The honeymoon outreach technique will improve your influencer marketing greatly — it’ll just require some proactivity on your part to work.
In a best case scenario, you’ve got some sort of pre-existing relationship with the influencer you’re pitching. However, we all know that this often isn’t the case. Typically, you have to reach out to an influencer who has no idea of who you are and what you’re selling. In a way, this is the marketing equivalent to cold-calling. And let me tell you, I really hate cold calling — as I’m sure most of us do.
So, how do you avoid pitching cold?
The fundamental principle is straightforward:
Never sell or promote anything in your first contact with an influencer!
But how should you get in touch with influencers, then? 2-8 weeks prior to your planned outreach, drop your pre-selected list of influencers an email and introduce yourself. Don’t try to act as if you’re about to become best friends or anything — just state the following clearly:
- Your full name, your location, and your contact details.
- Who you work for (or what type of clients) and why you’re connecting with them.
- The key question: Would he or she be interested in potential brand collaborations?
If the influencer says, “No, I’m not interested”:
- You can remove them from your influencer mapping entirely since they would have turned you down anyway.
- You and your colleagues don’t need to waste any precious time on this influencer in the future. Win-win.
- You run less risk of getting a hateful post from an influencer that likes to “burn” pitchers. A great safety net.
If the influencers says, “Yes, I’m interested”:
- Getting a person to say ‘yes’ to one thing psychologically increases the chance of them to say yes yet again.
- You ensure that your mapping consists of influencers that are 100% positive to corporate collaborations.
- You don’t have to “cold call” them when you finally approach them with an actual pitch.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do a honeymoon outreach.
In my experience, the honeymoon outreach increases influencer marketing results significantly. After all — you’re only contacting influencers who have given you their permission1 to pitch them. Still, it’s not only about avoiding the ‘not interested;’ you will most likely write better outreach emails if you’ve been in contact with the people you’re reaching out to.
Update 2020-04-12: Since this post was written back in 2012, the influencer marketing industry has grown considerably. Today, there are many specialist outreach agencies and their primary strategy is to establish many influencer relationships before connecting them with brands. Hence, it’s safe to say that this post was onto something tangible!
- See also Permission Marketing by Seth Godin.