Email outreach is one of the best ways to build links and grow your online presence. This strategy works across all niches, but there are specific ways to use it effectively—think of it just like any other email campaign.
There’s a fine line between spamming your contacts and genuinely reaching out for a business exchange. Although the latter is undeniably more involved, it is also much more rewarding.
If you’re using this strategy for the first time, you should be mainly concerned about two things. First, that your emails don’t end up in the spam folder, and second, that your emails aren’t ignored or deleted. Thankfully, you can minimize your risk for both of these concerns, all it takes is to build your list carefully and follow some outreach email best practices.
Avoid seeming like a spammer, capture the interest of your recipients, and actually get the results you need. Here are ten email outreach tips to achieve that.
10 Email Outreach Tips
1) Do your research
When reaching out, email is undoubtedly the best medium. However, it can’t work in isolation and it’ll be most effective if you use it in combination with other platforms. Don’t just leave messages through a company’s contact form, spend some time on Google and LinkedIn and take advantage of available email marketing tools. Use several resources to find the best person to reach out to, which address to use, and what to say.
Part of doing your research is also spending time on the company’s website. Absorb the content and analyze their communication style, comb through their blog and study their content strategy. Try to determine ways in which you can benefit from it as well as how you can provide value. In other words, gather as much information as you can to determine the best angle for your pitch.
Additionally, learn what you can about your contact. If you already know them personally, take note of personal interactions you can reference in your email—otherwise, you can check out their social media profiles. On these platforms, you can look for details you might be able to use to make a personal connection.
2) Craft your subject lines carefully
Subject lines might seem inconsequential because they’re so short. However, this might actually be the most important part of your outreach. Almost 50% of email users base their decision to open a message on the subject alone, so you need to make sure it is simple and straightforward but also grabs the recipient’s attention.
Remember that personalization is critical, even in the subject line. This isn’t just about including your recipient’s name, although that alone increases open rates by up to 26%. Nevertheless, you should use the details you gathered from your research. Craft a subject that shows you are intimately familiar with the recipient’s work or accomplishments— that way, they can’t help but open your email.
Additionally, it helps to go after an emotional response. Write your subject line so that it sparks curiosity or incites empathy. Tapping into your recipient’s fear of missing out (or FOMO) can also be an effective subject line strategy.
3) Personalize your email
Most outreach emails start with ego baiting, or an attempt to engage a person through flattery. Although this could work in many situations, there are two critical issues with this tactic. First, spending so much time stroking your recipient’s ego makes it seem like you’re asking for a favor. That’s not ideal because you want them to know you’re proposing a mutually beneficial transaction. Second, these statements are often so vague that they can be used by any blog owner.
Instead of generic flattery, express your admiration for something specific. You can mention a distinct piece of work and react to a particular detail. Your goal is not just to compliment them, but also to show that you have a genuine interest in their work. Let them feel from the get-go that the email they are reading was written specifically for them, the last thing you want is for them to think it’s just a generic outreach email template.
4) Be clear and concise
Your subject line and preview may have been enough to capture your recipient’s interest, but that doesn’t mean they have much more time to waste. Make sure you get to the point right away. Otherwise, they’ll simply move on to the next message in their inbox.
Begin with a summary of why you’re emailing and say exactly what you’re hoping to achieve. Address why you targeted them specifically, what you want, and an idea of why they will benefit from the transaction. Once you’ve gotten all that out of the way, you can incorporate all the details below.
Among the most critical aspects of a successful outreach email is actually having a proposal. Don’t be shy about asking for what you want! Then, don’t leave it hanging— end it with a call to action or a question that prompts a response.
5) Communicate the benefits
When you’re the one reaching out, it’s usually apparent to the recipient what you have to gain from the transaction. Don’t allow them to think that you’re merely asking for a favor and that you’re at their mercy. That is to say, don’t beg for a backlink! Make sure you spell out how your recipient will benefit from the proposal.
Generally, backlinks can be repaid by backlinks. However, most website owners and influencers will be more interested in value—can you offer an exclusive opportunity? Consider pitching for a fresh piece of content you can write and post as a guest on their site. You could also offer a chance for them to showcase their expertise in a subject matter. If other reputable companies have benefited from the same arrangement, make sure you mention them.
