Treating Influencer Relationships Like Sales Opportunities

October 17, 2016

A lot of emerging marketers think about working with influencers to promote their companies. Marketing with influencers is one of the most effective methods of getting your brand in front of potential buyers. The authenticity associated with the creator that you distribute content through is what drives people to develop interest in the products they see their favorite social stars using. One of the hardest things to do as a marketer is manage the relationships you have with creators you’ve worked with in the past. In addition, managing the process of reaching out to new creators can be difficult when you have multiple individuals or groups of creators you’re trying to build new relationships with. There must be a better way of managing relationships with these creators than building out hundreds of rows in your favorite spreadsheet software, right?

As an attempt to make your relationship management process easier, think of managing your relationships with creators the same way you would manage a sales opportunity. Today, marketers build confusingly large spreadsheets that are constantly updated cell by cell as the stage of the relationship progresses. This is a hacked together attempt that has become an industry standard for marketers that focus on building new relationships with creators.

The problem starts in the way the creator relationships are managed. By sending cold emails to creators and building semi-organized spreadsheets, the relationships become very impersonal. Blanket emails are sent to creators and cold emailing becomes the standard way of contacting creators because of the misconceived notion that you have to reach out to hundreds of creators to get responses from a few who will see your email. However, this approach not only takes up a lot of time to send out hundreds of emails to creators, but you also know very little about the person you’re starting a relationship with. What this says to a creator about your brand is this: “We don’t know much about what you do and we don’t really care, we just want to use you for your following.” In a world built on creative authenticity, this approach doesn’t make much sense.

Now think about the relationships a marketer tries to build with a potential customer and how you would approach that first meeting with a company you are looking to bring on as a customer. You take the time to learn about the company, what they’ve done in the past, why they’re a good fit to work with you and so much more. This same methodology should translate over directly to building relationships with creators.

Relationships built with creators should start with getting to know the creators before you reach out and finding a creator that is a good fit to represent your brand. Show the creator that your are a fan of their work and present a personalized opportunity for them. Tell them how you’re thinking about working together and why it makes sense for you to team up and collaborate. Sending out less frequent, but more personalized opportunities to creators can vastly improve your chances of not only getting a response, but also starting to build much healthier, long term relationships with the creators you want to work with.