Email outreach is a powerful way to establish email connections with potential clients and leads.
It’s also an important part of email marketing, which makes it vital for any business or blogger that relies on email as their main form of communication.
But cold emailing can be tricky.
You want to make sure that your email is engaging and relevant, but not come off too pushy or spammy.
At first glance, cold outreach can seem quite daunting- and you’d be right to assume so.
The average response rate for cold email campaigns (those sent by strangers) hovers around 5%. However, with the right tactics, a ladle of patience (and a dash of luck), people can see response rates of up to 40%.
In this article, we’ll go through what email outreach is, the different methods, important tactics, and successful templates that you can use to ease the whole process significantly and increase your chance of success.
Cold email outreach, also known as email prospecting, is an effective and affordable outbound sales tactic used in many different fields.
It works by sending personalized messages to people that you had never previously contacted. This could include anyone from a potential customer or vendor to someone in your industry that might have a platform that is relevant and valuable to you.
While outreach email is tricky – it can also be very rewarding when done correctly: You get to start conversations on your own terms, develop meaningful relationships, gain exposure to your business, and convert prospects into long-lasting clients or generate sales from them.
Many businesses and bloggers do email outreach campaigns through guest posts and link building.
There are two main email outreach methods – personalized and mass send approaches. They are also widely known as the Sniper vs. Shotgun outreach.
The metaphor is actually very accurate – with a sniper, you concentrate on a single target, and the chances of hitting it successfully are a lot higher. On the other hand, shotguns are hard to aim with, they shoot many smaller bullets in one go, and you mostly just shoot randomly and hope for the best.
So, how does this translate to email outreach?
Let’s take a look!
With the sniper approach, you carefully choose and research your prospective client. What this means is that you’re focusing on individual prospects and emailing them one-on-one with your message for link building or guest posting opportunities. The goal is to send a hyper-personalized email that will get their attention and create a significant business relationship that will last.
The email that you send will apply to this person only, and you can’t use it as a template to reach out to other people.
Here is an example of a personalized outreach email:
As you can see, the overall tone of the email is like writing to an old friend while still being respectful. However, none of that matters if you don’t do your research on the prospect. Send an article that you liked from them or mention a mutual interest. Anything that will show the potential client that you care and are willing to put in the effort in this business relationship.
Let’s see quickly now what the pros and cons of the sniper approach in email outreach are:
|Advantages of sniper outreach||Disadvantages of sniper outreach|
- You’ll be more successful outreaching famous bloggers, influencers, and authoritative figures in your respective field.
- It’s a manual process.
Personalizing emails requires you to spend time researching potential clients, and there are no shortcuts to this.
-You’ll have a higher response rate.
- It’s a lengthy process.
Creating a personalized email takes roughly 10 minutes, which means that the maximum number you can send per day is 48. And that is if you’re able to dedicate a full 8-hour day to this task.
- You’ll create longer-lasting relationships that are based on trust.
- It’s a technique that requires a more complicated follow-up process.
Since all of the prospects are targeted individually, you can’t measure the success of a specific template. It’s also easy to get lost in all the different information if you don’t pay enough attention.
The second most popular method is the mass-send approach, also known as the shotgun technique. It is the textbook definition for “quantity over quality” and focuses on automation since it’s typically done through special outreach tools such as HubSpot, SmartReach, and Yesware.
Most of those tools create an outreach campaign through a sequence of emails with templates you can write yourself or use the ones available. Depending on the tool, you can contact X number of prospects and automatically send follow-up emails when they don’t respond.
The automated mass-send approach is popular amongst people who want to get their links fast and don’t really care about the quality. There is the option for optimization of the template, but the personalization is still only done to a degree in which it can be templated and relevant for many prospects.
Here is how a typical mass-send email template looks like:
Unfortunately, this shotgun approach is a prevalent practice in link building and blogger outreach for purposes like guest posts.
A bland email with no character and no attempt to communicate with the receiver is a pretty good indicator that that person will not deliver good content and will not be a genuine person you would want to develop a business relationship with.
Then why is it still preferred by so many people?
Well simply, because it’s easy and requires less effort. However, there are merits to this shotgun approach in email outreach. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:
|Advantages of shotgun outreach||Disadvantages of shotgun outreach|
- Less time is spent on writing.
- The emails look like spam.
- A greater number of emails can be sent per day.
- The response rate is quite low.
- Emails can be customized with the right outreach tool.
- The chance of building long-lasting relationships is closer to zero.
- Follow-up emails are also fully automated.
- The email address might get flagged as spam and punished by Google.
- Performance and statistics are easily measured and accessible.
