The ideal length of an outreach email is a much debated topic. According to data from Boomerang, emails between 50 and 125 words often receive the best response rates at just above 50%. That means you have around 125 words to impress your reader and persuade them to feature your site. It’s no easy task, but that doesn’t mean it’s not achievable.
What is an outreach email?
An outreach email is a short email you send out to a list of targeted websites, in order to get your link featured somewhere on their site (usually for SEO purposes). The goal of this type of outreach is to secure powerful backlinks for your site on quality and relevant websites which are closely related to your industry.
How do I find outreach opportunities?
There are hundreds of methods to find outreach opportunities. This guide covers the basics and is worth a read if you’re just starting out. The process of finding outreach opportunities is usually referred to as ‘prospecting’. There are also a bunch of prospecting tools that can help you out with outreach. A personal favourite of mine is Link Prospector from Citation Labs. Tools like this are more worthwhile if you’re conducting a large amount of outreach every month.
Some easier and more cost-effective ways to find outreach opportunities are:
- Searching Google for relevant sites, blogs and webpages
- Using advanced search operators in Google
- Finding relevant bloggers in your industry
- Using social media hashtags to find relevant content
- Searching through a competitor’s backlinks
How can I get started with outreach?
You don’t need agency standard tools to get started with outreach, although they do help! Small website owners can also make use of this SEO tactic and build their site’s authority. Most outreach will follow a process that looks something like this:
Planning > Prospecting > Outreach > Negotiation > Measure Success
Here’s a quick breakdown of each stage:
Planning = Decide what page to target with links, what anchor texts you’d like to use etc.
Prospecting = Find link opportunities relevant to your site
Outreach = Send your email template(s) to a list of websites
Negotiation = Negotiate with site editors and webmasters
Measure Success = Measure the number and quality of links gained and potential improvements for next time
You can follow the process above using whatever tools you have available and generate some positive results for your website. Give it a try!
Does Email Length Matter?
It’s not the length of your copy or how many words you write, it’s the value you’re able to get across in each sentence that truly matters. I find that this rule applies to just about every type of online content. Yes, of course your email length will have an impact on your campaign’s success but don’t put too much focus into reaching that ‘perfect character count’.
It’s the content of your email that really matters. I like to try and get the message across in as few sentences as possible. An email that’s too long will bore the reader and an email that’s too short probably won’t have enough information to explain your pitch. Just get the essential info down and avoid any waffle.
Importance Of The Value Proposition
This is arguably the most important part of your outreach campaign and it’s something that’s often overlooked by marketers. You need to provide value. Very rarely will someone publish your link for nothing in return. Why should they? They’re taking the time to edit a post, add your link and sometimes re-work a post solely to include your link naturally. Time is money!
How do you get round this? You offer value, in whatever way possible. Maybe you have a resource page and you can offer the site a link back to their homepage in exchange. Maybe you have a good social following and would be happy to share the post once your link has been added. There are lots of different ways to do this successfully. Another option is to simply offer 500 words of content alongside the link to ‘upgrade’ the blog post you’ve requested a link on.
Many people will resort to just paying off the sites by sending them $20-$40 in exchange for the link insert. As you can probably imagine, this works very well. After all, it’s still a form of value but there are definitely more cost-effective options available.
How To Write Persuasive Outreach Emails
There are four keys to persuasive outreach emails, all of which will be mentioned below.
A personalised email is the best first impression you can make when outreaching to a site. 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement (source). Personalisation will help you come across a lot more naturally and show that you actually are a real human being.
Many of these sites will be getting spammed with outreach emails every day, so you’re going to need to stand out. Be sure to include the first name of the person you’re contacting, don’t just go with ‘Hi there’. Also, include the URL of the site you’re reaching out to somewhere in the email copy. E.g. I recently read this article on your blog [Insert link here], it’s really useful…’.
Make sure you highlight the relevance between the two sites somewhere in your outreach email. This will help establish a connection and give you a reason for reaching out. Maybe you follow some of the same people on social media? Remind the contact that you operate in the same circles, making it a lot more reasonable for you to be getting in touch.
Every outreach email is a pitch. You’re going to need a clear pitch that explains exactly what you are after and why you reached out in the first place. Not everyone you email will be as well-versed in marketing as you are, so keep that in mind and make everything as simple as possible.
Just like I mentioned earlier, add value. This is the key to your outreach success. Whether you provide free content, social shares, money or anything in-between – make the value clear in your very first email. Another common tactic is to use an infographic as the value proposition to generate those top links.
Common Outreach Email Mistakes (Avoid At All Costs!)
Not much to explain here. Typos will turn-off your readers and lead to them not taking you seriously. Learn the difference between your and you’re people!
Pitching non-relevant sites
Pitching sites that just aren’t relevant to your niche is never a good idea. Unless they have some sort of content that’s related to your brand, it’s best to just leave these sites alone. If you do pitch them, it’s likely that they’ll just mark your email as spam which can lead to all your other emails being picked up my email spam filters. That isn’t good news for deliverability.
Not following up
People are busy. Not everyone is going to read the first email you send so be sure to follow-up after around 5-7 days to rise back to the top of the inbox.
Not being honest (I love your latest blog post…)
If you have actually taken some time to read the site then this isn’t a problem. Claims like ‘I loved your latest blog post on __’ can trip people up if they haven’t taken the time to understand what the site is actually about. Make sure you pitch relevant sites and avoid using fake compliments in your outreach emails.
Your email is too long
Okay, so we talked about how email length isn’t a huge factor but that doesn’t mean you should be writing essays to your prospects. Keep it short and sweet but make sure you get all the info across. It’s as simple as that.
Your email is all about you
Constantly talking about how great you are isn’t going to win people over. Try doing it in your office for a week and see what happens!
Why You Should Be Constantly Testing Outreach Emails
Once you’ve finished your campaign, the work isn’t over. Measure your success, track progress and go again! You want to be constantly testing different tactics, emails and targets to see what works best for your brand. That way, your next outreach campaign can be even more successful than the last. Try re-working your email template and split-test it with other variants. This will give you a great idea of what’s working and what’s not.
So, that’s how you can craft the perfect outreach email template and boost the success of your outreach efforts. Hopefully you now have the tools to launch a campaign of your own and drive some great results!