The topic of outreach has been covered multiple times before. There are lots of articles that give you actionable pieces of advice on how to do outreach the best way.
Moreover, I believe that it is hardly possible to impress the audience with something new that could add some value to the topic. Despite this fact, different marketers won’t shy away from covering this subject again and again.
Why does it happen?
It happens due to the reason that the process of outreach is still one of the most effective ways to grow any business.
But why should you read namely this post about outreach?
The thing is that every marketer has his or her own point of view on how to perform this process. And you know that opinions differ. According to this logic, my outreach guide is another fresh view that you should consider.
Let’s bend to the task!
- Side Note – What Outreach Is
The first thing that comes to my mind is that outreach is relationships. Business relationships between the one who offers something and the one who considers a proposal. The ultimate goal is to find common ground and build a mutually beneficial business relations.
Now let’s see what marketing gurus think on this term.
Neil Patel states that “Outreach is what you do when you reach out to people via email, social media or even in person to ask them to share, promote or simply look at your blog posts.”
Rand Fishkin believes that “Outreach emails are sent for a variety of reasons, but the majority have one thing in common: they’re structured too poorly to merit a reply. For every group of outreach emails we receive, usually only a few are worth opening…”
As you can see, the main idea of outreach is the same – building tight business relations.
Now, when we have already highlighted the definition of outreach again, it is time to run through all stages this process involves.
- Let People Know Who You Are
When I ran my first outreach campaign, I was sure that the majority of my emails would be read and replied. Unfortunately, the results frustrated me. I got only a few feedbacks from guys that have just started to hit the road of Internet marketing. In other words, I could reach out to newbies who were willing to get any message inbox from the other businessmen in the niche. Doesn’t matter who was contacting them. The matter is to get at least a single message from other marketer.
I asked myself then “what is wrong with my email pitch?” It looks like I’ve crafted an awesome email template, written an eye-catching subject line but got nothing in return. Afterwards, I understood the reason. Nobody has ever heard of me before. My persona was not recognizable.
I am sure you can get into the same trap on the early stages. Thus, you need to take care of your professional background first of all.
I suggest you do some guest posting and create accounts on such social media channels as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.
Make sure you mentioned your best publications, hobbies, and interests. Let people know about your persona more. You must earn a kind of trust before getting replies to your emails.
Your next step is to lay the foundation for finding your target audience and relative opportunities for outreach.
- How to Find Your Target Audience in a Blink of an Eye
When I talk about searching one’s target audience I always divide this process into two stages:
- Identifying the niche to move within
- Searching for a target audience
Take a look at your niche to find out who your main competitors are. It is essential to do that if you want to come across only those people who would be interesting for you as outreach targets.
Must say it is not hard to identify the niche you operate in. It is more important to choose the direction to move within the same niche. Let me explain what I am talking about with an example.
Supposing you decided to work as a marketer and have launched a marketing agency. Your agency offers some specific services. It could be whatever you want but is related to marketing. Assume that one of the services your agency offers is email marketing and you are willing to attract new customers.
Since you’ve made a choice according to a sub-direction of marketing to run your outreach, it is time to show you two ways how to find a target audience:
- Social media channels
Using social media channels as the source of getting potential outreach opportunities is a wonderful way. Here is how to do it on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Facebook is more entertaining in contrast to other social media channels. So, you might have problems to find the people you need. Likely, you will find lots of communities and groups related to your inquiry:
Note that these groups include hundreds of members, so it won’t be hard to get new opportunities.
Twitter works great for finding opportunities too. Insert a query “email marketing” in a search bar, click on “people” tab and see what you’ll get:
Voila, a bunch of people who are your primary targets.
LinkedIn is a business platform where you will find those people who work in the sphere you need. Do the same steps as for Twitter and Facebook:
Nevertheless, social media channels can’t provide you with a hundred percent related people. You can never know if they would be interested in your service. Likely, your competitors can help you with this.
- Analyze Your Competitors' Database of Customers
Frankly speaking, this method of finding outreach opportunities is the best. And the main reason why I think so is that your competitors won’t offer their services to random users. Thus, their customers are your targets.
It won’t be hard to find a few competitors to “steal” their prospects. Go to Google and put a query you are interested in. In this case, I proceed with the example of “email marketing” service:
Google gives me the results that go in line with email marketing. From the entire list, I will focus on competitors’ posts. Here I pointed out two articles that will provide me with lots of backlinks. Backlinks lead to other posts that will definitely give me an opportunity to reach out to authors. Eventually, these authors could be my customers or those who link back to my piece of content. Whatever the case, it is a “win-win” game for me.
