Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Pixabay

It’s a common scenario: you find an influencer on social media, and you want to contact them for a project. Maybe you think they would make a great guest blogger, or you just want to feature their story on your site. But is it time for a cold email yet?

Cold emailing is still effective but by far not as effective as other ways to reach out to an influencer.

The thing is, influencers get tons of emails daily, so they better recognize your name on it; otherwise they may not even pay attention!

Here is your checklist of what to do before contacting an influencer (Of course, you can do more but I wanted to keep it doable!)

1. Google Them

The more you know about that person, the better deal you’ll be able to achieve. Look for their struggles, interests and hobbies and think how you can be useful to each other.

A templated offer “I’ll give you a free access, please review our tool” or “I’ll give you $xx, please endorse us” will be effective only if your prospect is really hungry for money. You need to find some hooks to pique their interest. Or better, you need to figure out how to turn that contact into the long-term relationship or partnership.

The reason this option is so useful is its scope. People will comment on blogs, have other social profiles, write in forums, and speak at the events. Browse around for at least 15 minutes to understand how to better reach out to them.

Tip: Look at all social media descriptions, author profiles, and interviews.

If they are active on one social network, they are probably at least signed up on some others. If you can hunt down different profiles, follow them everywhere. Facebook Pages, Instagram, and LinkedIn are usually great for this. The more they see they around, the better the chances your name will ring a bell.

Author profiles often share alternative ways to contact the author. Just look through where they contribute:

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

Apart from giving you additional contact info, this also tells that they don’t mind being contacted which is a very good sign!

A few Google searches will also reveal where this person has been interviewed (and since we are talking about influencers here, there might be quite a few places like that). Skim through: you’ll see more ground to start the conversation with this influencer.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

[Examples of blog interviews done by FirstSiteGuide]

2. Start with a social media interaction

Starting with a quick Twitter RT and a Facebook or Instagram comment or a quick is a good idea for two reasons:

  • They say it takes a couple of quick interactions before an influencer can really recognize you from the crowd. It’s not because they are “divas”, it’s because they deal with too many people online!
  • Talking about divas, this is a great test if that relationship is worth working on. You want to contact those influencers who actually talk back (This means they have to build audience loyalty and will be more willing to work with you on a long-term basis). Don’t waste your time on divas who broadcast their social media updates all day long without paying attention who talks to them. You want real voices who care!

So only take the time to email once you hear back!

Tip: I also maintain a separate Twitter list of the influencers I am interested in reaching out to in order to see who and how they respond to, what kind of tweets trigger a retweet and how they tend to reply to requests.

Cyfe is the best way to monitor that Twitter list: It lets me keep in eye on my influencers right within my regular working dashboard.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

3. Find More Ways to Email

It’s not easy to find an email address these days. Many influencers get bombarded with cold emails on a daily basis, so they prefer to hide their contact info to only be contacted by people they know well.

Or, maybe they prefer a different way of communication: Like a tweet or a Linkedin message.

Sometimes they won’t have an email listed on their About or Contact page, but they will have a contact form available. Sure, it isn’t ideal, but it gives you some way to get to them directly.

Finally, check the website their WHOIS data will probably have a published email address as a matter of public record.

Here’s a quick handy tool for that I am using (There are many similar ones that you can use.) Then look through the data until you find the email address registered to the domain.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

Using this tool, you can find other websites owned by the same person. This is a great way to find other ways to discover additional contact info:

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

There are a couple of downsides to this method. For one, the domain may be registered to someone else and they just work for the site. For another, it might just be a site specific, or even business throwaway, account. So they might not check it regularly, or use it for correspondence. But it is worth a shot.

Finally, use the combination of Email Permutator and Rapportive.

This is definitely the long way, but great for contacting higher profile contacts, or those with a heavy online presence.

First, use the brilliant email permutator created by Rob Ousbey of Distilled Media. It will give you a list of common combinations that companies or people are likely to use for official email addresses. Unfortunately, this gives you more options than you probably want to sift through.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

That is where Rapportive comes in. You download the plugin for Gmail and put all of the offered email addresses from the permutator into the To field. Then you click on one after another. Rapportive will give you any LinkedIn pages associated with that email. So you will know which one is correct.

