Basics of Email Outreach with Recommendations for Each Step
Outreach is a time-consuming and manual process. Cold emailing local organizations and asking them to endorse or collaborate requires research, patience and diligence. Even if your content is great, odds are you will still encounter a lot of silence or rejection. The purpose of outreach is to build social engagement, bring awareness and most importantly, build links. Keep this in mind and you will find more ways to pivot your message and engage your audience. Although there are countless link-building strategies for different assets, the basic structure remains the same.
The first step is prospecting, or finding your targets. Finding links worthy of pursuit is a task that requires your time and diligence. Most of the time for law firm SEO, we’re looking for local and relevant targets. For instance, if we’re trying to share a guide that includes a map of local bike routes for a personal injury lawyer we’ll be looking at:
– Coffee shops, Breweries and Ice Cream shops by the route
– “Things to Do in the Area” Pages
– Mommy Blogs
– Bicycle Clubs and Shops
Since we’ve done a similar campaign, I’ve bolded the type of places that were most successful to our campaign. As you can see, there’s little room for spammy stuff because the other party also cares about having local and relevant relationships. Our blog was well received by mommy bloggers due to the fact that our bike trail guide was child-friendly.
Coming up with a message
Drafting a persuasive email to strangers, I tend to end up making around 2 to 4 different templates for each type of target. The purpose of templates isn’t necessarily just so you can blast these messages out en masse. Using templates can help you save time, but make sure you are still able to modify and personalize your message to the recipient.
Make sure that your message has the following:
– A sentence describing how you are familiar with their work. Use this sentence to personalize your email and to make a polite observation about their contributions.
– Draw the connection between your similar goals and demonstrate the value of your asset. Highlight how your asset or the relationship is mutually beneficial. Sometimes the asset itself is value enough, other times you will have to persuade them that you will provide a unique advantage to an audience they might not have considered in the past.
– A call to action! Ask them to share the asset on their website and make sure you tell them where on their website you think it belongs. Ask them to give their thoughts and feedback. You can also offer to write an additional guest post or resource to demonstrate your interest in maintaining a relationship.
Tip: Be ready to negotiate–especially when it comes to sponsorships or making edits to your blog post. You never know who is willing to meet you halfway, if you don’t ask sometimes you get anything at all. For sponsorships especially, it does not hurt to ask if there are opportunities for small donors to contribute and be recognized.
Most importantly, be sure to follow up.
Often times it’s a continuous process and it might feel daunting to send out a hundred emails and get no responses. Don’t be discouraged if your expectation and reality don’t align right away. Follow up at least once a week or so. I can’t emphasize how important this step is because I have often found this to be one of the most fruitful steps. My hypothesis is that it helps the other party know that your message isn’t spam and also that they have not missed the boat on your offer.