In order to use this technique, you need a list of influencers to contact.
This is a group of partners, peers, potential clients that are “influential” in the target markets where they want to gain more notoriety. The easiest way to gain new customers is to “hack” the know, like, & trust factor by using the influence of an already respected member of that market.
The messaging can be guest-posts, re-publishing of your info, interviews, etc, etc. That isn’t the important point yet, the important point is how do you engage with them?
You’ve built your list of people whose radar you wish to get on, now what?
First, you stalk them.
Not in a crazy, creepy way, but one meant to gain insight & knowledge about them.
Create a specific twitter list and RSS feed for these Partnership opportunities, set aside 30 minutes every day to read their posts and where appropriate, leave meaningful, well-constructed comments. Be careful here. I am not talking about comment spam, or +1’s, or I agree or any weak shit like that.
If these are people who serve your audience, then you should have something worthwhile to say, if not you need to rethink your target market.
OK, so what’s the purpose of commenting on the posts, @replying them on twitter, etc?
To start to build a “relationship” with them. Don’t believe you can build a “relationship” solely by twitter? You are wrong. Some of my strongest personal relationships were started online, clients, partners, team members, etc. were all “internet friends” before we met each other in person. Hell, I am building a business with a team I hadn’t ever seen in “real life” initially.
I am not saying you need to become best friends with all the people on your target list, but you want to garner some level of recognition for your name and to have a starting point for your email communication.
Now you reach out to them… via email. Do not call them, DM them, or anything else. Email is where it’s at. A couple of tips:
- find their real email address (not a contact form or info@) – this is very easy with LeadFuze.
- short, short, short – do not scare them off with a long email
- make your subject line personal and intriguing
- all interest is self-interest – face facts here, you need them more than they need you. Don’t appeal to their sense of charity and ask for help, let them know what you can do for them
- some will, some won’t, so what, who’s next
When you are ready to reach out, make it something like this…
[I am going to use Dan & the TropicalMBA as an example here, it’s a bad example as they don’t do guest-posts really, but you get the idea]
Subject Line: Dan, I love your work, BUT I think you missed something…
Don’t get me wrong I am a HUGE fan of the TMBA blog, the fact that you practice what you preach is unique for a lot of online businesses.
But I don’t think you are giving enough specific advice for people looking to find what their 1,000 day business should be.
I never miss an episode and recommend you to everyone I know that is looking to change their lives, I just think that possibly I could help your audience find that skill/service they could build their business around.
Any chance we could tweet/chat/Skype/bamboo telegraph for 10 minutes and see if any of my ideas make sense for you and your readers?
A Quick Review
Let’s review the email real quick for some specific things I think you should do:
- use their name IN the subject line
- start out with a sincere compliment
- insert your “insult” next, go softly, softly, but bring up an issue you can help solve
- sandwich the “insult” with a second, sincere compliment
- reference their previous content (don’t just scan their homepage, you should be following them long enough to know the words they use, themes that are repeated, etc.)
- Sign off with an “inside joke” / most internet “personalities” have something that will help them recognize you have been paying attention
Is this influencer marketing strategy guaranteed to work? No
Is it the BEST influencer marketing strategy? Maybe, maybe not
Have I seen this influencer marketing strategy work over and over again? absofuckinlutely.