will get a curated list of verified social media accounts and their emails.
Want to find the most suitable influencers for your brand?
Influencer Marketing Platforms
Although they offer similar features, influencer marketing platforms are different than creator intelligence tools. Influencer marketing platforms focus on facilitating and managing campaigns, while creator intelligence tools focus on analytics and insights.
Still, influencer marketing platforms are a great way to find influencers to reach out to. Some of the most popular influencer marketing platforms are Upfluence, CreatorIQ, and Klear.
All of them operate on a similar method, they allow you to filter the influencer database, connect with them, and track their performance rates and campaign performance. However, influencer marketing platforms have steep learning curves and often come as too expensive.
Search on Google or Social Media
Searching Google for influencers is super easy. Type the keyword in the search bar and add “influencer”. Like in the picture below:
You will find numerous articles matching the keyword, and even its variations. Browse the articles and find the right influencer. However, one downside is most of the suggestions are repetitive and usually macro-influencers that are managed by agencies and have a high rate. Finding prospective micro-influencers this way is counterproductive.
Search on Instagram
Instagram is an adopted social media platform by the majority of influencers. Therefore, the first step would be to check Instagram.
To search for influencers on Instagram, just type the keyword and add the influencer in the Search Bar. Check the picture below.
You will find the top Instagram influencers related to the keyword in the Search Bar. But, as you can see from the picture there, you can search Instagram by hashtag. By clicking on #veganinfluencer, Instagram will throw you thousands of posts that use that hashtag on the post.
From this point, you have all kinds of vegan influencers. Foodies, cruelty-free fashion influencers, sportspeople, and much more.
2. Choose the Right Outreach Channel
A common challenge during the outreach is choosing a better outreach channel between DMs and emails. When reaching out to influencers by email there are no limits on characters and you can elaborate your collaboration proposal.
Plus, you can send attachments, whether is a catalog of your products, a collaboration agreement, etc.
However, it all depends on the influencer’s preferred method of communication. Usually, influencers leave their email on their account if they want to be contacted via email.
On the other hand, if the influencer knows you, you can send a social media message. Whatever approach you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when you reach out to influencers.
DMs are convenient if your proposal to an influencer is short. Be aware that Instagram has a character limit of 1,000 with space. Therefore, you can pitch the influencer briefly on Instagram, and then send the proposal and other necessary documents and attachments by email.
Additionally, you should know that Instagram has DM restrictions to prevent its users from spam or unwanted messages from strangers. You can only DM a user (or an influencer as in our case) once, through text, and no pictures.
The conversation continues if the influencer accepts the message. Also, newer accounts can send 20-50 DMs daily, whereas verified accounts can send 50-100 DMs. In both cases, this is not an ideal option for influencer outreach.
Outreach experts say that email is the best channel to contact influencers (especially successful influencers with large followings).
However, you need to avoid spammy words, phrases, or too many emojis. So, phrases like a “$100,000 offer for a brand collab”, and “100% free”, messages in upper cases usually don’t pass the spam filters on email providers.
In this case, you need a top-notch email that can stand out from the rest or not end up in spam.
On the other hand, if you feel confident in your skills, keep reading to learn how to craft a compelling message below.
3. Craft a Compelling Message
The following writing guidelines and tips will help you form the best outreach email or message.
Personalize the proposal
According to Nikola Sokolov personalization is crucial when reaching out to influencers.
He says, “We live in a world with too much noise, especially creators who consume content as part of their work. Standing out is difficult, but very worth it.”
To nail down this tip, you need to focus on the tone/style of the influencer and choose the right method.
- Tone: Explore the influencer’s content and determine their tone. It can be formal, humorous, inspirational, etc. Then, write in their voice. This helps you make your proposal relatable to the influencer.
- Engage with the influencer: Make sure to like and comment on their posts. This proves that you follow their content.
- Acknowledge their work: Mention a strategy or method that makes their content unique. Briefly explain why you like it. For example, it can be the video or photo edits. All influencers spend lots of time editing their content, so acknowledge their work and explain how it makes them effective and aesthetically pleasing.
- Use storytelling: Anecdotes are one of the best engaging tricks to keep the influencer’s attention. They work best with video messages, but if it’s a short one, you can insert it in your email, too.
Attention-grabbing subject lines
The subject line must be catchy enough to hook the reader. Here are some of our best tips for writing a catchy subject line:
- Keep within the length limits: Subject lines should not be long. The maximum is 6-7 words or 40-60 characters. Always check the length to ensure is within the range.
- Put the focus on the benefits and be creative: This is an effective subject line that sums up the proposal, but at the same time instantly hooks the influencer. For example, “Paid collaboration proposal: [Your brand] x [The influencer]” or “Brand Ambassador Opportunity for [Influencer’s name]”
- Use visuals: Visuals are the best attention grabbers. You can use emojis in your subject line, but only to support the subject line. For example, “Your voice, our brand: A Winning Combo 🙌”
When writing a subject line, you need to steer clear of spammy words. If you write in all caps, add too many emojis (especially these 🤑💯🔥), or use different fonts you might end up in spam.
Also, overly promising or generic phrases like “best offer you ever received, tons of benefits, pure profit, once in a lifetime, etc” don’t sound realistic and influencers will probably ignore your email.
Tailor messages to different platforms
Email, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter – all these platforms have individual communication styles, purposes, and formats.
Emails are for more formal and elaborate communication. You can add multiple attachments, agreements, portfolios, or other documents you need to share with the influencer. However, mind that the first email is only the pitch. You don’t send documents in the pitch, but only after the influencer shows their interest in the collaboration.
