The digital entrepreneur’s guide to influencer outreach
If you’re looking to convert more of your target audience, learning how to do influencer outreach is a must, now more than ever. Here’s how to do it right.
For the money you spend on digital marketing to build brand awareness, you’re expecting a lot more revenue from even your best selling digital products.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry.
There’s a way to stretch your ad dollars while getting your brand in front of the right target audience.
If you haven’t tried influencer marketing, it’s worth diversifying your marketing strategy and adding it to your marketing efforts this year.
Before we get into the how, let’s quickly cover the ins and outs of influencer marketing.
What is influencer outreach?
Influencer outreach is a part of a digital marketing strategy, where you partner up with people on social media who have a large dedicated following and are seen as experts in their niche.
In an influencer marketing strategy, you partner up with relevant influencers who promote your brand, products, and/or services.
The exchange is that you gain positive brand awareness and access to the influencer’s audience, and they get something of value in return, whether it’s a paycheck or free products (or both).
If you’re wondering if influencer marketing works, the answer is a resounding yes.
In fact, 80% of marketers find influencer marketing is effective, and another 71% say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer outreach is better than other channels.
Not to mention, a whopping 89% of marketers say the ROI from influencer marketing is equal to or better than other channels -- an ROI that can deliver a magnificent 11x more than other digital media forms.
So, what’s the magic behind influencer marketing?
When relevant influencers promote your brand, they’re promoting it to a target audience that likes and trusts the influencer.
This, of course, means they’re more likely to purchase something the influencer recommends and stands behind.
Take, for instance, digital marketing queen Amy Porterfield.
I’ve been following her brand for several years now, so I’ve grown to like and trust her. So, when Amy recommended Brit Barron’s Worth It as an inspirational read in her Instagram post...
I took Amy’s word for it and purchased my own copy right away.
I don’t actually know if Amy was paid to promote Brit’s book -- and I don’t think it was part of an influencer marketing campaign -- but that’s the power of the influencer’s influence.
It helps that Brit Barron is also featured on Amy’s podcast episode #330.
Basically, you get access to the influencer’s built-in trust when they associate their brand with yours.
This is a trust that’s so valuable it not only delivers engagement and exposure to your brand, but it also translates to product sales.
And it’s not just a numbers game -- as in, the number of people that follow an influencer doesn’t directly correlate to your sales potential.
What’s more important than follower count is the quality of an influencer’s audience -- how targeted and dedicated they are.
Some might say micro-influencers, people with generally more than 3,000 followers on their social media platforms, are more potent than bigger influencers who cover a more broad niche.
In fact, micro-influencers produce 7x more engagement than influencers with larger followings. That’s the story on Instagram, anyway, which happens to be the most widely used social media platform for influencers.
So, it makes sense that the trend is to move from macro-influencers to micro-influencers.
Basically, influencers have followers and fans that trust their expertise. The more narrow the scope, the more the influencer’s audience trusts the influencer -- particularly micro-influencers -- and uses their recommendations for purchase decisions.
4 steps to follow in your influencer outreach strategy
#1. Research and identify the right influencers
First things first. Instead of blindly reaching out to potential influencers to partner with, it’s worth doing your due diligence and scoping the market first.
Not only do you want the extra exposure, but you want the right kind of exposure.
More specifically, you want brand awareness among an influencer’s audience that matches your own brand.
When perusing influencers on social media platforms, ask yourself if their messaging, values, and benefits fit your own audience.
It doesn’t hurt to do a bit of customer research either, to find out more about the influencer’s audience to see if their pain points complement your offers.
On top of finding relevant influencers, you can also consider these tips for finding the right influencers:
- Reach - What’s the size of their following and how loyal is the audience?
- Content publication frequency - How often do they post?
- Engagement - How many comments and shares do they get and do they respond?
To hunt down the right influencers, you can also use tools like SocialBlade, which tell you the follower count, engagement rate, average number of likes and comments, and other metrics for Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube influencers.
Similarly, Awario is a social listening tool that can help you find conversations across the internet based on certain keywords.
BuzzSumo is a renowned content marketing tool that provides content insights for high-performing ideas, which lets you identify key influencers.
