Influencer marketers explain: How to approach brands you’ve never worked with before

How to email brands for the first time

“Oi, send me some face cream” doesn’t quite cut it

The internet is pretty full, isn’t it. Creators, influencers, brands, start ups, cool things like our F.I.T.T.Y index and fun things like meme accounts are absolutely everywhere. Brands, then, are pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to creators and social accounts who they think would be a good fit for any potential partnership opportunities they have coming up. So how can you stand out in an influencer marketer’s inbox? How can you send the perfect email that will get you noticed and involved?

Firstly, you need to ensure your profiles are prepared to be looked at by brands. Then you’re ready to think about your outreach.

Don’t be too nervous or shy to approach a brand you’re interested in
“Definitely send emails,” says Unsah Malik, who has worked in influencer management for a number of years for brands such as Rodial, Nip+Fab and Lime Pictures. “There’s no harm. There’s generally only one influencer manager on a team for a brand but there are thousands and thousands of creators. It’s impossible for us to get to know every single creator in our area, so there’s actually no problem in sending an email. It’s actually quite nice to getting it instead of you having to email thousands and thousands of people.”

“If you don’t have previous campaign experience, that’s not an issue,” agrees Emily Davis, Head of Influencer Marketing and PR at Coty. “I think, in that case, if you love the brand and have posted about the brand before, that’s always really nice to highlight in an email, and then we can get a feel for the creator’s content too. Creators linking to posts they’ve done where they’ve tagged us previously is always really nice to see.”

Be straightforward in your approach
Introduce yourself politely, highlight content that you’ve created that aligns with the brand’s content, and share ideas or thoughts around how you could work together. Remember here to focus on what the brand would get out of working with you – they know that “it would be a great opportunity” for you, but what’s in it for them? “If you make video content in a certain style and a brand post similar video content on their page anyway, from other creators, put a link in your email,” says Unsah. “You could say something like ‘I’ve seen that you post these videos, here are a few videos I’ve made and I’d love to build a relationship. There’s no harm in doing that.”.

Be personal – address your contact by name
Their name is most likely in their email address anyway, so you’ve no excuse for going down the ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ route favoured by Victorians and robots. “Being personal is a big help,” says Emily. “Receiving emails that feel like they’ve been copied and pasted to a lot of the same people… you kind of feel okay with filing it away for a later date.”

Be respectful of their time
You are not the only email they have in their inbox. Even if you’re approaching a brand which isn’t your favourite, treat them as if they are. “I think one key thing that a lot of influencers don’t know or just don’t think about it is that the ‘influencer marketing world’ is a small one,” says Unsah. “There are only so many of us and we often interchange between brands. So when you’re going into a new role as a marketer, you’re taking your database and existing relationships with you. So, if you behave in a way that’s not professional, the chances of you working with that person again are slim. Some people can be quite rude in their approach, and don’t think about the fact that they might not like the brand I’m working at now, but in four years time I might be working at their favourite brand in the world.”

Emily agrees, advising creators to “treat the email as an application to a prospective job. Especially if you don’t have a connection with someone and it’s your first time emailing. The best thing is to introduce yourself, and then start exploring what you and the brand could both offer each other.”

Most importantly, be polite, kind, and do your research