Influencer marketing toes the line between celebrity endorsement and trusted recommendation from someone you admire.
Done well, it’s a win-win-win scenario. The business gains credibility and access to a wider audience, while the influencer gets free swag and exposure to new followers (or whatever perks they negotiate).
As for the influencer’s audience? They’re kept in the loop about the latest and greatest trends in an industry they want to know more about.
For a business wanting to break into influencer marketing, the trick is connecting with the right influencers – those whose values align with your brand.
Looking to tap into the power of influencer marketing for your business? It all starts with a targeted outreach campaign.
So, let’s walk through the steps you should take to mount an effective, scalable influencer outreach strategy from scratch.
Where to find influencers for your brand
One of the first steps in any outreach strategy is to identify your targets.
Influencers come in various shapes and sizes, from Snapchat stars who get millions of impressions per story, to writers with bylines in top publications. An effective influencer for your marketing strategy might be an industry expert, or a vocal consumer who’s passionate about your niche.
So, where should you begin your search? How can you tell which influencers resonate most strongly with your audience?
Here are a few tactics you can use to find and connect with the most prominent voices in your industry.
1. Take advantage of social listening tools
Since you’re reading the Mention blog, you’re already on the right track. But just in case you aren’t aware, social media monitoring tools like Mention parse web content for keywords, so you can quickly discover who’s talking about you.
Not only does this make it easy to key-in on relevant influencers, but you can also sift through conversations to see what people say about your brand, product, or industry. This added context will come in handy when you want to write personalized outreach emails to influencers.
2. Master Google’s advanced search queries
Are you well-versed in the art of Google-fu? If not, it’s time to brush up on your skills.
Adding certain parameters to your query can help you cut through the noise in search results to find exactly what (or who) you’re looking for, faster.
For example, you can use advanced search queries to quickly locate influencers who contribute to a relevant publication.
1. First, identify several top publications in your industry – the ones that your customers read and trust. You can use social media to see which blogs your customers and competitors are following or simply search Google for [your industry or product] + “blog”.
2. Once you find a blog or two that match your niche perfectly, you can use the “related:” operator to find similar websites. Searching for related:[website URL] saves you the trouble of manually digging around for all of the top sites in your industry.
3. For each site you want to target, click on a writer’s name to find the exact URL structure of their author pages.
For example, Propeller’s blog uses this structure:
4. Then search Google using the “site:” operator to find every page on the website that begins with this URL. This will show you every contributor published on the site.
Now you have a list of all the authors who contribute to the website – AKA a goldmine of influencers who write authoritative content about your industry.
3. Stalk social media for leads
When it comes to finding relevant influencers on social media, there are two approaches you can take. The first is to locate any influencers already discussing your brand or product. The second is to connect with influencers in your niche who you want to talk about your brand.
Both types of influencers can become powerful advocates for your business, but only if you know where to find them.
Here are a few ways to find quality influencers on social media:
- Peruse your own list of followers for highly engaged fans and customers
- Check out your competitor’s followers (and who they’re following back)
- Look for anyone who is being discussed by top brands and trusted publications
- Search for hashtags related to your niche, business, or product type
Keep your eye out for active users with a larger-than-average following who share quality content relevant to your business and engage with their audience.
Building a list of relevant, high-value contacts
When choosing an influencer to work with your business, consider whether their persona aligns with your brand values.
Ask yourself, why do you want to be associated with this person? Do you think they would make a good spokesperson for your business? If so, are you willing to bet your brand on it?
Where to find influencer email addresses
Influencers who want to be contacted about partnerships will make their email address readily available online.
Start by checking the obvious places, like the “Contact” section of their LinkedIn profile, their Twitter or Instagram bio, and the about page of their website. If you’re lucky, your search might even surface a mutual contact who can offer you a warm introduction.
Another option is to turn back to Google for guidance. A quick search using any of these formulas someone’s email can sometimes dig up results you wouldn’t otherwise find:
- [first name] + [last name] + email
- [first name] + [last name] + @[domain]
- [first name] + [last name] + @[domain] + email
If you still can’t find their email address, you can try a data-scraping tool like Hunter. But keep in mind that influencers don’t actively hide their contact information if they’re open to partnerships.
Another thing to remember is that building an effective outreach strategy requires more than just collecting emails.
You should record each influencer’s full name and social media account details alongside their contact information. I’d also recommend saving their professional title or company name, their platform of choice, and the size of their audience (if it’s visible).
As your collection of contact information grows, you’ll want to keep it organized and store it somewhere safe – even if it’s just a simple spreadsheet.