These tools will help you engage in popular relevant conversations and find the brands and influencers who lead these conversations.
HypeAuditor is yet another tool that helps you identify how many genuine and fake followers an influencer has (yes, sadly, there are plenty of fake followers out there).
What’s more, tools like HypeAuditor also let you measure metrics like advertising performance, audience demographics, and follower growth.
As you’re using these various influencer tools, there’s one metric you’ll want to pay extra attention to -- engagement.
After all, 85% of marketers have said engagement data such as comments and shares are the biggest indicators of success for an influencer marketing campaign.
It goes without saying the more engaged an audience is, the more likely they’ll take action that ultimately leads to a purchase.
All in all:
Thoroughly research the market to find a range of quality social media influencers, small and large, who align with your brand, values, and offers.
Once you have your targeted influencer list, there’s one more step before reaching out.
#2. Brainstorm how you’d like to partner with each influencer
When it comes to partnering with influencers, one size doesn’t fit all. This means it’s important to tailor a partnership that’s best suited for each influencer.
A great way to tackle this organizing process is to start with your (well-researched) targeted list of influencers and categorize them into groups like you would for content marketing.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you’re in the marketing niche and want to partner with Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income.
Ideally, you would take note of all of Pat’s content formats and gauge his strongest channels, which might look something like:
- Blog - Smart Passive Income (SPI) domain authority of 80
- Social media platforms:
Then, highlight your influencer’s strong-suits.
For Pat, this might be his SPI podcast and blog, which appear to be more popular than, say, his Instagram account.
While a podcast brand mention is something you’d want to include in a Pat Flynn influencer marketing campaign, the partnership might look a bit different with someone like burgeoning micro-influencer Sophia Tian, who’s focusing on her YouTube channel.
For a Sophia Tian influencer marketing campaign, a video mention on her YouTube channel might be a better fit.
In another instance, proposing a guest post might be a solid move if you want to partner with influencers like Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, who is one of the most affluent bloggers.
Know a Snapchat superstar? Leverage different content and messaging formats for their Snapchat channel.
You get the idea.
All this to say, the key reason why it’s useful to separate your influencers into different groups is you can start matching them up with the right messaging and formats.
While this might seem like a bit of extra legwork, it’s one that’s well worth it -- for everyone.
The glaring benefit of customizing your partnership with each influencer is cultivating trust -- trust among your influencer, trust among your influencer’s audience, and trust among your brand.
Sadly, trust is taking a gargantuan toll.
The latest annual Edelman Trust Barometer study reports that there’s not a single institution that’s seen as both competent and ethical.
Needless to say, if you offer every relevant influencer the same templated partnership and they all promote your brand in the same generic way, credibility quickly drains.
The main takeaway here is to personalize your approach to each influencer campaign. Come up with ideas that leverage the influencer’s strongest channels and match them to your own brand offerings.
After brainstorming and customizing, it’s now time for the fun part of connecting with your targeted influencers.
#3. Craft your influencer outreach offer and authentically engage with them
Your next step is to reach out to your targeted list of influencers and micro-influencers.
If you don’t have their email address, start by commenting on their social media platforms, website articles, and recent posts.
Whether it’s posting comments on their YouTube channel, blog articles, or Instagram stories, start with the most recent posts and authentically engage.
The more authentic you are, the better -- especially considering a mighty 86% of consumers claim that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.
And if you’re at a loss for what to say, give kudos to their content and their hard work, which is something influencers crave.
So much so that a bulky 68% of micro-influencers believe that the work they do is not sufficiently recognized, so give them the warm and fuzzies by complimenting their effort.
If you can send an outreach email, use this same tactic of recognizing the influencer’s work in your opening lines.
After buttering them up (ethically), try to show the influencer that you understand how they’re helping their audience, and that your missions align.
Looking for a template to follow?
Try this influencer outreach email template:
Hey [first name],
I’m a super fan of your [content channel].
I want to personally thank you for the work you’re doing.
You’re helping [niche] [solve problem] and it’s amazing to see.
I’m 100% on board with your mission and would LOVE to help support your mission and your audience, too.
Are you interested in partnering up for an influencer campaign?
