5 Mistakes You Made in Your Influencer Outreach Emails
Reaching out to bloggers sounds easy enough. All you need is an internet connection, their email, your pitch ready, and what you want from them. Yet, on the receiving end, the blogger's reaction probably isn't what you would've imagined and wished for.
It boggles me that so many bloggers and online biz owners -- whether you're an e-commerce or tech startup -- send emails that are less than welcoming. And sure, sometimes, it's not the owners' fault, but the people they hire who does the outreach. Still, the brand's image plummets as bloggers vent out their frustrations and share a screenshot of your email on Facebook groups. True story.
Prefer to listen instead of read? Ju provided a podcast for us!
I know you have been there where you land on a blogger's website and you really want to connect. You scramble to find their contact page so you can shoot an email over immediately and get the collaboration running. Sometimes, you know you won't always get a yes, but you still send something anyway. It's a numbers game. After all, if you reach out to 100 bloggers, you're probably lucky to hear back from ten. So in the moment of frustration, you probably just send out a canned response to all. Now depending on the level and type of collaboration, that may or may not work.
From basic etiquette, genuineness to effort, there are some common mistakes that I see all too often. Maybe you're one of those people who doesn't like emailing people. Or maybe you don't know what to say. Perhaps you're not that great at it. I've worked with people who have marketing experience, claims their strength in communication, but still fail to send a proper email.
Now I know, you'll have some "buts...", so I'll also throw in some course correction methods and actions you can take. For free. And if you want a free and handy PDF email swipe file so you never make these mistakes again, you can certainly download it below.
#1 You reach out and didn't address them by name.
Or even worse, you addressed them by the wrong name!
While you don't need to be extra formal and be all Mr. and Mrs., you should definitely address them by their first name. If she is a blogger or social influencer (and not a company), you can easily find her name and contact info on her "about me" page. The quickest and smallest misstep you can take is to address them by the wrong name. And I've definitely gotten this one more than once, twice, or thrice! In many cases, I was referred to my blog name, Talence, instead of my real name.
Whether you're reaching out to another influencer for a small favor (e.g., to be added to a Pinterest group or something big like a paid collaboration), it helps to stay organized. And nope, you don't need any expensive software for this. Simply create an outreach spreadsheet on Google Drive. On the spreadsheet, create a different worksheet for each campaign. A campaign can be anything and not limited to the following:
- Request to join Pinterest group boards to maximize your Pinterest presence and marketing
- Seek potential guest posting opportunities with established and high traffic blogs to increase traffic back to your own blog
- Seek potential influencers to introduce a product to a new audience.
The campaign outreach can be for any purpose, but having your contact details and contact personas organized will go so far. If the blogger is turned off before even reading your email, your outreach campaign ends right there. For each campaign, the most basic information columns you should create are:
- First and last name if applicable (only address them by their first name, though)
- Email address (you can usually find this on their contact page or social media profiles)
- Link to their website or most active social channel
- Niche (make sure they are relevant to who you want to reach as well)
- Why they stand out to you
- Any other notes
I adjust my columns depending on the type of campaign outreaches I do, but I always like to know who is my point of contact.
Now, depending on the depth of the campaign, you won't need to know an influencer inside out, but a worksheet like this will help you track who you emailed, who got back to you, and who you can target again in the future. Also, you won't mix up the bloggers' names and their respective emails, which has happened to me before. I've received emails which referenced my blog name but calls me by another name other than Ju.
#2 You reached out to an influencer who wasn't even in your niche.
Small business owners and online brands who I see reaching out to just any blogger and ask to promote their stuff are making a huge mistake. This is the equivalent of hiring anyone to do the job without first getting to know their skills and abilities. Also, this is similar to a blogger who writes about everything but has no expertise in any area.
A couple months ago, I had a business owner selling wedding dresses contact me twice asking me to promote her stuff. She was polite in her email and offered to pay me upfront. And if you're reading this and can't tell, I write about content marketing for online biz owners.
I don't know what makes her think my audience will be interested in wedding gowns. Now maybe there are one or two people on my list who is really at that phase in their life, but the chances of someone who follows me for biz tips is also looking for a wedding gown isn't that likely, is it?
What I mean is that asking just any blogger with a clean and polished online presence to promote your product won't really help you. Now if you can find the blogger (and I have no idea how she found me), chances are, you can find her social profiles or at least take a look at her about me page. If she has one, take a look at her media kit.
Once you take a look at her social profiles and about page, this influencer either stands out immediately as someone in your niche and gets added to your spreadsheet of influencers to contact or she's irrelevant to your campaign. Using the example of the online wedding gown business, the bloggers she should be targeting would be people in lifestyle niches with an audience of women in their mid 20's to early thirties. Now if she can get more specific than lifestyle bloggers, that's great.