4. Organize Your Contacts with NinjaOutreach or BuzzStream

If influencer outreach is something you are professionally and /or continuously involved in, you may want to invest in a Ninja Outreach or BuzzStream subscription. They are great for lead generation and engaging with crucial contacts, as well.

Keep in mind that this service is a bit of an investment. Both BuzzStream and NinjaOutreach starts at $29 per month and go up to $249 a month for enterprise users. But they may be worth it.

The hugest benefit of using this software is that it helps you organize your contacts and statuses effectively. You can create lists based on your projects, topics, clients, etc. You can add “relationship” (e.g. what type of deals you had in the past), contact info, save important links (e.g. “About” page link, important interview link, etc).

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

I use the tools to manage the contact list: I don’t really use the tools to email (I think a personal email works better!) but I am not a professional outreach or PR agent either. I also don’t have the preference between the two: I think they are both awesome, so use the free trial to identify your personal favorite!

Have a tip for reaching out to influencers? Let us know in the comments!

Anna FoxAnna Fox is the blogger behind Hire Bloggers, social media marketing enthusiast, and stay-at-home mom.

The Secret to Discovering the Top Converting Marketing Channels for Your Business

You switch off the computer, put your phone on silent and look at the blank sheet of paper on your desk. It’s a big moment – you’ll need absolute silence to concentrate. Planning your marketing spend for the next 12 months is no mean feat.

How do you choose where to focus? Facebook seems to have had a lot of press recently so maybe you should commit some marketing budget there. You stare out the window and watch the trees blowing in the breeze, listen to the noise of the traffic from the nearby highway, and still no inspiration comes.

There was that special offer that came through the post from Google to get started with Adwords. Maybe you should give that a go.

There are hundreds of marketing channels competing for your time, attention and budget so how do you learn which ones are going to be most effective in delivering sales for your business?

There are three simple steps to identifying the best channels, which we’ll explore one at a time here, before digging deeper into a couple of key channels using some sneaky (and insightful) techniques.


Before you do anything, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve as this will affect your tactics. For example, an accountancy firm will want to build long-term relationships with customers who go on to deliver a lifetime of sales, while a fast food chain will be looking for an impulse sale.


What’s your budget? A $10 million marketing budget offers more scope to reach a larger audience, but if you only have $1000 for the year you’re forced to take a more creative and targeted approach. Throwing jelly at the wall and seeing what sticks isn’t an option if you only have one spoonful of jelly (click to tweet).

Facebook advertising, emarketing and SEO are excellent tactics for smaller budgets, as you can create much of the content yourself (with the right knowledge) and build loyalty over time with your growing audience, while large scale multimedia campaigns offer access to a larger audience at a higher price.

Target audience

Where are your customers?

My 90 year-old gran isn’t on Facebook, she’s never ‘Googled’ anything in her life, and doesn’t have an email address (I know!). But she reads a daily newspaper, watches daytime television and loves thumbing through catalogues. If she were my target customer, I might consider inserting a printed leaflet in a newspaper or running an advert on TV. Facebook ads wouldn’t even get close to reaching her.

Do you know the habits of your ideal customer? If you’re still not clear who you’re targeting, check this post from John which walks you through how to create a clear customer avatar.

Before you decide on your marketing channels, identify:

  • name
  • age
  • job
  • hometown
  • family
  • what keeps them awake at night
  • what they’re passionate about
  • who they admire
  • their media habits
  • and much more!

So now you know the basics, let’s explore some more in-depth techniques to finding the marketing channels most likely to convert.

Research tools

We know that it’s important to be on websites and social networks popular with your customers so let’s do some detective work – to get started, visit Buzzsumo – this is a paid tool but you can access limited information without signing up for the paid plan.

Let’s suppose you are a dog trainer – you type “Dog training” into the search bar and the results show that the most popular posts have been shared most on Facebook, with far fewer shares on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+.

marketing profs guest post image1 buzzsumo

This initial finding suggests Facebook might be worth your time so let’s go further – head over to Facebook Insights and type “Dog training” into the search box, then navigate to the groups tab:

marketing profs guest post image2 FB groups

We can see some pretty active groups, some with over 20,000 members – Facebook is starting to look more and more attractive as a marketing channel to connect with our audience.

