This is going to be one of my favorite episodes because in the process of convincing Larry Kim to come on my show, I found a really cool outreach process.
Outreach Fail with Brian Dean
I tested a new outreach technique after I failed to get one of my SEO idols to come on the show, Brian Dean of Backlinko. Seriously, when I grow up, I want to be Brian Dean (although I’m probably 10 years older than him already ha ha).
I did a cold outreach to Brian on LinkedIn (total rookie move on my part), and he was really kind in the way he turned me down. Guys like Brian are pitched dozens of times each day and few are gracious enough to even reply so I thought that was really cool.
Note to influencers: check out the way Brian said no, this is the way to do it! He was friendly, he replied, and he said no in a way that did not give up hope. This guy is a class act as much in public as he is in private – and trust me, not all influencers are cool one-on-one.
Note to wannabe influencers like me: don’t do this totally rookie form of outreach that I did which was all about my “ask”:
This did not discourage me though, it inspired me to find a way to get influencers to want to work with me.
I have relied heavily on inbound marketing to grow my business and have never even tried any type of outbound outreach until this year.
Outreach seemed really hard, especially influencer outreach.
But then it dawned on me, like most companies, we were focusing on the “ask” and not the “give”.
If you focus on a give that is so compelling and helpful, it’s almost impossible for anyone to say no.
More importantly (and this was an aha moment for me this year) I have come to find that most influencers are givers by nature – in fact, they’ve given their way to influence by sharing their knowledge and helping people day in, and day out.
When you make a big, valuable “give” to an influencer, there is actually a lot less risk than you think, because more often than not, they will pay it forward – especially when by helping you they are also helping themselves.
Outreach Win with Larry Kim
My next attempt to get an influencer was even more of a reach: Larry Kim.
Larry is an all-time digital marketing influencer, but unlike many in the space, he is a multi-million dollar entrepreneur!
Larry started WordStream, the global leader in Google Ad management (formerly Google AdWords) and recently sold it for $150M.
Not too long ago, he started another company, Mobile Monkey, a Facebook Messenger marketing technology that uses chatbots.
Larry gets pitched 10-20 times per day.
I knew he would say no if I did a silly outreach pitch like the one I did for Brian Dean.
This time, I focused hard on creating a compelling give and I put time and effort into a strategy that would align our interests.
I’d like you to compare my outreach effort to Brian and my email Larry (ask vs give):
Listen to Larry Say Why He Said Yes
Phil Singleton: Larry Kim, thank you for joining us today, I want to talk about influencer marketing, we finally got rolling on this a little bit and I’d like to talk a little bit about how I got you on my show, because I know … you just mentioned in the green room before this that you get pitched all the time, you delete a lot of them, you just don’t have time … I’m sure you probably want to, if somebody reaches out to you and likes you so much that they’re trying to get you onto their … obviously there’s part of you that’s like I wish I could talk to everybody but I can’t … so I’d love to talk a little bit about why you said yes to me, because I think I tried to come up with something clever and you thought it worked too and what other things people could do to actually reach people and maybe get them to you know, participate and engage with them like this?
Larry Kim: Sure, well thanks Phil, you know, it’s true … I want to do them all but I get pitched … 10 to 20 per day, so it’s really hard to do that because it’s not like my full time role is in content creation, like that’s kind of … I’m a CEO of a start up company, I have to raise money or run different departments and marketing is a small part of it, so the things that kind of go through my head when I look at these things …
Phil Singleton: What do you get pitched … like what … when you said yes, I mean you said yes to me, maybe talk about that. I reached out to you in a different way and you said there were a couple things that you thought were creative about it, what did you like about the way I pitched you and why’d you say yes?
Larry Kim: Well you kind of ticked the box on all of my screens, so the things that I’m looking for is what are they asking for, is it directly related to the business that I’m trying to build right at this moment, okay, so right now I’ve got this start up, Mobile Monkey, and you were asking about chat-bots and Mobile Monkey, and so I’m like okay well that’s kind of more interesting because it’s more on topic to what’s top of mine … and you can definitely figure that out by just looking at the person … doing a little bit of background work to see what …
Phil Singleton: What they’re hot on and what their agenda and where their minds … okay, that’s one thing.
Another thing that you did really well was that the pitch was really unique, you created some content that referenced Mobile Monkey, like you created a blog post saying something like these are some really great chat-bot tools and you mentioned something, you were kind enough to mention Mobile Monkey, so now I feel like oh boy, this guy really …put some work into it
– Larry Kim
Larry Kim: You know, people will ask me can you help me give some ultimate tips of Google analytics or entrepreneurship and all this … and I’m like, well, I could, but I just … I don’t have the time right now. Another thing that you did really well was that the pitch was really unique, you created some content that referenced Mobile Monkey, like you created a blog post saying something like these are some really great chat-bot tools and you mentioned something, you were kind enough to mention Mobile Monkey, so now I feel like oh boy, this guy really …
Phil Singleton: Put some work into it?
Larry Kim: Put some work and I can’t turn this one down because I’ll be like a jerk if I … there’s a little bit of you …
Phil Singleton: Reciprocity almost, right?
Larry Kim: Yeah, like … it’s a well known fact that people are more likely to re-engage if you give something first rather than asking for something first.
Phil Singleton: With your permission I’d like be able to do a blog post and also I’m going to share it, when I send an email I said how I got you on my podcast before you even got on it, was that clever to get you … obviously maybe doing a guest post, getting it ranked, naming you at the top of that kind of stuff probably hit some check marks too?
Larry Kim: Yeah, so …
Phil Singleton: But I was wondering is it too risky, this guys got … is that too ballsy?
Larry Kim: No, it was fine, it was great, I did get half a dozen other pitches that afternoon and I deleted them all, so you know, you’re … it was a really great idea and …
Phil Singleton: It worked. Any other tips, how do guys like us who are on the ground doing this stuff, maybe have agencies and stuff, how do we reach influencers and … I mean I came up with something but I mean … is that the idea, is to go main frame, do some work ahead of time? The only time I’ve actually had influencers really buy in is when I’ve gone out on a limb to try and to do stuff like that, I mean, just work for them, do something really cool, and just hope that that effort was good enough, and a lot of times people who are influencers like yourself, I mean you’re there for a reason, you’re there because you probably at some point leveraged other influencers … you saw how it worked for you by gaining access or doing stuff or at least maybe sharing influence with other people that are … right, I’m just guessing out here because I’m an aspiring wannabe influencers versus somebody.
I still think the key to a lot of us is to try and get access and snowball this over time where you’re meeting with people and kind of leveraging their work.
Larry Kim: I don’t do a lot of influencer marketing, mostly I just do blogging, like I just do … I don’t do a lot of podcasts, I don’t do any video, it’s just blogging.
Phil Singleton: When you say get, you don’t do your own podcast and you don’t guest a lot on pods, is that right?
Larry Kim: I don’t have my own podcast and you know …
Phil Singleton: You’re not on a lot of them either?
Larry Kim: I usually turn them down because podcasts … the thing about podcasts are like … it’s like a lot of them have 10 viewers or something like that, and a lot of times the pitch is like … I’m starting a new podcast, you know. Okay, well that means you have 0 following and if I was going to spend an hour I would probably just create some content of my own for my own blog or something like that.
Phil Singleton: Right, awesome.
Larry Kim: But you know, you make exceptions from time to time and the things that kind of are on my hit lists in terms of things I’d look for is like what’s the topic, is it something interesting, or I have something that I want to share or …
Phil Singleton: Or cold outreach … in fact I read a post from you a few months ago where you were just like, hey man, don’t be afraid to … if it works for you right, you found the email, you pitch somebody, and you get a pretty … I think if you got it smart enough you will get responses from people more often than you think, right?
Larry Kim: I’ve like … cold emailed Reid Hoffman, the CEO of Linked In, and he gets back to me.
Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.
Larry Kim: I just guessed his email.
Phil Singleton: And you’ve done that more than once, because I remember … that’s awesome. So that stuff kind of works but you didn’t send it without some kind of a compelling idea, you probably thought about it and did that kind of stuff and …
Larry Kim: Yeah and another thing you can do is … another tip is a shorter ask sometimes might work, okay, so the whole be a guest on my podcast, that’s a difficult one because it’s like an hour or two filming things, but you know sometimes people just ask me to just do a little comment on something, so …
Phil Singleton: Awesome, so that … I didn’t … really appreciate getting your feedback on that because obviously I sent it, fingers crossed, and you answered and said yes and I was like yes, it worked typed of thing, and I’d love to share with people how that worked because I mean I did put some time and effort … it’s not like I sent you a cold email, I actually worked on this for like two months hoping that I would have something good enough to show you and you were great just enough to come on and share some really awesome tips and really get me fired up because I haven’t really been fired up to take action on something this whole year, so now I’m like cool, chat-bots is like totally ingrained in my head right now.
Larry Kim: You know, you’re like an agency, correct?
Phil Singleton: Yup.
Larry Kim: So you really need to be the first to do this as an agency.
Phil Singleton: Well that’s why I feel dumb right now too but I don’t …
Larry Kim: No, no …
Phil Singleton: I’m not the only digital agency that hasn’t done this, it’s probably the majority of us.
Larry Kim: Oh, 99.8 percent of them haven’t done it, but I’m saying like … you know how an agencies just like … they already have somebody doing their PPC, right, so like, it’s all about discovering the new thing that’s like new and that’s kind of your … you land and expand. It’s like okay, you don’t have this, can I do this for you, and then you do a good job and…
Phil Singleton: I’ll take it a step further and say I think the reason we don’t get that heavy into Facebook is because I can make AdWords and SEO work for almost everybody but Facebook, especially because of the old fashioned way like you were talking about, it’s hard to make it work anymore unless you do … but this is like … aha, this is how you get it to work, maybe I can even get it to work even better than some of those other channels because this makes perfect sense and if you do it like the old school way, you can see why a lot of people are like, well we tried Facebook and it doesn’t work, right? That’s what a lot of people say, a lot of businesses are like it doesn’t work, it works for this kind of business, works for that kind of business, because maybe they’ve got pictures or something, real visual, or more engaging, but they say for some traditional type businesses it doesn’t really work, well this could work literally for anybody whose got good enough … right?
Larry Kim: I just think it’s a really nice vector for agencies to kind of sneak their way into an account and then kind of, you know, make stuff happen. You always have to have something new to offer.
Phil Singleton: Well then you can come in and … I’m thinking right now, I’m thinking I could use this right now to kind of go in and offer something with a better ROI and actually move the needle and get more leads and sales basically because people just might not be using it because this is the best way to probably use any form of … that’s what I’m thinking and if you’re doing it, it’s got to be that way, but this is the way to maximize ROI in Facebook advertising. It’s just so clear.
Larry Kim: I think so, yeah, awesome. Alright.
Phil Singleton: Alright man, well, appreciate it, Larry Kim ladies and gentleman, thanks so much for being on the show.
Larry Kim: Alright, bye.