Influencer Outreach Guide: How You Should Be Contacting Creators In 2024

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Sliding into an influencer’s inbox feels intimidating. Aren’t you just showing up at their door unannounced? You feel unwelcome and ignored. Are you writing just another email that’ll move to trash, unread? It’s like you’re playing a game, but can’t win because you don’t know the rules.

But plenty of marketers have seen success with their influencer outreach strategy. You can too.

TL;DR: think like a salesperson when reaching out to influencers. Focus on increasing the volume of emails you send every day and keep tweaking your message based on feedback. The more personalized emails you send, the better the chances of you receiving a reply. Follow up more than you think you should.

Why marketers fail at influencer outreach

Did influencer marketing not work for you? Or did you reach out to 20 creators, hear back from 3, didn’t negotiate, and give up?

The number one reason most marketers don’t see success at influencer outreach is because they aren’t putting on their sales hat.

As a marketer, you aren’t used to the lack of replies of cold emailing. Following-up seems desperate. If they were interested, they’d respond to your first or second email, wouldn’t they?

That kind of thinking derails your success. Volume matters more than you think.

The more influencers you email > the faster your feedback loop gets > the more you refine your outreach methods > the quicker you see success.

It might give you the ick to reach out to someone you don’t know and then follow-up with them. But remember, influencers are actively looking out for pitches like yours in their inbox. Why? Two reasons:

Takeaway: don’t think like a marketer. Think like a salesperson. And do more volume!

How to reach out to an influencer: email or DMs?

First things first, use email.

Creators are brands running their own businesses. And business usually happens via email. Not to mention: emails keep things professional and easy to track.

I’m not saying to never use DMs, but you should start with email. More on DMs soon.

How to write the first email to an influencer

You’ve narrowed down your shortlist of influencers. You’ve found and collated the emails. What next? Blast the same copy-paste email to every influencer? No. Personalization is crucial for increasing your response rate. Mass messages don’t make a good first impression.

What you should include in your first email differs based on the size of the influencer you’re reaching out to. This doesn’t mean you slack off writing thoughtful emails to smaller influencers — personalization is the key for any cold email, regardless of influencer type.

That said, cold emails to bigger influencers will require a higher level of personalization to get noticed when compared with smaller influencers.

Nano-influencers are creators with a following of 1,000 to 10,000. Micro-influencers have an audience size of 10,000 to 100,000.

Finding micro influencers or nano influencers is the hard bit. Standing out in their inbox isn’t as difficult if you play your cards right (when compared with reaching out to bigger influencers).

The reason? These creators are building their businesses and actively looking for brand partnerships. But they haven’t blown up yet, so their inbox isn’t as cut-throat.

Email subject lines you could use: ⚠️Note: use the “brand ambassador” subject line ideas only when you’re *actually* finding creators for your brand ambassador program.

Your first email to smaller creators could be something like this:

“Hey John,

Saw your portfolio update today (it popped up on recommended vids). Love your general approach — I’m taking a similar route with XRP & LTC myself. Thought your editing was great, too. (Genuine personalization)

I wanted to ask: are you open to sponsored collabs currently? (Make it clear what you’re looking for)

I work with CryptoGiraffe; we’re a growing marketplace with 1,000,000+ daily trades, fully secured, compliant with EU data standards, & audited as required by law. (Show you’re relevant & trustworthy)

Can I send you more info about what I have in mind? (Soft ask – just get the ‘yes’)

Get directly to the point, and make a genuine effort to personalize. Don’t cop out with a generic compliments (such as, “we love your content”) if you want a solid reply rate (and to kick off your relationship on the right foot).

Let’s talk about bigger creators (100k-1M & beyond). These are creators who likely have established businesses and aren’t as proactive for brand collaborations as smaller influencers. You’d notice many creators of this stage have partnered with a talent management firm to represent them. Your emails would be read and scrutinized by managers at these firms. This has its pros and cons:

Pro: talent management firms are more interested in looking at your brand collaboration request. They’re more business oriented and are invested in increasing the influencer’s revenue through sponsorships from companies like yours. This means you’d probably get a response in far fewer follow-ups than if the creator was also the manager of their business. Talent managers are also experts and know their stuff — so it’s easier to communicate with them and share your goals.

Cons: talent managers will probably haggle you a bit and upsell to increase the influencer’s revenue and/or benefits. You must go armed with your influencer negotiation skills.

Either way, a macro and mega-influencer’s inbox is filled to the brim with offers similar to yours. How do you get their (or their talent management firm’s) attention? Hyper-personalized, business-focused cold emails.

To stand out from the competition, we want to make it abundantly clear that we have a good offer, that the creator can get some value from this collab, and that you really know who you’re reaching out to.

