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Influencer outreach. How to begin, and how to increase conversion rates. The ultimate guide for Instagram

Influencer outreach is a core element of influencer marketing.

Clearly, you cannot deal with influencers if you do not know how to ask an influencer to promote your product or brand. So, we decided to assemble everything you need to start and, subsequently, to improve results. 

In this guide, we will discuss the following:

What is influencer outreach?

Influencer outreach is a process of building relationships with influencers. Technically, it involves sending emails or messages in social media to connect with the right influencer or creator.

To take a typical example, I might be a marketer for a shoe brand, and I might want influencers to promote my brand. Therefore, I need to write to them and ask if they are open to this kind of activity.

This may sound deceptively easy.

There are even influencer marketplaces, where you can find influencers ready to collaborate. So, what are the problems? Let’s make a list.

The most common problems with influencer outreach for beginners:

  1. Marketing strategy — your goals and objectives, the type and level of influencer you need, what they should promote, and how.
  2. Influencers — how to find them, how to check for fake followers, how to see their audience interests.
  3. Emails — how to establish contact with the influencer, how to create messages this influencer wants to open, what Influencer outreach template you should use, how to obtain an answer, and how to convince the influencer to cooperate.
  4. Analysis — how to see if you are doing well.

Let’s answer each of these questions.

Step 1. Influencer outreach strategy

In brief, Influencer outreach strategy comprises methods and algorithms you may use to build relationships with influencers. You should develop this strategy according to your strategic marketing goals:

  • Brand awareness
  • Engagement
  • Leads
  • Conversions
  • Followers

In fact, influencer outreach is an essential action plan, as follows:

  1. Find influencers
  2. Find their contact details
  3. Choose a compelling offer
  4. Create messages
  5. Send them
  6. Analyze the results

Examples of Influencer outreach strategies:

  • Contact local beauty micro-influencers for potential barter collaborations
  • Ask fashion specialists to answer two questions for your article (to initiate relationships)
  • Create a new product in collaboration with a celebrity
  • Pay influencers for ‘unpacking’ your new product
  • Make a whitepaper, or conduct an interview with a marketing guru
  • Ask an influencer to conduct a survey around your products.
  • Etcetera

This is the foundation stage. After all, before you actually start acting, you’ve got to have a very clear idea of why you want to start a marketing campaign. This means that you have to know:

  • Which influencers you want to partner with (their niche, follower count, audience quality, location, style, values, etc.)
  • Your marketing campaign goals (improving Reach, attracting new followers, driving sales, raising brand awareness, and/or others)
  • Partnership terms and conditions

Apart from that, analyze your target audience and your content. Find an influencer whose audience is quite similar to yours. Roughly speaking, if you represent a travel company, you would find a lot in common with a travel blogger and much less with someone who is all about fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

Step 2. Find influencers and their contact details for outreach

In this step, we need to obtain a list of influencers (and their contact details) for outreach:

  1. Search by hashtags (e.g., #fashionboston)
  2. Search among our own followers
  3. Search among the followers of competitors
  4. Use Facebook or Instagram pages and groups
  5. Use special tools, such as influencer-marketing platforms or marketplaces

If you need to search for dozens of Instagram influencers, the most common method is the final one. You can select filters, as required, and obtain a result. We will discuss how to find influencers’ contact details in the Tools section.

The problem with marketplaces is that they do not contain every influencer, but only those people who wish to sell promotions. Popular influencers and celebrities do not need marketplaces. They will work with agencies or with their own managers.

Marketing tips:

  1. Check influencer interests and habits. А vegan influencer, for instance, cannot promote leather shoes. You need to check his/her content.
  2. Micro-influencers and local influencers could have greater reach and influence. Try to work with them.
  3. Check previous sponsored posts.
  4. Do not concentrate only on influencers in your niche. If you’re selling shoes, this doesn’t mean that you exclusively need fashion influencers. You could create offers for lifestyle influencers, ‘Instamoms’, sports enthusiasts, food bloggers, etc.
  5. Think about ambassadors, or about varied integrations.

Step 3. ‘Build fitting’ a proposal for an outreach campaign

One of the most common problems is deciding what proposal you should choose for outreach.

