As entrepreneurs, I think that getting your awesome product or service in front of the eyes of the right people is one of the most challenging, yet important, things you can do for your business because it’s so directly tied into your profit. So, what if I told you that 92% of people trust their peers or trusted sources to make product recommendations and that 72% of people rely on social media to make purchasing decisions (source)? It’s pretty clear that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective. A recent survey by Think With Google further solidifies this point by showing that 60% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a YouTuber than a mainstream celebrity. All of this sounds pretty, incredibly awesome – you connect with a couple of influencers in your field, have them put up a review, and you’re flooded with sales from their community – but it’s not that simple.
Step #1: Finding Influencers
Chances are, you probably have a couple of top influencers that would be your absolute dream to have feature your product, which is a great place to start. If you don’t, then I would suggest really looking at your brand and thinking of the key attributes that you want this influencer to have before you even start looking for influencers – think about the type of voice you’d like them to have, the other brands they might work with, and the attributes that they may have. This will help ensure that every single influencer you connect with truly means something to you, and that you’re not just sending out the same e-mail to any and every one hoping they’ll put up a review for you.
Once you have identified those couple of dream influencers, take a look at who they’re following on social media, whose articles they’re sharing, and other brands they’re working with, as this can help you to identify more influencers. Other methods that work include:
- BuzzSumo (Try the free trial!)
- Working with blogger networks in your niche
- Pinterest searches
- Looking at new and upcoming book releases in your niche – Amazon is great for this!
- Using searches and hashtags on Twitter and Instagram
- Joining relevant Facebook groups
I keep track of potential influencers in Google Docs, because it’s so easy to search through.
#2: Warming Up the Connection
I know that whenever I find a new influencer I’m super excited about, I usually want to e-mail them right off the bat. But, sending “cold” e-mails is really ineffective. I start off by ensuring that I’m following that influencer on all my active social media channels, so that they come up in my feed and I’m able to comment on posts that I genuinely have an interest in. Another thing that I like to do is to share posts that I love on my social media, making sure to tag them. While this method is more time consuming than just sending out an e-mail, I really believe that it is so, so worth it. Here are the benefits:
- Sharing awesome content with your followers on social media accounts
- Staying up-to-date on what is trending in your niche
- Getting to know your influencer so you can craft a killer, personalized pitch e-mail
- Helping the influencer to recognize your brand so they’re more likely to open that e-mail you send
- Introducing your brand to the influencer’s followers as they see your comments on Instagram or your tweet sharing an article retweeted
#3: Creating the Perfect Personalized Pitch
Reaching out to an influencer is something that is nerve-wracking and exciting all at once! Because you’ve ideally got a list of awesome influencers, I think doing the pitch can easily turn into an automated process where you’re simply trying to get out as many e-mails as possible in an attempt to play the number game. For this reason, I really try to limit the number of pitches that I send out at once. One of the most important things that I try to focus on is the voice that I write in – if you have a fun brand, you’re likely reaching out to an equally fun influencer, so you can totally let your personality shine through while still keeping things professional. Remember that you’ve gotten to “know” this person through their social media accounts and website, so you can write to them how you would speak to them.
Something else that is really important is the subject line. Remember, influencers get tons and tons of pitches and e-mails every day, so you want your subject line to help them get curious about what you have to say and click on that e-mail. Think about what makes your company unique or how you’d love to collaborate. Because my company Caring Crate is the first subscription box for mental health & chronic illness, this is something I love to mention.
In the first paragraph, I really like to focus on creating that personal connection with the influencer. After addressing them by name, I’ll mention what attracted me to their brand and how I found out about them, and what I think they’re doing that is really unique. Use specific examples if possible to show that you’re truly invested in whatever it is that they’re doing (because you are!) and aren’t just taking a quick look at their bio and complimenting them just to try and interest them in your product. If you’ve connected on social media and exchanged a few messages back and forth, mention that too because it really helps to foster that connection. If you have a mutual contact, this is a great time to bring it up as well because it helps establish you as part of a great network within your niche.
Throughout the rest of your pitch, introduce your brand in a way that will appeal to the influencer, and then discuss possible ideas for collaboration and why you’re reaching out in a genuine, personable way. Remember that the overall goal is to try and make a connection and establish a supportive network for you and your brand, not to just expose your brand to as many people as possible.
Influencer marketing is powerful and effective, but it’s not a quick fix. It takes time to build a relationship, whether it’s with an influencer or your customers. But making these connections and working towards them really helps you to learn a lot about your niche and who is attracted to your brand, which is some pretty powerful information. Above all, keep in mind that there is an amazing person behind that social media account or e-mail. Once you establish that personal connection and really mesh together, you’ll develop a mutually supportive relationship that is what I consider to be priceless.