No matter which method you’re using, planning is the key to a successful email outreach campaign. See how you can best prepare yourself and make the right decisions moving forward.
You can’t start a project without knowing why you’re doing it. Just like any marketing and sales strategy, the very first step is to set clear goals for the email campaign.
This will help measure your results during and after the campaign is over, such as open and reply rates and the number of successfully created relationships.
Here are some example KPI’s:
If you’re promoting a certain product, you will need to reach out to a large number of people and companies; hence it’s best to use the shotgun technique with a personalized template.
To contact influencers, bloggers, and journalists, you will definitely need to craft personalized outreach emails. This will give you the chance to win them over right away and to set the expectations of your potential partnership right away.
And if you’re outreaching with a set sequence, make sure you craft the follow-up emails
Even if those emails are quite different in the way that they are used, there are some common characteristics that make them successful.
It’s vital to realize the importance of having a good subject line. After all, it’s the first thing that your prospects see when they receive the email. No matter how amazing, showstopping, and one of a kind your offer is, none of it will have any significance if you have a bad subject line. Win over your clients before they even open the email!
But most importantly, ensure that your subject lines are relevant. Your subject line can even be as simple and straightforward as “I want to contribute original content for you”.
A long, drawn-out email is the worst thing you can do, regardless of the technique you use. No one has the time to read a full-page email about your latest blog about teapots. Instead, use your first few lines to show your knowledge for the specific client or something they’ve created. Once you’ve proven your dedication, go straight to the purpose of this email and how they can benefit from your offer.
Your email content should also be supported by your subject line.
Use first names and go with a friendly but polite tone to address your prospects. After all, you’re trying to initiate a personal business relationship that will benefit both sides.
Starting with “Hi, Alice” is a lot better than “Dear Madam.” Nobody talks like that in real life, and you want to show that you’re an actual person who values other people, not a spam bot that doesn’t care about the client.
However, be careful not to be too informal; otherwise, you risk looking disrespectful. In the end, you’re still asking a favor from someone you don’t even know. I’ve had people starting emails with “Hi mam,” and needless to say, that’s the only thing I read in that email…
Even if you’re not a part of a company, try to make your signature look professional. Include link icons to your website, LinkedIn profile, etc. For writers, it’s very beneficial to list popular websites you’ve been featured in and a small bio.
Below you can find a fantastic example for a freelance signature. Notice that the job title includes a position, but also that personal insight into who they are: “Magician, and Dream Chaser”.
If you are outreaching on behalf of a company, include your job title, company name, address, as well as your phone number. Company logos and awards also do a great job.
A great example of a company signature is the one employees from Fantastic Services use.
As you can see, this signature also includes a CTA and links to the mobile apps offered by the company, yet it’s still compact.
To add on to the last point, your emails will look more professional and be taken more seriously if they are from “@YourDomainName.com”.
Depending on your goals, you would approach the research phase in different ways. If you’re looking to promote a certain blog post, you can look at which websites are linking to competitors and high-ranking articles on similar topics. This is easiest done through SEO tools like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs.
In case you’re searching for influencers and bloggers, you would probably have to do this manually, and it could take a bit more time unless you’re using a specialized outreach tool.
If you’re going with the more personalized approach and outreaching to specific people, make sure you’re emailing the right person.
It’s better to reach out to a real person than a default email like “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Just as almost anything else, there are outreach tools for finding people’s emails, with the most popular ones being Hunter.io and VoilaNorbert.com.
With influencers and bloggers, it’s relatively easy to find the actual address. However, if you’re outreaching to a big website or company, then you’d have to put in the work.
Another thing you can do to improve your chances of getting a response from a big prospect is to initiate indirect contact early on. This can be done by commenting on their posts, connecting on social media, especially LinkedIn (or Instagram and TikTok for influencers). Just getting on their radar through a few comments and interactions can significantly increase the possibility of getting a response.
You can even include it in the email with a subject line that catches their attention:
Subject line: Your reply to me on the Samsung Using Ai article gave me a mini heart attack!
I’ve been following you on LinkedIn for a while now, and I am addicted to your articles about Artificial Intelligence. When you responded to my comment on the post about Samsung using AI, I had a mini heart attack!
I was wondering if you would be interested in talking on my podcast about Artificial Intelligence. We’re just starting out but already have a consistent number of listeners in many different countries. I would be very grateful if you can talk about your experience with AI in E-Commerce, and I can share with my audience your awesome newsletter.
Let me know what you think!
A loyal fan and AI enthusiast,
Once you’ve started the campaign, you need to be able to measure valuable metrics.
The more you’ve invested in email outreach, the higher the return on investment (ROI) will be.
