As a small business, I get approached by bloggers asking to work with me on a regular basis. My day job is in digital marketing and so I know the value of bloggers, yet I still don't say yes very often. Here are some of the main reasons why, including some tips that will hopefully help bloggers looking to pitch to small businesses.
I've never heard of the blogger.
It's not a matter of me only wanting to work with bloggers with a certain number of Instagram followers or a good DA score. What I'm concerned about is getting to know the bloggers I'm working with. There have been a couple of occasions where I've jumped at the chance of working with a blogger because of their figures but every single time that collaboration has bombed. Now, if I opt to work with a blogger it's because we've already built a relationship and I know they care about the collaboration.
Their blog isn't a good fit.
Sometimes, even if I speak to a blogger regularly, they're not a good fit for The Treasured. Most of my products are under £25. They are cute, quirky and full of quotes. I adore several bloggers that share lots of high-end interiors and fashion, but I can't imagine my prints on their walls or my necklaces working with their Chanel. Similarly, it would scream #ad to their readers if my products didn't fit with their usual style. Not something either of us want.
They don't know my name.
To whom this may concern...
Nope. Stop right there. The Treasured is a one girl band and I'm not shy when it comes to shouting about that. A very, very quick look at my website or social media will reveal my name.
If a blogger doesn't take the time to find out my name then I know full well they haven't spent any time finding out about my business.
(My name is Laura by the way, but I'd still suggest exploring my website and checking out The Treasured's social media channels to work out if we might be a good fit.)
The blogger doesn't actually have an idea.
If a blogger has thought about it properly, they usually come to me with an idea. Whether that's a topic of conversation, a shopping guide concept or a giveaway. The best ideas always show me that their blog readers are also my customers (or should be). Sharing reader demographics and examples of successful campaigns you've worked on with other brands is a great way of getting small businesses interested and thinking about the possibilities.
They can't spell.
If you're a blogger in the traditional sense, your writing is a large part of what you do, even if it's interpersed by lots of wonderful photos. If you have spelling mistakes or poor grammar in your email that instantly makes me think you don't pay attention to your blog. It would be the same if a vlogger sent a very poorly edited video as an example, or an Instagrammer shared a poorly lit and pixellated photo.
I haven't even read their email.
I know, I know, I'm sorry! There's just me and I get a lot of emails, which means I have to prioritise and my customers have to come first.
Think about what you can do to make your email stand out above and beyond the others. From an enticing subject line to an easy to digest press pack, grab their attention and grab it quick.
I don't have the budget.
Whilst I'm working really hard to make The Treasured a success, any funding to further the business comes from my own pocket. That isn't a pot of money that I've made from The Treasured, because right now it's not making anything. (And yes, sending products for free still costs me money.) Whilst I am willing to spend when I can, I still have to pay my mortgage, which means I always look to spend on marketing that I think will give me the biggest return on my investment.
As much as I love working with bloggers it rarely boosts my traffic or leads to sales. On two occasions the bloggers I've worked with have kindly returned and shopped with me, but only once has one of their readers ended up a customer. (I track this in different ways, from Google Analytics to discount codes.)
However, I have seen what's possible. I was super lucky to have the lovely Hayley Hall purchase from me (she found me through Etsy, it wasn't a collaboration) and her fans went crazy for my Harry Potter 'Happiness' quote print. (Check out Hayley's Harry Potter Art Print Wall.) By crazy, I mean, I sold about five a week for three or four weeks, but that kind of crazy means everything to a small business.
So, my biggest tip to bloggers would be to keep in touch with the brands you work with and find out how it's impacted them. Don't just share your blog post and think you're done, cement your relationship by making sure the business sees the value of what you've done.
When you reach out to businesses, share these stats. (Check what the brand is happy for you to share of course). Tell the business you're pitching to how many sales you have generated in the past, how much traffic you can send their way and how you plan on measuring success when you work with them.
Know your worth beyond your own web traffic and social media followers, then share that knowledge. I can assure you small businesses (and large businesses too) will be banging your door down if you can show you've generated sales way above and beyond what it cost to work with you.