How to send free samples to top Instagram influencers (+ sample scripts)

Post Updated as of May 18 2017 – will keep updating as we get more results.

Instagram is a really effective marketing channel.  It helps you get engagement, drives traffic, and increases brand recognition. It’s also been found to produce a “higher average order value” than other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.

Today’s post goes over an easy-to-implement strategy that helps you “borrow” traffic from some of the most popular Instagram accounts in your niche.

You’ll be able to send out a couple emails and get your product in front of literally thousands of followers in no time.

I’m not just saying this:

We spent a little less than an hour and less than $40 to get in front of 2,001,700 Instagram followers.

Here’s how Michaela did it:

Step 1: Find Top Instagram Influencers In Your Niche

Search for popular Instagram accounts in your niche that may be interested in featuring your products to their followers.

You can find these popular Instagram accounts by searching through Webstagram and Websta Hot.

Just type the keywords you want to search for into the search bar to find the most popular Instagram users who include that keyword in their user name or bio along with the most popular hashtags for that search term.

I did this for the pit bull niche. I typed “pit bulls” into the search bar and saw these results:

Webstagram

Websta Hot

Step 2: Contact Instagram Influencers

After searching through Webstagram and Websta Hot, I made a spreadsheet of about twenty popular Instagram accounts. I chose people with over 1,000 followers who listed either their email address or website on their profile page, as that, to me, meant they were open to being contacted.

Then, I drafted an email and sent it to those twenty people. And for any Instagram user I didn’t hear back from, I followed up a few days later.

All in all, the process took about an  hour to complete.

Here is the exact email I sent:

Hi there, 

My name is Rachel, and I’m a big fan of your Instagram posts.

You might be interested to know that I have an ecommerce store, [website name], that features a variety of dog breeds but especially pit bulls. 

I’m particularly proud of this [product name] mug, and I wonder if you might accept if I pass along a sample of it? 

Or, if you browse our selection of [link to product category] and find something you like even more, then I’d be happy to send a sample of that instead!

And if you like the item as much as I do, perhaps you’ll consider sharing it with your audience?

Please let me know if there’s a business address for me to send a package to, and if you have any questions at all.

Thanks so much!

Best,
Rachel

You can use a modified version of this message to contact Instagram influencers who are relevant to your products’ niches.

Here’s a template:

Hi [Instagram influencer’s name],

My name is _______ , and I’m a big fan of your Instagram posts.

You might be interested to know that I have an ecommerce store called _______ [your store’s name] that features a variety of _______ [items you sell] but especially _______ [top selling items]. 

I’m particularly proud of this _______ [product name with link], and I wonder if you might accept if I pass along a sample of it? 

Or, if you browse our selection of _______ [your niche with link] items and find something you like even more, then I’d be happy to send a sample of that instead!

And if you like the item as much as I do, perhaps you’ll consider sharing it with your audience?

Please let me know if there’s a business address for me to send a package to, and if you have any questions at all.

Thanks so much!

Best,
[your name]

Step 3: Send Out Samples

If you get back positive results (ours are below), send out the samples that people request.

We sent out mugs ($9.90 on UseGearBubble for $4.95 + $4.95 shipping) and got them sent directly to the influencers.

(If you’re in Low Hanging System, this is also covered in Step 7.)

Here Were Our Responses

Of the twenty people I contacted and followed up with, six got back to me (three responded within twenty-four hours!). One person ended up being a competitor. One wasn’t interested. But the other four were positive responses and their accounts are hugely popular!

User pitbullsofinstagram has 1.55 million followers, pitbull_advocate has 239K, xxldesignerpitbulls has 197K, and otterthepitbull has 15.7K.

Pitbullsofinstagram and otterthepitbull selected a different mug from my inventory that they wanted me to send, while pitbull_advocate and xxldesignerpitbulls both chose the mug I had originally pitched.

The four sample mugs are currently in-transit. But as long as the recipients enjoy their free gifts, I’ve asked them to post pictures of the mugs along with a link back to my store to all of their Instagram followers, and three out of four have enthusiastically agreed!

Here’s one of the responses I received:

To Recap:

Time spent: One hour

Money spent: $39.60 (four mugs)

ROI: Exposure to over 2,000,000 Instagram users

Not shabby.

Updates (So Far)

This post was initially published on April 26th.

As of May 18th, we had another influencer respond affirmatively so we’ve now sent out 5 mugs.

Of those 5, 1 person said they’d post but haven’t yet, 2 people haven’t confirmed they’ve gotten the mug, and 2 people posted.

While it’s hard to completely track the sales on this, we’re still sitting pretty.

Here are the posts people made:

This person put our link in her bio (without us asking!), got over 4k likes to the mug (so far), and 29 comments – most with things like “I need this mug”.

Here’s the other post:

1,945 likes, link inside the description, and 33 comments – also with “I need this cup” type of comments.

It’s hard to track sales, but considering we have things like retargeting software in place to keep marketing to people, plus an email list, plus the exposure – I’m happy already.

Since the first Instagram post on May 2nd we’ve had 10 “pit bull” related sales.

While I feel confident that most if not all of those items were due to Instagram (I’ve barely touched Shopify lately), at least 6 were that exact cup (but in black).

MAJOR FAIL: The white mug was showing as “sold out” on our website!!! Who knows how many people came on for the white, saw it was unavailable, and left? We’ll never know.

For now we’ll call those 6 mug sales definite Instagram sales and the rest as gravy.

Updated Recap:

Time spent: Around an hour

Money spent: $49.5 (five mugs)

ROI: 6 mug sales, other pit bull related sales, over 6,000 likes, and tons of exposure.

The consensus remains: Not shabby.

What do you think about this strategy of reaching out to Instagram influencers? I hope you found it useful! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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