What you can offer:

  • Sponsored integration
  • Product or content collaboration
  • Guest posting
  • Cross-posting
  • Giveaways
  • Ambassadorship
  • Free products
  • Public feedback or unpacking of your product

If you buy direct advertising for a particular product, you should not expect any significant follower growth.

Sales are more effective, however, if you generate sufficient brand awareness. If customers do not know about your products, they are influenced only by the size of discounts. So, your first goal in influencer marketing should be to reach out. In this case, you should cooperate with the influencer and try to create viral content with product integration. Alternatively, you should at least aim for unpacking.

Payment opportunities:

  • Direct fee – how much the influencer charges for sponsored posts
  • Barter – goods or services provided to influencers
  • Benefits for followers

Direct fee is the most common method, but in some cases, this is unsuitable.

Normally, you prepare a briefing sheet that contains information on the kind of content you want from them, how exactly they should mention your brand, content format and the number of publications, requirements for visual content, etc.

There’s a couple of things worth taking into consideration:

  • In case you plan to partner with multiple influencers, try not to generate a single cookie-cutter brief for all of them. If they all work within similar niches, it’s likely they have many followers in common. To those followers, your generic content might look like pushy ads.
  • Don’t make your visual and written content requirements too strict. They most likely have their own style of communicating with their audience. So it would be much better if you give them the freedom of making it look and feel more natural.

Step 4. Influencer outreach email templates

This blog link provides information about Instagram influencer email templates. In this guide, meanwhile, we will discuss the main principles, with examples.

Experienced Influencers with an active audience get (at the very least) dozens of offers every day. So you’ll have to be patient enough and creative enough if you want to hear back from them. Here are some things you’d want to include:

  1. A proper greeting. They are just human beings, like you and me. Don’t be too formal but definitely be respectful. Use their name.
  2. An attention grabber. Compliment them, make them smile, say something thought-provoking. Anything to make them single your message out.
  3. Describe your brand and your product(s). Be concise about it. What your brand does, what kind of products you offer, their advantages.
  4. The actual offer. How do you see it work, what you expect, how it might benefit them. Or it can be meeting request email template.
  5. Contacts. It would be much better if they could contact you via their preferred communication channel next time you talk.

First, we can write a very short personal message, with a fairly simple request.

If there is something in the influencer’s bio on the lines of, ‘Let’s Collab💌: [email protected]’ or ‘Dm/Email for Inquires📩’, we can write as follows:

influencer outreach email template

As noted above, different offers are available, so this is simply an example of how to ask a marketing guru for his or her opinion on a given article.

Email pitch for influencers

This addresses content collaboration, and it shows one of the options for developing relationships.

Your first offer should be about building relationships. If the influencer is waiting for business inquiries, send one. If not, you should introduce yourself briefly and propose something simple. In fact, you could create several templates, using these according to the situation.

Your Influencer outreach email template should be:

  • Brief. Nobody likes to read long texts while trying to work out what the purpose of your message is.
  • Personalized. Try to add some information about the recipient.
  • Focused on a simple request. You need to write what you want from the influencer at that moment. In our examples, we asked if it was acceptable to send questions, asked for costs, and gave a simple choice.

Follow up

A follow-up message is one that you send if there is no reply to the first. It’s common practice. See our follow-up example in the article about influencer collaboration template.

Why do follow-up letters work? Essentially, because an influencer can simply miss, or postpone attending to, your message. For example, in Gmail, emails of the same topic are grouped together, so your new message places the old one at the top.

Are follow-up letters annoying? Sometimes. It depends on the offer. But in the busy modern world, you can’t be sure if your email has been ignored or simply missed. For the present writer, one business message per three days is acceptable.

In terms of influencer outreach, you need follow-ups to increase your response rate.

One final point. You could use other channels for your follow-ups. For example, if you sent a message and there was no answer, you could send a new message via Instagram or LinkedIn.

Step 5. Influencer outreach tools

In fact, you can usually do what you need to do without special tools.

  • Go to Instagram
  • Check if there is an email address in the profile
  • Copy this email to Excel or an email client (e.g., Gmail)
  • Write your message
  • Add a link with UTM-tags (or another method) to track the clicks
  • Send the message
  • Repeat one hundred times

Nonetheless, Influencer outreach tools help you to automate these tasks. They are especially useful for:

  1. Finding influencers’ contact details
  2. Sending bulk emails

For example, in trendHERO, you don’t need to find the contact details of Instagram influencers. Simply choose the accounts you want to write to. In fact, you can send dozens of proposals in five minutes or less. Five minutes, or a full day of tedious work? Which would you choose?

