Influencer marketing is an effective and popular strategy to help promote products and brands. You can reach large amounts of people quickly and boost your sales.
But with so many influencers to choose from and so many other marketing teams using the same strategy, how can you make your offer stand out? What influencer outreach mistakes should you be avoiding?
In this article I have created a list with the most important influencer outreach mistakes brands do and how to avoid them.
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Establish Clear Campaign Objectives
The first step in any successful campaign is having clear objectives. Identify what the key aims and objectives of your campaign are.
- Is there a particular aspect of your brand that you are hoping to promote?
- Is there a specific product or service that you want to advertise?
- Who is your target audience?
Once you have a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve with your campaign, then you can start to research influencers. It is important to spend some time carefully researching different influencers, before you even start reaching out to them. The type of campaign you want to run and the overall objectives will determine the type of influencer and the platform you should be using.
Different social media influencers have different target audiences, operate on different social networking platforms and have their own brands and styles. Each has its own strengths, but you need to spend some time researching these and identify whether or not the influencers you are interested in actually match your campaign goals.
Reach Out To The Most Relevant Influencer
One of the most common mistakes to make is to get in contact with the wrong type of influencer. It can undermine your entire campaign and even cause it to fail, if you do not choose the correct type of person to help promote your brand or product. This is why research is so vital.
It is essential that you look carefully at the influencer(s) you are thinking of contacting to be involved with your campaign. You need to make sure that they meet the correct criteria, which involves the influencer having the correct type of target audience. Otherwise, you may end up working with someone who has a large number of followers, but who does not help your brand or product because you are simply failing to reach the intended audience for your particular needs.
When deciding which influencer(s) to work with, you need to think carefully about prioritizing the right type of criteria. Invest some time conducting thorough research into each influencer’s account. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the types of brands that they are usually associated with and which types of products they promote. Ensure that you also look carefully at their followers. You need to check that the type of followers that they have match your brand needs and that those followers are in fact your intended target audience. There are multiple social media networking platforms to choose from. It’s also important that you work with an influencer who is working within the most relevant platform to your campaign.
Although high numbers of followers are desirable, in that they allow you to communicate or promote your product or services to a large amount of people at once, they should not be the priority when choosing which influencer to work with. You should always aim to prioritize the influencer’s relevance over their number of followers. It can be much more successful for you to work with an influencer who has fewer followers, but whose niche is more similar and in-keeping with your brand. Despite having fewer followers, those audiences will be far more likely to be engaged and interact with your campaign.
There are some online services which offer some research tools or outreach services and these can be very helpful. Ideally, you want to work with someone whose brand is in line with yours. The key is to look into the data which shows the kind of actions that the influencer’s followers took once they had been exposed to particular content. At the end of the day, the entire purpose of working with an influencer is to boost your sales. So, try to find an influencer who works within your niche market and who has a proven track record for improving sales for other brands.
Reach Out On The Most Relevant Channel
Once you have identified the key influencer(s) that you want to work with, you then need to contact them. Again, this is an area where many people make mistakes. Despite being social media influencers and despite the popularity of social media itself, this is often not the best way to try to make contact. Influencers get a lot of communication every day, most of which they simply ignore or delete. You want to make sure that you are contacting them on the most relevant channel to increase your chances of actually being noticed.
Contrary to popular belief, email continues to be one of the most effective outreach platforms. It will be much easier for you to be noticed this way. Moreover, email communication also enables for easier and more accurate records of your conversation to be maintained.
There may be times, however, when you have no alternative but to make initial contact via social media. The first influencer outreach mistake to avoid is contacting the influencer on the wrong account. Make sure that you contact them on the account that they use for business purposes. Rather than sending them a full pitch via DM, send an initial short introductory ‘pre-pitch’ DM and make sure that you ask them if there is a different platform, such as email, where they would prefer to receive the full pitch. Make sure that you send them the full pitch via their preferred method.
