Influencer Outreach Guide: How To Contact Influencers In 2024

February 1, 2024
15 min
Rochi Zalani
Content Writer, Modash
Anna-Maria Klappenbach
Community & Brand Marketing Lead, Aumio
Lee Drysdale
Influencer Marketing Lead at KILLSTAR
Sarah Saffari
Founder at InfluencerNexus
... and
more expert contributors

Finding the best creators and vetting their profiles is futile if you can’t get influencers to respond to you. Influencer outreach is vital for executing your influencer marketing strategy successfully.

The challenge? Outreach is an intimidating beast. Without knowing what to say, where to reach out, and how to establish effective systems, you risk wasting valuable weeks with no ROI.

This one-stop guide on creator outreach will help you avoid those pitfalls. Let’s dive in!

What is influencer outreach?

Influencer outreach is the practice of reaching out to creators for influencer collaborations with your brand. It’s the first step for building new relationships.

5 best practices to level up your influencer outreach game

Soon, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how to craft emails and follow-up (with examples). But first, here are some general best practices to ace your influencer outreach efforts.

1: Use emails (instead of DMs) wherever possible to keep things well-documented and professional

Influencer partnerships are a B2B collaboration because creators are running their own businesses. And business is best done via email. Also, emails keep things professional and trackable.

I’m not saying never use DMs – they have their place. For instance, Agita Matule often recruits small creators on behalf of Wolt. Emails of these small influencers are often unavailable publicly. So, she uses DMs instead.

Agita Matule
Marketing Team, Wolt Latvija
I prefer DMs because they’re less formal, and a lot of influencers don’t list their email. If they agree to collaborate, I slowly move the rest of the communication to email.

DMs are more casual — you can use them to start a conversation if you already share mutual connections with the creator. Either way, move the chain to email so no collaboration details get lost.

2: Have partially templated emails to improve your efficiency

Templates are fast and efficient. However, the lack of personalization can reduce your response rate. The solution? Find a middle ground with partially templated emails.

When we interviewed over 50 influencer marketers to understand their outreach strategy, we found that more than half of respondents do this.

Think: what’s the general info about yourself, your company, and your products that you can templatize for each creator? Use this bit is a template and personalize the rest for the influencer and campaign. Here’s an example:

Fully templated emails are fine when:

  • You’re a household brand in your industry and every creator is eager to partner with you.
  • You have an ultra-specific offer for every creator you’re contacting with no room for negotiation.
  • You’re getting excellent response rates even with a fully templated email. (Because your offer is enticing, and you’re reaching out to the targeted creators who are perfect for the campaign.)

3: Default to a soft CTA to improve your response rate

A soft call-to-action is a question that needs a binary yes or no response — like “Are you open for collaborations?” or “Interested?”

These CTAs make it easier for the creator to respond to your email since they don’t have to absorb a lot of info at once. After a creator responds, you can get into the weeds and discuss the details. Use this approach when you really want to partner with a creator and are open to what that partnership might look like.

Dmitri Cherner, former Head of Influencers at OneSkin, also highlights how it allows for more flexibility in the creator collaboration.

Dmitri Cherner
Influencer Marketing Expert, ex-OneSkin
It allows more flexibility in the partnership. If you ask for specific deliverables, it pigeonholes the opportunity. Plus, it allows you to consider partners that you may be on the fence about initially. If they respond and it turns out they already love the brand, the partnership comes more naturally.

Some soft CTAs you can use:

  • Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?
  • Can we send you our product? [when you’re practicing influencer product seeding]
  • Are you open to collabs?
  • Can I send more info?
  • Interested?

Don’t use soft CTAs if you have a tight budget and requirements with no wiggle room. In that scenario, include all details a creator might need in your email and end with a firm CTA like, “Shoot me a reply if you’re interested” or “What are your rates for [x deliverables]?”

4: Do unscalable things in the beginning to learn fast

What if I told you to speak to every creator on the phone or on a video call in the first couple of months? Or personalize each creator outreach email with different ways to frame your offer? Or proactively hunt for feedback on your messages from peers and other influencers?

You cannot automate any of these tasks. They’re time-consuming and require a lot of energy from your team. But they can put you a hundred steps ahead in the long run.

  • A phone/video call with a creator will move the communication at a faster pace and help you understand the influencer’s requirements.
  • Personalized emails will help you understand what CTA, offer, and customizations get you the most responses, how quickly, and with how much enthusiasm.
  • Feedback will help you assess your outreach strategies and get a third-person perspective on where you can improve.

As a beginner in influencer outreach, do unscalable practices whenever possible. You’ll learn better with faster feedback mechanisms.

