Why you should (n't) do mass influencer outreach

One is about volume, the other about relationships. But which one brings the results you want?

Read time: 3 minutes 32 seconds

Eleni from Modash here with another issue of Return on Influence, the only influencer marketing newsletter name-checked in Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Department. (Don’t look that up; you can trust me.)

Let’s talk about outreach. Specifically the difference between mass outreach and personalized outreach.

Mass outreach is about volume. The more influencers you reach out to, the higher the chances of getting collaborations. It’s cheaper, doesn’t require as much headcount (templates, bay-bee!), and is quicker to scale.

Personalized outreach, on the other hand, is about relationships. This is where you bet on reaching out to the right influencers and sending personalized emails—the number doesn’t need to be as high.

Despite the downsides to mass outreach, many brands still want to approach influencer marketing this way.

Should most brands use this strategy? No.

In fact, there are a few consequences you need to be aware of before you pick mass outreach over personalized outreach. 👇


You burn through the best influencers

Mass outreach has a lower success rate. Out of a list of 1,000 ideal influencers, a personalized approach will convert a higher percentage into live collaborations.

Personalized outreach = more live collabs

As a result, you risk burning through your list of influencers when you rely more on volume and less on precision.

Whether you’re working in a general niche (beauty, gaming, lifestyle) or a smaller niche (cross stitch), you don’t have an infinite pool of influencers to choose from.

For most brands, the number of really great influencers they can partner with is limited. Even if your potential pool is huge, only a subsection of those will be your best potential partners.

Part of your job is to maximize the percentage of the best people with whom you can get live collaborations. And to keep doing it for months and years to come.

Mass outreach is like setting fire to a list. You lose your chance with influencers who don’t fit your brand and the ones who do. And when you lose your best-fit partners, you have to move onto your second-best list. Then your third best (and so on). It’s not sustainable in the long term and will most likely not bring the results you want.

What to do instead:

You want to select influencers more carefully and be precise when targeting. Instead of reaching out to 1000 influencers based on follower count, for example, you can reach out to 250 who are in your target market and whose followers are your target audience.


What outreach strategy have you had more success with? Pick an answer, and you’ll see what everyone else says.


You start with a weaker foundation

Influencer marketing is still relatively new, but it wasn’t born yesterday. Most creators can tell when they receive a bulk email. It tells them you couldn’t spend the time to learn more about their work.

When it’s clear as day you haven’t even seen their profile, they’re less likely to engage in a conversation. Because no one feels safe (or valued) by receiving an email with the wrong name or a vague “I love your content; it’s so inspirational.”

When you miss your chance to have these conversations, you miss building relationships and negotiating. Most often, these conversations lead to some of your top-performing partnerships.

What to do instead:

Send personalized emails to influencers you’ve already vetted. You’ll stand out from day 1. The creator can feel the effort you took to vet their profile and know why they’re a good fit for your brand. Your response rates will likely go up, and you’ll start building relationships.

Beyond the immediate open and response rates, which are always higher with personalized outreach, it’s a less transactional interaction. A strong foundation makes converting creators to long-term influencer partners or affiliates much more viable.


You risk damaging your reputation

Influencers receive a ton of inbound messages, and if you’re automating crappy mass outreach, you’ll be remembered for the wrong reasons.

And even worse — influencers talk. It’s a close-knit industry. Influencers often attend the same events, collaborate with similar brands, and talk to each other about their work.

Whispers about how you sent the same email to every creator aren’t a proud badge to hold and might put off other potential influencer partners.

What to do instead:

Customizing emails and investing in building solid influencer relationships will help you build a good reputation. Potential creator partners will want to work with you and be glad to receive your outreach email.

Are there exceptions to this recommendation? Of course. For some brands, in some instances, mass outreach will get you the results you want.


See you in the next issue of ROI!
Eleni Zoe xx
Marketing @ Modash and elder Swifty, whose whole personality has become The Tortured Poets Department this week. Say hi on LinkedIn or visit Modash.

P.S. What other topics are you interested in me covering? Feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts, concerns, or favorite new Taylor Swift lyrics.

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