If you agree that your audience can benefit from [product] - which [benefit] - I’d be thrilled and honored to pay you an influencer’s fee to promote it to your audience on [content channel].
Here’s where you can find all the details about [product] to see if it’s a good fit that feels authentic to you.
So looking forward to your thoughts,
As for subject lines, consider using these ideas and swap in your own relevant details:
- I’m loving the ultimate guide you put out
- Thank you for leading us to our smashing success
- What would we do without you?
- Interested in an influencer partnership?
As you can see, email subject lines can vary across the map, so it’s wise to tailor it to your own personality.
Also, if the social media influencers that you really want to partner with are unfamiliar with your brand and products, you may have to do some extra coercing and offer a giveaway and/or free product for them to trial first.
That way, they can experience your product first-hand and authentically stand behind it in their promotions.
After all, micro-influencers agree that authenticity, quality, and engagement matter -- a lot.
An astounding 99% of micro-influencers say they believe in the products and services that they promote, so the more familiar they are with your products, the better.
In a nutshell:
Reach out to influencers in an authentic way, where you demonstrate your enthusiasm for both their work and the way they’re helping people.
If your targeted influencers agree to partner with you -- congrats. It’s time to officially put your influencer campaign together.
#4. Clearly outline the expectation of your influencer campaign
Once your social media influencers agree to partner up with you, send a follow-up email that outlines the details of your influencer campaign.
This includes everything from how much you’ll pay your influencers to what’s expected of them in their promotional posts and mentions.
For influencer fees, pricing ranges wildly and can land anywhere between $1,000 and $1 million per post, according to an Ignite Visibility article.
That’s not the only range, though.
If you widen the scope to include nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers) and mega-influencers (1+ million followers), the spread starts much lower.
Lower, as in:
- $2-20 per Twitter post
- $5-25 per TikTok post
- $10-100 per Instagram post
- $20-200 per YouTube video
- $25-250 per Facebook post
Creator Matt Crump, for instance, follows a fee guide that pays between $100-500 per post for influencers with 5-10k followers and upwards from there, according to the number of people in the social media influencer’s audience.
Nano-influencer Lisette Melendez (with 3,219 Instagram followers as of this writing) is a shining example of someone who charges on the lower end.
Lisette earned $250 for a social media influencer campaign, where she delivered an Instagram post, blog post, and YouTube video.
This is an absurd celebrity mega-influencer status that doesn't make sense for most (all) entrepreneurial or solopreneurial endeavors.
The point isn’t as much absurdity as it’s:
Each influencer campaign, with its own set of nuances -- like pricing, compensation, and deliverables -- is case-by-case.
To help you negotiate an agreeable influencer partnership, also take into account the size of the influencer’s following, the quality and frequency of their published content, and also their past fees for other similar partnerships.
As for how you’d like them to promote your brand, be very specific. Clearly lay out nitty-gritty details, like:
- Which social media platforms will be used to promote your brand
- The number and frequency of posts expected
- Hashtags to include with each post
- Content expectation, including format, wording, images, video, and branding tips
- 1 Instagram feed post
- 2 sets of 3-5 Instagram story frames
- 1 blog post
In your influencer campaign agreement, outline the details of each deliverable, like in Gabby’s list.
It’s worth pointing out that it’s hugely important to make sure the messaging matches the influencer’s brand more than yours.
The reason being, a majority 63% of consumers trust influencers’ messages about a brand more than a company’s advertising messaging about their own brand.
So if you have to defer, err on the side of the influencer. No one knows how to talk to their audience better.
Here’s to tapping into the influencer’s influence
Influencer marketing is gaining rapid momentum and popularity for a reason: it works.
And it’s not just about getting in front of the largest influencer audience, either. Quality over quantity wins in this game, which opens a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in a real way.
Just follow our four steps:
- #1. Scope the market to find the influencers best suited for your brand and products. Make note of their top-performing platforms.
- #2. Customize how you want to work with each type of influencer and brainstorm ways to personalize each influencer campaign.
- #3. Reach out to your targeted list of influencers and be authentic in how all parties will benefit from the partnership.
- #4. Clearly outline the details of your influencer campaign and partnership, from pay rate to deliverables.
May you connect with all the right influencers and flourish your business.
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