Subject lines you could tweak and use for your first email:

All subject lines here are specific, personalized, and (most importantly) enticing curiosity. The curiosity gap in the subject line is non-negotiable when you cold email bigger influencers. Why? They get hundreds of collaboration emails every week. Half the battle is getting your email opened. They must think, “I need to know more,” which curiosity-gap subject lines fulfill.

Here’s what your first email should sound like when messaging bigger influencers. Let’s adapt the previous example.

“Hey John,

Saw your portfolio update today (it popped up on recommended vids). Love your general approach — I’m taking a similar route with XRP & LTC myself. Thought your editing was great, too. (Genuine personalization)

I want to pitch you a collab idea. (Don’t beat around the bush)

I work with CryptoGiraffe; we’re a growing marketplace with 1,000,000+ daily trades, fully secured, compliant with EU data standards, & audited as required by law. (Show you’re relevant & trustworthy)

Since you reach an audience of finance-savvy investors, I thought you’d be the perfect fit to collab with us on {promotion/campaign}. (Shows you understand the audience & have a logical reasoning)

Naturally, we’re prepared to offer base pay up front, plus a revenue share from the campaign. (Prove you’re a serious revenue opp for the creator – say what you’re offering)

Can I send you more info about what I have in mind? (Soft ask – still just shoot for the ‘yes’)

This time, we’re first and foremost talking business — you need to prove that you’re a real revenue opportunity for the creator’s business. And, of course, that you’re a good fit for their audience.

How (and when) to send follow-up messages to creators

A little nudge hurt no one.

The secret to any influencer outreach strategy is the art of following-up. You don’t want to follow-up daily and risk getting marked as spam. But you don’t want to go radio silent either and miss the opportunity to partner with your dream creator.

How often should you follow-up? Spread these out over 2-4 weeks:

These numbers might seem like a lot, but it’s easy for things to get lost in a crowded inbox. An influencer might have seen your email but forgot to respond to it. Or maybe they’re taking some time to think about your message. Maybe your first message didn’t come at the best phase of an influencer’s business. Following-up increases your chances of being at the right place at the right time.

⚡Pro-tip: if you don’t get a response from a creator despite multiple follow-ups, leave them alone…for a while. Continue following up with them every 3-6 months. This is easier to do when you have systems in place for tracking your outreach. You can simply refresh your list after every quarter or half a year to reach out to creators who didn’t respond to you the first time around.

Now for the scripts:

Subject line ideas:

Email to tweak:

“Hey {creator name},

I hope your day is going well!

Quickly wanted to check if you had a chance to check my previous email and would be interested in collaborating with us? Here if you have any questions!”

In the second and third email follow-ups, you want to remind them of your offer (since some time has passed). Also emphasize what’s in it for them by partnering with you to entice them to reply.

Keep tabs on their social media and ask about something specific you saw on their profile — like asking how their dog is doing if they recently took him to the vet or congratulating them on hitting a certain milestone.

DMs are the place to be short, casual, and direct. Don’t write a long-winded speech. Here’s a template to tweak:

“Hey {creator name}!”

Loved your recent post about {a short and specific compliment about their recent post}. I’m a {your role at your company} at {company name} where we {what you sell and your brand mission}.

We’d love to partner with you! Can you take a look at our email? It’s from {your email address}. Let me know if you have any questions!”

In the first and second follow-ups to DMs, highlight your brand’s mission or find something common with the influencer. If you have already collaborated with other creators, mention the success they’ve seen by partnering with you to scoop some social proof.

Commenting on an influencer’s post requires low effort and is an easy way to follow-up. But try to avoid generic compliments or “please check our DM” comments. They might not get noticed or be seen in the best light. Here’s the template you want to tweak:

“Your {specific compliment related to the post you’re commenting on} is superb! {team member’s name who messaged the influencer} from our team reached out to you. We’d love to work together. If you have a second, can you check your email for our ping?”

In the remaining two to three comments, interact with the influencer’s post like an engaged follower. Turn on their post notifications so you’ll be one of the first ones commenting (high likelihood of a creator noticing this). Reply to their Stories and sprinkle some specific compliments without mentioning your brand at all. You can take it further by sharing their post on your Stories with a compliment and tagging them.

Need more templates? Read our influencer outreach templates guide.

How to find an influencer’s email

Okay! Now you know what to say, you need a reliable way to find emails. And that has never been as quick and easy as it is today. Here are two quick ways to find a creator’s email:

TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube — all have specified places for creators to share their email.

A reliable method, but very tedious and not at all scalable. Combing through each influencer’s email on their profile and adding it to your Google Sheet database is time-intensive — which is why the second method is far superior.

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