Nick Ehrenberg

Having Trouble Connecting With Influencers? 4 Influencer Marketing Questions to Ask Before Your Next Attempt

Nick Ehrenberg     Influencer Marketing


Does this influencer marketing scenario sound familiar? You’ve set up your initial influencer list full of high-profile names and a few up-and-comers in the industry, developed a compelling question for your outreach and just hit send on the first round.

Then, crickets.

Big, green, loud crickets.

What went wrong? Did you have the wrong list? Is there a possibility that the outreach somehow didn’t get to the influencers? Or maybe you said something wrong?

Influencer outreach has taken on a whole new meaning in 2016, and it has become crucial for brands to develop relationships with influencers. Getting the most from your influencers requires more than a simple email or InMail. You need to adopt an extended research and outreach process, cultivate the relationship, and continue it well beyond any campaign-related focus.

Here are 4 questions that you must ask yourself to pinpoint why your influencer marketing initiative may not be as successful as you had hoped.

#1 – Is this industry a good fit for an influencer-based campaign?

It can be tempting to develop an influencer marketing campaign regardless of the target industry. But some industries are more receptive to influencer-based campaigns than others. It’s significantly based on the extent of content marketing currently available on the subject matter.

If the target audience is already talking about your content topics, you can cull those resources for brand advocates. If they are unwilling (or unable) to discuss these topics publically, your outreach may fall on deaf ears.

Here’s what to do instead: Identify a short list of influencers that can serve as a test outreach campaign. By using a small sample size of the larger audience, you can get a good feel for how the full outreach might develop.

#2 – Was the influencer research aligned with the stated goal/objective of the campaign?

This one’s critical. It can be tempting to grab high-profile names (chief executives, media celebrities, etc.) and add them to your outreach list. But unless you have a pre-existing relationship with those high-profile influencers, your outreach might get lost en route.

Always refer back to the objectives of the campaign. Would your client be best served with a handful of high-profile names, or a dozen brandividuals with frequent interactions and audiences in social media?

Here’s what to do instead: Segment your influencer list by job title. If you’re finding that most entries are at the executive level, consider identifying outside consultants and mid-level experts who can influence decision-making at higher levels.

#3 – Did you reach out cold, or use a warm connection?

If you’re going to reach out cold, you need a really compelling hook to grab someone’s attention. Remember – you want their participation, and they’ll need a good reason to offer it. If there isn’t a paid aspect to the influencer’s cooperation, a relationship becomes the incentive.

Refer back to your campaign strategy – what do you want your influencers to do with this program? If it’s just a one-time participation ask, you might need to adjust expectations for both sides.

Here’s what to do instead: Make yourself visible to the influencers before asking them to participate. Ask topic relevant questions on their personal blogs or industry groups, or connect with them on social networks and participation in an ongoing conversation. Not only will this warm up the eventual participation request, it will also give you context into their current topic focus.

#4 – Did you ask for the moon?

Your influencers are treasure troves of information, and it’s tempting to mine for every possible angle you can find. However, your influencers are also busy people – and if you make your proposals too complex, the may not have time to give a complete response.

As you develop the outreach strategy, it’s essential to clarify how much you need from your influencers. Sending a five-part question (with three sub-bullets) might be less successful for an executive audience than a short, 1-2 paragraph description.

Here’s what to do instead: Tailor your outreach questions based on the level of warmth. If you’re reaching out cold, lead in with a short description and summary of the project. If the connection is warm, you have more clearance to present the full ask up front.


If you’re influencer response rate can be summarized by the sound of one hand clapping, perhaps it’s time to reassess your outreach strategy.

If you’ve found some success, what kinds of questions are the most effective for your programs?

Header image via Shutterstock


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