How to Find Influencers In Your Niche: Tips, Tools & Email Template

Vlad Orlov
Vlad Orlov
19 minute read

How to Find Influencers In Your Niche: Tips, Tools & Email Template

Vlad Orlov
Vlad Orlov
19 minute read

Wondering how to find influencers in your niche?

Discover influencers for your brand using the tips, tools, and email template included in this guide.

Here’s what you’ll find inside this guide:

  • 4 tools to use when trying to find influencers
  • 8 tips for effective influencer prospecting and outreach
  • A 4-step process for influencer marketing that works in 2021.

Let’s get into it.

What Is an Influencer?

The term “influencer” refers to a person who has an established audience in a particular niche, has the power to influence their purchase decisions (hence the name), and actively communicates with them in various ways (blogs, videos, social media posts, etc.)

Their audience also values the influencer’s opinion and recognizes them as experts in their niche.

Influencers are often mistaken with celebrities since influencer marketing is in a sense similar to celebrity endorsement, and the line between the two is indeed blurred.

What separates an influencer from a celebrity is the actual ability to engage with their audience and affect their buying decisions.

For example, Cristiano Ronaldo may participate in a weird Japanese advertisement for a facial fitness training tool, but did the company choose him because he has something meaningful to say about their product?

Or because everyone in the world knows what he looks like and has a smile brighter than the sun?

Cristiano Ronaldo ad
Image Source: YouTube

Seriously, he’s not even using it!

An influencer, on the other hand, would never do anything like this.

That is, unless they are a facial fitness expert.

Influencers will only work with brands that make sense for their niche, and their audience’s interests are of utmost importance to them.

Many influencers don’t even consider themselves famous.

Rather, they are well-known in a smaller circle of people.

Take Neil Patel, for example.

A person who is not familiar with the world of search engine optimization would probably scratch their head and go “hmm, don’t know that guy”.

But in reality, he is one of the greatest influencers of the SEO niche.

An influencer can be pretty much anyone:

  • A blogger,
  • A niche expert,
  • A celebrity,
  • A thought leader,
  • Or even a regular everyday person with a large group on social media.

Let’s take a look at the different types of influencers.

The Different Types Of Influencers

An influencer can engage with their audience through a blog, social media, a YouTube channel, but regardless of their platform, all influencers share one thing in common: expertise in their own, narrow niche.

To keep things simple, let’s categorize influencers by their number of followers on at least one of the social media platforms.

Type #1: Mega-influencers

Those are the top influencers that can often be considered celebrities.

They have over 1,000,000 followers and an absolutely enormous reach.

As a brand, getting a hold of them would be difficult, and rather costly.  

So costly, in fact, that you could spend a million dollars on a single blog post… Ouch!

Speaking of Cristiano Ronaldo, he is an extreme case of a mega-influencer with over 250 million followers on Instagram.

Cristiano Ronaldo's instagram
Image Source: Instagram

Type #2: Macro-influencers

These guys have anywhere from 40,000 to 1,000,000 followers and are either on the verge of becoming a celebrity, or have gained a huge following because of their exceptional niche knowledge, like Seth Godin

Seth Godin Twitter
Image Source: Twitter

Macro-influencers are the golden middle when it comes to influencers since there are a lot more of them than mega-influencers, and, at the same time, they are much more likely to collaborate with brands than micro-influencers (and have more reach).

Type #3: Micro-influencers

Micro-influencers have 1,000 to 40,000 followers and getting their attention as a brand is pretty hard.

This is because the only thing they care about is delivering quality content to their audience (that they have worked really hard to gain), and they value their relationship with it much more than whatever gains they might have from working with a brand.

Jordan Kasteler has been working in SEO for over 20 years at this point, and despite his comparably low follower count, is one of the most knowledgeable micro-influencers in the SEO industry.

Jordan Kasteler Twitter
Image Source: Twitter

Besides, they might not even know about your existence before you reach out to them, so there’s also the matter of winning over their trust.

Type #4: Nano-influencers

Nano-influencers have the smallest following of all: less than 1,000, but don’t let that deceive you.