5: Think like a salesperson to grow quickly

Most marketers don’t put on their sales hat when practicing influencer outreach. Big mistake! Here’s why: thinking as a marketer, you don’t do more outreach volume, get dejected quicker, and derail your success.

As a marketer, it might give you the ick to follow-up multiple times. And the crickets in your inbox (despite hours of personalization!) seem personal. As a salesperson, they’re just part of the job. The marketer with the sales outfit knows following up isn’t desperate, and the low response rates just need some tweaking in the offer or phrasing.

Most of all: a salesperson knows volume matters a lot (whereas the marketer might give up after a few tries).

After all, the more influencers you email > the faster your feedback loop gets > the more you refine your outreach methods > the quicker you see success.

How to find an influencer’s email?

The first best practice is reaching out via email instead of DMs. But how do you even find a creator’s email address?

Most creators showcase their email in their social media bio. For example, if you want to find an Instagram influencer’s email, there’s a separate “email” tab on the mobile app. But many creators also share their email in the Instagram bio.

In TikTok, most influencers share their email info in the bio. You can find a YouTube channel’s email address in the “About” section.

While the above methods are reliable, they aren’t scalable at all. Combing through each influencer’s profile to hunt for their contact info and adding them to your spreadsheet is time-intensive. 

If you want to do this at scale, it’s best to use a tool like Modash. It helps with finding influencers (and their contact emails) quickly.

You can either:

  • Run a new search to find influencers according to your criteria
  • Import a list of influencers, and bulk find emails
  • Search for a specific @handle

Using an influencer outreach tool like Modash is much more efficient than the manual way. The best part? It’s an all-in-one influencer marketing platform that can also help you find relevant creators, analyze influencer profiles, and monitor campaign performance.

Try it for free (no credit card needed!)

Pre-outreach prep: start with a clear strategy and creator offer

Before you even begin your influencer outreach, have a clear outreach strategy to increase your chances of success. Here’s what you should prepare for:

  • Which type of influencers will you reach out to?
  • What will you offer to creators?
  • What is the communication process?

1: Which type of influencers will you reach out to?

Pre-vetting influencer profiles ensure you’re only reaching out to creators who are an excellent fit for your brand. It saves time and improves your chances of getting a response. For example, if you’re a skincare brand on a budget, you want to reach out to micro-influencers in the skincare niche. “Type of influencers” means you need to specify:

  • Influencer size: the ideal influencer size depends on your budget and campaign. The larger the influencer’s number of followers, the more they’ll charge.
  • Influencer niche and audience: you need to find influencers who are relevant to your industry. Their followers should overlap with your target customers in terms of audience location, age, gender, and more.
  • Influencer performance metrics: it’s good to specify a few metrics for your ideal influencer — like engagement rate, fake followers, growth rate, etc. You can narrow down and reach out to influencers who already meet these requirements.
  • Influencer content and style: a creator should match your brand's voice organically. For instance, a corporate influencer with a formal voice (even with the right audience) isn’t a good fit if you use humor in your brand tone.

With influencer analysis tools like Modash, you can get all the above data within minutes.

Malou Deuber, founder at socialrelation, achieves a 90% response rate because she does a thorough influencer analysis before shortlisting creators for outreach. Even if you can’t afford influencer vetting tools yet, spending 5-10 minutes checking an influencer’s profile before crafting an outreach message is worth it.

2: What will you offer to creators?

Get clear about what you can offer before you reach out to creators. Even with a soft CTA, you should be ready to move fast if a creator replies with a “yes” to your collab request. Clarity on your offer means knowing your ideal:

  • Deliverables (for example: 1 Instagram Reel, 2 Instagram Stories, and 2 Instagram Posts)
  • Timelines (if you’re looking at long-term partnerships, you should know how many sponsored videos/posts you expect per month)
  • Budget
  • ROI expectations 

This doesn’t mean you don’t have any flexibility in what a potential creator partnership might look like. Be open to taking a creative route if an influencer thinks it’s best for their followers. But still know your ceiling in terms of budget, timeline, and ROI before you begin influencer outreach.

3: What is the communication process?

What comes next once a creator moves from “lead” to “influencer partner” in your outreach funnel? What will you include in the influencer contract? Who do they contact if they have any doubts about the influencer brief? How will they submit their deliverables?

Having clarity on the process and having systems to implement it ensures you can hit the ground running when an influencer outreach goes successfully. Lay down the steps you need to take for onboarding a creator and assign responsibility to the people in your team before starting your influencer outreach.

You might not have everything figured out the first time around. You can certainly tweak your systems once your team and influence marketing efforts evolve. But having a rough few steps already laid out makes the ride easier.

How do you write an excellent influencer outreach email?

