Influencer outreach: Email vs DM

by | May 8, 2024 | Marketing Tips

Are you doing influencer outreach? Will emails or DMs (direct messages) be better?

I’ve been an influencer marketing manager for years. I know what you’re going through.

Recently, I asked my network if they prefer using emails or DMs when contacting influencers. 

The results?

Infographic showing that 45% of marketers prefer email for influencer outreach, with a pie chart breakdown and a mock-up of a social media poll.

📊 Over 45% said emails are their favourite method for contacting influencers.

📊 Only 16% choose to use DMs.

📊 But 29% said it’s better to do both!

Join me as I examine these results, explain how I achieved an over 70% reply rate, and share my insider tips for sending emails and DMs.

We’ll look at:

Emails vs. direct messages: Which one is best?
Contacting influencers via email
Contacting influencers via DMs
Influencer outreach DM templates
Which is best: Emails or DMs?
Bonus influencer outreach tips

Ready? Let’s roll. 👇

Emails vs. direct messages: Which one is best?

First, let’s look at the differences between emails and direct messages when contacting influencers.

It’s clear: DMs are personable and perfect for quick, almost urgent messages. In contrast, emails are perceived as being more professional and slow.

Here’s an example of how a brand DM looks like on Instagram:

Two smartphones displaying instagram dm interfaces on a pink background, one showing a list of conversations and the other detailed partnership messages.

So, my rule of thumb when doing influencer outreach is this: 

✅ Use an email when you’ve got an influencer’s email. Not sure how to get an influencer’s email? Try this Instagram email method or this TikTok email method

✅ Wait a couple of days. If you haven’t heard back from your influencer, follow up with a DM. Keep the DM short and sweet.

My pro tip: To maximise your answer from an influencer, reply to a story instead of sending a DM! I find these almost always get better replies. Remember to engage with their content before you do this.

But what if you’re on good terms with the influencer? 

In that case, a quick DM can save you loads of time and effort. 

⚠️ However, always send the influencer brief and contract via email. That way, you have a record of any communication between you and your influencers.

Besides, it’s also a lot more professional, isn’t it? And you can automate it!

Here’s what I suggest: Send 1 DM as a follow-up and 4 to 5 follow-up emails.

Now, let me walk you through some of the best ways to contact influencers. 👇

Contacting influencers via email

I wrote an excellent guide on how to write the perfect email to your influencers. Check it out if you’re looking for detailed tips and practical examples.

If you’re in a rush, no worries. Here’s a brief summary of when sending influencer emails.

Graphic titled "follow this structure when contacting Düsseldorf influencers" with a list of steps: personalized introduction, brief ice-breaker sentence, a hook and a bait (offer), and CTA

The personalised ice-breaker makes an influencer feel valued and seen. It shows that you appreciate their time, skills and content. 

Here’s an example: 

“Hi, Matthew! I loved your last post about Roblox. It was fun, colourful and highly engaging.”

Next, briefly mention your brand. Like this:

“We’re Stellar Games, a young gaming company with big dreams. We would love to have an excellent influencer like you play one of our demos.”

And then add your bait and hook.

“We’re willing to give you some branded merch and a spot as one of our brand ambassadors.”

Finally, conclude with a soft CTA. What’s a soft CTA? It’s a CTA that doesn’t require much effort or thinking. Here’s an example:

“Want to join us? Simply reply, and I’ll take you through the next steps.”

But it’s not just about sending the perfect email. Over the years, I’ve encountered one common influencer marketing myth, And it needs busting.

Graphic comparing ineffective and effective B2B sales processes in influencer marketing outreach, highlighting strategies from finding creators to finalizing deals.

To succeed, whether with emails or DMs, volume is key.

✅ Start off with 50 to 100 influencers.

✅ Feel free to experiment with A/B testing.

You’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t.

And my final pro tip: Always follow up. Bonus points if you can automate it with a CRM platform.

Now, let’s look at contacting influencers via DMs.

Influencer outreach DM templates

Here’s what you need to remember when contacting influencers via DM:

✍️ Write as a person: Write like the social media manager contacting the influencer and not as a brand. 

✍️ Keep it simple: Use simple English.

✍️ Make it personal: The more personal your DM, the more memorable it is.

✍️ Be polite: Always start with a greeting and introduce yourself.

✍️ Keep it short: DMs should be brief. Get to your point quickly.

✍️ Be clear: Explain why you are messaging them. What do you need?

✍️ Show respect: Respect their time. They might be busy.

✍️ Check their bio: Some influencers prefer email. Their bio will say so.

✍️ Be patient: Wait for a reply. Don’t send too many messages.

✍️ Thank them: Always thank them if they reply, even if they can’t help.

✍️ End with a soft CTA: End with a soft CTA, like a simple question.

Now let’s get to writing thos direct messages.

Contacting influencers via DMs

Here are some of my favourite DM templates that I use when contacting influencers:


Hi [Influencer’s Name], it’s Kim from [Your Brand] – We are a big fan of your content, especially [mention specific content].

We are launching a new campaign next month and would love for you to join. 

Is there an email I can reach you or your agent to discuss the details? Thanks!

More formal:

Hey [Influencer’s Name],

It’s [Your Name] from [Your Brand]. We’ve been following your work and are impressed by how you engage with your followers, especially your posts about [mention specific content]. 

We believe you’d be a perfect fit to help us promote our latest [product/service].

Interested in discussing a potential partnership? Please feel free to share your media kit here.

Looking forward to your thoughts – NAME

To the point:

Hi [Influencer’s Name], I’m [Your Name] from [Your Brand], and we think you’d be great for our new campaign. 

Are you open to partnering with [Industry] brands? If so, could we send your pricing for a post + 3 stories. Thanks!

Following up on an email:

Hi [Influencer’s Name],

I hope you’re well! I sent an email last week about a potential collaboration with [Your Brand], and I just wanted to follow up here to make sure you received it. 

We really admire your work on [specific topic] and think you’d be a great fit for our campaign. 

Thanks – [Your Name]

And now the real question: which is best, emails or DMs? 🤔

Which is best: Emails or DMs?

The answer is: both!

You must use both if you want an excellent (think: 70%+) response rate. Here’s how I do it:

✅ First, I find 50 – 100 influencers using an influencer marketing platform.

✅ I then send them an email. Grab some free email templates if you need inspiration.

✅ Wait 3 – 5 days and follow up with a DM.

My final pro tip: Remember to send at least 3 to 4 follow-up emails. I’ve found this triples my answer rates!

What if you still haven’t heard back from them? 

In that case, it’s time to move on. ⏰

Time is money, and you can’t wait forever. If you follow my advice, you have another 49 to 99 possible influencers wanting to work with your brand.

Bonus influencer outreach tips

I asked Tatiana Tarringer, one of my influencer marketing manager friends, to share her valuable influencer outreach tips with me.

Here’s what she shared:

💡 Influencers can often unlock untapped markets and new use cases for your product or service. Lean into this! 

Explore creator content, hashtags, and search insights to identify new talent eager to pair with your brand.

💡 When pitching to creators, highlight existing benefits & features of your product that are specific to their needs rather than reciting your standard USPs. 

This personalises your brand and creates a sense of shared investment. 

💡 Content creation is a collaborative process. Work together to craft a story that aligns with the creator’s brand.

Their audience follows them because they’re relatable. It should be easy to see how your product fits into the creator’s life and how it adds value.

Their audience should see this and be inspired by it, too.

My final thoughts

And there you have it: in the debate of emails vs DMs, you must use both when contacting influencers.

Remember volume, getting to the point quickly, and using an influencer marketing platform to find the best influencers.

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