Composing an Effective Outreach E-Mail
Our industry is built on communication, and for us SEOs and content marketers the success of our campaigns is hinged on our ability to facilitate co-operation with others in the online sphere. This is where the outreach e-mail comes in.
The outreach e-mail is essentially a request for a favour, which sounds simple enough, but it is amazing how few people get it right. You should approach your outreach in the same way as you would if you were asking for help from someone in the real world – and you wouldn’t walk up to someone saying “Oi you, do this for me. Cya later” would you?
Get your outreach right and you will have won half the battle in terms of acquiring links and blogging opportunities.
Okay, so you’re not e-mailing this person to make friends with them, but at least try to keep up the pretence of normal human interaction by being friendly and personal. The key to this is the introduction, and it is here where you can introduce yourself and give the impression that you’ve spent some time to get to know the person you’re contacting.
“Hi [First Name]” for example is fine, you don’t have to go down the formal route of “Dear Mr. Customer”, and even more colloquial greetings are okay if you’ve had contact with them before.
Beyond the greeting, be sure to ask them how they are and that you’ve spent time looking at their website/blog. This will show that you’re not just sending mass e-mails to every Tom, Dick and Harry on the Web.
The Ask & The Giveback
So you’ve managed to resist the temptation to cut right to the chase, and you’ve written a warm and friendly opening paragraph, now’s the time to start asking for what you want and explaining what you’ll do in return.
It depends on what you’re asking for as to how you should approach this part of the e-mail. For example, if all you’re after is some social love from an industry-recognised figure then simply making it easy to click and share the link is good enough, with a sentence or two explaining what the link is. The secret is to be short and sweet, leaving the person in no doubt as to what you’re asking of them and how they can help.
As far as doing something in return is concerned, it again depends on what it is you’re asking for. If you’re buying a link or writing a sponsored post for a blog then the money is the giveback, and you won’t have to offer any additional favour. You shouldn’t feel obliged to do whatever they ask of you either if you deem it unreasonable.
If money isn’t changing hands then you’ll need to offer something in return for them doing what you want, so make sure you give some thought to this first.
Once you’ve made ‘the ask’ don’t just say “Thanks, bye”. Like with the intro, take the opportunity to be friendly and personal, and sign off with some warm words that again demonstrate an empathy and an interest beyond simply getting what you want.
The signature is also an important factor that is often overlooked, and you’ll want to make sure that it includes your full name, your company name and your position within the company so the blog/site owner knows exactly who you are and who you represent.
Follow these simple steps and you could soon begin to see marked improvement on your outreach e-mail success rate!