Top businesses today are raving about influencer marketing, and rightly so because the results are out for us to see. 89% of business owners say that the ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to, or even better than other marketing channels!
Influencers have the power to reach and expand your business to so many new prospects. Even with a few micro-influencers, you can get an increased conversion rate and sales for your business.
But, influencers can be your golden goose only if you perfect your influencer outreach. There are many common mistakes that businesses make during their influencer outreach.
Apart from not fetching you the desired results, going wrong with influencer outreach can also set you up for huge losses.
In this article, let’s look at some of the most common mistakes made by businesses when reaching out to influencers. Mending these mistakes will help you scale your influencer marketing and fetch you the maximum ROI.
1. Not Setting Clear Campaign Objectives
The influencer outreach process starts with setting clear campaign objectives. Without the right goals and objectives planned out, your entire outreach process will fail.
This is important because, right from picking the right kind of influencers, setting expectations with them, creating promotional content, to actually implementing the campaign – everything depends on your influencer marketing campaign goals.
Your campaign objectives completely depend on your business goals.
Are you looking to generate more leads? Are you looking for increased brand awareness? Do you want to increase the sales of your products? Or, do you want to launch a new product on the market?
Based on these objectives, you can then determine the number and types of influencers you are looking for.
Another important part of setting campaign goals is to understand the kind of audience that you want to target.
For instance, suppose that you are a B2C company trying to launch a new product, mainly catering to millennials or Gen Z. Then, you should consider looking for YouTube or Instagram influencers. Surveys show that 71% of millennials and 74% of Gen Z use Instagram at least once a week.
The types of content that you want to promote for your influencer marketing campaigns will also depend on your campaign objectives.
2. Starting too Small
This is another common mistake made by most businesses today. That is, reaching out to a couple of influencers and giving up after you don’t get a response.
Remember that just like any other type of outreach, influencer outreach is also a numbers game. You are probably not going to strike deals with the first couple of influencers you reach out to.
Hence, set realistic expectations. You are most probably going to get conversion rates of around 30%. So, plan your outreach accordingly.
Here are a few tips to follow while reaching out to influencers:
- Do your research and pick the influencers who align with your campaign objectives. Make a list of such influencers you would want to reach out to.
- Ensure that your subject lines are catchy and personalized. For example, you can use a subject line like “Hi Anna, your audience will love our products.” This looks personalized and also conveys an obvious benefit for the influencer.
- Try not to use the “standard” influencer templates that you find on the internet. Be authentic and original. Put in some effort and you’ll definitely get better open rates and conversions.
- Stalk the influencers on social media and try to use their language. This will help you to connect with them better.
- Ensure that your emails don’t sound entitled or disrespectful. Try to be polite and nice. Remember that this is a partnership where both sides work together. Do not think as if you are employing the influencers.
- Lastly, proofread your email before sending it out. Check your tone, grammar, and flow of the email.
A great example of a brand who have massively scaled their influencer program is the leading fashion brand, FashionNova. Apart from working with top celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Cardi B, they have also worked with an impressive 3000 to 5000 influencers.
3. Picking Random Influencers for your Outreach
This is the gravest mistake that you can commit, and this will definitely lead you towards a disastrous outcome for your influencer marketing campaigns.
And yes, “random” also covers the scenario where you simply pick influencers in your niche. Just matching influencers with your niche is definitely not enough! There are a lot more factors at play.
Just remember, that the influencer you pick is going to represent your brand. The leads you generate from their campaign are going to be our life long customers. Hence, you should be much more strategic and specific about it.
Creating a list of prototypical influencers can help. You can do that based on the network, the audience size, the engagement the influencers are generating, and their representative advertisers. You can also use influencer marketing platforms for this purpose.
Also, while picking influencers, ensure their values for your business.
For instance, if your brand is an advocate of cruelty-free products, you must ensure that the influencers you pick also believe in promoting cruelty-free products. Otherwise, there will be a huge mismatch in your messaging.
Similarly, ensure that the influencers you pick will be interested in your products. Of course, you cannot be 100% sure about that. But, a little research can go a long way. If the influencer has shown interest in similar products or brands before, then you can have a better shot at it.
It is also important to pick influencers based on your budget. For instance, with a mid-sized budget, you can go with a bunch of micro-influencers and a couple of macro-influencers. Or, you can pick and choose any other types of combination you want.
It is also important to consider the primary platforms used and the major types of content produced by the influencers you pick.
4. Using the Wrong Communication Channels
Using the right communication channel for your influencer outreach is, again, highly important. In most cases, reaching out to influencers through emails is the best possible way.
With emails, you are more likely to get noticed and receive responses. With emails, you can also have a clear trail of conversations and thus, it is the most widely preferred method for influencer outreach.
You can also reach out to influencers through social media platforms, but make sure to use their business accounts and not their personal accounts.
You can start the conversation on social media channels and then request their email address to continue the conversation further through emails.
For example, the Hubspot blogger Aja Frost got 23 responses out of the 30 influencer outreach emails she had sent. She also got great results from her influencer marketing campaign.
Here are a few tips to take care of:
- Use emails as your primary medium to reach out to influencers.
- You can start the conversation on other mediums like Twitter and LinkedIn. But do not pitch your influencer strategy on these channels.
- Try to engage with the influencers on social media by commenting and interacting on their posts. This will help you get more responses to your outreach.
5. Not Personalizing your Messages
Influencers get tons of outreach emails every day. Lots of businesses reach out to them with different partnership opportunities.
And which one do you think they will pick? The ones that personalize their emails, or the ones that send the same copy-pasted template to everyone?
Remember that influencers are also people from the same industry. They can clearly distinguish between a copy-pasted mass email sequence from a personalized attempt at outreach.
