Want to Know How to Make Influencer Marketing Work?

The Internet is a noisy, overcrowded place.

Building momentum for your brand is often an uphill battle, and getting your audience to buy in can be daunting.

So, how do you get people to take you seriously?

How can you go from being just a little fish in a vast ocean to becoming a recognizable brand or even a household name?

One strategy that’s proven to be effective is influencer marketing.

The number of brands using this strategy has grown exponentially over the past few years.

In fact, “interest in influencer marketing has risen more than 90x from 2013 to the present.”

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Here are some other stats to give you a better idea of the state of this strategy at the moment:

  • “Influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.”
  • “Twitter users report a 5.2x increase in purchase intent when exposed to promotional content from influencers.”
  • “40 percent of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.”

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The list goes on and on.

I think we can all agree that influencer marketing gets results.

But when you get right down to it, the term “influencer marketing” can be a little nebulous.

There’s a lot of confusion about how exactly to implement it and take advantage of it.

How can you get an influencer to link to your website, share your content, promote your product, etc.?

I’m going to be brutally honest with you. It’s not easy.

There’s a lot more involved than simply cold-emailing an influencer and saying, “Hey, please give my brand a shout out.”

It doesn’t work like that.

However, like with most forms of marketing, there is a formula. It’s worked for me, and it can work for you too.

Let’s get right down to it.

A three-step process

Of course, there’s a lot involved with influencer marketing.

But when you really break it all down, it involves three basic steps:

  1. Finding a suitable influencer
  2. Reaching out to them
  3. Getting them to share your content

That’s how I approach it anyway.

Let’s begin with step one.

Finding a suitable influencer

This is probably the easiest step, but it does require a fair amount of research.

How exactly do you zero in on an influencer?

Well, for starters, you’re probably already aware of at least a handful of influencers in your industry.

For example:

  • Bloggers with sizable followings
  • Popular YouTubers
  • Industry experts
  • Writers who regularly contribute to popular publications
  • Celebrities

But if you need a little help or want to know how likely a particular person is to share, I recommend using BuzzSumo.

One of the features I love there is “View Sharers.”

Let me show you how it works.

First, I enter a subject relevant to my industry/niche. In my case, it’s “content marketing.”

Here’s what pops up:

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Next, I choose an article and click on “View Sharers.”

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Here’s what pops up now:

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Just like that, I get a list of people and companies that shared that particular article.

I can also tell:

  • How many Twitter followers they have
  • Their retweet ratio
  • Reply ratio
  • Average retweets

These metrics are important because I can determine if they could potentially be an influencer that I would like to connect with.

I also know what the likelihood of getting a response from them would be. And I can easily follow them or tweet to them for instant interaction.

Other tools worth considering, besides BuzzSumo, include Traacker and Little Bird.

I also suggest checking out this post from Kissmetrics for other ideas.

I’m not saying you have to use a tool for finding influencers, but it does streamline the process substantially.

How big of an influencer should l target?

A common question marketers new to this concept have is whether they should target a macro-influencer (e.g., Tim Ferris or Seth Godin) with hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers or a micro-influencer with say 15,000 followers.

I’m a proponent of starting small and working your way up.

From my experience, micro-influencers tend to be more receptive and much easier to get in touch with than major players who may get bombarded with thousands of emails every day.

But feel free to take the path that makes the most sense to you.

Reaching out to influencers

This is hands down the most difficult part of the process.

You have to somehow figure out a way to:

a) get in touch with an influencer and

b) build rapport with them.

You can accomplish this in several ways, but I’m a fan of simply sending an email or using the contact box on their website.

Most influencers (unless they’re huge celebrities) will have some means of contacting them. Do your research until you find an efficient means of doing so.

If you absolutely can’t find their contact info, move on to the next potential influencer on your list.

How should I approach them?

The specific request you have will dictate the template you use.

For instance, there’s a:

  • curation template
  • influencer mention template
  • guest blog template

and others.

