The Definitive Guide to Influencer Marketing: Chapter 4

CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

Chapter 4:

CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

Now that you’re ready to reach out to some influencers, you need to know all about how to make contact, what information to include, and what to do and not to do.

Contacting influencers

Generally the best way to contact influencers is via email. There are two ways to do this: manually, or with automated outreach.


This method is recommended for when you’re contacting a few influencers. Using the Excel on influencer data that you created or downloaded from Heepsy, contact influencers at the email addresses on the spreadsheet. Create a message template that you can copy, paste and personalize to save you some time.

CONTACTING MANUALLY

There’s no shortage of tools designed to help you automate your outreach efforts. These are perfect for when you want to reach out to many influencers at once. They’ll help you streamline the process and save a lot of time along the way.


One automation tool is Yet Another Mail Merge, or YAMM. YAMM is an add-on for GSuite, and it hooks up with Google Sheets and GMail to let you send many emails at once, as well as personalize and track them. The add-on is free if you only need to send up to 50 emails per day; if you need to send more, you can upgrade to a personal, GSuite or business account.

AUTOMATING OUTREACH

Here are the steps you need to take to get YAMM up and running:

1. Get your Google Sheet ready with the names and email addresses of the influencers.

2. Activate the YAMM add-on in Google Sheets.

3. In Gmail, prepare your template email. This will be the base email that goes out to all the influencers. Don’t send the email, but save it to Drafts. It’s important here to make sure you put an easily-identifiable subject, so that the email is easy to find.

4. In Sheets, select the column that contains the email addresses. Then go to Add Ons, and find YAMM.

5. To start the mail merge, YAMM will ask you to choose the Gmail template you created earlier. You’ll only see the subject of the email, so this is why giving it a name that clearly connects it to your campaign is important.

6. If you’d like to first see how your template looks once it’s sent, you can choose “Receive a test email”. If you’ve already tested or are sure you’re ready to send, click “Send X Emails” and YAMM will send your template to all the email addresses on your Sheet. If you have a paid account, you can also schedule the emails to be sent out at a future time or date.


7. With YAMM, you can also track the emails you’ve sent out. YAMM will automatically generate a new column in your spreadsheet, as well as open a pop-up window to show you the following:

  • EMAIL SENT - the email was delivered without problem
  • EMAIL OPENED - the recipient opened the email
  • EMAIL CLICKED - the recipient clicked on a link in your email
  • EMAIL RESPONDED - the recipient responded to you
  • EMAIL BOUNCED - the email couldn’t be delivered

To access your tracking at any time, click on “Open tracking report” under YAMM in Add-Ons.

HOW TO AVOID BECOMING SPAM

Sending out your first mail merge is easy. But, there are some tips to keep in mind to make sure your emails don’t end up in influencers’ spam folders.

  • Be brief
    Keep your email short and to the point. Long-winded emails will be more likely marked as spam.

  • Personalize
    It’s easy to personalize emails in YAMM. Basically, all you have to do is add this marker {{Column Header}} to Gmail and make sure it’s named exactly the same as a column Sheets. So for example, if you wanted to personalize the email to greet the influencer by name, you could start your template like this:

    Hi {{First Name}},

    And then, make sure that your column in sheets is named exactly the same: First Name. Check that all capitalization and spacing matches exactly. You can use this technique to personalize many other things too, like meeting times, incentive amounts, or whatever information may change based on the influencer you’re contacting.

    If you’d like more information about how to personalize emails, visit the YAMM support center.

  • Use clear subjects
    Choose subject lines that explain the purpose and content of your email. This will make it for humans and AI alike to recognize its importance.

  • Brand your emails
    Everyone across your organization should be branding their emails consistently. Include the company logo in all emails, and make sure everyone is using a similar email format and signature. Always include the brand name in your email address, and try to avoid noreply addresses. The more consistent your company’s emailing is, the more trust it will build with potential clients, customers, and in this case, influencers.

  • Be mobile-friendly
    Considering how much time influencers spend on social media, it’s not unusual that they’d check their emails on mobile devices like phones and tablets. Make your emails easy to read on these, and you’re more likely to make your message stick.