If you’re just starting out, here’s a formula that’d work for most people:

  • Start with a personalized compliment that shows you’ve researched about the influencer
  • Enter a quick (templated!) introduction about your brand
  • Close with a simple yes/no question to make it easy for the creator to reply

Anna-Maria Klappenbach, Influencer Marketing Lead at Aumio, has an excellent example of this template.

Example from: Anna-Maria Klappenbach, Aumio
Hey {{fname}},

I'm Anna from Aumio 👋. We're Europe's leading audio-first sleep & relaxation app for babies & children, developed by psychologists and scientifically proven to work.

As a mom of 3 I'd imagine you're very busy, so I'll keep it brief!

We're launching our app in the US. Since your content & values align so well with ours, I'd love to have you on board to help spread the news.

I've attached a short brand booklet for you to give some context, and there's an access code on the last page so you can give it a try.

Would you be open to collaborate with us next month?

{{your name}}

Anna personalizes her outreach emails very lightly (“As a mom of 3”) because her target creators are busy moms. They’d rather read a short message that gets to the point over a lengthy, personalized email.

If your deliverable requirement is more specific, you can alter your call-to-action. For example, Sarah Saffari, Founder of influencer marketing agency InfluencerNexus, prefers to get on a call with the creator before finalizing a partnership. Here’s a template she uses for one of their clients, FieldFans for Breast Cancer.

Example from: Sarah Saffari, InfluencerNexus
Hey {{fname}},

I thought you might be a good fit for a paid collab campaign with our client, FieldFans for Breast Cancer.

Following the double mastectomy of a loved one, the Founder joined forces with Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation wherein each sale of their inspiriational pillowcases donates 20% to breast cancer research.

I took a look at your IG reel on using home decore as a way of staying inspired and loved how you integrated such a beautiful healing journey with home design.

Given the alignment across the board, I think this could be a good partnership opportunity both ways.

Shoot me a response and we can setup a 15 minute call to discuss details on the project.

{{your name}}

The above two templates work if you have a soft CTA. But if you have a specific ask, you can send a long outreach message including details of the collaboration.

  • Introduce your brand
  • Explain the campaign and its goals (add personalization by highlighting relevant influencer content here if possible)
  • Give a short and concrete overview of your expectations from the creator

Piia Õunpuu, Influencer Marketing Manager at Bolt, has an excellent example of what a specific ask outreach message looks like.

Example from: Piia Õunpuu, Bolt
Hey {{fname}},

Getting in touch with you from Bolt — the mobility superapp in Europe and Africa with a mission to make cities for people, not cars. We want to invite you to join our newest campaign as an ambassador!

We recently launched the [campaign name]. The aim of the campaign is to [explain the goals with the campaign]. You can learn more about the campaign [here].

This is quite a broad concept, so we’re preparing to highlight the message in a fun way and we’d love to work with you on some social content similar to your [influencer’s content aligned to your expectations].

What would the collaboration deliverables look like?

- [Type of content expected]
- [Info/request for usage rights]
- [Any other details]

Let me know your thoughts and fees if you’re interested in working with us!

{{your name}}

What if you’re reaching out to a talent manager of a creator instead of the influencer themselves? Some marketers suggest you can keep things strictly business in this case. While that approach certainly has its place, Lee Drysdale, Influencer Marketing Lead at Killstar, recommends maintaining the same personalization approach with talent managers, too.

Lee Drysdale
Influencer Marketing Lead, KILLSTAR
I put in just as much effort to personalize and build relationships when I’m writing to a talent manager. Over the years, I’ve built some really good relationships with talent managers. It always pays dividends in the long run.

It makes sense because talent managers are humans, too. And developing a solid long-term relationship with them can aid your creator partnerships. Lee also shared his example for inspiration.

Example from: Lee Drysdale, KILLSTAR
Hey {{fname}},

I hope you're doing well!

Lovely to meet you. I'm Lee, Influencer Team Lead here at Killstar and I'm getting in touch in regards to working with Bone.

Personally I am a HUGE fan, from the Farmfoods hauls to making breakfast for London I live for it all! Bone lives rent free on my FYP and I AM HERE FOR IT!

We'd love to gift some pieces over to Bone. We'd love to see her take a trip to ALDI BRUV in her fave KILLSTAR pieces.

I would also love to get her rates for all things TikTok. Lemme know if you'd rather catch up over a meeting - happy to discuss any ideas and hear your feedback and suggestions for the next steps.

Excited to hear back from you, {{your name}}

All the above influencer outreach emails have their place depending on your team’s bandwidth and campaign requirements. The soft ask is best for opening up the communication line with an influencer while the specific ask is best for recruiting fast and minimizing back-and-forth convos.

💡 If you’re looking for more examples, read our 14 influencer outreach examples from real brands.

The art of following-up in influencer outreach

Almost every marketer who participated in our outreach survey said they follow-up with creators they reach out to at least 1-2 times.

