How to get high response rates from influencer outreach

Identify people who’d be a natural, relevant fit for your branding strategy, and take time to personalize your pitch.

How would you like to achieve response rates of 50 percent (or higher) for your influencer outreach?

It’s possible—if you put the work in before sending that email. Here’s a four-step process for achieving sky-high response rates:

1. Invest time in choosing the right influencers.

You are better off with a list of 10 relevant, niche influencers than with 100 mega-influencers who don’t care about your brand or your story.

Make a shortlist of people who’d be a smart, sensible fit for your campaign.

There are many ways to find influencers, but here are four that work really well:

Use Brand24 to track relevant keywords. For Twitter mentions, the tool will outline the influencer score of the person tweeting. This means you can identify influential people who are sharing content relevant to your brand.

Use GroupHigh to search through 15 million blogs. GroupHigh can deliver crucial insights on bloggers’ domain authority, social media followers and interactions, and much more.

Find out who influencers are talking to regularly. Twitonomy lets you enter the Twitter address of an influencer, and the tool will show you who the influencer is interacting with most—typically other influencers.

Use Ahrefs to find websites ranking for your top keywords. Enter the keywords you’re keen to track, and Ahrefs will reveal the top websites ranking for them.

If you see the same website appearing repeatedly for your keywords, it could be a competitor or influencer creating content about those topics.

For example, the snapshot below shows websites that are ranking for “digital marketing.” Whom would you contact for a potential partnership?

2. Start interacting with influencers and figuring out their interests.

Your response rate will soar if the influencer knows who you are or has interacted with you before.

Here’s what to do before sending your first outreach email:

  • Start monitoring their social media feed.
  • Connect on LinkedIn.
  • Read and comment on their blog posts.
  • Find timely, relevant news items worth talking about (which you can mention in your outreach).
  • Track their blog content using Feedly, and share their latest blog posts.

Try to be active on channels that influencers frequent. Start a meaningful conversation, and find ways to add value so they respond and remember your name.

3. Reach out with a friendly email.

Personalization, being helpful and making a simple request are vital to the success of your influencer outreach campaign. You can send emails manually or use an email outreach tool that will speed the process and help track results.

Personalization

Your outreach email should contain at least three pieces of information that show you’ve done your research. For example:

  • Reference the influencer’s website.
  • Cover topics they write about or have recently written about.
  • Mention something specific that they do or have done.
  • Reference where they are from.

Spending time on research, learning about the influencer and personalizing your message will set you apart from those who blast generic emails to everyone.

Being helpful

If you can somehow help an influencer in your first email, it’s likely you’ll get a response. Then you can start a proper conversation.

Here’s a smart outreach email I recently received. It didn’t provide immediate help, but there was a promise in there that sparked my interest:

The email states they could help me rank for the keywords my competitor ranks for, so this was a great way to get my attention and start a conversation.

Small request

“Please review my product,” is not a small request. You’d be asking for a big chunk of the influencer’s time.

Instead, notice that the last line of the outreach email above is “Interested?” This means the influencer just has to answer yes or no.

The goal of first outreach email is to get a response. It’s not to generate a sale, get an article published or get a link. Just get that initial response, and get the ball rolling.

4. Follow up if you don’t get a response.

How often do you receive an email that you forget to answer or just don’t have the time to read?

A gentle nudge sometimes works. If you don’t get a response the first time around, you should send one  follow-up email three to five days later that contains the original message and a quick reminder, such as:

“I know what it’s like getting too many emails. If you get a chance to respond to my email below that would be awesome!”

You can give it one more shot about five days after this. In a second follow-up, try taking a different approach with a completely different email.

Takeaways

Influencer outreach can help you expand your business, but there are no shortcuts to success. Take time to find the right influencers who will resonate with your specific audience, and go the extra mile to woo them with a promising pitch.

Which influencer outreach tactics have worked for you? Please share your best practices in the comments.

Ian Cleary is founder of the content marketing agency RazorSocial and the email outreach tool OutreachPlus.

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