What if your research suggests Facebook is a waste of time? Let’s do some research on Twitter and see if this is a better fit. First visit Twitter and type your key term into the search box:

marketing profs guest post image3 Twitter search

Navigate to the ‘Live’ tab to see what people are tweeting right now around this topic – when I did this, there were plenty of live results, from companies selling dog training collars to people talking about a dog training podcast.

Wait. A dog training podcast? OPPORTUNITY ALERT!

There may be a chance to be a guest on this podcast, or perhaps its popularity suggests you might want to consider starting your own podcast in 2016 – take a look at the podcast in more detail and to see numbers of downloads and reviews.

I would also use this initial Twitter research to identify any popular hashtags and influencers (add influencers to a new Twitter list – having a separate list makes it easier to keep track of their tweets so you can engage with them and begin to build relationships).

marketing profs guest post image4 Twitter lists

Research takes time and effort – but there are tools out there to help. I love Warble – it’s a free tool and it sends daily alerts from Twitter showing tweets containing a particular keyword or phrase.

marketing profs guest post image5 Warble

Doing any type of research takes time – it’s a bit like following Alice down the rabbit hole – you might get a little lost, but you just might discover an engaged hidden micro-community of potential customers, who are just waiting to discover your amazing business that solves their problems overnight.

I aim to do this type of research once a quarter, to evaluate my chosen channels and identify any potential new ones. However, I also pick up new opportunities as they arise simply by being active in the communities and seeing what people are talking about, so don’t be surprised if your plan evolves over the year.

Next time you sit down to plan your marketing spend, you won’t be starting with a blank sheet of paper and a head full of conflicting ideas. You’ll be starting with a clear direction, backed by first-hand experience and thorough research.

What other tools do you use to research the most effective marketing channels? Please share them in the comments.


LUCY THORNTON bio photoLucy Thornton is an online marketer helping tourism businesses get found online by the right people at the right time. She is author or 41 Fresh Marketing Ideas for Your Business which you can download online for free here to be inspired with loads of new ideas to kick-start your marketing today. Come say hi to Lucy on Twitter or connect with her here on LinkedIn.


7 Steps For An Effective Social Media Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan

photo credit: pixabay

With 2016 under way, one thing is clear: social media is now a vital marketing channel for businesses of all sizes. The common question a few years ago, “why should our business use social media?”, is now being replaced with, “how can our business grow with social media marketing?”.

As a social media marketer, this makes me very excited. What doesn’t make me excited is how many businesses are still trying to market on social media without a documented strategy. In this post you will learn the seven steps your business must take to create an effective social media marketing strategy.

Step 1: Audit Your Current Social Presence

“Know thyself. Know the customer. Innovate.” – Beth Comstock

Before you strategize about where you are headed, take a quick look at where you are. A few areas to consider when auditing your business’s social media presence are:

  • Which networks are you currently active on
  • Are your networks optimized (photo and cover images, bio, URL, etc.)
  • Which networks are currently bringing you the most value
  • How do your profiles compare to your competitors’ profiles

Step 2: Document Who Your Ideal Customer Is

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker

You will want to get as specific as possible with this part. For example, if you identified your target market as parents it would be ok. However, if you identify your ideal customer as a parent that lives in the United States, is between 30 and 50 years of age, earns over $70,000, primarily uses Facebook and has an interest in outdoors activities you will have much more success.

Even the best marketers will fail if they are marketing to the wrong audience. Answer the following questions to help you come up with a highly focused buyer persona:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Job Title
  • Income
  • Pain Points (that your business can solve)
  • Most Used Social Network

Step 3: Create A Social Media Mission Statement

“What makes you weird, makes you unique and therefore makes you stand out.” – Dan Schawbel

Your social media mission statement will drive your future actions, so make sure you put some thought into it. This statement will make it clear exactly what you plan to use your social media presence for and should reflect your brand identity. Keep in mind your ideal customer when trying to create this statement.