Instagram is preferred for visual storytelling. Video pitching is a new approach you can leverage when reaching out to influencers. Although video collab proposals are untypical, outreach experts predict positive effects for this approach, especially for brands that need to showcase a demo of your product.
However, this is a new approach for reaching out to influencers, and some influencers might ignore the message simply because they are not used to this approach and are skeptical about the type of content they might see.
LinkedIn serves to share professional milestones, business-related posts, and elaborate articles relevant to a specific niche or industry. Users on this platform usually communicate directly on posts by commenting. Often they make initial contacts in the comments, and then they connect and continue the formal discussion in DMs.
Twitter is a more liberal platform, but posts are short and humorous. Users of this platform retweet the post or comment to open a discussion.
Adopting the platform’s communication style and format makes your proposal relatable and more engaging.
You can use our top-performing email outreach templates to increase the chances of getting a positive reply rate.
4. Select The Right Time and Frequency
After analyzing the reply rate and performance of 10М sent emails, we found out that timing is key when contacting influencers.
The most open and reply rate on the emails appears during mid-weekdays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays. Additionally, mid-morning and mid-days are optimal for sending your email.
Plus, reaching out to influencers right after they post the content increases your open rate chances as they are monitoring the performance rate.
On the other hand, reaching out to an influencer on specific holidays adds context to the email. For example, you can send a proposal to a feminist influencer on International Women’s Day to enhance your chances of getting that collaboration.
5. Don’t Forget to Follow-up
Most of the outreach emails or messages never get opened. If you don’t hear back from the influencer within a few days, write a follow-up email. This way you put your email back on the radar, and at the same time you show your commitment to the collaboration.
We know that writing a follow-up email may feel awkward and block your thought process. However, to avoid compromising the tone and context of the email, just stick with the tips below. They helped even the shyest person in our team nail the follow-up emails.
- Restate your interest in collaborating with them: Mention shared values to emphasize the mutually beneficial relationship. For example, if you sell clothes, and they are a fashion blogger, explain your mutual interest.
- Subtly acknowledge their competence: Make them stand out from the crowd by pointing out their skills in content creation. If every sentence you write on this point feels like praise, add your opinion on why you think that would lead to a successful influencer campaign for your business to neutralize it.
- Add more information on the collaboration: Reveal more of the proposal to avoid being repetitive. You may offer to send them samples of your products they can test before they agree to collaborate with you.
- Watch your tone: It has to be confident. Don’t be too pushy, clingy, or salesy.
- Schedule the next step: Express your understanding of their busy schedule, but a key point to wrap up the follow-up email is to arrange a new meeting, call, or video. Tell them what they need to do after reading this follow-up and leave your contact details at the end of the email.
If you don’t get a reply after the follow-up, you may send another follow-up reminder as a reply. And, if you don’t hear from them still, you need to find another influencer for collaboration.
Lastly, if you don’t have the time or bandwidth to develop an effective influencer outreach strategy, keep in mind that we have a partnership program with a team of 40 experts who can take care of your outreach entirely. From writing the first email to follow-ups, and deals.
Get a team of 40+ outreach experts to reach out to influencers on your behalf
6. Build Credibility Beforehand
Before you make the outreach, there are a few musts you need to do:
- Research the influencer’s content: See how they create content. Pay attention to their tone, interests, and values. This will help you frame the picture of the influencer, and help you create a relatable tone.
- Don’t overlook their hobbies: See what interests them beyond the work. Do they have pets? Often, sporadic interests increase the rate. We had several successful reply rates after mentioning a pet anecdote with a pet-parent influencer.
- Mention past collaborations: Mentioning past collaborations directly shows your interest in their work. It means that you invested your time to learn more about their journey. In the meantime, you can mention a milestone that you find relevant to the collaboration to enhance the process.
- Genuine engagement on their content: Like and comment on their posts to build a proactive relationship with the influencer.
7. Show the Value of Collaboration
Last but not least, the offer makes or breaks the collaboration. Show the value of the collaboration by pointing out the benefits of the partnership.
Focus on transparency. Always be open about your goals, rules, other campaign details, and budget if you want a successful email. Therefore, take some time to craft the offer within your limits, but be creative.
Sponsored content, giveaways, and free brand products are some of the perks you can include in that offer. Explain other benefits for long-term partnerships, and influencer relationships. Ultimately, be open to negotiation.
The steps mentioned in this article will guide you through the process of reaching out to influencers.
Additionally, if you are a creator economy company or an influencer agency trying to reach out to hundreds or thousands of influencers at once get in touch with us.
We can either give you a custom list of influencers that are ideal for your brand, or even handle your whole influencer outreach. This way instead of learning how to reach out to influencers, you can spend your time where is more valuable.
Let us reach out to influencers on your behalf
We can find influencers that are ideal for your business, plus, our team of 40+ creator sales experts will handle the outreach.
Address them by their name. Research their content, hobbies, interests, and mention something you particularly liked about the influencer in the proposal. This is the greatest authenticity guarantee. If you don’t like the email still. You can use our free templates as a guide.
Depends on the influencer’s preferences. Go to their site to see if they left a preferred method of contact. Usually, influencers who prefer to be contacted by email leave their emails on the profile. However, email is better as you can elaborate on your collaboration proposal with fewer obstructions compared to DMs on social media.
In your follow-up email, you need to reiterate your interest in the collaboration. Mention their skills and competence. Expand the collaboration details to avoid repetition, and set the next step. Sign off the email with your contact information.