And that’s it! In a few simple steps you can contact as many influencers as you want in just moments!

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE CONTACTING INFLUENCERS

Here’s some handy information to ensure you understand and effectively implement the process of reaching out to influencers.

It’s important to understand that when you send influencers a first contact email, most will probably open it, but not all will respond. Our team usually sees the following rates:

RESPONSE RATES

  • Emails opened: 70-80%
  • Emails with links clicked: 50%
  • Emails that get answered: 30-40%

These response rates also depend on the type of influencer that you’re contacting. When it comes to micro influencers, the first factor that determines response rate is if the product is interesting to them and meshes well with their social media persona. If the product has a high perceived value, or if it’s an experience, micro influencers will usually respond at higher rates. The second factor is the type of publications that you’re asking for. If you’re only asking for stories, micro influencers are more likely to reply.


With mega influencers, you might find that the response rates are higher, up to even about 90%. These are full-time influencers with managers, and the response rate is so high because the manager will reply simply to provide the influencer’s fees.

If you want to reach out to an influencer but can’t find their email address, the next best way to contact them is via a direct message (DM) on Instagram. Be careful: if the influencer doesn’t follow you, the DM won’t show up in their main inbox, but rather in another folder for messages from users who they don’t know. To make sure they open your DM, make the proposal as attractive as possible! If it looks interesting, most influencers will open it and even reply. But if your proposal doesn’t stand out, influencers won’t answer and you’ll never know if they’ve read your DM or not.


Sometimes, when dealing with mega influencers, it may actually be better to contact them by DM. Your product may be interesting to them without a fee, but if you send an email, it will arrive directly to their manager. Influencers’ managers will always ask for a fee, as they earn a percentage of it. So if you want to try to close a deal around a product without a fee, it’s better to go directly to the source.

CONTACTING INFLUENCERS VIA DM

Tips for acing influencer outreach

When reaching out to your selected influencers, do it in as appealing a way as possible! In order to help you do that, these are some things to consider when you’re ready to contact influencers.

As previously mentioned, there are several ways to get in touch, each best for a certain situation:

METHOD OF CONTACT

  • Email - when you want to contact just a few influencers
  • YAMM - when you need to contact a lot of influencers
  • DM - when you can’t find an email or want to bypass managers

You need to decide if you want to send a first short introductory email, or send all the collaboration info from the get-go. This depends on the urgency of your situation.


If you don’t have time constraints, it’s best to send out a short, attention-grabbing intro email. Influencers are busy and will sometimes just scan emails and messages. So make your first contact as attractive as possible to catch their eye.


But, if you’re working with tight deadlines, it’s best to send all the information from the start. This way, influencers who are available at the moment can respond, and you can find someone for the campaign ASAP.

MESSAGE STRUCTURE

  • Introduction to the brand
  • Objective of the collaboration
  • Incentive in terms of product and money
  • Quantity and type of publications
  • Publication guidelines (message, hashtags, mentions, aesthetics)

Regardless, always keep your tone friendly and natural. Your email should include:

To save time, it’s a good idea to set up templates for your email communications with influencers. You should definitely create a template for your initial outreach email, and you may want to create 1-2 templates to respond to any answers you get from influencers.

TEMPLATES

To create a Template in Gmail, first make sure you have Templates enabled in Settings, under the Advanced tab.

HOW TO CREATE A TEMPLATE

After you confirm that Templates are enabled, open a new email and draft your text. When you’re ready to save it, look for the three dots at the bottom left corner of the email. Click it, choose “Templates”, “Save draft as template”, and then “Save as new template”.

When you want to send an email using a template, the process is the same. Go down to the three dots, find Templates, and you’ll see your template listed there. Choose the one you want, edit for any desired personalization, and send!

These are two sample emails. You can use them to get ideas for how to structure your own outreach emails and what type of info to include.

SAMPLE TEMPLATES

Sample 1:

Hi {Influencer Name}!


