Email outreach is one of the most powerful tools in every marketer’s toolbox.
It’s a tried and tested way of promoting your content, earning backlinks, and forming partnerships with influencers.
This short guide will walk you through nine email outreach strategies that will help you achieve the results you’re looking for with your outreach efforts in 2021 – even if you’ve never had success with this channel before.
1. Reach out to relevant people
You won’t achieve the results you want through your email outreach unless you’re reaching out to the right people.
And most outreach campaigns fall at this first hurdle, with around 75% of respondents for the 2019 State of Media Report believing that less than 25% of the pitches they receive are relevant to them.
For the best chances of success, make sure you’re not falling into the trap of wasting your time pitching the wrong prospects.
If you’re currently playing the numbers game with your outreach, then think about changing tact and focusing your efforts on quality over quantity instead.
Start by concentrating on sites that cover the topics you’re a legitimate industry expert in.
These are the areas where you’ll be able to add genuine value, and therefore the most likely sites you’ll have luck forming a relationship with.
You can quickly get a sense of what topics a site is most likely to be interested in getting another perspective through a quick glance at its most recent pieces of content.
For example, if you can offer a unique take on tax deductions, you’d be in with a good shout with having a guest post featured on FreshBooks’ Small Business Resource Hub:
Another important thing to look out for is whether the site has posts from guest contributors.
Scroll through a site’s last handful of articles to see if any are attributed to guest authors. If they are, they’re likely to be open to entering this kind of relationship with you.
Source: An article from Tipalti’s blog by a guest author
Once you’ve found a site that covers topics you have expertise in and has collaborated with other contributors in the past, make sure you identify the key decision maker before you begin crafting your outreach email.
2. Nail the subject line
Fail to entice your prospects with an attention-grabbing subject line and your outreach efforts will fall at the first hurdle.
In fact, a massive 47% of email recipients decide whether to open an email based on the subject line alone.
So it’s well worth spending plenty of time crafting the perfect email subject line.
One simple change that can have a big impact: just adding the recipient’s name to your subject line can increase open rates by 50%.
3. Make it personal
Send an email with the perfect subject line to a relevant person and chances are high your emails will be read.
That gets your foot in the door. But for the best chances of success, you should immediately follow that up by creating a personal connection with your prospect.
And I’m not talking about telling them you’re a ‘big fan of their blog’ or ‘loved their last article’.
Instead, put the time in to make an actual personal connection.
For example, a site like Best Nursing Programs is in a great position to reach out to sites in the nursing niche or bloggers who studied to be nurses, as there’s a natural connection there that doesn’t need to be forced.
Use Voila Norbert to enrich your email lists with data that builds relationships and you’ll have everything you need to craft personalized emails to your prospects without having to do the detective work yourself.
Don’t have a genuine personal connection with a prospect? Don’t stretch the truth to try and make one.
Instead, do a bit of research and open your outreach email with how you can help them.
Maybe you’re an expert on a relevant topic in their niche that they haven’t covered on their blog yet and can point towards content you’ve already created around a topic that proves that.
For example, Venveo’s guide to marketing to architects is a perfect example of expertise that could be the perfect fit for sites in their niche:
Another great way to offer value to a site is solve the problem of them not having the time to produce fresh content. Find a site in your niche that used to publish articles regularly but hasn’t uploaded anything new in a while and you might well be able to solve a big headache for them by creating fresh content for their blog or giving them access to unique data they can report on.
No matter how you’ve identified you could offer value to a site, be sure to lead with what you can do for the person you’re reaching out to, not how they can help you.
4. Get the tone right
Get the tone of your outreach emails wrong and you won’t see much success. Get it right and the sites you prospect are likely to see you as a kindred spirit and a natural fit for a collaboration.
So, make sure the tone of your email fits in with the content on the site you’re reaching out to.
For example, you wouldn’t send the same outreach email to Buzzfeed and Business Insider.
So read a few of the articles on the site you’re reaching out to to get a sense of the kind of tone that’s likely to resonate with them.
It’s important to keep your outreach emails consistent with your brand voice too.
On the same token, it wouldn’t add up to a prospect if they received a formal email from a brand with quirky copy, like Foundation Inc.:
So, while unusual email pitches can get great results, make sure whatever you’re reaching out with is on-brand for your business – as well as the tone of the site you’re outreaching.
5. Length matters
When it comes to outreach emails, length matters.
Hit prospects with a wall of text and you won’t get read. Cut things short and you won’t give yourself room to build a connection and be persuasive.
Which makes every outreach email you write a balancing act – long enough to get a result, but not so long it ends up in the junk folder.
Statistically, emails tend to perform better when they are 200 words or less.
So, aim for each of your email pitches to be around three of four sentences. Any longer and you’re in danger of losing your prospect’s attention.
6. Perfect your pitch
Once you’ve got your email opened and made a personal connection, it’s time to make your pitch.
The key here is to make it about the prospect, not you.
Think about what they’d be getting from the arrangement, whether it’s a high quality article for their blog, a unique piece of data to use in their own content marketing, or a great opportunity for a partnership.
Don’t beat around the bush here, either – be explicit about the benefits they’d realize from your relationship for the best chances of getting a reply.
7. Bypass the spam filters
All the work you put into crafting the perfect outreach email will be wasted if you don’t make it through your prospects’ spam filters.
Luckily, this shouldn’t be an issue if you avoid the most common spam filter triggers.
This can be tricky if you’re in an industry that relies on a lot of these trigger words, such as the financial services space.
If that’s the case for you then you might have to think outside the box a bit when it comes to your outreach efforts.
8. Don’t be afraid to follow up
But in a study by SalesFolk, over 30% of responses to an outreach campaign came from the sixth, seventh, or eighth follow-up email.
So, don’t be afraid to follow up your outreach emails if you don’t get a response to your first attempt.
Just be sure to stick to follow-up email best practice to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chances of succeeding with this often overlooked strategy. Be sure to check out resources on how to create an effective email marketing strategy.
9. Nurture the relationship
Last but not least, make sure you’re not letting all the hard work you’ve put into building a relationship through your outreach efforts go to waste.
Play your cards right and the opportunity you reached out to a prospect about could be just the start of your working relationship.
So keep an eye on their site, add them on LinkedIn, and stay in touch – offering them help and advice whenever you can.
You can never have too big of a network, and you never know where a relationship might lead, so don’t neglect this crucial step.
A quick thank you email once your guest post is online or your campaign has gone live is a great place to start turning outreach prospects into a long-term connection.
Email outreach can be an incredibly effective marketing channel or a huge waste of your time and budget.
It all depends on what strategies you’re employing.
Follow these nine tips during your outreach efforts in 2021 for the best chances of success with this channel.
And keep an eye on our blog for more email outreach tips and best practices throughout the year.