WARNING: This article will drastically improve your outreach skills.
Tim, your post about outreach had a massive impact on the amount of links we were getting. It was something like 7-10 links for every 100 emails sent. Now its like 7-10 links for every 50 (or so) emails sent! People’s responses were totally different too (in a good way). I’ve since hired someone to do email outreach completely based on your post. Works b.e.a.u.tifully! (I hope you read that in Jim Carry’s voice)
The profession of an “online marketer” requires us to do lot of so-called “outreach.”
We reach out to let others know about our content, ask for a backlink or simply make a connection.
But there’s one more group of people who do lots of “outreach.”
So where’s the red line between the two? And which camp would you put yourself into?
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Trivia: Outreach or Spam?
Here’s an email I got the other day:
templated outreach email
What would you call it: Outreach or SPAM?
Please leave your vote before you read any further. It would be fun if there are two opinions to it.
Is this outreach or spam?
As for me, I deleted it without reading. It’s not that hard to notice a template:
Hey, I just found your post: http://post1
It links to this post: http://post2
I have a similar post: http://post3
Please link to me too.
Yeah, sure… *Delete*
“Outreach” is not “Broadcasting”
You just published a new article on your blog and now you’re going to send a mass email to 100+ top people in your niche with an excuse: “I saw you tweeted a similar post.”
I’m sorry to say this, but your article is not welcome in their inbox.
Otherwise, they would probably already be signed up to your email list.
And besides, it’s just disrespectful to mass-email top people in your niche with some generic “outreach template.”
The more famous a person is, the more of these outreach templates he gets in his inbox daily.
That’s why you should divide your list of prospects into four groups and treat each group differently:
These are the people with a huge audience and notable achievements (think Gary Vaynerchuk, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim Ferriss, etc.).
They don’t have time to read emails from strangers, so your only chance to reach them is by a personal introduction or by doing something really creative and outstanding.
It will take a ton of work (and probably luck) to get on their radar, but these people can send hundreds of customers your way with just a single tweet. So the outcome is well worth the effort.
2. Big Fish
These people are not as famous as the Sharks, but their audience is big enough to make an impact on your own business (think Noah Kagan, Nathan Barry, Glen Allsopp, etc.).
There’s a good chance to reach them with a nice personal email, but never with a template.
Asking Big Fish for tweets and links is unproductive (and silly), you will get much more value by asking them to critique your work or validate your ideas.
And if what you’re doing is worth attention, they will tweet it and link to it anyways.
3. Small fish
These people don’t have a big audience yet. Their telemarketing list websites are only starting to get traction and they are actively promoting themselves by contributing to niche communities, writing guest articles and participating in all sorts of events.
They are your ideal outreach targets.
They are just starting out in your industry and they will most likely reply to your outreach email even if it’s 100% templated.
But it doesn’t really make much sense to reach out to them. They don’t have any traffic to send your way, and a link from their website is hardly worth anything because it’s so new.
Ahrefs’ “Domain Rating” metric helps you understand the “power” of a website, based on its backlink profile. As a general rule, links from high-DR websites carry more weight than links from low-DR websites. Read more here.
As you have probably guessed, you should focus your outreach efforts on two groups: “Small fish” and “Big fish.”
And what follows is the process that Ahrefs’ marketing team uses to reach out to these people and get replies like this one:
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1. Use the correct email address
This first tip may seem like a total no-brainer, but give me a chance to explain.
Too many people rely on some automated tools to scrape (or sometimes even guess) their outreach prospects’ email addresses instead of investing a bit of time to research a person manually and find his actual email.
For example, my own email address is listed on our team page for everyone to see: firstname.lastname@example.org
But some people prefer to send their emails to a non-existent email@example.com, which are picked up by our catchall: