How to win friends and influence people online

3 Tips to not shoot your brand in the foot doing Influencer Outreach

I don’t need or want to spend too much time on this but I began noticing a pattern of bad influencer outreach emails and wanted to give my perspective to brands on how not to mess up your outreach.

Tip #1: Don’t automate outreach emails

I received an email inquiring about a sponsorship collaboration with an international e-comm brand. It wasn’t something I was interested in at the time but this was their subsequent reply:

It made me wonder who I could have been doing business with. So I took a quick look at their website. In particular, their company return and refund policy. Wow.

I’m pretty sure someone copy/pasted this from another website. I don’t know many e-comm brands that sell VHS tapes but it’s a safe bet this one does not and will not make a profit from VHS tapes.

Tip #2 Have a reasonable, upfront return policy

Why? Let’s get some data in here to illustrate.

A study by eMarketer found the reason why 60% of internet users hesitate when shopping online: poor customer service.

“Nearly 3 in 5 internet users worldwide are concerned with bad customer service when deciding to make an online purchase from a brand,” that’s a lot of opportunity to show the customer their business is valuable to your brand.

Tip #3: Establish a clear influencer FAQ page or affiliate program

We can’t all be Amazon but we can take a page from their Associates page. Your brand should take the time to outline clear expectations and compensation terms for participation as an online influencer, ambassador or affiliate. Ground rules are always appreciated.

When Googling “instagram influencer template” you’ll find the SERP is full of outreach templates, obviously, but my point here is, templated “collaborations” are an oversaturated approach to growing your brand.

If a brand wants to build a meaningful group of real people who in-turn deliver real revenue and growth to the brand the approach needs to be authentic.

Otherwise, in the words of Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman,” brands are making a “big mistake. Big. Huge.”


The opinions, thoughts and perspective expressed in this post are my own. While I am a representative of the company, these are not necessarily the views of my employer.

Author: Holly Miller Anderson

Holly is passionate about helping brands become better digital storytellers. She educates marketers, guides junior SEO's, and advises businesses on how to be successful online in the face of a changing digital landscape with practical SEO and marketing advice. Holly also documents her lifestyle from travel adventures, fitness, to every-day fashion inspiration. She has dedicated herself to a few key sports over the years that have shaped her agility and performance capabilities. From her early start as a martial artist (8 years) in the style of Kenpo to her hobby of 10+ years as a competitive ballroom dancer in the American Standard style 5-dance category dancing the Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep. Holly has and continues to lead an active lifestyle. Currently, she enjoys training in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting and being an avid CrossFit'er and enjoys getting her hands dirty at the occasional Spartan Race.

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