There are two popular solutions in terms of Influencer outreach software:

  • Tools for outreach (platforms for ‘cold emails’)
    • EmailHunter
    • HubSpot Sales Pro
    • Ninja Outreach
    • Pitchbox
    • Rapportive
  • Specific Influencer outreach tools (usually integrated within influencer-marketing platforms)
    • trendHERO
    • Heepsy
    • GRIN

Let’s see how things work in trendHERO.

  1. Find influencers. Use one of the search methods available. For example, search by filters (category, location, ER, number of followers):
    Find influencers for outreach
    Incidentally, you can also use trendHERO to find and export emails of Instagram influencers.
  2. Add to list. Here, we have acquired 370 results and added the most interesting to the list, ‘Beauty micro LA’.
    list of influencers
  3. Create an offer.
    influencer campaign proposal
  4. Choose influencers. We’ve created an offer and clicked on the ‘Send’ button. Now, we can choose from the list or type a username.
    choose influencers for campaign
    The tool automatically shows influencers with email accessibility. So, you needn’t look for contact details yourself.
  5. Send. Now, click ‘Send’, and these influencers receive a message. Influencer outreach emails will be generated automatically. You now wait to receive answers. There may be a reply or a rejection, but you’ll receive statistics as follows:
    influencer outreach statistics

Try this in trendHERO

To summarize, you can use Influencer outreach services to automate both the collection of prospects’ email data and subsequent message sending.

Step 6. Influencer outreach metrics

There are special metrics involved in this context, as follows:

  • Number of influencers
  • Number of sent messages
  • ‘Open’ rate
  • Response rate
  • Successful collaboration rate

An email open rate (OR) is a metric that shows the percentage of opened emails for a specific Influencer outreach campaign. OR formula: OR = (Sent letters / Delivered letters)*100%

OR typically shows email subject relevance, attractiveness to the audience, and/or brand awareness.

A response rate (RR) is a metric that shows the percentage of replies  for a specific Influencer outreach campaign. RR formula: RR = (Replies / Delivered letters)*100%. You could also select a Response-to-Open Rate.

A response rate typically reflects:

  • Attractiveness of offers
  • Relevance of offers
  • Call-to-action effectiveness

Many articles recommend changing the subject line first to improve performance. In fact, if you want to receive more replies, you should begin by upgrading your proposal.

For example, you see that an influencer is waiting for business inquiries. You could therefore ask for the cost of integration and available time slots. These are simple questions that an influencer or manager can easily answer. In one of our templates, we asked respondents to answer two questions for this article. This is a simple CTA that an opinion leader can accommodate quickly.

Tips for effective influencer outreach

  1. Make sure you know your target audience and what kind of people they trust. Connect with the influencers you think they will trust the most.
  2. Choose authentic, quality influencers, not just people who like to call themselves that. Don’t just mindlessly chase after the stars with huge followings. It’s quite likely these people won’t be genuinely interested in your product. And this means their followers won’t be interested in them either.
  3. Remember that establishing informal, trusting communication with IG influencers is important. If you establish a warm, genuine relationship, this attitude will affect the way they promote your brand.
  4. Constantly track and monitor their activity, either manually or using online services.
  5. Always be honest.
  6. Don’t set too many great expectations on influencer partnerships. Make sure that the success of these cooperations depends as much on you as it does on them.

Conclusion: What is an Influencer outreach campaign?

An Influencer outreach campaign is a part of a wider influencer-marketing campaign, and it deals with building relationships with influencers. It includes:

  1. Finding prospects (and their contact details)
  2. Creating an offer (proposal)
  3. Sending emails
  4. Checking the statistics
  5. Negotiating to start cooperation

The first goal of these campaigns is to build relationships (to commence cooperation with influencers and opinion leaders).

The second goal is to build lasting relationships. So, in future, you will have an established list of vetted influencers whom you have collaborated with and can work with again.

That’s all. Thank you for your attention, and I wish you effective influencer-marketing campaigns.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write to me via LinkedIn or Facebook.

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