I recommend checking out this article from Entrepreneur. It will provide you with five basic templates so you’ll know what to say when making contact.

Here’s their initial outreach template:

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The key to getting a response is to be authentic, personable, and honest.

Just remember that you need to make them an offer they can’t refuse (using my best Vito Corleone voice).

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You may want to give them a shout out on your blog, send them a sample of your product, or maybe even compensate them if the situation calls for it—whatever you think would tickle their fancy.

However, I would tread lightly with compensation because it can make you come across as being insincere. But it’s definitely an option to keep in mind.

Now let me say this.

It’s ideal if you interact with an influencer on at least some level before hitting them up out of the blue.

For example, you might regularly comment on their blog for a month prior to asking them for a favor.

I know that I’m more receptive to requests from loyal blog readers than to someone “off the street.”

Have thick skin

There are a couple of other little pearls of wisdom I would like to share with you.

First, you should be prepared for rejection.

It’s not realistic to expect the first influencer you contact to immediately respond and cater to your every whim.

Most of these people are busy and already have their inboxes flooded with similar requests.

No matter how charming or charismatic you may think you come off, you’re probably not going to get many responses.

Don’t take it personally. It’s a numbers game.

That’s why I recommend creating a list of at least 10 potential influencers to get going. However, the more, the merrier.

If you expect to have success, it’s going to take perseverance and patience.

Just keep at it until you finally make a breakthrough.

And here’s another tip.

Use a free email tracker, like this one from HubSpot, so you’ll know who opened your emails and who didn’t.

It’s a simple way to see what type of activity has happened after you hit “send.”

If you don’t get a response from someone who most definitely opened your email, I recommend sending them a follow-up email after a few days or so.

Don’t be a pest about it, but a polite follow-up may get an influencer to take notice of you and get you the response you’re looking for.

Getting them to share your content

Finally, you need to ensure that what you’re delivering is genuinely providing them (and their audience) with value.

For instance, if you’re asking an influencer to share a blog post you’ve written, you’d better make sure that it’s top quality and highly relevant to their audience.

If they’re willing to let you guest-post on their blog, it needs to be A+ content. Nothing less will suffice.

In other words, you need to follow through and prove to them that they’re making a good decision by helping you out.

This is obviously integral to building a solid relationship and could potentially lead to other opportunities down the road. You never know.

Conclusion

Influencer marketing seems simple enough on paper.

Get in touch with someone influential, get them to promote your brand in some fashion, and boost your exposure.

Of course, it’s never this easy, and there are a lot of twists and turns along the way.

I’ll be the first to admit that influencer marketing is a tricky process.

But it’s definitely something you can do successfully, provided you take the right approach and have enough persistence.

And once you actually get it to work, it will boost your confidence, and you’ll feel much more comfortable with the process.

At that point, you can rinse and repeat to grow your brand even more.

Have you ever experimented with influencer marketing? What are your results?

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Comments

  1. That template you posted has to be one of the worst things you can send to an influencer.

    I see the exact same thing all the time. I know it is a template. I know they put zero thought into it. If they don’t care enough to actually write something unique, I won’t bother to reply.

    Moreover, the email has zero information about what they want, and how it will benefit me. “Discussing a collaboration which will bring value to both our audiences” is just corporate speak and usually means nothing more than “we want a link” or “we want you to mention us”, which is usually followed up by “we don’t have a budget for this project”.

    Contacting an influencer needs to be done in the context of the fact that you are one of 100’s of people who are trying to get them interested. Send any sort of form email will almost certainly be a failure.

    • Templates and the article are a guide you can try new ways or approaches on each time. I do understand where you are coming from and I’ll do my best to take the feedback on board.

    • Vlad Grigorov :

      I see your point, Gary. Let’s look it from a newbie point of view. Everybody says to pitch your idea to an influencer, but nobody says exactly how this is done. Yes, the newbie is told to send a mail, but what should be written there? It’s clear that sending copy-pasted text will not work. A template is a good starting point to build upon.