Nice to meet you! I’m Kate from Heepsy, an influencer marketing agency that specializes in managing campaigns for different brands and the national and international level. I’m reaching out because I have a collaboration proposal that I think could interest you, and because we’d love to have you join our campaign!


The collaboration is with Jones Smith, a British eyewear brand that is opening its first store in the center of Madrid. Jones Smith offers stylish, high-quality prescription glasses and sunglasses. The brand also offers a personalized service that lets you try on glasses in the comfort of your own home. The goal is for the glasses to become your new favorite accessory. :) The brand liked your profile and your modern style, and they’d love to collaborate with you to promote their arrival in Madrid.


The collaboration would be that you live the brand experience and test out the at-home trial service for 5 frames that you choose (this way, you have plenty of time to choose, without any pressure). Later on at the store, choose the style that you like best and get your pair of glasses completely free (valued upwards of €100). In addition to the glasses, we’d like to offer you monetary incentive in exchange for promoting our brand on your Instagram profile.


I’d love to be able to explain the details to you further, and I’m sure that Jones Smith will become your eyewear brand of choice!


Let me know what you think, and I’ll send you the rest of the details and be happy to answer any questions you may have :)


Have a good one!

Kate

Sample 2:

Hi {Influencer Name},


It’s nice to meet you! My name is Kate and I’m writing from Heepsy, an influencer marketing agency where we manage campaigns for various brands. We have a collaboration proposal that we think could interest you!


The collaboration is with Styler, a brand that offers women online personal shopping services. The brand is having great success in Europe and already works with some of the most important names in the fashion industry.


For the collaboration, we’d like you to receive clothes at home, delivered for free and for you to keep, in exchange for publication on social media about our brand. We think you could be the ideal person to live the Styler experience and recommend it to your followers so that they can enjoy it too!


If you’re interested in the collaboration, we’d love to fill you in on the details.


Please let me know what you think ;)


Thanks!

Kate

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNS

If you’re staging your campaign in more than one country, be sensitive to cultural differences that may exist between them. You may need to set up templates in different languages. Also, keep in mind that purchasing power varies by country, so negotiating with influencers won’t be the same wherever you go. Be prepared, for example, to see that a French influencer’s fees are much higher than an influencer from the Philippines.

When you’ve finally received some replies from the influencer you contacted, it’s time to start negotiating. If you’re lucky, the influencer will accept your collaboration proposal just as you send it. More realistically, you’ll have to do a bit of back-and-forth to iron out the details.


Leave a margin of about 15-20 days if you’re going to be negotiating with macro or mega influencers, and a bit less if you’re entering into discussions with nano or micro influencers.

Negotiating collaborations

Regardless of how your negotiations go, you always want to clarify the following points before ending your discussions:

  • Timing of incentive (delivery estimation, whether for fee or product)
  • Publication timing (deadlines or windows)
  • Content review (how/when you’ll review the created content)
  • Number of publications (and how many of each type)
  • Publication content (anything you want the influencer to include)

Negotiations vary based on the type of influencers you’re dealing with.

NEGOTIATIONS WITH DIFFERENT TYPES OF INFLUENCERS

  • Micro influencers who accept most collaborations
    When working with these influencers, as well as with nano influencers, negotiations are minimal. If the product or service is appealing to them, most nano and micro influencers will accept your proposal without trying to negotiate for a fee.

  • Micro influencers who are more demanding
    Once micro influencers start to do more collaborations and move up the ranks, they’ll start to also charge a fee, although not a very high one. Product might not be enough here, and you might have to pay something, especially if you want the collaboration to include posts. It may be easier to negotiate a collaboration using only stories.

  • Macro and Mega influencers
    Once you get into the major leagues of influencer marketing, negotiations are going to be necessary and a bit more challenging. The first reply to your proposal will be from the influencer’s manager, presenting their fees for various types of publications. Try asking for a pack of publications - more publications over a longer period of time but at a discounted rate.

Master influencer marketing with Heepsy

An industry that already generates 6.6 billion dolars

While everything is always more secure with a contract, it’s not always necessary when making deals with influencers.

