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The time has come to invite influencers to partner with your brand. You’ve got a wish list of bloggers, YouTubers and social media stars you’re excited to approach. You want to reach out to them as quickly as possible — why not draft one email template and send it to everyone on the list? Fast? Yes. Effective? Probably not. Generic emails don’t make the cut in consumer marketing, and they don’t with influencers either.

You can use a very loose email template to help streamline things. But don’t let that template fly without personalizing it to fit the influencer who’s receiving it. This doesn’t mean simply changing the name at the top. Personalizing influencer outreach emails is one way to increase the chances that the emails get opened, get read and, most importantly, get results.

What Is Influencer Outreach?

Influencer outreach simply means making contact with an influencer and inviting this person to partner with your brand in a specific way. It sounds simple, but it does require upfront research. It’s not a good strategy to send a boilerplate email to thousands of influencers you haven’t vetted and hope that a few respond. You should research influencers who you think are a good fit for your campaign and then make initial contact in a thoughtful, respectful manner. The time investment will pay off.

Often, with first-time outreach, you’ll be emailing the influencer directly. However, a big-time influencer might have an agent or management team. In that case, you should direct your email there for a better chance of a timely response. You’ll need to do some research to find out where you should send this message.

Outreach entails making that first contact, but it also means following up on any responses in a timely manner. You definitely don’t want to leave influencers hanging. When they respond to your first email attempt, be quick to touch base and begin a dialogue.

You may have your heart set on working with a few select influencers. If that’s the case, consider making soft contact before sending your first email. Comment on the influencer’s latest blog posts, Instagram photos or YouTube videos. Share relevant content on your own channels. This way, the influencer is more likely to recognize your name and, consequently, open that first email.

Why Is Outreach Personalization Important?

When was the last time you clicked “Reply” to a generic email? Exactly. When it comes to consumers in general, 58 percent say that personalization is important in influencing their purchase intention, according to Salesforce data. Logically, the same thing goes for influencer outreach.

Taking the time to personalize an email demonstrates that you’ve already determined that your brand is a good match for the influencer’s audience. If you can explain that, the influencer won’t have to investigate it themselves.

In addition, it shows that you’re not taking the easy road by blasting out an obvious template. Generic emails don’t give the impression that there’s a real person on the other side. If influencers perceive you as a real person, they’ll be more likely to engage in a conversation.

What to Include in a Personalized Influencer Outreach Email

The best way to learn how to personalize an influencer outreach email is to try your hand at it. As you refine your technique, you’ll learn how to make your emails stand out from the crowd. Here are some best practices to get you started.

Craft a Great Subject Line

This is the first thing that the influencer is going to see, and it may make the difference between an open and a delete. The best subject line for your email will vary based on the influencer. You may have to go with your gut here. For example, some influencers prefer no-nonsense subject lines that clearly state what they’ll find inside the email. Others may appreciate a little creativity, humor and even mystery that entices them to open it.

Opt for something that resonates with not only the influencer but with your brand as well. If you like things buttoned up, then a plain subject line makes sense. If you’ve got a playful brand voice, then it’s logical to use that.

Use the Correct Name

Don’t start off with “Dear blogger.” Some influencers go by nicknames, but discovering their real names isn’t usually that difficult. If you’re contacting an agent or rep, then try to learn this person’s name and use it.

Get to the Point

Start with a friendly greeting, and then immediately explain why you’re making contact with the influencer. Briefly explain the partnership opportunity and why you think the influencer is a great fit with your brand. For example, say you’re looking for fashion influencers to review a new line of leather earrings you’re launching. You know this particular influencer has an obsession with leather accessories — not to mention an audience that matches your company’s target market.

Keep this as brief as possible; you don’t want to waste the influencer’s time or cause them to lose interest after the first few sentences. Clearly state what you hope the influencer will do, including a timeline if appropriate. Definitely mention the benefits and compensation they can expect to receive.

It’s hard to go wrong with a very specific, targeted pitch, but it may make sense to keep the opportunity open-ended in some cases. You may simply state that you’re interested in a partnership, outline some general opportunities for them to choose from and see what they’re open to.

Reference Their Work

A personal touch can go a long way. Referencing a specific post, podcast or video really shows that you’ve taken a close look at the influencer. It can also boost your credibility if you’re a new brand. For example, imagine you’re asking a dog blogger to review your company’s new line of organic dog treats. You can point to a past post that mentions the influencer’s commitment to sustainability and animal health.

Explain the Next Steps

What should influencers do if they’re interested — email a reply, call you directly or fill out an interest form? Make sure this is crystal clear and as easy and simple as possible. The more hoops the influencer has to jump through, the more likely it is that they’ll drop out.

Things Not to Include in Influencer Outreach

Your initial outreach should be centered on the influencer — not your brand. Include too much information about your company or campaign, and you’ll lose them. Focusing on the influencer’s work, audience and philosophy shows that you’re interested in a mutually beneficial partnership and not a one-way endorsement.

It may go without saying, but don’t get wordy. Craft your email so it’s as concise as possible while still conveying your brand’s voice and all your necessary information. Keep sentences short and easy to read. The whole email shouldn’t go much longer than a paragraph.

Skip the specifics in the initial email itself, but do point influencers to additional resources that can help them make a decision on your proposal. For example, include any campaign details in an email attachment. Link to additional information about your brand, such as product pages, reviews and ratings, to show that you’re legitimate — and serious about the opportunity.

Benefits of Personalized Influencer Outreach Emails

Personalizing your outreach emails can score you a higher response rate from influencers. It gives you a chance to reach out to influencers on other channels to follow up on your thoughtful email. For example, you can float influencers a tweet that mentions how you reached out with a collaboration idea.

Going from a basic template to a fully customized email is like taking your pitch from black and white to Technicolor. Whether or not the influencer agrees to a partnership, a personalized email sets the stage for good rapport. It may open the door to something down the road that’ll benefit you both in the future.