Send A Concise Pitch
When it comes to making the full pitch to an influencer, it’s important to keep it short and to the point. Influencers are usually busy people and if your pitch is too long or overly complicated, they are unlikely to respond. The first step, especially if you are using email to make contact, is to make sure that your subject line is relevant and captivating. This should make the influencer want to open the email and find out more, rather than instantly delete it.
Keep the pitch short, concise and ensure that you make your point as clearly and simply as you can. You need to provide the influencer with the key, relevant information about the campaign, your brand and your product/service. You also need to be clear about what the expectations are, both for the influencer and your company or brand. Finally, make sure that you provide cues, so that the influencer knows what steps or actions they need to take next. Your pitch should be engaging and appealing, but you should maintain a professional tone nonetheless.
Personalize Each Pitch
The biggest mistake you can make when sending the actual pitch to an influencer is to send them a clearly generalized, standard pitch. You can create a generalized pitch template to begin with, but it is crucial to personalize it and adjust it accordingly before sending it out to any influencers.
Inevitably, this means that they are used to seeing generalized pitches. If you want to make your pitch stand out from the many others they may have already received that day, then make sure that you personalize it. Firstly, address them by their name! Explain why you have decided to get in touch with them. What is it about their image or brand that appeals to you and your campaign? It also helps if you can give specific examples of prior work they’ve done which you have been particularly drawn to. This shows that you have done some research and thought carefully about how the collaboration will be beneficial to both of you.
Another mistake to avoid to send out mass emails or pitches. Try to only send your pitch to one influencer at a time. If they reject your proposal, then move on to the next influencer on your list. Remember to tailor each pitch before you send it to help improve your chances of being successful.
Be Clear About The Benefits To The Influencer
Influencers are well aware of the boost their promotion can give to a brand or product. They are also busy people. Promoting your brand, product or service is not something which they will be likely to do for free. After all, it requires time and effort on their part and it is expected that you compensate them for this in some meaningful form.
Part of your pitch should clearly state what the benefits for the influencer marketing would be, if they were to become involved in your campaign. You may choose to pay them a flat fee for their involvement or you may offer them the product or service to try out for themselves for free. If you are promoting a product (for example, a new item of clothing or jewelry), you might give the influencer the item for free to keep, in exchange for their involvement.
You also need to ensure that you word the offer appropriately. You don’t want your proposal to sound like a favor, rather than an opportunity. Be clear that this is an exchange and try to emphasize the benefits to the influencer to being involved in this opportunity. Be specific about what you would require them to do and how they would be recompensed for their time and effort, explaining what you will do for them in return.
Once you have made initial contact and sent your pitch to the influencer of your choice, you should follow up with a second email within a few days. You should allow enough time and space for the influencer to read your email and to consider the opportunity. However, sending a follow up email about 3 to 5 days later will also emphasize that you are serious about the opportunity, as well as give them a gentle reminder to respond to you. You can send a third follow up email about a week later, if there’s been no communication in the meantime.
React Professionally To Rejection
If an influencer hasn’t responded following your follow-up emails, then it’s likely that they don’t want to be involved with the campaign. You can move on to pitching your offer to another influencer. Alternatively, the influencer may get in touch to reject your offer. In both cases, remember to react professionally and not to take their rejection personally.
It can be useful to ask for feedback about why they don’t want to be involved. It may be that it’s poor timing or that they don’t feel the product/brand is suitable for their followers. However, it is information which can be valuable in helping you to improve your pitch when you approach another influencer.
Even if they choose not to be involved, you have successfully made initial contact with them. This can provide you with the opportunity to build on that relationship for future campaigns or approach them again in the future with alternative offers, providing you react professionally to their rejection.
If you want your pitch to stand out to an influencer, then make sure that you have clear aims for your campaign and that you approach an influencer whose brand and followers match your objectives.
Spend some time conducting thorough research into the influencer you want to work with and explore their past projects and campaigns they have been involved with. Keep pitches professional, concise and personalized. Clearly outline what is expected and what the influencer will get in exchange for working with you. Create an engaging and persuasive pitch, in order to create an opportunity they will want to seize.