As you begin (or scale) your influencer outreach efforts, you might have more questions than answers. How much should you personalize your message to get a higher response rate? What parts of your email can you template to make outreach more efficient? What should you say in your follow-up messages to entice a reply?
If only you could peek behind the curtain and see how other brands practice creator outreach. With this guide, you can! Here’s the behind-the-scenes of how real companies reach out to influencers for all types of successful influencer collaborations.
The outreach examples in this article fall into two camps:
- The short message with a soft ask: in this kind of outreach email, you keep things short and open-ended. It’s great when you’re looking to form long-term creator relationships and are open to what that might look like.
- The detailed message with a specific ask: in this kind of outreach email, you’re hiring for a particular influencer marketing campaign with a defined budget and deliverables. Your message will explain everything the creator needs to know right away.
The first type of outreach: a short message with a soft ask
Best for starting a conversation with influencers
If you’re just starting out, here’s a formula that’d work for most people:
- Start with a personalized and genuine compliment that shows you’ve checked out the creator’s profile
- Enter a quick introduction about you and your brand — you can template this
- Close with a simple yes/no question to make replying easy
This works because it’s personalized to the creator, scalable, and easy to scale. Once you get a “yes,” you can explore what a potential collaboration could look like.
Another outreach template you can use is from Anna-Maria Klappenbach (who leads influencer marketing at Aumio). Instead of personalizing intensely initially, Anna prioritizes conciseness with very light personalization (see “As a mom of 3” in the example below).
Since Aumio’s target creators are busy moms, they’d rather read a short message that gets to the point quickly instead of a lengthy (although highly personalized) email. But rather than skipping all personalization, Anna and her team add a subtle hint (like the “mom of 3” in the template) so the creator knows they crafted the message just for them.
The only personalization Benjamin and his team do is using the first name of the influencer and adding their video’s title & link.
If you want to strike a balance between personalizing and using a template, Anna and Benjamin’s emails are good examples. Partially template your offer and add a dash of customization when referencing the creator.
All the above templates only work if you want your call-to-action to be an open ended question. But what if you already have a type of partnership in mind?
For example: Dmitri Cherner, former Head of Influencer Marketing at OneSkin, often kicks off by sending creators the brand's product. In those cases, the outreach message includes a specific ask instead of an open-ended question:
When the influencer responds, the OneSkin team can ask them for their address and continue with the collab.
Seeding isn’t the only scenario where your call-to-action is more specific. Sarah Saffari, Founder of influencer marketing agency InfluencerNexus, prefers to get on a call with the creator to understand their working style better before they move ahead with a partnership. Below is the template they used for one of their clients, FieldFans for Breast Cancer:
Since you’re asking the creator for a time on their calendar directly, it’s best to personalize the email rather than sending a canned compliment. Sarah highlights what she specifically liked about a creator’s Instagram Reel, for example. This shows the influencer why the agency and client are a good fit for their business.
The second type of outreach: a long message with specific details
(Best for recruiting fast and minimizing back-and-forth conversations)
If you're looking to build long-term relationships with creators and are open to how exactly that might look, the soft ask is excellent to open the conversation. But if you're recruiting for a specific campaign with defined budgets & deliverables, the “are you open for a partnership” approach can slow things down.
But it works for Ben and his team. Why?
- Blast has a specific offer for its influencer partners (free ticket & experience in exchange for influencer content). There’s zero chance of negotiating with influencers.
- Blast’s goal is to recruit a large number of creators with a lean team size. If the call-to-action is left open-ended, there’s back-and-forth conversation — which would make Ben & his team less efficient. Setting expectations early means the creators can say yes or no and move to the next stage, fast.
- Blast uses Modash to find potential influencers — so the team already knows the creators they’re emailing match their audience, location, and size requirements.
Piia Õunpuu, Influencer Marketing Manager at Bolt, uses the same approach of giving complete clarity on the campaign and creator expectations right away. But she also adds a sparkle of personalization to her outreach messages:
Bolt’s templates are flexible, but the recipe is more or less the same:
- Introduce Bolt.
- Explain the campaign with relevant examples of the influencer’s content.
- Give a concrete, short overview of expectations from the creator.
Since Leena has already defined what her company can offer to influencers in exchange for the partnership (a free product), she says that upfront and avoids any back-and-forth with creators who might expect more.
If you’re practicing performance-based influencer marketing, you may also be able to offer an added commission cut along with the free product. Kate Ross, Marketing Specialist at Irresistible Me adds that in her outreach email.
Kate and her team edit the content in bold if the offer and deliverable expectations differ. Hers is a useful example for recruiting influencers as affiliates.
Reaching out to a talent manager
A talent agency manages most big influencers. And some marketers might advise you to keep things strictly business when contacting an influencer’s managers. That approach certainly has its place.
This also makes sense — especially when you want to build long-term relationships with creators & their managers. A slight personalization displaying a warm tone and humanity can go a long way. Lee shared this real example for inspiration, too.
The email shows Lee knows the creator and has checked out her TikTok. It takes some mental load off the talent manager because they’d understand that you already know the creator and their content style.
Any marketer will tell you that following up regularly is critical to successful influencer outreach. Creators are busy people, and emails often get lost in their inboxes. Sometimes, you don’t reach them at the right time. Following up increases the chances of you getting a response.
But what should you say in your follow-up message? You want it to be short and not pushy. Anna from Aumio encourages personalizing follow-up messages to show the creator that you’ve been keeping up with their content. This shows the influencer they weren’t receiving mass emails from your company and adds that extra personal touch that could entice a reply.
If your first outreach message was already highly customized though, your follow-up email can be templated, like the one Sarah (of Influencer Nexus) uses.
You can automate such outreach follow-up messages using influencer outreach tools. Sarah’s agency uses Apollo.
But follow-up messages don’t end right after the first follow-up. You must keep reaching out to creators (or their talent managers) at least three to four times at various intervals. Anna (Brand Marketing Lead at Aumio) recommends simplifying the message and making your offer more skimmable as you reach out for the third or fourth time.
Aumio encourages potential creators to use the product and get a feel for it (even if they aren’t collaborating yet). It’s a great move. Why? Having first-hand knowledge of the product always aids in improving the quality and authenticity of influencer content.
Similarly, the “instead of a lot of text to read” phrase hits the right spot for Aumio’s target creators (busy moms) and makes them feel understood instead of pressured. The same tone follows in Aumio’s final follow-up email:
By giving the influencer an “out” of the collaboration, Aumio leaves the floor open for conversation. Creators can address any concerns, ask questions, or simply tell Aumio’s team the right time to follow-up. Keep your follow-up emails free of any pressure or demands and full of understanding and approachability.
Whip up your own influencer outreach templates
These examples give you a headstart in crafting your own influencer outreach emails. Most marketers will find it easy to personalize, scale, and succeed using a partially-templated and partially-customized outreach email sequence. But as is evident from above, different influencer marketing campaigns might have different needs.
If you still need to find influencers ready for outreach, try Modash for free. It’s a tool for finding influencers, analyzing their profiles, and tracking their content. For influencer discovery, it:
- Actually has enough influencers in your niche & market (literally, every creator with 1k+ followers)
- Has accessible pricing plans and self-serve options
- Gives you the audience data you need to do vetting before you spend time on outreach