This is not because they are bad at what they do, but rather because of how specialized their niche is. Although they are usually niche, nano-influencers can also be in effective in bigger industries such as athletics, clothing, music, and photography.

Since their circle is so tight, they are able to engage with their audience much more, and, as a result, their opinion has a much greater weight than that of any other influencers.

So, to sum it up:

Mega-influencers would only really be useful for huge brands, macro-influencers are your go-to prospects since they are much more inclined to collaborations than smaller influencers, while micro and nano-influencers are better suited for highly specialized brands.

Even regular customers can be potential influencers.

Moving on to the next section, where we’ll explain what influencer marketing is.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is the process of using an influencer’s knowledge, experience, authority, or relation with their audience to market your brand/product to them.

It is, indeed, very similar to celebrity endorsement, but evolved for our world of social media, video hosting platforms, and tons of content being produced for the people’s enjoyment.

The logic behind it is extremely simple:

It is much easier to influence people who are already influenced by someone.

I know, that’s a whole lot of influencing for a single sentence but bear with me here.

Let’s take a look at an example of perfect macro-influencer marketing.

Opera GX is a version of the popular browser, Opera, modified for gamers.

It features a whole bunch of cool things like a free VPN, a RAM usage limiter, background music, integration with streaming and online communications platforms, and so on.

The company focuses on using content creators like Jarek, The Gaming Dragon to market it.

The Gaming Dragon youtube
Image Source: YouTube

This browser is also completely free, so anybody can download it.

It is a win-win-win situation:

The audience gets to find out about a cool browser specifically modified for their needs, Jarek gets a tasty paycheck, and Opera GX gets their product in front of his 193,000 subscribers, who all know Jarek would never advertise something he himself doesn’t use.

Author’s Note: Influencer marketing is not as simple as paying influencers to say how much they love you. In fact, if you take a purely transactional approach where the influencer gets their money, you get your exposure, nine times out of ten your offer will be turned down.

Influencer marketing doesn’t necessarily need to involve product reviews. Brands and influencers can collaborate for any number of reasons, from improving brand awareness to becoming a brand ambassador, and even helping host a niche conference.

It is all about building relationships and finding ways to collaborate so that all sides win: the audience, the influencer, and, of course, you.

Pro tip: Don’t just go straight to influencer outreach. Before talking to them about collaboration, try to get their attention on social media first. Just like bloggers, influencers receive hundreds of messages and pitches on a daily basis, so you’re much more likely to get a response if they at least recognize your name. Leave a few likes and comments under their posts, maybe post something on your own profile that might engage with them.

Moving on to the next section, where we’ll see four tools you can use to find influencers.

4 Tools to Use When Trying to Find Influencers

The trick to successful influencer outreach is finding the right influencers for what you’re trying to achieve.

Luckily, you don’t need to spend hours on social media or watching YouTube videos to find relevant influencers anymore.

There are quite a few digital marketing tools designed to help you with this sole task, and we are going to discuss the very best of them.

Tool #1: Respona

Respona is an all-in-one solution for digital PR, content marketing, link building (building backlinks to your website), and also works perfectly for influencer outreach.

It allows you to easily manage each stage of your influencer marketing campaign, from identifying relevant opportunities to finding their contact information, personalizing your pitches, and sending them out along with automatic follow-ups.

Respona home page

Respona isn’t an influencer marketing platform or influencer marketing tool like Buzzsumo or GroupHigh.

This means that it doesn’t allow you to find and contact Instagram influencers, but it has all the capabilities you need to find and reach out to influencers in your niche.

It is based completely in the cloud, requires no installation, and syncs directly with your Gmail account. It is also very easy to use with its super-intuitive user interface.

With Respona, you can set up and launch your influencer outreach campaign in minutes.

Our tool is used by high-growth startups, link builders and PR companies as well as bloggers who want to get their blog noticed.

Tool #2: SparkToro

SparkToro is one of the best tools for identifying your target market through research and audience intelligence.

With it, you can easily identify which websites, social media groups, podcasts, and other resources your audience talks about or likes to visit.

SparkToro home page
Image Source: SparkToro

How is this useful to marketers?

With it, you will be able to easily identify the most relevant influencers for your marketing campaign.

Before SparkToro, you had to do weeks of research, running surveys (which don’t provide you with accurate data anyway), and social media monitoring.

SparkToro allows you to get all that information by just putting your keywords, hashtags, social profiles, or websites into its advanced search bar.

It’s really that simple!

Tool #3: Ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of the most versatile and functional SEO tools out there (similar to other SEO software like Moz), and it can actually be used for finding influencers too.

More specifically, its Content Explorer feature.

Although this feature is not as advanced and specialized as SparkToro’s, it is still useful for identifying media outlets, authors, podcasts, and influencers that are relevant to your niche.

Ahrefs home page
Image Source: Ahrefs

Once you feed it your keyword, Content Explorer will automatically reveal all pages, authors, and websites that mention it.

Neat, right?

But what does it have to do with influencers?

 Well, it also shows how many retweets any given piece of content has, as well as who shared it on their profile.

Just press on the “Who tweeted” tab and you’ll have yourself a whole list of influential people that have mentioned it on Twitter.

Take a look and choose who you think is the most relevant for your campaign!

Tool #4: Social Blade

Social Blade is a website that tracks the analytics data of all influencers that use social networks like YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and many others.

Social Blade home page
Image Source: Social Blade

It allows you to find out exactly how many followers an influencer has in real time, how many views they’re getting, and even their estimated revenue.

Additionally, you can search by keyword to discover the top 50, 100, or 500 influencers in your own niche.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you just how valuable this functionality is for developing your influencer marketing strategy.

Let’s move on to the next section, where we’ll see 8 tips for effective influencer prospecting and outreach.

8 Tips for Effective Influencer Prospecting & Outreach

Getting the attention of an influencer isn’t as simple as sending them an email offering a sponsorship.

Luckily, there are some established practices that can help you vastly improve the efficiency of your marketing campaign.

Tip #1: Focus on engagement, not on following

A common misconception is that the best influencers have the most followers.

Sure, maybe it is better for the influencer themselves, but a large following is not indicative of their actual level of engagement with the audience.

In influencer marketing, the ability to engage with users is much more important than having a large number next to one’s name, and for a super-specialized brand (for example, a small eCommerce business), even a nano-influencer can make a huge impact.

Tip #2: Use different success metrics based on your goals

In order to properly measure the impact of your marketing campaign, you need to focus on different performance metrics, depending on your end goal.

Here are some common marketing goals along with useful metrics for measuring success:

  • Audience building: number of subscribers and social media followers
  • Brand awareness: pageviews, impressions, social media followers, and mentions
  • Engagement: shares, likes, comments, engagement rate per article
  • Lead generation: number of sign-ups and email subscribers
  • Sales: conversion rate, number of sales.

Tip #3: Be very specific when it comes to expectations

This should go without saying, but you need to have clearly defined expectations as to what kind of impact your marketing campaign will make for your business.

For example, if you’re trying to boost sales, it would be reasonable to expect at least a hundred purchases after a collaboration with a micro Instagram influencer.

It is also equally important to clearly communicate your expectations to the influencer and let them know exactly how you expect them to promote you.

Do you want them to show your product in an intro to their YouTube video, or would you like them to write a social media post about it?

Tip #4: Have control over the copy and how your brand is promoted

This ties in directly with the previous tip.

This doesn’t mean you should be putting words into the influencer’s mouth.

But, at the same time, it is a great idea to let them know exactly which key features of your product/brand they need to mention in order to get the attention of the audience.

It is a perfectly normal practice for an influencer to show you a preview of their post/video/article (or at least the part where they speak about you) before it goes live so that you can be sure your brand is promoted in the way you want it to.

Make sure to maintain your brand identity at all times and in every campaign that you run.

Tip #5: Take a deep dive into the influencer’s target audience

What is your influencer’s target demographic?

What does their audience like and want?

What are their needs?

The key to successful influencer marketing is pleasing their audience in a way that feels natural, rather than forced or sponsored.

Ideally, you should try and find influencers that share a part of their audience with you, or even your competitors.

That way, you can be sure that your product/brand would actually be interesting to them.

Tip #6: Use different content distribution channels

You probably already have an established blog and a social media page that you frequently update.

