Imagine yourself as an influencer for a moment. Ready?
You are a mid-size beauty vlogger on Youtube, and brands frequently offer collaborations in exchange for products or money.
It’s a busy Monday morning. You woke up feeling less than wonderful, knowing that it’s going to be a hectic day. As per usual, you check your mailbox first thing in the morning. There are 33 emails, more than half are from brands. Here is one that you see:
Subject: We want colaboration with you on our latest beauty product!
Sender: [email protected]
We think your content on Instagram is amazing! We are a new beauty company that wants to work with as many influencers as possible! For that reason, we are sending you our newest launch in exchange for at least 2 posts on Instagram! Here is more information on our company and our products and what you should post on Instagram:
The email then follows with a page-long paragraph about all the information you don’t have any interest in reading. I mean, a typo in the subject line? They didn’t even address your name and they for sure haven’t looked at your content at all, being that you’re a Youtuber, and all they talked about was Instagram.
Mass emails like this are very common, and unfortunately, don’t work. Now that you’ve seen what’s possibly the worst email for a collaboration, we can explore the art of reaching out to influencers.
Have The Right Influencers
We risk the chance of being redundant in order to remind you time and time again: It’s extremely important to find the right influencers for your brand and campaign. The right influencers that are perfect for your brand and campaign are much easier to connect with and reach out to. Not only that, but the influencers themselves would be more likely to say yes to a brand that’s relevant to their content.
Do you have an ideal influencer in mind? Think of what type of content you want them to be posting, what platform do they perform on, how many followers they should have (this is relevant to your budget), where they are, and even what their audience demographic is like.
Even after you’ve found the perfect influencers, you should not stop doing your research. The more information and the more relevant they are to your brand, the more authentic your outreach email (and your campaign itself!) would be.
With that said, the right influencers can be as specific as a list of 5 influencers, or an extensive campaign of 500. The most important goal is that you’re able to do enough research so that the email doesn’t come out as a random, messy, and mass-sent email.
If you have more details of the influencers (their favorite beauty product, their dog’s name, how many children they have as a parent blogger,) you’re already winning. Don’t be shy about using merge fields in order to tailor your emails to appear as personalized as possible! You can include the influencers’ names, social media handles, the size of their followers (who wouldn’t be proud with the number of their large following, right?), the type of content they usually post about, etc.
You, as a brand, can also introduce yourself in a way that’s as personal and intimate as possible. If you’re a big company, present yourself as a real person with a name and picture who’s looking to build relationships with influencers. If you’re a small business, let influencers know that they will be one of the firsts to help your brand build from the ground. It’s important to remember that you’re looking to initiate a mutually beneficial relationship, and good relationships start with good connections.
What Makes You Want to Work With Them?
And no, in order to drive your ROI up is not an answer (that they want to hear.) In communication with the influencers, this question is more about them: Why are they the chosen ones? We trust that after you’ve done your research on the influencers, you’d have an answer to this question.
Just like anyone else, influencers look to work with relevant brands. As influencers’ inboxes are already filled to the rim with “We think your content is amazing!” or “We love your Instagram feed!”, etc. How does your message stand out from the generic rest?
This comes back to the research you’ve done beforehand: What about these influencers that made you say “Yes! We’d like them to represent our brand!” Find that connection you have with them, and even better if that connection is something they highly value in their content. Don’t forget to communicate that connection in a flattering way!
What’s Your Value Proposition?
Influencer marketing can be many things, but it’s definitely not a one-way street. Right off the bat, you need to show what your brand offers – without making it all about the offer. After all, you want influencers to focus first and foremost on the collaboration.
In our previous blog post, “Product vs. Payment”, we discussed how money is not the only attractive proposition for an influencer to work with your brand. No matter what type of collaboration it is, the influencers need to know what you as a brand offers: What is your brand’s name? Why is your product amazing? What message do you communicate to consumers? How does the influencer benefit from working with you, besides getting paid?
This part is highly unique to each company and product, but what you’re doing is essentially making your offer as attractive as possible. If you’re confident about your offer, you should be confident in communicating this to influencers.
The Subject Line
Oh, the subject line! The subject line is so important that we could write a whole article on it, but in general: It needs to be short, simple, yet juicy and meaningful. A recent report shows that 61% of emails are opened and read on mobile devices in 2018. What this means is that not only people don’t want to read lengthy subject lines, they actually don’t have enough space to even show the entire subject line!
While keeping your subject line short, you should never skip on a few important pieces of information: Your brand’s name, the point of the email (“Paid Collaboration”, for example), and the influencer’s name as a special touch. Again, using merge fields is extremely helpful in order to achieve this.
Who and When?
Who is your sender and when to send your email for optimal email-opening rate? “By The Numbers: Does the survey sender’s gender matter?” by Stefan Althoff mentioned the Anita effect, which suggests that email response rates are statistically higher when the sender of the email is female. While more prevalent in male-dominated industries, it is true all across the board.
A few more tidbits on the sender: An email from [email protected] is more likely to get a response than [email protected] Additionally, it is also more personalized and intimate than [email protected] – which looks more like a spam and mass mail sender.
After you’ve chosen a sender, when would be the optimal time to reach out? According to a MailChimp’s study, mid-week is the best time to send out emails. During the off-peak hours, people are less likely to be overwhelmed by so many emails – from work, from other brands, newsletters, reminders. On top of that, many influencers have day jobs, so sending out emails outside of business hours can make all the difference.
Email Previews and A/B Testing
Before hitting that “Send” button – preview what your email looks like first! As mentioned above, the majority of emails are opened on mobile devices, so is your email looking clean and visually attractive on your own phone? You definitely don’t want a long email, and pay attention to the balance of the email body. Ideally, there should be 2 – 3 short paragraphs to break up the content.
A/B Testing is another way to optimize the open rate, by splitting your email campaigns into two or more different groups. We suggest that for each group, you can alter a small detail (in the subject line, sender, timing, etc.) in order to compare open/respond rates to gauge which works best. There is no one cookie-cutter way to follow, as the campaign and your market are often unique. With an A/B Test, you can figure out which works best for your specific market.
Email Templates for the Highest Deliverability
Email deliverability is exactly what it sounds: How to make sure emails are delivered successfully to influencers’ inboxes. The goal is to reduce the number of bounces and ensure your email doesn’t get lost in spam folders.
Here are a few no-nos that could hurt this delivery rate:
- Sending without custom authentication
- Using single opt-in
- Sending from a free domain email address (e.g. hotmail)
- Using URL shorteners
- Sending emails with too many images
The key takeaway is that you want your email to lead to actions, and build a strong relationship with influencers. Before this even happens, you need it to be opened and read. Reaching out to influencers is truly an art, but it’s one that you can easily master. At the beginning of this article, we asked you to pretend to be an influencer, and we want you to keep being in the influencers’ shoes from time to time. Will you read your own email?
If you’re ready for influencer marketing, Upfluence can help you find the perfect influencers, run the most personalized email campaign at-scale, as well as track your campaign’s performance. Learn more, and explore all the possibilities of influencer marketing!