Keep in mind that it takes time for campaigns to yield results and tracking metrics periodically is key.
Some marketers use tools like Aweber or ActiveCampaign to automate this process; others prefer a spreadsheet such as Google Sheets where they can input their stats manually. You can start off by measuring variables of your email outreach efforts with a simple spreadsheet like the one below:
And when you start getting replies for a guest post or link exchange, that spreadsheet can note things such as spikes in links, traffic, followers from each successful outreach email, etc.
Just because you are taking a highly personalized approach to outreach emails, doesn’t mean that you have to write the emails from scratch all the time.
Generally, there are some pretty useful structures and templates you can follow for different purposes, where the personalization can be inserted in certain areas.
Let’s take a look at 7 successful templates that can increase your response rates for outreach emails:
Ever since the conception of Google, the number and value of links have been one of the main ranking factors and what determines whether a website is authoritative or not. It’s technically the Internet equivalent of a friend recommending you something they like, trust, and know is relevant for you.
People are willing to trust other people, hence why search engines, especially Google, “trust” websites that many other websites have recommended. So if you want your blog to rank, you need to have authoritative links.
One way to do this is through cold outreach email. According to many experts, this is one of the essential tactics because of its ability to create valuable, long-lasting partnerships.
To get you started, here are four successful link-building email templates for different outreach email tactics. Note the different subject lines and how the templates are structured, but still highly personal.
SUBJECT LINE: The missing piece to your website
I really hope my email finds you well and safe.
My name is [YOUR NAME], it’s nice to e-meet you! I’m a [YOUR JOB/POSITION] at [BRAND/COMPANY NAME]. I specialise in writing topics, such as [INSERT TOPICS OF YOUR CHOICE].
You can see examples of my work on our blog here – [INSERT WEBSITE LINK]. And here you can see some examples of my collaborative work:
[INSERT LINKS TO PAST COLLABORATIONS]
I came across your website [WEBSITE NAME] and can appreciate the attention to detail in every article published. Especially the article on [ARTICLE NAME] where [1-2 POINTS YOU ENJOYED/LEARNED/FOUND HELPFUL FROM THE ARTICLE]!
I would love to contribute a high-quality piece that would be of interest to your readers. Here are some example topics I would love to offer:
[INSERT TOPICS HERE]
Please let me know if any of these work for you. I’m also open to suggestions if you need help with writing for any topics.
Let me know what you think!
You’ve created this nifty product, and you want the world to know about it. Paid advertisement can be expensive, so another way to get your creation out to the world is through cold outreach emails.
Here is how you can do it.
Subject line: Have you heard about [PRODUCT/SERVICE NAME] yet? It’s the hottest thing on the planet now!
Hi [FIRST NAME],
I hope you’re doing great this week!
My name is [NAME] and I’m actually reaching out because I want to make your week even better.
[Promotional pitch about your product or service. I recommend you don’t go looking for templates for this description and write a unique text for your specific product or service].
If any of this sounds great, check out our page to find out more about [NAME OF PRODUCT/SERVICE].
In case you have any questions, please let me know by responding to this email or just give us a call on [PHONE NUMBER IF THERE IS ONE]!
Famous influencers get many outreach emails per day, so you have to make sure yours stands out.
Here is one way to do it:
Subject line: I want to work with you, [FIRST NAME]!
Hey [FIRST NAME],
I’m [YOUR NAME] with [BRAND NAME]. We’re a company that [BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF WHAT YOUR BUSINESS DOES] and you’re exactly the type of person we want to work with!
Ever since I found your post about [INSERT RELEVANT POST FROM INFLUENCER FEED], I’ve been talking with my team to reach out to you and make some magic.
Since you’ve already collaborated with brands like [INSERT SIMILAR BRANDS TO YOURS], I thought that maybe you’ll be interested in working with us as well.
So how do you feel about this? Let me know what you think and hopefully, we can start our amazing partnership!
I’m available for a video chat and even a phone call if you’re tired of Zoom meetings (who isn’t really?).
Hope you have a great day!
It is in human nature to fear rejection, which is exactly what makes email outreach just so daunting to so many people.
However, the relationship and success you can get from the process makes it all worthwhile. It can be quite demoralizing at the start when you aren’t getting any responses, but that’s the hardest part – just starting. Over time, you’ll realize that facing rejections and getting no responses aren’t the end of the world and when you do get that first successful cold outreach email, you’ll never want to stop.
Hopefully, this email outreach guide has made this journey slightly less intimidating and harder for you to start. By following the steps above (with a whole lot of grunt work and patience) there is no doubt that you will gain success through your outreach email campaign and develop incredible business partnerships.
Good luck and happy writing!
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