Ok, now let’s find out how to find the backlinks that you need for outreach. It is going to be easy to manage with the help of a neat backlink checker from Ahrefs. Take a link to a competitor’s post and put it to Ahrefs search bar. Here is what you’ll get:
This post has 1.52K backlinks that is a tremendous result. There is no need to process all these links. Some of the links have no value at all. I usually filter the results looking for the opportunities for the past months and only in English language. Let’s do the same here and will see how many backlinks remain:
The results decreased to 40 backlinks. Not to mention the fact that the number of backlinks seems to be poor, I want to convince you that you’ll get a shot at reaching out these opportunities successfully.
Well, backlinks are on board. What is the next phase?
The next phase is to gather information for outreach.
- Data You'll Need for Outreach
Before I start discussing what information you’ll need to gather, I would like to start with the information you already have. Any backlink that leads to a particular piece of content gives you a brief report about an author of the post. Believe it or not but knowing the author of the article you will be able to find everything else that would be necessary for your outreach campaign.
So what else will you need?
No more, no less but you’ll need to find correct email addresses of your outreach targets. It sounds easy to do but don’t delude yourself with this.
Remember that even if you find a private email address of some person, it doesn’t mean that this email still works. Have you ever got the following notification:
Why does it happen?
It happens because the person you wanted to reach out to had changed a workplace before. Thus, the email address you’ve tried to contact this person through is invalid now.
If you don’t want to get screwed by using a wrong email address, I recommend you to go to LinkedIn and look at the “experience” section:
Furthermore, there you can find email addresses as well:
Need to say that not everyone shares personal contacts on LinkedIn. What to do then?
Use tools for “email hunt”!
Here are tools I use on my daily basis:
ContactOut is a Chrome extension that searches for email addresses on LinkedIn in a single click:
I guess you won’t have any issues with finding one’s email address.
- Outreach as It Goes
This is the last step in the entire outreach process. Here I will explain you how to craft personal email templates and how to track the progress of every outreach campaign.
- Craft personalized email templates
If you want to understand how to create personalized email templates, you should know what mistakes to avoid. I decided to give you a few “bad” examples of outreach templates.
- No recipient’s name
There are cases when some businessmen don’t point out recipient’s name in their messages:
This way of outreach shows your disrespect to the one you’re reaching out to. Don’t do this. Always add recipient’s name!
- Using “exclusive” subject lines
It is essential for newbies to add a bit of creativity to work. The same happens during outreach campaigns. Unfortunately, this creativity won’t bring any positive results but a spoiled email pitch. Some marketers can even write a terrific subject line:
Avoid writing subject lines with capital letters and don’t write long-form ones.
And here is the way how to personalize email templates perfectly.
- Try to write oversimplified subject lines or a super personalized ones.
Every subject line must tell the recipient a general message of the email you’ve sent. The shorter and stricter to the point it is, the better.
From this subject line, you can clearly see what this message is about.
Talking about a super personalized subject lines, I want to encourage you to be imaginative. The trick here is to combine the main idea of the message with something that has nothing in common with the business. Like this one:
I found out that this very person likes coffee and that she works as SEO specialist. I couldn’t believe, but this subject line seemed catchy to her!
The next section of your email template you should personalize is an introduction one. A couple of suggestions to you – be polite, don’t criticize, and make sure you know some background information about the person you’re willing to contact.
Personalized email template should look like this one:
I stated a background information I could find about this person in the subject line. I knew for sure that this woman is a member of a philanthropic organization and that she keeps a healthy lifestyle. Thus, I mixed these elements with her primary activity as an SEO expert. The introduction part is short, but it shows that I read her post and shared some thoughts about it.
I guess I’ve introduced you the central core elements of the email template personalization process.
P.S don’t forget to send a follow-up email if you didn’t get replies to your messages. Just remind the recipient of your previous message in a friendly manner. And don’t write follow-up emails in a long-form.
- Track the progress of outreach campaigns
Tracking the progress of outreach campaigns helps you see which email templates perform good and which ones bad.
I use Buzzstream for every outreach I do. The tool is an excellent weapon to see if your templates have success or not. Thanks to such metrics as open rate, clicks, and replies you can decide for yourself which email template is worth using and which one is not.
Keep an eye on these metrics, and you’ll find your lucky email template.
Another one feature I liked is a “green eye” indicator that shows whether the message has been opened and how many times:
Buzzstream is a must tool for outreach lovers. Go and try it yourself.
Now you know how to watch over your outreach and always stay in a loop!
To Sum Up
This guide shows you a step-by-step process on how to do outreach from A to Z. I think you noticed that this method of growing your business takes lots of time and efforts. Nevertheless, only a regular practice will help you achieve your goals in this craft.
Be patient and stick to the process of outreach following my guide!
If you found this post useful, please, share it on your social media channels.
And don’t forget to comment, I would love to see if I missed something else:)