Even though following-up might seem desperate, remember inboxes are messy and it's easy for things to get buried — especially for a busy creator. Influencers also care about partnering with relevant brands for their audience, so don’t hesitate to give them a little nudge.

How much & how often should you follow-up?

Most marketers in our survey follow-up at least 1-2 times. But you can add to that number easily if you’re not pushy. You’re likely not being as annoying as you think if you’re polite and respectful.

Following-up is also about timing. Sometimes you might reach out to a creator at the wrong time. Space out your follow-ups to one month, then three months, and six months after the initial 2-3 follow-ups.

The key to getting a response to your follow-up messages is customizing them. Show the creator they aren’t just part of an email funnel.

What should you say in your follow-up messages?

Keep your follow-up messages short and personalized. Anna from Aumio, for example, aims to show the creator she’s been keeping up with their content using follow-up emails.

Example from: Anna-Maria Klappenbach, Aumio
Hey {{fname}},

It’s Anna again! I hope you’ve been well, [refer to a personalized compliment from their profile] looked great.

I’m still in the middle of planning our [month] campaign and would really love to get you on board.

Have you had the chance to take a look at the Aumio app or the brand booklet? I’ve attached it again for your reference. Just use code [code] to unlock all content. I’m excited to hear what you think!

{{your name}}

But if you’re following up for the second or third time or your first email was highly personalized, you can use a templated outreach message like Sarah of Influencer Nexus.

Example from: Sarah Saffari, InfluencerNexus
Hey {{fname}},

Just a heads up, we're cutting off applications for the campaign in 5 days and wanted to loop back before we approach the deadline.

Totally cool either way, just let me know 😊

{{your name}}

As you approach your final follow-up emails, make your outreach message more skimmable like Anna (of Aumio).

Example from: Anna-Maria Klappenbach, Aumio
Hey {{fname}},

My little ray of hope and I wanted to reach out again to see if we can reach you this time around.

Have you had a chance to take a look at Aumio yet? Maybe you just haven't had the time yet or perhaps you're not interested? That's completely fine too, of course.

I’d appreciate it if you could let me know what direction you’re leaning towards and I will put a pause on flooding your inbox with my emails. If you’d just like a little more time I’m happy to touch base with you again later.

I’m really interested to know what your thoughts are on the App and how your kids like it. So even if you’re not able to collaborate with us in [month], maybe you’d like to start using Aumio here and there!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

{{your name}}

Always ensure your tone is polite and understanding, not pressurizing. Follow-ups aren’t desperate or frustrating if you’re approachable and not aggressive.

Influencer outreach = building relationships

Influencer marketing as a whole is all about building strong, authentic, and personal connections with creator partners. In your outreach strategy too, keep the relationship front and center. Empathize with the creator, understand what they need, and how you can help.

If you’re wondering how other brands form their influencer outreach strategy, check out our survey of 51 marketers sharing everything from their templates & CTAs to pro-tips & lessons learned.

And if you’re shortlisting influencers for outreach, use Modash to assist you. Using Modash, you can not only find influencers (and their emails!), but also analyze their profiles and track their performance. For influencer discovery, it:

  • Actually has enough creators in your niche and market (every creator with 1K+ followers is listed in our database)
  • Has accessible pricing plans and self-serve options
  • Gives you the audience data you need to do vetting before you spend time crafting an outreach email

Give it a whirl — no credit card needed.

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Contributors to this article

Anna-Maria Klappenbach
Community & Brand Marketing Lead, Aumio
Currently at Aumio, Anna is an expert in all things brand & influencer marketing. She has experience running performance-driven influencer collabs in markets like DACH, UK, US & more.
Lee Drysdale
Influencer Marketing Lead at KILLSTAR
After spending time in influencer teams at Beauty Bay & Solado, Lee now leads a team of 3 influencer marketers at KILLSTAR, a gothic & alternative clothing brand.
Sarah Saffari
Founder at InfluencerNexus
Sarah is the founder of InfluencerNexus, an agency that crafts memorable stories, builds trust, and drives revenue through creator partnerships.
Agita Matule
Marketing Team, Wolt Latvija
Agita is on the front lines every day marketing Wolt Latvija via influencer collaborations. Wolt is a technology company known for its delivery platform for food and merchandise.
Dmitri Cherner
Influencer Marketing Expert
Dmitri has 10+ years of senior marketing experience, building and managing Influencer programs at agencies and brands such as Ruggable, Quince, and OneSkin.
Piia Õunpuu
Global Influencer Marketing Manager, Bolt
We call her the Queen of Local Influencer Marketing. Piia's small team is responsible for finding & managing influencers in 15+ local markets every month for Bolt, a mobility company.

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