Send Outreach Emails to Gain Exposure
Unless you can get yourself in front of the right people, you may never be widely known. Sending outreach emails is actually one of the most effective tactics if you really want exposure.
Do you want to get ahead of the pack and be the marketer that gets exceptional results? Do you want a huge audience? If you want to be recognized as a pre-eminent expert in your field – it’s time to master outreach emails.
What are Outreach Emails?
Outreach emails are emails sent to introduce yourself to influential people. The purpose of these emails can be to:
- Tell someone about a new piece of content you think they’d like
- Build links
- Pitch a guest blog post
Outreach emails can also be used to get clients and build partnerships, but for this article, we’ll focus more on the items with the bullet points. You can still apply most of what will be said here to partnerships and clients.
Outreach Emails Build Your Network
Outreach emails don’t necessarily have to be “cold” (i.e., you don’t know the person you’re sending the email to), but they usually are. This isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Ideally, your outreach emails should go to people you know fairly well, even if you’ve never met them. As you build up relationships in your niche, hopefully, everyone you mail will know you and respect your work.
If an average 10% response rate doesn’t sound so good, consider this:
Outreach emails, when they work, build your network. The help you get from these influencers is often more effective than advertising. Outreach emails are also free, so if you’re strapped for cash, they may be your best shot at generating buzz.
Get Started with these 9 Steps
1. Have Something Worth Saying
Your outreach email has one job: convince the recipient you’re offering them something valuable. Don’t send outreach emails for a blog post you only spent 30 minutes on.
If you’re going to ask for the attention of these people, get your ducks in a row. If that means you have to go back and put in another 10 hours on that blog post, do it.
Remember, a blogger who sends 100 outreach emails for every post she writes, takes the time to ensure the post provides valuable information. And those posts she’s promoting take about 20 hours to create. When she’s sending her emails out, she’s notifying people about a world-class blog post that’s worth reading.
2. Pick your Contacts Carefully
Don’t send outreach emails to people who don’t have a proven interest in what you’re contacting them about. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time and yours.
And even if you know your contacts fairly well, make sure it’s reflected right in the subject line.
- Make your subject line personal – Personalization is uber important when it comes to subject lines. This way, you can show your prospects that it’s not random spam or cold email, but something relevant to them.
- Keep subject lines short – Keeping your cold email subject lines short is probably the second most essential advice to get high open rates.
- Ask questions – If you ask a question relevant to your prospects, they are more likely to open your email and start looking for the answer.
- Pay attention to email snippets – The email snippet is the very first line of the text your prospect will see, following your subject line. Those greyish words right next to the subject line are pulled from the email’s own copy.
- Mention a mutual connection – The chances that someone will open your cold email improve when you include a mention of mutual connection in a subject line.
- Use power words – words of persuasion that often evoke an emotional response and lead to the desired outcome. They engage the reader’s imagination.
3. Do Your Research
You’ve got to know your prospects well. Take an entire day (or more) to create a master list of about 200 people you’d really like to partner with.
This list of 200 people isn’t just for promoting your content. It’s for stuff you might not be able to even imagine yet. Next:
- Make a Twitter list of their accounts, so you can easily find and retweet their content.
- Sign up for their email newsletters. Then create a folder specifically for those updates.
- Follow them on all the major social platforms. If you can get them to accept a LinkedIn invite, all the better. Don’t abuse it.
- Leave comments, at least 50, on their blog posts. Comments are one of the best ways to get noticed and to get your outreach emails replied to.
- Review their book/s (if applicable). This can be even more effective than leaving comments on their blog.
- Read at least five of their posts (and 10 or 15 is better). If they don’t have a blog, try spending at least 20 minutes on their site or their company site.
Why do all this? It will make your outreach email sound far more authentic. It will give you important insights into what they care about.
Once you really know these people, you’ll know which posts or content to pitch to them. You don’t want to send a pitch email to the same person every time you’ve got a new post – they’ll start to tune you out. So having a larger list means you won’t wear these contacts out.
4. Make it Easy for Them
Want someone to tweet about your new article? Write a few sample tweets for them. Want someone to link back to your site? Include a formatted link that they can just copy and paste to add to their site.
No matter what action you want people to take, make it easy for them to take it. The easier it is, the more likely they are to do it. Try to keep the action you want them to take to 2 minutes or less. Save bigger requests for people you actually know.
Keep in mind, it’s not only about what you’re asking them to do, but also how you’re asking them. The way you word your request makes a big difference and can affect your response rates.
5. Mention Specifics About their Work
It’s best if you can include the name of something they’ve done in your pitch email. For example, “I loved your recent post, “How to Scramble Green Eggs and Ham”. That goes over much better than the general statement, “I love your work.”
6. Mention Why You Picked Them
This is another credibility builder. It’s also a way to sell your request. For example, you can say “I think you’re the ideal person for this because of reason A and reason B”. This allows your contacts to figure out if what you’re offering is something of interest to them.
7. Keep the Email Short
Any more than 2-3 paragraphs and your responses will go way down.
Make sure to:
- Use bullet points
- Keep paragraphs short
- Do not have any typos – just one will spoil your entire message
8. Address them by First Name
This can be tricky if you don’t know someone. For instance, say someone’s name is “Alexandra”, but everyone calls her “Alex”. If you open your email to her with “Alexandra”, she’ll immediately be onto you.
The way around this? Check your contacts’ LinkedIn profiles, especially any recommendations they’ve received. See how the recommenders refer to them.
9. Don’t Send All Emails Out at Once
Send out a batch of about 20 emails, then wait a day or two. See how the results go. Often, the second round of emails you’ll write will be better. You might have a chance to catch a typo or a broken link the second time around.
Invest the Time in Outreach Emails
Yes, outreach emails take a lot of time. It’s a big time investment upfront to get to know people, but it pays off in the end. Taking the time to thoroughly do your research ultimately makes this a successful promotion technique. And it sets you up for easier, more effective outreach emails going forward.
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