How can something be automated and personal? Don’t the two terms contradict one another? In marketing, you hear two things preached more often than anything else: focus on building quality relationships with your customers through personalization, but automate your marketing where you can.
After all, there are only so many hours in a day, and quite a bit to be done to scale your business. And if you’re in the startup phase where you can’t necessarily afford to hire staff for sales and marketing, you’re stuck doing the grunt work yourself.
One complaint many influencers have is the “spray and pray” approach marketers use to get coverage for their business, product, or service. Instead of taking the time to get to know more about each influencer and the work they do, thereby crafting a somewhat personalized pitch, they get a list of influencers and mass email everyone.
They hope that some of them will respond with interest – but I’m here to tell you that won’t work. You’ll get far more bang for your buck by focusing on building relationships with influencers. When they get outreach requests that don’t address them by name and clearly is being sent to multiple people at once, they tend to ignore them.
In this post, I discuss how you can create a balance between automated outreach and personalization. You can apply these tips to automation and personalization to various areas of your marketing strategy – not just influencer outreach, though the recommended tools address influencer marketing specifically.
Dig Up Details – More is Better
If you’re reaching out to someone and asking them to do something for you, you’d better take time to learn about them. Of course, you want contact information, but you should take the time to read their work – tell them what you like about it. And if you understand a problem they’re having, offer content that will help them solve it. This shows them you’re paying attention to them as an individual, not just using generic approach for everyone.
Divide Prospects into Buckets
To help provide personalization, while still making it easier to use automation and templates, divide your influencers into buckets, based on factors that don’t change, such as age, gender, and niche.
Keep Brand Voice Consistent
Your brand voice will make it easier to differentiate yourself from the competition. If you’re a small business, consider using your personal brand, so it’s easier for you to provide personal and engaging content. and make it easier for customers to identify with you.
Automation Tools to Help You Get the Job Done
There are a number of tools you can use to find influencers, which are especially useful if you’re looking for the best of the best in your industry, or for influencers in a highly specific niche. I covered three of the major ones in my Influencer Marketing 101 post. Rather than sound like a broken record, I’ll just share some platforms for brands looking to connect with influencers.
- Upfluence: Upfluence is essentially a search engine to help you find influencers. Short list the influencers you’re most interested in contacting based on the filters you’ve applied to your search. Use the integrated emailing tool to contact the influencers.
- Linqia: This is an AI driven discovery engine to find influencers that connect to the right brands, to ensure the audiences get exposure to the brands and campaigns they will actually respond to. Pricing is based on alignment with customer goals, such as reach, engagement, and conversions.
- Brandsnob: BrandSnob is an iOS platform that connects brands and influencers. Brands can find and book the influencers they believe are the best fit for their campaigns. You can use your own list of influencers as well. Android is not available yet, but will be in the future, so Windows and desktop users can benefit as well. There are no subscription or booking fees for brands to use the platform. Instead, the platform takes a small fee from the influencers and content creators for each campaign they work on.
Tracking Email Opens
- Sidekick: This is an email plugin from HubSpot that can track email opens as well as clicks, and provide some information about the person you’re emailing. It connects the email address to profiles it’s used with.
- Yesware: Get email templates, track opens, and track link clicks. It connects with Gmail and Outlook – and syncs with Salesforce. After a free trial, pricing starts at $15/user/month, or $12/user/month when paid annually.
- Bonus: Make sure email addresses are legit with Kickbox. This tool works with a number of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to make a smoother workflow. It saves time because it validates the email addresses you’re sending messages to. Pricing is based on the number of verifications you need, starting at 500 verifications for $5. The first 100 are always free, and additional can be purchased on demand.
Building Outreach Templates
- Gmail’s Canned Responses: This is the simplest way to build email outreach templates – based on a feature that’s available for free in Gmail. Simply leave blanks to remind you what to put in. Just proofread before sending.
- Mailshake: This tool integrates with Gmail to provide various templates for cold emailing – guest posts, lead generation, link building, PR pitches, and content promotion. Pricing starts at $19/month/user.
- Quickmail: This is a sales and marketing CRM complement that gives you the ability to send personalized cold emails. You can also use it to track open rates, split test your emails, schedule your messages, and more. If you have an upgraded service plan, you can track link clicks and integrate it with other services. After a 14-day free trial, you’ll pay either $49 or $69 per user per month depending on the plan you choose. Switching to annual billing means you’ll pay either $39 or $55 per user per month.
Sharing Large Files
If you need to share files and assets with influencers that are too large for email, simply create a shared folder they have access to and put the files there. You can use, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive.
Following Up with Influencers
- FollowUpThen: This tool allows you email yourself reminders about when you want to follow up with influencers. You can send reminders in general, or only if the recipient hasn’t responded.
- Boomerang: This is a Gmail integration that allows you to write an email when you have time, and then schedule it to be delivered at another time.
Managing Your Outreach
- BuzzStream: This platform is intended for personalized influencer outreach. You can build a list of prospects, then learn more about them, segment them according, and send out personalized marketing communications. This tool helps you keep track of who is working with you and who has chosen not to. Pricing starts at $24/month per user. More advanced plans offer additional features and discounts on additional users.
- Ninja Outreach: This is a platform that makes it possible to find influencers and automate your outreach from a single tool. Pricing starts at $69/month for one user after 14-day free trial. There’s a Chrome extension so you can add influencers you find on your own while browsing the web.
- Nimble: This is a sales and marketing CRM designed to help you keep better tabs on your influencer contacts, allowing you to build and nurture your relationships with them.
Tracking Campaign Performance
- Pitchbox: This is an all-in-one influencer platform that works well for large-scale campaigns. It’s a CRM for campaign management you can use to track how well your campaign is performing.
Making it Easy for Your Influencers
Use a tool like Instapage to create a landing page to provide everything your influencers will need over the course of the campaign. This way, they won’t have to search through email exchanges, downloads folder, or cloud storage to find the things they need. Instead, they can bookmark the link to the landing page and go to it whenever they need information or assets.
Outreach Can Get Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have to Be
With the right tools and a little planning in place, you can make the most of the time you spend finding and working with influencers. I hope this guide helps improve your efficiency and guides you in the right direction.
What other tools do you recommend?