Influencer Marketing: Tips On Successful Pitching
So you’ve identified the perfect person for your influencer marketing campaign. What next? Mirror the buyer’s journey and treat influencers like leads. You need to interact with them long before you want to pitch a partnership. Engage, pitch, and nurture.
By interacting with an influencer and their content on social media, you dramatically improve your chances of successfully pitching for a number of reasons:
- Frequent engagement means they’ll become aware of your brand.
- You get to know what they talk about which means you nail down whether or not you’re right for each other.
- Getting to grips with their lifestyle and interests lets you extensively personalize pitches, your research will impress the influencer or draw attention to things in common, at the very least.
- You can see who they’ve worked with in the past; is there a conflict of interest, for example?
- You appear more genuine. This is important as influencer marketing is all about social selling.
Research is critical in influencer marketing
Influencer marketing acts as a peer recommendation. This means that influencers often only work with brands they really believe in, which puts greater emphasis sourcing the right person for your company.
Simple engagement through social platforms will naturally inform you when you're pitching, but don’t solely rely on this. Do your research, gather details of their audience demographic as you would with any campaign research, and leverage this instead of going in cold. We use Buzzsumo to monitor domain authority, followings and content that people are sharing.
Keep a list of influencers you’ve engaged with, include information such as demographics and lifestyle. Keep adding details of content and topics they’re discussing - influencers evolve so staying up-to-date is also essential.
South Africa-based Influencer Asha Singh, who focuses on lifestyle and travel, said she doesn’t expect brands to build a relationship before reaching out, but that it’s important they do so after.
“I don't mind if they haven't built a relationship with me beforehand if it's their first time wanting to work together. But after that, I kind of expect a more mutual exchange, so them sharing my content, being in contact with me, and then working together in the future.”
What To Include In Pitches
There is no magic formula to pitching influencers; what works for one person won’t work for the other so don’t be scared to adapt. Your extensive background research should make this easy.
One thing that is a must is clarity. Be clear and outline what you’re proposing but also highlight why they should work with you. What can you offer them? Adding value to both the influencer and their audience is the best way to grab their attention, especially those who are in demand.
This is easier when your goals are in line with theirs. Use demographic data to inform your pitch, because if the influencer thinks what you're trying to achieve is beneficial to them and their audience, they’ll probably going help out.
This is really important because if you’re not clear and decisive, showing that you've done your homework, you could sever your relationship with the influencer.
Beau Ushay, Owned Media and Content Specialist at Ushay Consulting Group, said:
“Start by looking at your brand’s objectives first. We see a lot of marketers who know they need to be active, but don’t have a clear understanding of their target audience, what motivates them or where they live.
“Once you have that locked down, see if there’s a social audience which matches those parameters, rather than retrofitting the accounts to your needs.
“Also, like any form of driving media, start with the destination first and work backward. There’s no point in driving eyeballs to a website or conversion point which is not optimized to turn that traffic into paying customers. So make sure your landing pages and other assets are cranking at full capacity before burning through your ad spend.”
Sweeten the deal
Depending on your budget, you may want to offer something to sweeten the deal. Try to entice them with what you can; this does not have to be monetary but perhaps event tickets or freebies. You should judge this offering based on the influencer you’ve chosen.
There’s something different for everyone. The promise of backlinks and intros will also help when pitching, especially to certain types influencers, like the connector, while experts and thought-leaders love to continuously learn, as well as imparting their knowledge on others.
Be patient, though. Influencers are particular about who they work with because if it goes bad, their reputation is on the line too.
If you’re not hearing anything back, make sure you follow up. Don’t do this too soon though as it’ll look spammy - think about emailing three days after the original.
Managing Director of Biologi, Lucy Kuper, suggests sending a message introducing your brand and suggesting that you can send them some samples to try - of course depending on your industry.
“It should always be a two-way street – don’t expect something if you’re not willing to offer something in return. Another great way is to hold an influencer event which gives you an opportunity to invite them along to get a better understanding of what your brand is about.”
Whoever you target, let them know that working with your brand will deepen the knowledge, showcase their expertise and support increased status.
Be creative and collaborative
One way to attract creative influencers is by letting them in on the process, rather than pitching them a rigid, pre-determined plan.
William Grou, the Co-founder of creative agency Willow and Hive, said:
“The best way to approach an influencer is to involve them in the creation process.
“They are businesses and they like to have things a certain way and to look the best they can, as every other business does. So, by giving them guidelines and creative freedom and approaching them with authenticity and collaboration you can’t go wrong.
“Of course we have a client to please so we have to persuade a little as well, but the general idea is to make them feel part of the project instead of a pawn being used for their exposure.”
- Be personable; don’t send pitches in batches because believe me, they’ll know
- Target highly relevant individuals, you’re wasting everyone’s time otherwise
- Offer something, even if it’s as simple as sharing their content on social
- Always build a relationship first
- Don’t send too many follow-ups too soon
The work doesn’t end here, after successfully pitching and working with an influencer, continue to nurture them. This makes it easier for any future opportunities and will encourage brand loyalty as you build a relationship with the influencer.
In such a digital world, influencers are key in any modern marketing strategy. Finding the right partner for your brand may not be easy, especially if you’re in the B2B space, but hard work pays off.