      • The way to do it is:

        1) Put the value proposition to the influencer up front. Every influencer knows what companies want. If you are willing to pay cash, say so. I hate having to go through several emails only to later find out there is no budget and they are only interested in having me “test” their product. The vast majority of the emails I get totally omit anything which tells me why I would benefit from working with them.

        2) Get to know the influencer BEFORE you try to contact them. Attend conferences and events. If I know someone before they contact me, I am far, far more likely to open an email and at least listen to what they have to say.

      • Get to know the influencer and stand out. Make sure you build a relationship and not simply needy.

  2. Interesting post, Neil. I never really considered influencer marketing like that. Thanks for the clarification and advice.

  3. Its really amazing blog with very much helpful information, thank you so much for writing this great blog here for us.

  4. Harshavardhan VL :

    Very true that Influencer marketing is changing the name of the game, especially in some verticals. I have seen a friend do extremely well in her Fashion jewelry business using Influencer marketing techniques, where she asks those women with most number of followers in Instagram to pose with her jewelry & tag her brand. And the payout – the Influencer gets to keep the piece the jewelry. Nice bargain, isn’t it?

    If properly carried out, Influencer marketing can do wonders for a brand.

    Insightful post, Neil!

  5. Valuable thoughts , if exactly carried out the way written surely benefits ones marketing work.

  6. Clark Hetherington :

    I have successfully used influencer marketing for the past 6 months and I am a huge fan of Neil’s but for once I have to disagree with this article. I have found that micro influencers don’t work, you need to go with influencers with 100k or more. I have found them in most part quite easy to deal with, and don’t send a formal email like the one above. Just say in your email subject, instagram collab enquiry

    (Speak to them like they would, they are just people not business people so no need to be so formal, but do be professional)

    Then I tell them who I am, what I’m looking for elthem to do, give them a compliment or 2 and ask for pricing. I’ll negotiate a little on price and generally we will strike a deal. I get about a 50-70% hit rate and have worked with some big names. If they are big ( in the millions of followers) you may have to use their agency, and be prepared to pay that little bit extra but in my experience they are easy to deal with. Some agencies will try and rip you off but you just say no thanks and move on to the next person.

    Influencer marketing takes work, you need to really understand if that influencer just gets likes, do they pay for them and what are their comments like. Are most of their followers a certain gender, e.g. If you are trying to sell women’s jewellery and you think a certain female influencer looks great and has images you think look great, do a quick scan on the comments section to see if guys are following her because she is hot, or if girls interact too.

    That’s my two cents and good luck, it’s a winning strategy but just be careful of some pitfalls and don’t over spend. A good rule of thumb is you shouldn’t be charged more than .1% of what their follower rate is, e.g., if they have 3,000,000 followers you shouldn’t pay more than $3000 but there may be value in paying more if they are really influential and look for more money.

    Hope this helps

  7. nice blog !!! about Influencer marketing & create initial outreach template for influencer marketer.

    thanks

  8. Great post as always Neil. The world keeps getting crowded but you show there’s still space to grow. I’ll use this techniques on my website http://rrs.arq.br/site

  9. I’m just getting started with CPA, I am thinking to start doing Influencer marketing for CPA. Let’s see how it works.

    Regards
    Jhon my Website https://prevnext.org/

  10. I really love this post because I am the newbie in online marketing and I have never thought about influencer marketing. Thanks, neil Patel for sharing your knowledge with us.

  11. Very Impressive with your post Neil, I really feel lucky when found this blog of you. I will use this techniques on my website: http://blog.beautheme.com/15-modern-lively-nightclub-themes-2017/
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us Neil.

  12. Bhavik Solanki :

    Thank you for sharing this great information. This information helpful and useful for many people and in this give good explanation in detail that helpful for easily understand this.

  13. Part time CFO services UAE :

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  17. Upendra Gusain :

    Great Post buddy, I never used influence marketing before, It will be very helpful to market products and services of my clients.

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