Don’t be afraid to venture to video hosting platforms like YouTube, put your content out on LinkedIn, and other distribution channels.

Instagram influencers, for example, might be a great way to engage with a younger audience, especially if you have a product to market.

The way IG is designed around beautiful pictures with brief descriptions makes it perfect for marketing clothing, handcrafts, makeup, food, and virtually any other product, as long as you make it look nice.

Don’t focus on just a single channel, when you can have more.

Tip #7: Be specific about the type of influencer campaign you’ll run

There are many different ways of collaborating with an influencer.

Customer and corporate gifts, contests, giveaways, sponsorships, discount codes, letting an influencer take over your social media for a while, offering them to become your brand ambassador, starting and affiliate program – those are just some of your options.

Look at your goals, your influencer’s audience, and determine which type of campaign would work best for the situation.

Are you just trying to boost your brand’s awareness?

Then maybe giving out a few gifts would be a great idea.

Trying to boost sales? Hundreds of discount codes will definitely help with that.

Tip #8: Let creatives stay creative

Of course, it’s important to be very specific about how an influencer should approach your brand’s promotion, but having long lists of rules does more harm than good.

Don’t make your influencers read from a sheet, and let them do what they do best: create fun, engaging, and informative content.

How your product is promoted is even more important than what is being marketed, so if a content creator comes up with a fun gag, it is going to be way more effective than the old

“Hey guys, just wanted to tell you about these awesome new products I just got paid to talk about….”.

Let’s now move on to the next section, where we’ll break down a 4-step process for finding and contacting influencers in 2021.

4-Step Process for Influencer Marketing That Works In 2021

Even though influencer marketing is a pretty complex task, launching a campaign with Respona is a lot easier than you might think.

As I already mentioned, you can set it up well within minutes, and the process only involves four steps.

Let’s see how it works:

Step #1: Finding influencers

After you’ve logged into Respona, you will need to create a new campaign.

If it is your first time logging in, there will be a big welcoming page prompting you to create your first campaign.

All you need to do is hit the blue button.

Respona campaign creation menu

After you’ve named your campaign, the first step is to find influencers to reach out to.

Respona has a built-in search engine that is based on Bing and can look for blog posts, websites, trending content, news articles, influencers, and podcasts.

Select “Influencers” from the drop-down menu on the left side of the search bar.

Influencer search in Respona

Then, as the bar suggests,  enter in your keyword or topic.

Let’s use the term “SEO” as an example.

Respona influencer selection

Respona will find the Twitter profiles of all influencers associated with your niche.

Next to their names, you will also find their share ratio, reply ratio, retweet ratio, average retweets, total tweets, as well as the total number of followers.

Additionally, you can use filters to narrow down your search by location, tags (blogger, influencer, company), choose to display only verified broadcasters, or exclude all broadcasters from the search.

To select an influencer that you think is a good fit for your marketing campaign, just tick the empty box to the left of their picture.

Once you’re done looking for influencers, you can move on to the next step. Just scroll up to the top of the page and hit Next Step.

Step #2: Creating an email sequence

Now, it is time to craft the email sequence that will be sent out to every influencer in your campaign.

Respona template options

Respona gives you the option of using one of its pre-made email outreach templates or creating your own one.

To create a new email sequence, select the Personal Templates tab, and press Create New.

Creating a template in Respona

Here, you can change the template’s name, switch to another one, select a sending schedule (the default schedule is Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm), and add steps to the sequence.

Let’s add three steps: one for the initial pitch and two follow-ups.

Email pitch in Respona

Feel free to use this email template in your own campaign!

But make sure to personalize it for each influencer campaign as much as you can.

{first_name} + (Your Organization) = collab?

Hi, {first_name}!

Happy {day_of_week}!

My name is [Your Name] and I work with [Your Organization]. I have been following your [social media, blog, channel] for years now. I love your [reference to their content]!

I’m writing to you because I wanted to explore the opportunity of us working together. Our brand [explain what you do and why you think it would be interesting to their audience].

Is this something you would be interested in?

Cheers.

{email_signature}

The neat thing about Respona’s template system is that it allows you to insert different variables like day, first name, organization, URL, etc.

This is implemented to save you precious time on the personalization stage.