Although using first names is important, personalization doesn’t stop at first names. Research the influencers before you reach out to them.
Start your email with a compliment or common interest. A few seconds of research on each influencer will yield great results. Here’s a great example of a personalized outreach email template.
Also, do not send mass emails using CC or BCC threads. These don’t look appealing. Instead, use individual email threads for every influencer.
6. Not Setting Clear Expectations
You don’t have to go into the nitty-gritty of all the campaign details in your first outreach email. But it is good to set some expectations. Sounding very vague may not get you many responses. It will show the influencers that you are not clear on your goals.
Hence, try to mention the things that you are looking to achieve with your influencer campaigns. For instance, you can say that you are looking to increase brand awareness with the help of the influencer.
You can also touch upon the types of content that you want the influencers to promote in their campaigns.
Do you want them to directly sell your products by creating reviews, videos, or social media posts about it? Or will you be creating infographics or videos for them to promote your products? This will help you set some basic expectations right from the start.
A good example would be this influencer outreach template which clearly sets the brand’s expectation from the influencers which are to test and review the product.
7. Not Thinking About the Benefit of the Influencer
This is one of the cringiest mistakes made by brands. A very bad attempt at your influencer outreach would be when you don’t treat the influencers with respect.
Remember the reciprocity principle. To get something valuable, offer something beneficial in return. A healthy two-way relationship goes a long way. Even if the influencer agrees to work with you for no benefits, do you really think they would do a good job at it?
Whatever your pitch is about, make it sound like a wonderful start to a beneficial partnership. Instead of making the whole email about you, try to list down how your offer benefits them.
Also, try not to reach out with unreasonable requests that might sound too overwhelming. Try to draft your outreach messaging while keeping in mind that you are trying to strike a partnership between 2 business-owners.
Just following this one tip will drastically increase your response rates.
8. Missing Call to Action
At the end of the day, what is the goal with your influencer email outreach? The short term goals might be getting more open and responses. The long-term goals might be to convert more influencers and strike deals with the right ones.
A call to action is essential for achieving these goals. Simply sending your pitch might work, but giving a definite set of next-steps can be quite helpful in improving your conversions.
So, do not forget to add a call to action to your outreach message. Your call to action can be as simple as asking for a reply saying “Yes”. Additionally, do not forget to add your contact information in your email body or signature.
Here are a few tips for adding a CTA to your influencer outreach email:
- End your email with a call to action. Ensure that it is prominent and easily readable even if the reader is skimming the email.
- Try to make the CTA as specific as possible. Try not to be vague.
- Remember to include similar CTAs in your follow-up emails too.
9. Giving up on Influencer Marketing After Receiving Negative Backlash
As discussed above, roping in the wrong influencers for your campaigns can land you in big trouble. If the influencer doesn’t align with your brand’s values or has a bad reputation in the community, then you might face a backlash.
This may lead to many negative consequences. You might have to drop one or several influencers. You might even see a drop in your sales and a bad reputation for your brand. But, you shouldn’t give up on influencer marketing altogether.
You can take only so many steps to ensure that the influencers you pick are best suited for your campaigns. If the campaign does not go the way you planned, instead of giving up on it, you must move forward to look for new influencers.
For example, the Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte lost 4 brand deals after his false accusation about being mugged by armed robbers at a gas station. The apparel company Ralph Lauren was one of these sponsors who had to let go of the influencer. But this didn’t stop them from roping in other influencers for their future campaign.
10. Failing to Follow Up
As discussed in the previous points, it is highly likely that you won’t hear back from the influencers after your first outreach email. But, you should follow up your initial outreach email with 2 to 3 more emails.
By sending more follow-up emails, your response rates will increase. In fact, studies show that follow-up emails can triple your response rates.
Lastly, do not shy from following up. If you don’t get a response to the first outreach email, there can be gazillion reasons for it. It is not always about not wanting to work with your brand.
With the number of emails that we get in our inboxes today, it is easy to get lost in the sea of other emails. Or the influencer might have even completely forgotten about your email. Hence, following up is always a good way to increase conversion rates.
You can send anywhere between 2 to 3 follow-ups. Keep your follow up emails short and to the point. In your last follow-up email, you can even try to create a sense of urgency that states something in the lines of reply-now-or-never.
Over to you now
You now know what it takes to build a successful influencer outreach plan. Remember that clarity and research are the two main things to focus on while coming up with your strategy.
You should start with a clear goal in mind about what you want to achieve with your influencer marketing campaigns. Then, pick the right influencers based on the tips given in this article.
Once you have your list of influencers, research about them and reach out with a personalized email. State your objectives, expectations, and the benefits that you can offer the influencers with the help of a partnership.
Remember that you might pick the wrong people sometimes, and face some backlash as a result. But, instead of giving up, you should try to move ahead with your influencer marketing campaigns with other influencers.
So, start your influencer outreach today, and definitely try and avoid these awful mistakes. For a quick recap, here are the ten influencer outreach mistakes that you should try to avoid.
- Not Setting Clear Campaign Objectives
- Starting your Outreach with a Small Number of Influencers
- Picking Random Influencers for your Outreach
- Using the Wrong Communication Channels
- Not Personalizing your Messages
- Not Setting Clear Expectations
- Not Thinking About the Benefit of the Influence
- Missing Call to Action
- Giving up on Influencer Marketing After Receiving Negative Backlash
- Failing to Follow Up
Hiral Rana Dholakiya is a Digital Marketing Consultant with over 10 years of experience. She’s passionate about all things Digital & Social Media and has conducted training programs at institutes like GLS University and L.J. Institute of Media & Communications. Hiral also shares her insights and knowledge with the audience of publications like AdWeek, Entrepreneur Magazine, Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner to name a few. You can follow her on Twitter @IamHiralRana.