6) Show off your value
Part of enabling your recipient to realize the value of your proposition is for them to appreciate your own value. Introduce yourself and show off your credentials! If you’ve published work on popular and well-reputed blogs, say so. Feel free to send them some links, especially if you’ve written on their niche before. All this will also help make a personal connection versus merely proposing as a business entity.
Nevertheless, the value of your brand is equally important. Highlight your reputation and elaborate on all the good work you’ve done, and whenever possible relate your achievements with those of your recipients. Be careful, though, because you don’t want to be viewed as competition. The important thing to do is to emphasize your shared goals and values. You want to show why working together might be a good partnership.
7) Use a unique approach
If the blogger you’re targeting is worth their salt, you know you’re not the only one reaching out to them. For really popular sites, outreach emails must come in by the hundreds. How can you make sure yours stands out enough to garner a reply?
Your subject line, personalized email content, and a beneficial proposition all work together to create an appealing outreach email. However, there are also non-traditional things you can do to boost your campaign’s performance. For example, you can find bloggers on social media groups and break the ice there before sending a proposal. You can also engage them in conversation on LinkedIn until your name becomes more familiar. Whatever you do, your goal is to do something different from your competitors so that your proposal stands out.
8) Follow up with care
Follow-up emails can be a tricky thing. If you’re not careful, these can easily irk your recipients or make you smell of desperation. Nevertheless, they are also necessary. There are an infinite number of reasons why you didn’t receive a response for your first outreach attempt—maybe the recipient was uninterested and ignored your email completely. But it’s also possible that they were simply too distracted to appreciate your offer. They could even have been interested but forgot to reply. Who knows? Maybe all they need is a little nudge, to close sales takes time.
No matter the reason, a follow-up email can increase your chances of a successful outreach. In fact, sending more than one follow-up makes a response 25% more likely. However, timing is crucial. Space out the emails so they don’t think you’re excessively persistent. Also, make sure you craft an entirely new email with the same proposition but with additional information. You can’t expect a different response from the exact same email.
9) Utilize available software
Best practices in email outreach have definitely become so involved. However, advancements in email marketing software make the seemingly impossible tasks manageable. Using the right tool, you can efficiently manage multiple campaigns. Additionally, you’ll be able to reach out to thousands of people without compromising authenticity and personalization.
Tools like Omnisend will enable you to automate the most tedious parts of your outreach process. You’ll also benefit from advanced targeting and segmentation features so you’ll only need minimal customization for every email.
Finding an email address for a website can also be difficult if you’re doing it manually. Often, you’ll end up resorting to requesting it through the contact form, but that’s an incredibly inefficient approach. Thankfully, there is software that makes this critical task remarkably easy to do. Tools like Clearbit enable you to find the right email address to contact for a blog or website—all it takes is a few clicks, and you’ll get the information you need almost instantly.
10) Implement different tactics
If your main goal is to gain plenty of inbound links you can’t rely on a single campaign, try to develop different strategies to have the best chance at getting positive responses. There are so many propositions you can make in order to earn backlinks. You can propose an idea for a guest post or freshen up some of their older content. You can also invite them to participate in a new and exciting project. So if your first proposition is rejected or ignored, you can always try again with another proposal.
You should also perform A/B testing on slight variations in your email content and subject. Also, try different versions of your outreach email template. Most email marketing software will enable you to do this easily and systematically. Pinpoint the emails that work and gather your insights on how to make them perform even better next time.
For your outreach campaign to work, start by making an effort to build a good-quality contact list. Do your homework not just to find the right contact information. Your goal is also to discover enough about every contact to make a personal connection. Then, craft your email content in a way that captivates your recipients. It should interest them enough to strike a deal or, at the very least, respond and explore the possibilities.
You’ll inevitably get rejections and many of your emails will be left ignored, but you’ll eventually master the art of crafting outreach emails that work. Then, you’ll be able to use this strategy effectively for building links that are actually valuable to your business. These links will not only contribute to your SEO efforts but also generate traffic directly and ultimately expand your reach. If things go well, every positive response could be a start of a long-term and mutually favorable business relationship!