If your email account has a signature set up, Respona will automatically add it at the end of each message.

Respona also grades your message and evaluates your chances to get a response depending on its word count, subject length, and the count of questions and spam words.

Respona follow up delays

Another neat thing about the tool is that it sends out automatic follow-ups if your initial message got no response.

You can tell it how many days to wait before sending those out if you click on Dayright above the subject line.

Once you have set up your sequence, you can move on to the next step.

Step #3: Finding contact information

If you’ve done any kind of cold email outreach before, you already know that contact information isn’t that easy to come by, and most of the time you have to resort to using tools like Hunter, SalesQL, and other email finders.

Respona actually has a contact information finder of its own, so from now on it’s the only tool you will ever need. It scans the domain from your influencer’s Twitter profile and reveals all addresses associated with it.

To use it, you will need to first set up the automation.

Respona contact automation setup

Here, you have quite a few options.

The first two are pretty self-explanatory.

For the first question, I recommend using the third option because your influencer might work for a different company than mentioned in their Twitter profile.

For the second question, you should pick the first option so Respona doesn’t assign other people that work for the same company as your influencer.

After all, you’re looking for one specific person, right?

If it can’t find your influencer’s contact information on that domain, you can also use Respona’s manual search, which I will be discussing in a few paragraphs.

There are also a few advanced settings.

Contact automation advanced settings

The catch-all option will allow unverified emails to be assigned to your opportunities in case

Respona can’t verify the contacts, likely increasing the success rate of the automation but at the expense of potentially lower delivery rates

The second option allows Respona to assign a generic email address such as [email protected] if it can’t find one that meets your search criteria.

The last option is the most useful for finding influencers’ contact information since most of the time you will be reaching them through their personal inboxes.

Once you’ve set up your search parameters, hit Next to start the automation.

Respona automation review

The amount of time needed to find all contacts depends on the number of influencers in your campaign.

Respona is entirely cloud-based, so you can close the tab and focus on something else while the automation is running.

Once it’s done, you will need to review the addresses.

Respona contact information results

You can also switch to Domain-level Contacts, which will reveal all email addresses, associated with the domain that the influencer has mentioned in their Twitter profile.

In this case, the tool found the correct email right away.

Since it scans one domain per opportunity (the one stated in your influencer’s Twitter profile), in some situations it will not be able to assign the right email, simply because it might be on a completely different domain.

In this case, type your influencer’s name into the search bar, and it will work its magic to find all people with the same name, as well as their location, where they work, and, of course, their email address.

When you’ve sifted through your opportunities and made sure all of the assigned emails are right, you can move on to the final stage.

Step #4: Personalize your pitches

This is arguably the most important stage of the whole process.

Thorough personalization is key to getting people to not only read your message to the end but actually respond to it as well.

Respona personalized pitches

All of the variables you’ve inserted during step 2 will be automatically adjusted for each message.

However, if you’ve used any placeholders with square brackets (like I did), you will need to replace them manually.

A yellow warning sign next to an opportunity means it still contains placeholders and needs to be personalized (you will see it near every non-personalized opportunity).

Every customized message will be transferred to the personalized tab to make it easier for you to keep track of each pitch.

When you’re done customizing each message, your campaign is ready to launch.

Hit Launch Campaign and Respona will start automatically sending out your messages and follow-ups from your linked email account according to your sending schedule.

Now, all you have to do is wait for the replies!

Wrapping Up

So there you have it.

You now have a solid process for finding social media influencers, bloggers, or vloggers who can help you grow your business.

Before I leave you, I’ll have to tell you this:

Managing influencer relationships isn’t easy.

Make sure to be very specific when it comes to expectations and the scope of the collaboration.

Try to be upfront about it from the very beginning—this will save you time from unpleasant conversations later on.

Last but not least, if you’re ready to kick things off with your influencer outreach campaign, don’t forget to ask a demo with Respona, to see how our tool can help you.

Good luck!

Vlad Orlov
Vlad Orlov
Managing brand partnerships at Respona, Vlad Orlov is a passionate writer and link builder. Having started writing articles at the age of 13, their once past-time hobby developed into a central piece of their professional life.

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