DECIDING IF YOU NEED A CONTRACT

  • When deals are made on product alone
    When a collaboration is accepted in exchange for products or services, a contract isn’t usually necessary. However, if your product has a very high value (a motorcycle, for example), you’ll want to put the collaboration to pen and paper.

  • When working with nano or micro influencers
    When working with nano or micro influencers, who aren’t as demanding as top influencers, you can probably close most deals based on product alone. And even when they do ask for a fee, they usually ask for minimal amounts, so you probably won’t need to sign a contract. Just make sure you have your agreement in some form of writing, like an email.

    Not every influencer is going to give you perfect publications, but no sweat. The important thing is the general impact of the campaign, which usually turns out to be positive. Influencers at this level seem to balance each other out: some might publish worse than expected, and others better. Don’t forget that it’s good to give these creators the freedom and time they need to create the best possible content.

  • When working with macro or mega influencers
    Here you’ll almost always need a contract. The amount of money paid as incentive is usually high, and for that, you’ll want to ensure that all the conditions of the collaboration are agreed to in writing.

If your negotiations get stalled because the influencer isn’t replying to you, just politely follow up. There are a few steps you can take to follow up in different ways:

FOLLOWING UP ON NEGOTIATIONS

  • Emails - If they don’t answer your first email, try sending a second or even third.
  • DM - If they don’t reply to your emails, try reaching out with a direct message on Instagram.
  • Comments - If the influencer doesn’t reply to your emails or DMs, comment on one of their posts to politely remind them to check their emails/DMs

If you don’t get a reply via any of these, it could be because of various factors. Maybe that influencer has stopped collaborating. Maybe they’ve had something happen in their personal life to take them away from social media. Who knows! In any event, at this point it’s best to move on to contacting other influencers.

While the value of incentive is the thing that’s usually most at the forefront of companies’ minds when entering into business negotiations, there are other factors that you have to take into account when setting up a collaboration with an influencer.

Managing compensation & logistics

INVOICES

Invoices are valuable to both you and the influencer, as they show the amount, date and other important information about any payment transactions between the parties. They’re also a way to keep track of income and expenses.

Who issues the invoice? The influencer. In some situations, large companies may have templates that they provide to an influencer to fill out. But regardless, it’s the influencer’s responsibility to bill for their services. If you’re working with a full-time influencer who has a manager, this process will already be familiar to them. Keep in mind that if the collaboration is paid only in product, an invoice isn’t necessary. And for some minimal fees, often when working with nano or micro influencers, the brand may opt to just pay them without invoices.


When will the invoice come? You may speak with influencers who want you to pay them upfront, or half upfront and half after. But the majority of collaborations are billed after all the influencer’s work for the campaign has been published.


You’ll usually have 30 days from the issuing date of the invoice to pay it. If you’re going to receive invoices from the influencers working on your campaign, it’s a good idea to straighten out the details during negotiations to make sure that everyone is on the same page and both parties can plan and prepare accordingly.


PLANNING FOR INVOICES

To send out an invoice that’s complete and correct, make sure you include the following information:

ISSUING A GOOD INVOICE

  • Invoice number - a reference number to identify each particular invoice
  • Issue date - to know exactly when the invoice was sent
  • Sender info - the name of the influencer, tax address, contact email, and tax ID*
  • Recipient info - the name of the business, tax address, contact email and tax ID*
  • Description of services - a description of rendered services and their costs
  • Subtotal - the price before tax
  • Tax rate and total - the tax rate and total tax charged, if applicable
  • Total to be paid - the final amount that needs to be paid
  • Pay-by date - the payment deadline, often 30 days from the issue date
  • Payment method - how the invoice should be paid, for example by bank transfer, PayPal, etc.
  • Bank/PayPal info - any relevant information necessary to make the payment

*Tax ID varies a bit from country to country. In the United States, the two most common tax IDs are a social security number (SSN) and employer identification number (EIN). In Spain, for example, this number is called the código de identificación fiscal (CIF). Check with a certified accountant in the relevant country to ensure that you’re correctly handling any and all tax issues.

