Always Be Selling (to Your Own Network)

I really love influencer marketing. Too much. So much, in fact, that I often forget to do the sales and business development work required to keep Gerris Corp moving forward. An army runs on its stomach and a company runs on its revenue. Whoops.

I am sure you’ve been here right with me, especially if you’re a small business, a solopreneur. So, imagine it’s the end of August, the slowest two weeks of the year, right before Labor Day, and you realize you haven’t done a very good job at all driving business goals.


I had my head down doing amazing stuff for my friends over at BashFoo and as well as dominatingthe earned media influencer marketing game on behalf of Skinny and Company coconut oil, I flaked on the second most important job I have: prospect marketing.

So, first, I quickly made sure I was connected to as many people as I could on LinkedIn. Then, I exported and downloaded all of the contact info of all the people I am connected to on LinkedIn. Then, I dusted off my professional-level copy of Contactually and then imported my 7,500 LinkedIn connections into a bucket called LinkedIn.

After that, I came up with a message model that erred more on the side of Holiday Letter than pitch (not everyone likes it) and started sending them to 300 folks-a-day via a very nice mail merge. While there are 7,500 contacts in there, and while I can only reach out to 300/day, it’s OK.

I am actually starting with the people I have contacted the least or ever first. Contactually knows who I have emailed before because it takes control of my Google Mail for Business mailbox and can not only search my inbox to the beginning but it can also cross reference the contacts I imported via LinkedIn with the contacts in my inbox and Google contacts and then universally remove duplicated, at least on Contactually.

Then, Contactually also recommends that I keep up and respond to people who I have emailed before this campaign or in general. It keeps me working that inbox hard, making sure no email back and forth goes unanswered.

What Is Contactually?

According to the Contactually website:

  • Connect your work email to automatically create your relationship database.
  • Easily categorize your contacts into Buckets so Contactually can tell you who to contact and when.
  • Craft a genuine message or start a conversation using all of the relevant information Contactually helps provide on your contacts.
  • Stay top-of-mind and build the long-lasting relationships that generate more repeat & referral business.
  • Instantly access your network and communications anywhere.

What is Your Message Model?

Well, if you know me at all from Biznology, you’ll recognize the message model for my email:

Subject: Aloha from your LinkedIn friend Chris Abraham

Aloha Firstname,

I just wanted to wish you a happy final days of Summer, though we still have until the 22nd until the Fall Equinox. While I have surely been enjoying the Summer, taking as many rides and tours on my old touring bike as I could, I rejoice that Autumn is approaching. I’m a Very Big Man and the heat and humidity of Washington, DC, oppresses me — though it’s already getting cooler.

Luckily, this is also a bit of a brag email, too. My long-time colleague and chum, Dan Krueger, and I partnered with Skinny & Co coconut oil through on the most amazing earned media influencer marketing campaign we have ever done — and that includes the gig we did for Mizuno Running, the Mezamashii campaign. Included in the campaign is probably the best social media news release (SMNR) we’ve ever built as well:

So far, we have earned at least 218 earned media mentions across blogs, social media, YouTube, and even on Instagram, SnapChat, etc.

Earned media influencer outreach is not dead!  Here are some blog posts I have written on the subject over the last couple weeks:

If you know me you know that I have been a proponent for earned media blogger and influencer outreach since I read The Cluetrain Manifesto back in 1999 and it’s fantastic to know that paid media hasn’t replaced earned media if you’re willing to do the work, to identify the right influencers, to really spend the time and attention required, and if you have an amazing product with a superbly generous C-Suite.

Anyway, I would love to help you out in any way I can with these sorts of campaigns, answer any questions, or receive any referrals or introductions you can make. I have a full list of my services at and also the list of services offered by my company, Gerris Corp.

I am also looking for partners. I have a list of my current partners on CA and also on Gerris.

I am still blogging every Tuesday morning about social media, marketing, SEO, ORM, Wikipedia, content marketing, brand reputation, and influencer marketing at Biznology, whether I want to or not! I am fully committed!

Finally, I had the opportunity of being on the panel of Shel Holtz’s PR podcast, For Immediate Release, for a second time. Ironically, it was titled I’m an Influencer, Pay Me More — it’s always an honor to be included.

While I am a LinkedIn Premium and Sales Navigator member, I can’t quite convert our connection there so I thought I would try exporting my contacts to Contactually to see if I can get the conversation going. I would really love to contact on a call or in person if it makes sense; otherwise, it is my pleasure to connected with you on LinkedIn — this is a one-time email. And after looking through the list, I know quite a few of you already so please forgive the impersonal bulk email this one time.

Anyway, I hope you have a lovely last few weeks of Summer before Autumn comes. I would love to set up a call with you if you have some time to catch up — if you can deal with the fact that I have been using a robot AI called Amy Ingram by to do all of my meetings and calls. She’s cool but a little quirky sometimes.



Chris Abraham
President, Gerris digital
+1 (202) 352-5051

I know, I know, a number of people have told me it’s just too long. But I also have five calls schedule every day for the next three weeks, so it’s really not not working.

While it is nine whole paragraphs too long for a cold pitch email to an online influencer when we’re doing an influencer marketing campaign, I really wanted to set a mood, to share a little bit about myself, and to try to make friends. To get a conversation started.

Oh, and before you make fun of the Aloha, remember that I grew up in Hawaii — I’m a Kama’aina!

Finally, I am still using Amy Ingram, robot and AI assistant, to schedule my calls and meetings. I feel like she’s a risk, though I try to be very clear that she’s not a real person and I’d like to think the same sort of people who aren’t amused by cool tech innovations and gizmos like are probably not the sort of company I want to work with — it would probably just be a bad match.  Actually, I pretty much judge everyone based on how they treat Amy.

Anyway, that’s my current process. I do have LinkedIn Sales Navigator working for me. I am creating leads based on the brands, products, apps, and services that Dan and I would really love to work with.  We need to be very careful with whom we work because we need to choose our clients as carefully as our clients choose us. If we don’t choose brands, products, and services that will appeal to influencers in a big way, so much so that they’re review it even if they’re not be paid to, then we can only work with earned media influencer marketing unicorns!

But I am working on digging through all of those 7,500 LinkedIn contacts now. I assume that every single one of them connected with me at some point in the last 14-years so why not try to activate some of those connections that I already have but haven’t really been able to engage via LinkedIn proper.

And, it’s helping me clean my LinkedIn connections who are mean, rude, or aggressively uninterested. Life’s too short to put up with jerks, right? So, in many ways, this is a little like speed dating and it’s going amazingly well thus far.

What do you think about my process?  What do you recommend?  And suggestions on my novella-length message model?  Please pop them in the comments or reach me via Twitter @chrisabraham.