Email Outreach Tips: How to Increase Your Open and Response Rates
If you really want to get high-quality links for your website, I’ve got some good news and bad news for you. The good news: email outreach is going to be one of your best friends. The bad news is, it’s a long and painful experience.
Email outreach takes a lot of work and patience. That’s the main reason why people started thinking that email outreach does not work anymore but yes, it still does and it is one of the few methods in today’s link building that is legitimate and can boost your rankings.
Many who fail in doing email outreach campaigns tend to look for shortcuts but there are no shortcuts. To make things worse, it will just make you look like a spammer and it is a one-way ticket to the trash bin.
Throughout the years, I’ve sent out thousands of outreach emails whether it’s for our clients or for my own blog. In fact, it is one of my secrets on how I was able to grow seo-hacker.com. I’ve also received thousands of spam outreach emails to know the difference between a good outreach email and a bad one.
In this blog post, I’ll give you all the tips you need to make your email outreach better resulting in improved open and response rates.
Write Captivating Email Subjects
The first step of writing a successful email outreach is writing an email subject that captures the attention of your recipient. This is also arguably the most critical one because if you fail to capture the attention of your recipient from your email subject, your email is most likely going to be buried in their inbox or goes straight to trash. Your email subject is like an elevator pitch but instead of having a few minutes, here you only get a few words so you better make them count.
Here are some tips in writing a good email subject:
- Make your email subjects concise – when it comes to email subjects, the shorter and meatier it is, the better. As much as possible, try to keep your email subjects in no more than 9 words and 60 characters. If your email subjects are too long, they will be cut.
- Don’t try to be too ‘clickbaity’ – I’ve seen this too many times. People would put absurd email subjects just to get people to open their emails. It may work for some and you may get people to open your email, but there is a high chance that your email will still be ignored after they read the body.
- Leave them hanging – a good email subject makes the recipient curious and interested. You need to give them a reason to click on your email and read it through your subject line.
- Sharpen your copywriting skills – copywriting is the art of selling through writing. A lot of principles of copywriting are applicable to writing a good email subject because, in a way, you are trying to sell your email to a webmaster. If you want to improve in writing email subjects, I highly recommend that you read about copywriting as well.
Address the Recipient by their Name
One of the downsides of using automated emails or templates when doing outreach is they tend to use generic email openings without addressing the recipient by their name. Personally, when I open an email and I see that it opens with just a “Hi or a “Hey”, I immediately think that the email is spam. If this person didn’t even take the time to look for my name (which is all over the blog) before emailing me, how will I know if he/she has something good to say?
This is also how most webmasters would think. I know that it sounds such a simple thing but trust me, it matters.
Whether you’re doing it manually or you’re using tools to automate your emails, it is better if you take a little bit more time in finding the name of the webmaster, an editor, any representative of the website you’re emailing. They’re most likely on an About page or the Contact page. They may also have links to their social media profiles. There are tools that would automatically pull up this data for you but on some occasions that they can’t, you can still manually encode them.
Personalize your Email
Using email templates is a good start and it could save you time. But nothing beats a personalized email when it comes to outreach. Personalizing your emails makes them look more genuine and encourages recipients to take their time to respond.
Webmasters, especially experienced ones, can easily identify if an email is using a template or not. This is one of the main reasons why I tend to prefer doing manual outreach emails even though they take a lot more time.
When writing a personalized outreach email, consider the following:
- Make the recipient feel that the email is intended for them and them alone. Email blasts tend to get fewer opens.
- You would want them to know that you took your time to look at their website and what they do.
- Say something about their work and compliment it. Make it sound natural. This will make them think that you actually looked into them first before shooting an email.
- Say specifically what you’re requesting from their website. Include specific links if applicable.
Show Credibility and Authority
Showing your credibility and authority is important if you don’t want people to think you’re a spammer. This is quite a step to apply in your emails and most of the work will be done outside of your emails.
In your introductions, always include your name, your position, and the company you represent. It gives webmasters the confidence that they are talking to a real person, not a bot sending out emails automatically. Having a photo in your email signature and links to your social media profiles will help as well.
And since you need to link your social media profiles, that means you need to work on them too. Make sure all your details there are complete and updated. Twitter and Facebook is good but LinkedIn is more important for working professionals.
Provide a Value Proposition
One of the most common mistakes by those who do outreach is they fail to offer something of equal value to the webmasters in exchange for what they ask. When you do outreach and ask someone to link to your content, more often than not, that person will think “what will I get in return?”.
Not everyone will go out of their way and spend time just to link back to your website. You need to show them that their time is worthwhile.
There are many ways on how you can do this and it will depend on your goal and your assets. Let’s say you’re asking them to replace a broken link to link to your website (broken link building), you should inform them that broken links are not good for SEO. Want them to link to an in-depth guide that you wrote? Tell them how it will benefit their readers.
In most cases, one of the most effective value propositions is a link exchange. They give a link to you and you give a link to them and this is not a bad deal at all. However, you should do this in moderation. Excessive link exchanges are frowned upon by Google. If you’re going to use link exchange as a value proposition, a good 1 to 2 links per exchange is good enough. You also need to make sure that the links are relevant and they add value to the content and are helpful to users.
Make your Message Clear and Concise
No one has the time to read your email all day. If a webmaster opens your email and sees that it’s written like an essay, they probably won’t spend time to read all of them.
When writing the body of your email, try to limit each paragraph to about 2 to 3 sentences each. It makes it more pleasing to the eyes.
Be mindful of the structure of your email. You start of with your introduction which can already include the things you want to say about their website. Then you follow it immediately with your request then value proposition. Make it straight to the point and avoid fluffing. Always remember that when they open your email and read it, they’re already giving you a few minutes of their time so don’t waste it.
If you think the job is done once you’ve clicked on the send button, you’re getting it wrong. I would say that’s only 50% of the job. In email outreach, the other half of the job involves follow-ups, continuously communicating with the webmaster, getting the job done, and building a network.
Email outreach is not a one and done work. You’re not just trying to get backlinks or trying to get a mention. You have to think that you are building relationships and growing your network. This means that the purpose of email outreach is not merely just to get backlinks but it can also to grow your brand and connect you with more people.
If a webmaster replied to you and even just to inform you that your link has been placed, don’t hesitate to give a quick thank you and think of ways on how you could further continue doing work together.
As I’ve said in the beginning, email outreach is a long road but I will be firm in saying that it is a worthy road to take. Success is not achieved overnight and you’ll probably have to send a hundred emails to get a few replies. It’s going to take you a lot of mixing and matching to find what will work for you. But I guarantee that once you’ve found it, it will give your website a huge boost in authority, give more visibility to your brand, and allow you to build a network.