LOGISTICS

In the majority of collaborations, influencers receive products from the brand they’re working with. But, moving physical objects requires additional time and labor. This is where logistics comes into the game.

There are some different ways you can send products to influencers:

SHIPPING BASICS

  • A voucher - send the influencer a voucher for thea agreed-upon value, and they can later use it in your physical or online store
  • A shipment - physically send the influencer the product (maybe it’s a specific product for the campaign, or maybe you let them choose what they like from a catalog)

The second option obviously includes shipping & handling. There are a multitude of companies out there that can handle all your shipping needs - FedEx, UPS, SEUR, DHL, etc. Compare them and decide which works best for you and which operates in the area you need to reach. Always make sure the shipping company gives you a tracking number so you can ensure that the product arrives.

If you’re working with many influencers, use vouchers. They can buy what they like and it’s less stressful for you. However, if you’re working with just a few influencers, take the time and effort to send them the package. And if you can personalize it in some way, all the better. The influencer is likely to publish more if they see that you’ve put time into your package.


Once you’ve shipped out the product, notify the influencer that the package is on its way, and tell them approximately how long it should take to arrive.


If the package doesn’t arrive, check the tracking. You may want to give the influencer the tracking number so they can watch out for the package. Or you may need to contract your shipping company to sort out any issues. Check to see if the package was delivered to a pickup point. If the influencer doesn’t receive the package and it’s sent back to you, assess the situation and decide if it’s worth sending out again.

TIPS FOR GOOD LOGISTICS

Monitoring your campaign is equally important as all the work you put into planning it. This is where you’ll start to see your results and whether or not you’ve achieved your objectives. Therefore, it’s critical to set up a good system of campaign tracking.


There are several platforms you can use to track your campaign, but a good place to start is Google Analytics. It’s free to start out, and there are various courses online in case you need to learn how to use it.

Setting up campaign tracking

INFLUENCER METRICS

Influencers have some internal statistics that are valuable to your campaign. To clarify, these metrics are only available to influencers who have their profile set up as a business profile and who have over 10K followers.


If your influencer meets these criteria, they can access Instagram Insights. Insights can provide data on the influencer’s audience (gender, age range, location), engagement, reach and impressions. Ask influencers to provide you with the data related to the posts and stories they publish for your campaign.

LINKS

The best way to measure the traffic generated by an influencer’s publication is through the links used in the campaign. Links are often taken for granted; many people don’t understand just how much links can tell us.

You first need to know where you want to direct the traffic. Do you want to direct people to your home page? A landing page? Your eCommerce shop?


Next, you want to create what’s called utm parameters (urchin tracking module). Without getting too technical, Utms can be tagged onto the end of a link to you valuable information about your marketing campaign. There are five tags you can use:

HOW TO CREATE A TRACKING LINK

  • Source - shows which site visitors are directed from
  • Medium - tells you what type of link was used, for example email or cost per click
  • Campaign - identifies the specific campaign
  • Term - designates any paid keywords used
  • Content - specifies what element was clicked, such as a banner or text link

A simple way to create UTM links is with Campaign URL Builder, a free tool from Google Analytics that walks you through the process step by step.

Now, with all those extra parameters, your links can get really long. No one wants to post an unattractive, never-ending link on their profile or send it in an email. Thankfully, there are some services that let you shorten your link and make it more palatable.


Bitly allows you to generate, share and track links. It also lets your brand your links for increased recognition. Bitly offers an on-site dashboard from which you can monitor your links and their success. Bitly integrates with various social networks and digital marketing tools, and lets you create links individually and in bulk. Short.io also lets you shorten branded links and then share them across the Internet.


Short.io, like Bitly, offers built in Analytics. It also integrates with other marketing tools, like Google Analytics. Short.io also lets you create mobile links that direct users based on their mobile operating system.


These are only two of the many link shorteners that are out there. Do some research and see which one feels best to you. But whichever you choose, make sure you are consistent with both the building and tracking of your links.

SHORTENING YOUR LINKS

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