For example, she doesn't want lifestyle bloggers who are also mommy bloggers because they're married. Their audience might attract even more mommy bloggers, who don't need her wedding dresses.
Ultimately, she wants to target people in that age group because that's when people are getting married and women in that age range tend to care a lot about their appearances than any other age group. This group is also at an age where they are employed and can afford to purchase.
#3 You served the influencer with a cold pitch.
No one likes to be leveraged. In other words, no one likes a cold business pitch where they receive an email and you asked them to do you a favor. No one is obligated to do you favors. These favors can come in many forms, whether to add a link back to your website or to write a review for your product in exchange for a free one month trial.
Before you reach out to any influencer or blogger, make sure you have had some interaction with their brand on some level.
So to break it down, here's what you can do:
- Follow and re-tweet their posts on social media to your following. Make sure your audience can benefit from this tweet as well.
- Subscribe to their email list and reply to let them know you love their emails. Be specific to show that you have really read those emails. If you can, add something to the conversation. Even better, ask them a question in regards to their expertise. It shows that you know what they're an expert at and you respect their knowledge.
- Comment on their blog. With social media these days, people rarely take the time to comment anymore as they're more interested in self-promotion than collaboration. When you take the time to write a brief, but thoughtful comment, it really lifts you from being a cold stranger to being a warm friend.
Obviously, you can do more than one of the above if you really mean it.
Depending on how big the favor is, I custom tailor my outreach campaigns. For example, if I was just asking for a small favor to join a Pinterest group board and they're already seeking collaborators, a short and sweet email will usually get the job done. However, if I want to be featured on their podcast and they're not looking for applicants, it would probably take longer to warm them up.
Either way, it begins with getting to know them on social media or email because the point of those mediums is to interact and engage. Influencers don't like it when you come out nowhere and immediately want something from them.
#4 You didn't outline (or even mention) what was in it for the other party.
Now outlining what's in it for the other party is just as important as warming up your contact before reaching out to them. Think about it, if you got on the influencer's radar, but when it comes to pitching and you only look out for your own needs and desires, how successful do you think you'll be? Not very. Again, no one wants to be leveraged.
People like win-win collabs and even if the give and take isn't 100% equal, you can let them know what you are open to doing for them. Being in business means there's an exchange of value. Even if you only want to explore the opportunity and get to know their audience more to see if this is a good fit, you should still list some options to make the opportunity appear desirable for them.
In your first outreach email, you can say something like:
"If you can consider my idea on (insert your idea), I'll love to explore further into our potential collaboration. I know you're busy, but to compensate for your work, this is what I can offer you: (insert your two options).
Note that you don't have to offer two or more options, but if you want to, you definitely can. If you know what the influencer wants right off the bat, then offer that. If you're offering money but don't want to commit to a number until you know it's the right fit, let them know you will pay them, but don't tell them the exact amount.
Not outlining or even mentioning of what you can do for them isn't much a collaboration, but more of a demand. I love it when people come to me and knows what they want. It makes the process more efficient. It makes me feel more confident about them. If you ask to collaborate, but don't know what you can give, your pitch will appear undesirable, unprofessional, and unconfident.
#5 You write with poor grammar and an unprofessional tone that repels.
When it comes to business emails and influencer outreach, you don't have to act or speak in another tone -- especially if you're reaching out to creatives. In fact, people are much more responsive if you talk as you would every day. Be sweet, be conversational or be engaging; and don't be robotic or monotone. People are much more receptive if you keep your tone friendly, but the content professional. Be human.
However, don't write like you'll be texting a friend. In other words, use "you" instead of "u" and say "thank you" instead of "TY." If you're like me and hate editing your content, you can use this tool called Grammarly. Install the Chrome extension of it and use it to edit your email (or any type of) content. My favorite thing about this tool is that for every edit I need to make, it gives me a suggestion. All I have to do is click on that suggestion and changes are made with just one click.
So what are some of your biggest struggles when it comes to reaching out to influencers and bloggers for collaboration?
Don't forget to download my free PDF email swipe file. You can use this template as a plug-n-play when sending your initial outreach email.
Grab tools like this template and other resources at heyjudess.com! Plus, get more information on online business tips and how to use content marketing to grow your audience
Ju writes about content marketing and journey branding for creative bloggers and influencers who wants to use their talents to grow their online influence. Lately, she has been obsessed with conversions and creating a smooth journey experience for her peeps. You might catch her in Facebook groups giving someone a quick tip, but you can always tweet her a question or stay updated via her honest talk emails.