Influencer Outreach Guide for Small Business: 9 Step to Success
Up until now, content marketing has been the number one strategy for all marketers, and the best way of converting their followers into customers. However, since everybody is doing more of the same, and creating high-quality content that competes with one another, they are finding it harder to reach their target audience, because there is so much noise to sift through and stand apart from the crowd.
Also, because the readers are able to choose between so many great content resources, content marketers need to work much harder than before at obtaining them, which brings up the issue of cost-effectiveness.
However, there is one strategy that seems to be a hit right now and which, according to research, is not only the fastest-growing, but also the most cost-effective. We are talking about influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is so effective because it helps you improve several different aspects of your content marketing strategy at once.
There is the fact that influencers have tons of followers, most of which are your target audience, which means instant exposure. Also, you can build quality backlinks and drive traffic to your website or blog.
But, the most important piece of the puzzle is the pronounced human element of influencer marketing. You are connecting with your influencers directly, developing a mutually beneficial relationship, and because they are usually the ones to spot and implement new trends, you will always be able to stay ahead of the curve. So how can you use influencer marketing to grow your small business? Check out our 9-step influencer outreach guide and find out.
1. Find out Who Your Influencers Are
As we’ve pointed out before, one of the reasons why influencer marketing is so effective is because it can expose your content and your business to the people which are your target audience, which means they are very much interested in what you have to say and offer to them.
But, this means you have to do your homework and research the most suitable influencer for your brand or business. Otherwise, their audience will not care much about your content, and you will end up wasting their time and closing that door forever.
Fortunately, there are plenty of useful digital tools, such as FollowerWonk, BuzzSumo, Klout, and many others, which are easy to use and which can help you save time and pinpoint the right influencers inside your niche. Once you have done that, you can proceed to the next step.
2. Get on Their Radar
According to EssayOnTime marketing specialist, Kenneth Ross, you should make sure you’re your influencers are aware of your presence before actually contacting them:
“Start following your influencers on social media, like and comment on their posts. Not only will they be able to see that you appreciate their work and follow them actively, but you will also get a feel for the way they operate and think.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should start stalking them and spamming their every post. Influencer relationships function in pretty much the same way as friendships do. Even though you may have liked someone after meeting them, you can’t show up at their doorstep the next day and become friends immediately. It takes time, like all human interactions do. Once they are familiar with your name, you can focus on the next stage.
3. Reach out to Them
After doing your research on them, it is time to contact influencers from your niche. But, instead of sending the same generic message to a whole bunch of influencers, take the time and create a unique one for each influencer.
Since you already know their preferences, you can use that to craft a message that will resonate with them, or you can hire professional writer from services like to help you out.
Also, think about which channel would work best when contacting them. Some influencers will respond to messages on LinkedIn, while others might prefer it if you were to contact them via other social media, email or their blog. See what works best, and stick to that approach when reaching out to influencers in the future.
4. Be Upfront about Your Strategy
Since you probably not the only person contacting them with your business in mind, it is best to be honest and upfront about why you are reaching out to them. They already know you haven’t reached out to them just so can make small talk or invite them to a barbecue.
But, they aren’t simply going to help you out just because you want them to. Remember that influencer marketing is a two-way street, which means that there must something in it for the influencers, as well.
You may have created great content which addresses the pain points of their audience, and sharing it would increase their readership and their influence. Or, you may have a killer product on your hands which you can give to them, free of charge, but in exchange for their quote, share, or a guest post. If that’s the case, they will be more than willing to help you out.
5. Come up with High-Quality Content
This is arguably the most crucial step of them all because, no matter how much time you invest into developing a relationship with a key influencer inside your niche, if you content is not good enough, they aren’t going to share with their audience.
They are who they are because they have a reputation of providing brilliant and insightful content to their followers, and they aren’t going to jeopardize their reputation and authority with subpar content.
Mind you, you should aim to create great content not just because of them, but because of yourself, since it is a reflection of your business. Your content needs to be unique, helpful, and engaging for the reader, and if possible, it should be a solution to one of their problems.
6. Divide Your Influencers into Categories
We’ve already mentioned that you should send a unique message to every influencer, and we’ve also pointed out that you should figure out the best channel through which you will contact them. But, there is more to it, because there are different types of influences. One’s influence is usually viewed through the number of reaches and followers on social media, their activity, and their skill level.
If you are after those with massive social media reach, it might be difficult for you to get in touch with them, because everyone is contacting them. They are great for spreading word about your business, but if you are looking improve your authority in the niche, you might be better off collaborating with influencers which are known for their expertise in the niche.
But, don’t forget about your customers, because one of them might be an influencer, which means that if you treat them right, they can become advocates for your brand.
7. Delight Your Influencers
One of the ways of giving back to the influencers would be to give them a free copy of your product, or access to a premium section of your website. In case you don’t have a product, you can send them a gift that will show them you’ve given it some thought. An even better way of delighting them would be to meet with them in person. If your business has an actual office, invite them when you are promoting a new product, or if you’ve scored a big contract.
If not, you can still gather them online, and host a web conference for them, where they could exchange ideas and collaborate with one another, while you learn from them.
8. Keep Your Partnership Alive and Well
One of the biggest mistakes of influencer marketing in not nurturing your relationship with the influencers. After you have collaborated with them, make sure to get in touch with them every once in awhile and see how they are doing. If you just use them and forget about them, rest assured you won’t hear back from them the second time around you need something.
Even if you don’t need anything in particular from them, there is still so much you can learn by collaborating with them or keeping tabs on their activities, not to mention growing your authority and becoming an influencer yourself in the future.
9. Ask Them to Connect You with Their Influencer
You might not be able to reach some influencers, especially if you are new on the block, and they are basically superstars. However, once you have collaborated with several other influencers, they might be able to help you get in touch with some of their more high-profile peers. The VIP influencers will then be more likely to respond to your messages, because you will be recommended by fellow colleagues they appreciate and with whom they might have collaborated previously.
This also comes in handy when you are doing further influencer research, and trying to find new influencers. You can simply ask your existing influencers about it, because they have already done their homework in that aspect, and they can point you in the right direction.
Another great resource you should read:
Influencer marketing is growing strong, and it will still be just as effective in 2017, so make sure to study our guide, grow your business, and build your brand by producing great content and developing mutually beneficial relationships with your influencers. Not only will you drive traffic to your blog or website and boost your income, but you will also strike relationships with the right people in the industry and learn from them, which is priceless. Start building your influencer marketing strategy today.