A couple of days ago I received one of the worst email pitches ever. I’d rather not bore you with the details of the email in question…yet (it will become apparent later), but I will tell you that their entire method was flawed. I do a lot of influencer outreach myself, and the response rates I receive have been consistently good. On average, I have a 30-40% response rate. The reason for this is because there are 4 factors that I keep in mind when targeting and contacting potential influencers.
1: Ensure you have their direct contact email
There are plenty of tools that exist now that make the process of acquiring a person’s email so easy. I use the Chrome extension Rapportive in order to ensure that the email address I have is the right one. Unless you have exhausted every method possible, and you can’t for the life of you track down the person’s email address, then you can try sending your pitch to the general “Contact Us” address on their website.
The individual who emailed me the other day, did not both trying to track down my email address. He sent a pitch to our support line. I found this rather odd, since I ensure you that my business email is connected to my LinkedIn account and it’s even on my twitter profile because I want people to find it and pitch me. I love getting pitches, because I love co-marketing and co-promotional content.
2: If you are going to do a mail merge, personalize it as best as possible
Once you have gathered all the email addresses of your marketing influencers, you generally have two options. You can either send out manual emails to every single one of those influencers, or you can send one massive email to the whole list and be done with it in a matter of minutes.
Now, I have nothing against either method. In fact, I’ll admit I often do use mail merges if I am reaching out to a lot of people. Manually sending a personalized email to 300 different influencers will take you a month, and in the end, you will probably only hear back from 100 of them, and only 40 will actually end up being of any help whatsoever. So use a mail merge for big lists of influencers, but make it seem as personal as possible. This requires research. It means knowing the type of content the influencer would be interested in, finding a specific example of where they used the content on their own site (with a link), offering a compliment on that specific example, and of course referring to them by their first name at least twice in the email. Viralsweep has a really great partner promotion guide that could be of assistance when seeking inspiration on structuring your email draft.
3: Offer them something that is almost impossible to resist
What has never ceased to work for me is offering an influencer a custom infographic. I either offer to create an infographic for an upcoming blog post they are working on in exchange for a mention, or I offer to create one for an existing blog post. 99% of the time, they take me up on the offer. Why? Because it seems too good to be true! And it’s beneficial for me and for Venngage in many ways. First, because our partners are so pleased with their free custom infographic, they want to tell everyone they know about it (this include other potential influencers), secondly we then turn those infographics we made into infographic templates that other people can use if they so choose to, which is additional promotion for the influencer as well because the infographics are all branded with their logos.
This is the email I received a couple of days ago. I took the liberty of adding some comments to the screenshot.
Take a look at the underlined sentence. Aside from the grammar being completely off, the individual in question states that “the infographic will give them first a visual experience rather than outright exhausting content”. It’s hard to say whether they were insulting the content on our blog and calling it “exhausting”, or implying that we did not understand the purpose of infographics (even though our tool is an infographic making tool). To end the sentence, he uses a sad face. It should not need to be said that you must read over your emails before you hit the send button and make sure it looks professional. If English is not your first language, ask someone else to read it over for you. Also, it’s evident that this person probably did not read any of our blog (or our about page), because the infographic was about photography and not about design or marketing.
Without a doubt, I was not offered something that was impossible to resist, and I think I was being insulted in the process.
4: Be willing to return the favour
There have been a couple of times when our team has created an infographic for an influencer, who then refuses to mention us with a link on their site, or who simply ends up not using the infographic due to time constraints, or because it was not fitting at the time. I think that this is the worst thing any influencer could do. The reason being, that my team still has to put in a lot of work to create these infographics, and it also takes a lot of back and forth communication between myself and the influencer to decide on the perfect topic. Ideally, if you are putting work into doing something, you want to reap the rewards of that effort. When someone is not willing to return the favour, it makes you less likely to recommend their brand, and less likely to work with them again in the future.
I had another individual reach out to me asking if I could post his infographic on the Venngage blog. I offered to do it for him without question, and asked if he would be able to post one of our infographics in the future, or at least link back to the post on our site. He refused and said that his content manager was opposed to adding “promotional links”. If you’re going to ask someone to do a favour for you, you better be willing to do the same for the. Don’t shy away from helping out your fellow influencers. It will strengthen your professional relationship.
Nobody likes receiving bad pitches. They are frustrating and a waste of time to read. So don’t be that person who sends one. The most important thing you can do, is be genuine, sincere and as transparent as possible with your requests. It will benefit you in the long run.