The word “influencer” is pretty self-explanatory: It’s someone who can or has influence on others. These individuals range from celebrities and athletes to professors and group leaders to retail sales associates and hobbyists.
Thanks to platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Patreon, more “average,” everyday people are gaining greater visibility and turning into influencers. Because of this visibility, brands often partner with influencers who, in turn, recommend a brand’s products to their audience. These partnerships are often collaborative with companies and influencers co-creating marketing campaigns to make a significant revenue impact.
If you’re thinking about contacting an influencer, it’s important to make a good first impression. Here are five recommendations for sending impactful cold emails.
1. See if the person has representation
Worried about your cold emails going ignored? Don’t be. Everyone has a lot going on these days.
Influencers typically receive a high volume of emails, making it near impossible to respond to all of them. Therefore, it makes economic sense for these social media stars to work with an agent, which could be an influencer platform( such as Cameo, ExpertVoice, and Izea), service, publisher, or media relations representative.
Keep in mind that there are many more platforms beyond this list. A simple Google search can help you find interesting people to work with, and you can also browse Twitter based on keywords or popular hashtags.
If you’re reaching out to a particular influencer, research their preferred contact method, and check if they have a contact page or offer hourly appointments. Don’t assume that someone’s inbox or social media profile is the best way to reach out.
Once you find the right contact, you’re ready to tailor your cold email with a message that is meaningful and impactful. Be sure to read up on any contact or message requirements ahead of time, as it shows you’re paying attention to the other person’s needs.
2. Research the person before reaching out
If you’re considering reaching out to an influencer, it’s important to understand what that individual cares about and will help you write a more personalized and effective cold email.
What values does the person present, and how do they communicate their message? For instance, if you do a quick search for yoga influencer Dianne Bondy you’ll see she’s published a book, Yoga Poses for Every Body. Armed with this knowledge, you can better identify pathways for potential collaboration.
Here’s an example cold email someone might send to Bondy:
I’m grateful for all of your body positivity messages. Your book does a really great job making yoga accessible to a range of physiques, and I value your work.
Would you be open to a collaboration opportunity? I run an online community that hosts workshops focused on body positivity and think that you would be a great fit as an instructor.
3. Reach out with a specific idea
After making contact, move the conversation forward by sharing a specific suggestion. Brainstorming can be super collaborative, and a good idea can help you get to a “yes” quicker especially if you involve another person.
Make it clear that you’re open to the influencer’s recommendations and ideas; and it’s more than likely that your idea or suggestion will go through some degree of iteration before it’s ready to launch. And don’t just impose an idea on an influencer — it’s always important to ask for feedback.
For example, the shoe company GREATS had an idea to collaborate with athlete Marshawn Lynch on a special edition sneaker. Cold emails to PR representatives of athletes like Lynch could look something like:
Hi Team Marshawn,
I’m the co-founder of a shoe company (GREATS) that’s focused on creating superior products that people love. Would you be open to collaborate and design a shoe together? We sent a pair of shoes to your team for Marshawn to check out. Would love to hear from you.
You could also consider sending him a direct message (DM) on Twitter, as he likely has representatives monitoring the account. But don’t be alarmed if you don’t receive a response. Be patient and persistent.
4. Focus on YouTube and Instagram
Instagram and YouTube are the top two platforms Gen Z and millennial social media platforms use to follow influencers, according to eMarketer and Insider Intelligence.
There are a lot of interesting people from all over the world on Instagram and you should spend some time exploring by using the hashtag feature. If someone with a large following seems like a strong partnership candidate, send a direct message.
On YouTube, search for popular videos based on keywords and interest. Sort search results by video view counts, and see who is producing them. Does the person sell products or maintain a comprehensive brand?
During your research, pay close attention to who is producing high-quality videos, as well as releasing content on a regular basis.
Plus, it’s important to work with people who are serious about their personal brand. For example, consider the YouTube cooking show “You Suck at Cooking.”
You can tell that the show’s [unamed] creator cares a lot about the integrity of his brand by the content he releases, and he frequently teams up with HelloFresh for sponsored posts about the food delivery service.
An example cold outreach email could be:
To the You Suck at Cooking team,
Thank you for helping countless people make the most of their microwaves with easy recipes. So many people are eating better because of your hilarious videos. (I especially loved your calzones.)
I’m a manager at a sustainable Cooking Appliance Company and think your audience might value learning about our keto Calzone kit. Imagine healthy, family-friendly deliciousness that bakes in a microwave.
5. Build authentic, long-term bonds
Business Insider recently conducted research into the $15B brand influencer economy, and a few key insights emerged from the company’s analysis:
- Brands should build a strong and vibrant network of influencers.
- It’s valuable to pursue long-term, consistent relationships with influencers.
- Brand fit — meaning alignment between your product and the influencer’s community — is important for building and strengthening bonds.
Here’s a cold email sample that demonstrates your brand’s intent for a lasting relationship, similar to the collaboration between HelloFresh and You Suck at Cooking:
The free cooking lessons you’re publishing on social media are so valuable.
I was wondering if you might be open to collaborating with other brands?
We are a healthy meal delivery service looking to build long-term collaborations with creators like you. Our mission is to help people discover the joy of healthy eating. It seems like we are in alignment here, and it would be great to see if working together makes sense.
Last but not least
Many influencers have high standards and ethics around their professional endeavors. Promoting products on social media also has legal ramifications due to compliance standards from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For instance, influencers need to ensure that consumers are aware of advertising relationships.
Make your pitch count by sending cold emails that are thoughtful, but give your recipient enough space to learn more about your business to consider what your asking of them.
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