An example mission statement might be “to use social media to educate current and potential customers about digital marketing, with a focus on social media marketing.” Once you have this statement documented, it will make it simple for you to decide what to share and create.

If it doesn’t align with your mission statement, forget about it. Businesses that post randomly without a guiding mission will fail. People follow experts, not generalists.

Step 4: Identify Key Success Metrics

“If you cannot measure it you cannot improve it.” – Lord Kelvin

How will you determine if your social media marketing efforts are successful? I am not just talking about gaining more followers, I am talking about making money. Afterall, it is hard to rationalize spending time and money on something that isn’t improving the bottom line.

A few metrics to consider measuring are:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Time Spent on Website
  • Reach
  • Brand Mentions
  • Sentiment
  • Total Shares

Step 5: Create and Curate Engaging Content

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” – Bill Gates

Sadly, many businesses jump straight to this step. Hopefully this post has made it clear that there are several vital steps that you must take before you start creating and curating engaging content to share on your social media channels.

Let’s now discuss the fun part, posting to social media. You know who your ideal customer is and you used that information to create your social media mission statement. Armed with this information it should be easy for you to begin creating and curating content. So, what exactly is considered content? Here are a few examples of content you could create:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Blog Posts
  • Company News
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Interviews

The list of content ideas goes on and on, but make sure you focus only on forms of content that align with your mission statement, as well as your skill set. Content is what fuels social media, so it is crucial that you consider creating high quality, engaging content as a top priority.

I strongly recommend that you create a content calendar that outlines how often you will post to each network, which topics you will share and when you will share them.

Step 6: Invest In a Social Media Management Tool

“We live in times in which ordinary people can do amazing things using the right tools”

Most marketers have a secret, they leverage tools to boost their productivity. Ok, maybe it isn’t a secret, but without tools marketers would face constant burnout (many do even with tools). When it comes to social media, having a social media management tool allows you to scale your efforts with ease.

One of the main benefits of a social media management tool is the ability to schedule posts ahead of time. Remember that content calendar you created? Make sure your scheduled posts in your social media management tool align with your content calendar.

Step 7: Track, Analyze, Optimize

“If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.” – Ronald Coase

This may be the most important step when it comes to succeeding on social media. Even the best social media marketers rely on trial and error. It might seem basic, but tracking your results, analyzing the data and then making tweaks to optimize them is crucial.

Each previous step should be re-evaluated after you have had time to analyze the results of your marketing efforts. Let the data drive you. If it is telling you Facebook or Twitter is your most effective channel, consider doubling down.

A great social media strategy is never set in stone. It is a constant work in progress that changes when necessary. So get out there, create a strategy and start optimizing it as you continue to grow and learn more about your business and your audience.


Xavier Davis HeadshotXavier Davis is a Digital Marketing Specialist at eClincher, an easy to use social media management tool. When he isn’t crafting killer digital marketing campaigns, he can be found reading, writing and hiking. If you have any questions or would like to say hello, connect with Xavier on LinkedIn or Twitter.

5 Winning Strategies for Millennial Marketing


photo credit: shutterstock

It’s no secret that millennials — young adults between 18-34 — are a hugely sought-after market segment. With upwards of 200 billion burning a hole in their pockets annually, winning their trust, and ultimately their business is a boon to any company.

Every generation has had its share of quirks, but millennials require a different touch when marketing to them. They are savvy enough to know when they’re being pitched to, and they have built up a resistance to it. The crucial element that makes them so hard to win over is the same thing that will boost your business if you’re successful: they absorb and put out social signals like crazy.

In other words, if you appeal to millennials the right way, you can get their business, as well as the added benefit of word-of-mouth on a potentially viral level. Here are five guaranteed strategies to get you started in the right direction.

Stay Mobile

As clichéd as it has become, millennials are hard-wired to their smartphones, so make sure your marketing strategy complements this behavior. First, think about the basics. If you use landing pages, are they optimized for mobile? They should be quick to load, and have a clear, mobile-friendly call-to-action (CTA.)

