7 Biggest No-no’s When Doing Email Outreach For Link Building
Time and time again good old-fashioned email outreach has been declared dead or obsolete, and time and time again it refuses to go away.
It's one of the oldest forms of marketing your business online, and still arguably the best around. But unsurprisingly for a medium that's been in use since the early days of the World Wide Web, the biggest problem is that there's plenty of bad practice that's been passed down through generations of email outreachers.
The following list aims to debunk seven popular misuses of email outreach and encourage better practice - and in turn, improve the success rates of the marketing campaigns your business conducts.
1. Emailing targets with the same old template
Conducting outreach is a time-consuming business. Which probably explains why so many of us like to cut corners wherever possible to save hours in emailing targets that may never even respond.
But by copy-and-pasting templates and sending them across the web, you're setting yourself up for a failure.
Can you remember ever appreciating being the recipient of a non-specific email template that asks you for a favor?
Here’s an example of one:
I’ve made some comments just to make clear why this specific template isn’t going to work.
The best course of action is to show your target some respect, and by making your outreach to them as personal as possible considering the time constraints you have to deal with. Luckily, there are plenty of services that offer a way of creating templates that are easily customizable to add a personal touch that's bound to be better appreciated by your recipients at a fraction of the time it would take normally.
2. Impersonal email content
You may also risk falling into the trap of ignoring the needs of your recipient. Never expect something for nothing, and don't come across as appearing to want something for nothing. Don’t follow the "Me like links. Me links - Yes. You links - No" approach.
The solution to this is to truly offer something that would be of value to your recipient. Be sure that your outreach clearly details the benefits of the target featuring your post or service - it will pay dividends by simply asking them to for a link or to feature you.
3. Failing to respect your subject
Remember that you're emailing another human being, it's not just a numbers game. If you deploy a shotgun method of spraying emails out everywhere in the hope of a nibble, then you'll likely find that you hit rate has dwindled.
Make sure that your outreach is well researched and subjects are accurate. There's no easier way of losing a potential business relationship than to have forgotten to remove the formatting of your previous subject.
I usually go with something straightforward and to the point. Generally, my subject line is:
"Typical Email Outreach"
It worked quite well for our campaigns. Here’re some stats from two recent campaigns we’ve launched.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’ll work for you.
Again, by utilizing an appropriate level of research for your target, you're greatly increasing your chances of a response. But it's time-consuming - so the best course of action is to pick quality targets, rather than aiming for as many as possible.
4. Sloppy message content
To have your outreach content read is a great sign that your targeting techniques and subject lines are accurate and effective. But this is only part of the job done.
Your subject by this point is clearly interested, so the onus is on you to sell your intentions to them so don't squander your chance with sloppy content.
Don't stray too far from the point - waffling just obscures the reason for contact and puts the reader off of seeing what you have to say.
It's also vital that you don't come this far just to undermine yourself with terrible grammar. Spell checking and proofreading of your templates and final email drafts is an absolute necessity. If you can't write sentences that make sense then what hope do you have of proving your worth to an outreach recipient.
The same can also be said of trying to show off to your target. Digesting a thesaurus and churning out as many nine letter words as you can may be good practice for a spelling bee, but you can alienate the recipient or come across off-puttingly pretentious.
5. Irrelevant, superfluous subject lines
There's no point in optimizing your subject line in a way that boosts your open rates if it doesn't apply to your outreach.
The problem here is that the internet is inundated with spam, and users have grown both accustomed and dismissive of seeing spammy titles. So the use of superlatives and seemingly unmissable offers along the lines of 'Exciting opportunity for [Name]!' is bound to go straight into the trash cans of your recipients.
Here, it pays to be honest. You might find ways to get your targets to open your email, but then what? They'll likely feel aggrieved to have been misled into reading text that bears no relevance to the message title.
Be open in your subject line. Let the recipient know that it's outreach related, or ask for a moment of their time. You'll see the benefits in your response rate in no time.
6. Not emailing regularly enough
There's a good chance that you'll be ready to leave your outreach duties indefinitely after a couple of days of email sending. But no matter how well you construct your emails, how good your hook is, or how well researched your targets are; email outreach is a numbers game.
To really get the numbers in, you need always to have half-an-eye on your emails. It's here that you not only get to send out the volumes of mail that will get your business noticed, but you can also hone your technique in figuring out what kinds of messages brings the best results.
7. Not following up your emails
Another recurring no-no in the business of outreach is to only send out a single email and avoid the prospect of a follow-up.
There are many reasons why so many outreachers decide against following up their emails - laziness, the fear of being a nuisance, the belief that it's a futile endeavor. But chasing up a previous email can also show that you strongly believe that the recipient will benefit from your collaboration, it also gives them a chance to read what you'd originally sent if, for whatever reason, they failed to see it the first time around.
There are many ways of running effective email outreach campaigns, and, in turn, there are many ways of indulging in bad practice when advertising your cause to your targets. I hope that with this troubleshooting guide, you'll propel yourself into the email marketing stratosphere.