7 Influencer Marketing Mistakes Holding Back Your Growth

Have you tried contacting influencers online but struggled to connect? Well you’re in luck because today I’m going to show you exactly why most marketers fail at influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing has been a popular PR strategy ever since Michael Jordan helped Nike sell billions of dollars worth of Air Jordan’s.

It’s actually a simple concept… pitch an authority (usually a blogger, celebrity or athlete) and ask them to endorse your product or service. This encourages word of mouth referrals all stemming from a trusted source, i.e. the influencer.

These days, influencer marketing on the web involves identifying the biggest influencers in your niche, then connecting with them to access their audience. It’s not just another trendy buzzword you can use to “sound” like an expert on marketing — quite the opposite.

Influencer marketing is a real, effective marketing strategy that has been shown to influence buying decisions.

A recent study by Deloitte revealed that both “digital influence and mobile influence on in-store retail purchases growing by double digits, with mobile growing faster than overall digital”. As online media continues to drive customer purchase decisions, companies are resorting to new marketing channels to acquire customers.

One of the best ways you can convert potential customers that are researching your product is to have an influencer post a product review or endorsement. This 3rd party validation allows you to piggyback their authority and acquire customers from an engaged and receptive audience.

Sounds like a win-win…

It is, and it’s actually quite simple to do. Yet despite its simplicity, influencer marketing is not easy (there’s a big difference). And that’s why most marketers fall flat on their face.


Most people approach influencers the wrong way, leaving nothing more than a backlog of unopened emails to show for their efforts. The typical approach is very “me” focused and doesn’t take into account the influencers frustrations, needs and desires.

The good news is that most people are making the same seven mistakes, so if you avoid these you’ll drastically increase the effectiveness of your influencer outreach and start to immediately see results.

Here they are…

Mistake #1 – Lack of clarity

As with any marketing strategy, the first step should always be getting crystal clear on the exact outcome you want to achieve. Without clarity, your influencer marketing campaign will feel like being on wild goose chase.

Again, that may sound simple… But most people get stuck at this first step. Here’s what I suggest: start by setting

Mistake #2 – Not aligning your goals with the goals of the influencer

Once you’ve gotten super specific on your own goals, it’s time to think about the goals of the influencer and how you can add value to their audience.

Some studies presented in Psychology Today show that self-centeredness and narcissism are on the rise. This probably explains why so many marketers make the mistake of only thinking about what they are trying to achieve and disregarding the frustrations, needs and desires of the influencer.

Most people miss this last piece, not realizing that influencers are extremely busy and don’t have the time to help you unless you can help them get what they want. By aligning your goals with those of the influencer and their audience, you’ll be able to build a compelling pitch, and increase the effectiveness of your outreach.

Once you are clear on the outcomes for yourself, the influencer and their audience, you must now plan out your influencer marketing strategy.

Mistake #3 – Failure to plan ahead

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Alan Lakein

Knowing that it probably won’t workout exactly as you planned, it’s still important to recognize the power of intention, and that not having a plan is going to be a huge mistake. First thing that most people forget with their plan is to estimate the value of each opt-in or lead.

Knowing the value of a lead you can then map out your customer acquisition funnel and have a clear plan for how to generate revenue from the newly acquired opt-in or leads. This is the only way to objectively measure whether your influencer marketing efforts have been effective.

Mistake #4 – Not pitching enough of the right people

Once you’ve finalized a plan to connect with influencers, there are three crucial things you need to get right:

  1. You need to choose the right platform
  2. You need to reach out to the right influencers
  3. And you need to reach out to enough people to ensure that the campaign is successful.

When it comes to choosing the right platform, this depends largely on where your target prospects spend their time and what kind of product you are promoting. For example, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle if you are trying to promote retirement packages through Snapchat or Instagram.

When choosing the right influencers and the right out amount of outreach, most people make one of two mistakes. First, they either do a very large volume of outreach and end up being too broad and not appealing to anyone, or second, they go too narrow and do not reach the sufficient volume of outreach required to achieve their initial goals.

So as you might have guessed it takes a balance of creating a sufficiently large but also highly targeted list of influencers to reach out to. As anyone with any experience in cold outreach will tell you, it’s about building mutually beneficial relationships with influencers but it’s also a numbers game to find people who are open to engaging with you.

Mistake #5 – Going in cold without any prior contact

Another mistake that will drastically reduce your chances of being able to engage with your targeted influencers is sending your pitch on the first contact. No matter how good, compelling or exciting your pitch might be you’ll drastically increase the effectiveness of your outreach by using a multi-touch point approach.

According to the Online Marketing Institute, it can take 7 to 13 touches to generate sales-ready, qualified leads. In my experience the same dynamic applies for influencer outreach. So with this in mind, you’ll want to start by getting on the influencers radar.

As many other guides on influencer outreach will tell you, you can do this by interacting with the influencer on social media, commenting on a blog post and/or engaging with them about their content.  Ideally, you’ll want to do a varied approach on different platforms to spark some sort of engagement with the influencer so they know you exist and that you appreciate their content.

Once you’re on their radar by showing some genuine appreciation for their work, then and only then should you start pitching the idea of a possible partnership to promote your product or service.

Mistake #6 – Not personalizing your pitch

The worst way you can insult anyone is by not acknowledging their existence, and a sure way to insult an influencer is to spam them with a generic pitch. This is one of the most common errors people make when they hear that you must approach lots of influencers to get one to work with you.

Although it is true that you need to complete a sufficient volume of outreach to get influencers on board to promote your product, it is also true that almost no one will respond to something that is clearly copy and paste.

Think: why should they care?

First answer that question, then think about what email subject line would you open if it were someone pitching you. What would the email say? Would it be to the point or long and wordy?

When you take the time to put yourself in their shoes it starts to become pretty clear how you should personalize each message. Spend some time understanding their opinions, preferences, and what their audience responds to.  This can’t be stressed enough: you must understand their goals and explain how you can help them achieve them.

Mistake #7 – Treating influencer marketing like a magic pill

Influencer marketing is only effective when it is used as part of an entire customer acquisition strategy. It should be viewed as a tactic for increasing the top-of-the-funnel leads within a holistic marketing strategy.

Not every influencer you partner with will provide the results you were hoping for, so you need to be consistent in approaching new influencers regularly.

Try to have realistic expectations and track your results so that you may remain objective when you say your influencer marketing did or didn’t produce the results you were hoping for.


So as you can see, there are many pitfalls to avoid in order to run a successful influencer marketing campaign. Remember, that if you want to create a wildly successful campaign treat influencers with respect, avoid these 7 mistakes and put in the work.

Don’t have the time to manage an influencer marketing campaign yourself?
Click here to let us do the work for you and connect with the top influencers in your niche.

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