How to reach out to brands to do product trades and promotions.
Let me start by saying that I am NOT a famous, professional Social Media Influencer by any means. HOWEVER, I have reached out to many brands to do product trades and even paid gigs, and I have had a ton of success... so naturally I want to share my secret sauce with y'all!
I have been a professional wedding videographer for the past 4 years, and less than 5 months ago I decided it would be fun to start working with brands. In the past 5 months I've received:
Clothing for myself and my baby
Excursions/activities on vacations
Over $14k Cash
SO HERE'S HOW:
These are basically cold calls (in email form) reaching out to brands that you love and asking if they would like to do trades (you trade whatever you have- in my case, I trade professional videos and photographs. You could trade for blog posts, other physical products, Instagram promotions, etc. Get creative!) So below are some tactics and points to help you land the gig, as well as the actual email template I use to reach out to potential brands!
Tactic 1: PITCH
Here's the thing - if you want to reach out to a brand you've got to have a KILLER pitch. These people get 100's of emails each week and they are b.u.s.y.!!! So you have to stand out.
Tactic 2: EMAIL ETIQUETTE
You want to keep your emails clear, concise, relevant, and persuasive. Two tips for you:
The One Screen Rule: Many people are reading emails on their phones. Ok cool, what's my point? ...All of the text from your email should be able to be seen when you initially open the message. So you NEVER want your email to be so long that the entire message can only be read if the reader has to scroll down. Remember - these people are busy, and often times if your email is super long, they won't even bother reading any of it. So PRACTICE. Before sending the email to the person it is intended for, send it to yourself and open it on your phone. If the entire message fits in the home screen, you are good to go. If not, you need to go back and slim it down.
End Your Email with a Question: If you end with a question, you are much more likely to get a response. But this has to be at the very end of your inquiry for it to work (last thing before your signature). If you include questions at the beginning, they often get overlooked and forgotten by the time the reader reaches the end. ALSO - your questions need to be open-ended (meaning they cannot respond with just a yes or no answer). These questions need to be simple and non-threatening for the reader (in fact the info may not even be very important to you right now); their main purpose is just to get the recipient to write you back.
DO NOT END WITH "Let me know what you think!" or "if you are interested..." (or something similar). You can use that in a different part of the email if you wish, but not at the end when we're trying to finish with a bang!
TACTIC 3: CUSTOMIZE
Pleaseeee do not just copy and paste the exact same email to everybody. You have to show the brand that you are truly interested in them and that you're a good fit. Mention one of their products that you love, or why they stand out to you above their competition. It is very obvious when the person reaching out has not done their homework and is just trying to get free stuff quick! Make it personal!
Include the recipient's name in the greeting! (You can usually find this by going to the "about" page on their website. You can also up your stalker level and find names/email addresses by looking on LinkedIn. If you have searched all over and can't find the name or email address of the person you're looking for, then you can send the email to their generic customer service email listed, and call them by their brand name when greeting them (e.g. "Hello [company name] team! . . .").
TACTIC 4: FOLLOW-UP
So many people are scared to follow-up because they are afraid of sounding pushy/spammy/salesy/etc. If you send this poor recipient 100 emails, yes you will be that annoying person and all of those things I described above. However, I will follow-up twice with a brand I want to work with if I don't hear back initially.
Usually I do this 5 days after my initial inquiry. It is simple & short. It reminds them of why I reached out, and then asks if they saw my first email, if they have any questions, and if there is a better way to reach them.
3 days after my 1st follow-up email. Again, simple and short. I ask if they're interested, and if they're not to let me know and I'll leave them alone! Simple as that!
Many times the recipient does not reply to the first email, and I promise they are not annoyed that you sent them another message. They'll thank me for being persistent and usually they were just super busy when they read my first email and then forgot to respond.
Below is the template that I've successfully used dozens of times in the past few months! But again, remember to add your own flavor and voice! [Anything in brackets/red are things you need to customize.]
Hi [person's name]!
My name is [your name] from [your company]. I began [following you/shopping at your store/etc.] two years ago [when i became pregnant with my first child]. You have such charming products, and I fall in love with everything you create!
Are you interested in collaborating? You will receive [10 high res photos] in exchange for [the product/service that you want].
[Next paragraph is all the value you're providing them] Ex: Video marketing is becoming increasingly popular, and is a very effective way to let your customers get to know you and your services! The video will drive awareness to your brand, increase engagement, educate your customers, inspire action, and help your SEO!
My website is [your website/Social Media handle/etc.]. Attached is [video/photos/media kit of your relevant work] I created for [different brand] that portrays the quality and style of [photos/videos/posts] you will receive!
Which [products/features] are you wanting to promote right now?
[your name & contact info]
***A few things to note:
This email is about THEM, not YOU. Try to avoid using the words "I," "me," "my," etc. and sub for talking about them more - "you," and "your." Your new client wants to hear how you'll be helping them, and not how you'll be helping yourself.
For example - Instead of saying "I love your products!" Say "You have the most beautiful products!"
Include your credentials... don't be afraid to name drop!
If you've worked with big name brands, let them know and gain instant credibility. If that other big company hired you, maybe this brand should too!
But be careful!! - Do not go on and on about your success and everyone you've worked with. Instead of establishing legitimacy, this makes you look desperate (and it also bores people).
THERE YOU HAVE IT!! I'm sure I forgot to mention a few things, so feel free to reach out with questions!
And just remember to be patient. Not everyone you reach out to will be interested or will even respond. But if you are persistent, you will be successful! If it works for me, it will work for you!
Literally everything you see in this video (even our outfits!) were sent to us by various brands in exchange for pictures of this Birthday party, and the rights to using this video on their own websites/social media channels!