Make sure you create separate columns for each for the following bits of data:
- First name
- Last name
- Email address
- Link to their social media account, publication, website, or portfolio
- Title or role (if you’re approaching someone who’s part of a larger organization)
- Number of followers or potential reach
When it’s ready, export your list to a CRM platform so you can keep track of all your contacts and create your campaign.
A robust CRM makes the entire outreach process simpler. For example, Propeller CRM allows you to tag your contacts so their information is more organized and accessible.
These tags allow you to select contacts for a specific campaign based on custom criteria, like which platform the contact is most active on or how big their audience is. This means you target visual influencers with over 50,000 Instagram followers, for example, or send a brief message with a discount code to thank influencers for trying your product.
Follow these 5 steps to create a winning campaign
Now that your contacts are in your CRM, it’s time to introduce yourself and your brand. This requires a well-crafted email campaign that stands out your target’s inbox, convinces them to open your message, and elicits a positive reaction.
1. Define a clear goal
This might seem obvious, but before you reach out to anyone, it’s important figure out why you’re contacting them. You might be looking to reach a wider audience on a specific platform, to promote a new product or service, or to increase your brand’s credibility.
The more confidently you can answer What am I hoping to get from this partnership? and Why is this influencer a good match for my brand? the better luck you’ll have convincing your target to get on board.
2. Write your outreach sequence
Once you know what you want to say, write a focused outreach sequence. Craft a friendly subject line, keep each email short and sweet, and plan a series of outreach messages.
To make the process as efficient as possible, create email templates that you can re-use and tweak as necessary. Track the effectiveness of each one so can find out what works and what doesn’t.
Even though you’re using a template, personalize each message as much as possible. Address the target by name and consider designing templates based on the type of content the influencer produces.
If possible, mention something interesting you read or watched during the creation of your list. Compliment one of their recent blog posts, YouTube videos, Snapchat stories, or even a tweet that struck a chord with you.
3. Run the campaign using a CRM tool
The more successful your outreach, the more complicated it will be to keep track of all the responses. This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) tool really comes in handy.
With Propeller, you can manage every aspect of your campaign from within Gmail. Not only can you see which messages have been clicked, read, and replied to, but you can also pause campaigns automatically so you don’t spam influencers who get back to you.
No matter how many conversations you have on the go, a good CRM system makes it easy to upload, organize, and track contact information.
4. Schedule follow-up emails
Influencers are busy – especially if they’re good at what they do. Unfortunately, this makes it likely that your first email will get lost or ignored.
To ensure get the most out of your outreach efforts, plan a series of friendly follow-up messages in advance. Set reminders to follow-up manually or use your CRM to do so automatically.
With Propeller CRM, you can schedule a sequence of follow-up emails to be sent if you don’t hear back within a certain number of days.
How often should you send follow-up emails? Ideally every 3-7 days. You want to let your contact breathe without completely dropping off their radar.
5. Track, measure, and optimize your results
Once you’ve developed your first outreach campaign, track and measure the results so you can perfect your approach for next time.
Of course, using a CRM makes it easier to track overall campaign performance and helps compare results from A/B testing for various elements of your email.
You’ll want to track essential metrics like:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate (if you include a link to your site or an article about your brand)
- Response rate
- Bounce rate
- Deleted or flagged emails
Experiment with different messages, subject lines, cadence, and timing to discover what gets a positive response. Then, apply this knowledge to refining the campaign so you can create the most effective outreach sequence possible.
Have you tapped into the power of influencer marketing yet?
Creating a scalable outreach strategy is the first step to developing relationships with the powerful voices that can elevate your brand and introduce your products to new customers.
Try it for yourself! These steps will help you can cultivate a network of influencers.
1. Find the right influencers: Use social listening tools, Google advanced search queries, and old-fashioned social media stalking to identify top influencers.
2. Build a solid list of contacts: Search for your target’s contact information and details about their work as an influencer, including the size of their following.
3. Use a CRM to stay organized: Upload your contacts into a CRM platform to track your conversations and contact information.
4. Write a meaningful email campaign: Create a sequence of emails to introduce your brand and build a relationship.
5. Schedule follow-up messages: Expect to follow-up multiple times before you hear back from anyone, so take advantage of a CRM to automate this process.
6. Measure your results: Track and analyze email metrics so you can refine your strategy for future outreach campaigns.
Do you have successful outreach strategy of your own? If you have any tips for connecting with influencers in your niche, share in the comments below!