3 Mistakes Influencers Make When Brands Email Them

5-7 minute read

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Picture this.

You're lying in bed, binging another terrible reality TV show when suddenly, ding!

You get an email notification, do you:

A) Race to your phone and check it to see if it's a big brand deal opportunity, or do you

B) Ignore it because you seriously need to find out which D-list celebrity will make it to the next round. If you're still trying to choose between A and B, this video's for you.

I've mentioned before that I run an influencer marketing agency. When we're conducting outreach for a new campaign, we often email 50 to a hundred influencers to gauge whether they're interested in collaborating with that brand. So by now, I probably exchanged tens of thousands of emails with influencers, and there are three main mistakes that I see creators make over and over again.

Number one is responsiveness. 

In my experience, there is a high correlation between the influencers that reply to emails within a few hours and how seamless that partnership will ultimately be. Look, I get that you don't wanna constantly keep an eye on your inbox, but you can work smarter, not harder. For example, you can get alerts in Gmail for specific keywords, like, let's say, sponsorship or partnership, collaboration, or even the word paid, right? And ensure that those emails get sent to your priority inbox, or what about hiring a virtual assistant part-time to triage your email inbox and alert you about important messages? It's actually a lot more affordable than people realize. Maybe they're not doing it eight hours a day, but they can check in for 20-minute blocks. Let's say three times a day for a total of one hour. You can find VAs that will do this for, let's say, 15 bucks an hour.

Look, it's essential to understand how influencer campaigns come together. When the brand or agency is reaching out to you, that means that they're pretty far down the path of execution. If it's the brand, that person already got their manager's approval. If it's an agency, they've already got the brand's approval. And typically, when that approval comes, it's go time. They don't wanna wait three or four days to hear back from you. If they emailed, let's say, 50 or 75 people, who do you think they're gonna give priority to? The people that email them back right away so they can get this thing going. Also, by not responding for days, you're basically telling them that if they were to hire you, every single time they email you, they're gonna have to wait three to four days to hear back. And that's simply not gonna cut it.

Well, you might say, "Well, yeah, but if I were hired on the campaign, I would be more timely," but they don't know that. The timeliness of your first communication is all the brand has to go off of. You need to treat that moment with the gravity it deserves.

I wanna mention one other thing, which is that if you have a manager, make sure that you have some sort of agreement with them in place about how quickly they're gonna respond. You might think, "Well, but wait, isn't that the manager's job to handle all that? That's why I hired them." You would think so. But two things happen a lot. Either the influencer responds quickly and says, "Okay, yeah. I'm super interested. I'm CC-ing my manager." But then the manager doesn't respond for multiple days or two. It's clearly a manager's email address in the creator's business increase field, but no one ever answers, and we have to follow up. That's honestly the worst because we have no idea if the creator even knows that we're trying to bring them an opportunity. Just make sure that you do your due diligence when adding people to your team to help manage your creator business.

The second mistake influencers make when brands email them is that they fail to answer every question the brand or agency asks them.

Remember what I said that we're emailing many creators to see who might be interested in the campaign?

And let's say that there are multiple things that we need to know. For example, what is your age? What are the ages of your kids? Where do you live?

Or especially, do you have an affinity for that product? Have you already posted about the brand organically? If so, can you send us a few of those links?

The chances of the brand picking you will go way up if they know that you're already a fan. I'm gonna be honest with you. More than 50% of the time, I didn't start, 50% of the time, influencers either don't answer any of the questions or only answer some of them, which means that we have to follow up with them, which means that's more emails multiplied by however many creators didn't answer everything.

Your number one job is to make it easy for them. So, if you illustrate that you have incredible attention to detail, answer all of the brand's questions. Even if they didn't ask for it, you send them a link to a piece of content that you made months ago talking about the brand, you are going to instantly zoom to the top of their list of creators that they're gonna recommend to their manager, or if it's an agency, to their client.

And the third mistake I see influencers make when brands email them is they don't follow up.

So let's say you did a great job, right? You responded within a couple hours; you were very professional when you negotiated, the brand or the agency seemed really upbeat, and generally, there were good vibes all around. Well, then what? They probably said, "Okay, we're gonna think everything through," or if it's an agency, "We're going to circle back with the brand, and we'll let you know," and then nothing. Probably less than 5% of creators follow up at this point. Most people think, "Well, I don't wanna bother them. If they really want to move forward with me, then I'll reach out." While that can be true, you should use this downtime as a creator to illustrate how good of a partner you would be on this campaign.

You're probably right. What's likely happening is they just haven't selected which influencers they're gonna move forward with yet. But if they're trying to decide between you and someone else who has a similar following as you, similar audience demographics, but you were the one who followed up with them two or three times over the last month, which influencer do you think they're gonna go with? Probably you. 

You seem the most interested; you're definitely the most communicative, which, let me tell you, is a massive part of what makes a collaboration successful. I can't tell you how many deals we've done where it was like pulling teeth to get every single thing from the creator. It took multiple emails to get their concept from them that the brand could review before they shot. It took numerous emails to get drafts of their content for review. Multiple back and forth emails to implement simple edits to the content that the brand asks for. Those are all the little details that go into a partnership that brands and agencies think about. So if you can show them at the very beginning that you're gonna be super easy to work with, it'll be a no-brainer decision for them to hire you.

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