In a perfect world, influencer marketing is pretty simple — you find influencers, you make a pitch and the influencer shares your content. But in fact, things are very different.
In most cases you find influencers, you make a pitch and have no responses or an influencer rejects your request to work with them.
A friend of mine has a small Instagram shop with boho style accessories. One day she decided to increase her sales by collaborating with Instagram influencers. She found a dozen bloggers with 50–150K followers and sent them a short message — but nobody replied.
Do you want to know why?
She made the mistake that most newbies in influencer marketing do… maybe you have done the same.
You made contact with the ‘not relevant’ influencers
She found some pretty girls who post about fashion and style, but they are not addicted to boho style. It’s probably a good thing they didn’t respond because she would have got very little result!
The good example of relevant bloggers for her are:
Their followers are girls that are in love with boho style. Sponsored posts in these accounts would be an authentic and trustful advertisement.
Your product might be great to you, but is it really a good fit for your influencer and their audience? You won’t get good results if your product is not relevant to influencer’s audience.
The second failure was a message that she sent to the bloggers. She composed a general message using a template that she had found on some website and sent it to the whole list of bloggers.
We have asked several bloggers what type of message they don’t reply to from a brand and found some typical mistakes that many brands do:
You send non-personal messages
“I would not answer, If a brand contacts me and clearly hasn’t looked into who I am or the kind of content I share. For example I clearly state my name in my bio, yet I often get emails addressed to “Hi Stomachhalfempty”. If I were to contact a brand I would do my research, so I would expect the same if someone wants to collaborate with me”, says Carla Beisinger, she has an Instagram account @stomachhalfempty with more than 21K followers and posts about healthy food.
One more blogger, Lena Tarasyuk who has a travel blog and Instagram @travelmonkeycom with more than 10K followers, agrees with her,
“I think everyone would agree that a non-personal message starting with ‘hey you, I like your blog — Travel Monkey Blog — Resource for Full-Time Dreamers’ (simply copying the meta title of the blog), or even worse ‘hello admin’ will send red flags right away.
You know this message has been sent to at least a dozen of other people, which is fine, we sometimes have to send a lot of similar emails. However, it has to be at least a little bit personal to show that you know who you are approaching. By putting a first name into your message would be a good start. Especially since it is so easy with influencers, they have their name all over the place.”
What you should do: Do a little research beforehand. Find out the influencer’s name and study their content. The influencers content should be relevant to your product as much as possible
You are using general templates and sending bulk messages
“I’m also far less likely to reply when a brand or person uses a template where information is obviously copy and pasted in. I’ve gotten email with other blogger’s names and links attached! It just seems so disrespectful and disingenuous to me,” says Nicole Booz from GenTwenty.com
Even if you use a template, include some personal information in your message, make it more human and casual.
Krista Aoki, blogger at reroutelifestyle.com says “It’s really obvious (and disappointing) when brands send emails that are clearly copied and pasted. If an email sounds robotic, I assume that a brand sent that same email to 1,000,000 other bloggers and it would go unnoticed if I don’t reply”.
Average blogger gets dozens and even hundreds of emails every day. Most of them are not relevant and are generic.
“I won’t respond to an email if it’s a generic message that they send to a whole group of people. I get spam messages sent on a daily, and if they don’t personalize their message to me (stating my name, my blog name, my social media handles) then I just feel like they don’t actually want to work with me”, says Melina Peña, the creator of ivefoundwaldo.com.
What you should do: Your initial message should connect with influencers on a personal level. Keep the tone reasonably casual and avoid a generic subject line that could be confused as spam.
My friend made one more mistake — the wrong offer. She was trying to pay influencers with free handmade earnings. They are really cute and authentic, but every blogger’s post requires time and work, and time is money. That could work only with novice Instagram bloggers.
Your offer is beneficial only to you
If you are a new brand and want to get a post about your product, you have just two options: send it to a blogger in exchange for a post or pay them.
Keeping in mind that if your product cost, for instance, $15 and you ask for a post a blogger with 100K followers, it won’t work. If you have a limited budget, just send it as a gift, with no expectations other than to introduce them to your brand. It will be the sign of respect that will make this influencer more open to collaborating with you in future.
“I tend not to answer to companies that talk about how much they love my blog/social media pages, and then say they would love me to buy their stuff for 20% off. It’s one of those situations that I’ve never heard of them before, and they want to work in a collaboration where they reap all the benefits. Collaborations have to be beneficial to all parties involved, and that’s something that brands don’t understand,” says blogger Melina Peña.