With that out of the way, start thinking about interesting ways you can use mobile to your advantage. Kiip, a “mobile rewards network” connects brands with users during “relevant moments” of online game play, essentially allowing a brand to sponsor an in-game reward. This type of seamless brand integration is a very welcome replacement for players being bombarded by intrusive web banners and is just the sort of thing that is likely to get the attention of millennials.

Create Peer Brand Evangelists

The oversaturation of traditional advertising, coupled with a world of options at their fingertips has led millennials to essentially tune out unwanted interruptions. They seek out the information they need, and there is great marketing opportunity here.

Rather than a traditional out-bound advertising model, you should be forming partnerships with online influencers that millennials already trust. Notable bloggers, podcasters, YouTube personalities, and Instagrammers are a fantastic way into the world of millennials. A recent study unsurprisingly found that younger consumers are heavily influenced based on the opinions of their peers and people they follow on social media. If you can successfully tap into that, you can build your word of mouth very widely, and very quickly.

Be Socially Connected

Just about every business has a social presence in 2016, but not everyone is using the right strategy to properly engage the millennial market. Just being in the social sphere isn’t enough — you have to effectively communicate with your audience.

When done correctly, your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram channels should make each and every customer feel special. (After all, this is the “me” generation we’re talking about.)

Here are several tactics you can use:

  • Loyalty programs for fans
  • Properly engage with customer comments (beyond canned responses)
  • Hold contests
  • Encourage user generated content by featuring it on your own channels

photo credit: instagram

For instance, many successful Instagram campaigns regularly feature photos taken by their followers. Take the example of Los Angeles-based furniture retailer Apt2B. They encourage their customers to snap pics of their purchases so others can see their sofas and accessories in-context in somebody’s real apartment. It’s a win-win proposition because new customers get a no-B.S. view of the product while the photo provider feels good about being seen and heard by the company.

Create Authentic Content

While millennials have tuned out traditional advertising, they still value any information they deem to be authentic. So rather than going in for the hard sell, try providing your millennial audience with content they can learn from, or be entertained by. The more they interact with this type of content, your message can slowly soak in, especially if they get the sense that your business shares their core values.

As with any kind of campaign, you need to know your audience in order to speak their language. When millennials hear words that sound as if they could have come directly from their peers, (rather than from Madison Avenue,) they are much more likely to trust the message. If you can regularly provide this type of content that they not only respond favorably to, but would actually share online, it goes a long way toward building a real relationship with them.


photo credit: Farmed & Dangerous

An excellent example of this in practice is Chipotle’s “Farmed and Dangerous” web series. Featuring a millennial sustainable farmer as the lead, doing battle against an ominous corporate food production company, Chipotle gets their brand messaging across in a subtle, entertaining way. Not only that, but it gets shared. A lot.

Give Them a Say

More than consumers, millennials are interested in taking on the more hands-on role of co-creator. Traditionally, companies have simply created products, hoping consumers would buy them. But now, with so many options out there, it makes sense to inform your decisions based on input directly from your audience. It makes them feel empowered, and you have the knowledge that your product has a built-in fanbase.

Take Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign as a prime example. For the past few years, they put out a call to their fans, asking them to suggest new flavor ideas, as well as vote on the winners.

By reaching out to your audience and allowing them to be a part of the product creation through contests or social media campaigns, you are involving them in the process. In turn, they feel a sense of ownership in the product, which leads to increased brand awareness and loyalty. And any campaign that results in “Southern Biscuits and Gravy” flavored chips is alright by me.

Final Thoughts

Marketing to millennials isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s incredibly intuitive, because all it requires is a human touch. Talking at them doesn’t work nearly as well as authentically engaging with them. By offering authentic experiences, and engaging content, and by listening to what they’re asking for, you can empower them to discover your brand on their terms.

I think we can safely expect this trend to continue with each subsequent generation, so the sooner we all learn the ropes of “new marketing,” the more successful we can all be.



wesmcdowellWes McDowell is the creative director at The Deep End Design, a digital marketing and design agency in Chicago. Forever curious about all things related to design, usability, and internet marketing, Wes loves sharing his findings with anyone who will listen.