Written By Elliot Preece on 9th February 2016 Blog

How to 3x Your Email Outreach Response Rate

You’re researched your target audience, discovered their key pain points and prepared engaging, interesting content that you helps them solve their problems. Now what?

Some content is perfect for social platforms like Reddit and Facebook, with huge potential for virality and subject matter that appeals to a broad audience. But what if your target audience is small and difficult to reach over the crowded, fast-paced social media airwaves?

One of the most challenging aspects of promoting your content is finding influencers to reach out to. Even the best blog post can go unnoticed without the right audience. On the other hand, a high quality, detailed post that’s combined with fantastic outreach can become a huge success, helping you to reach your target audience with your content.

Blogger and influencer outreach has several huge benefits for your content marketing efforts:

  • It helps you increase the reach of your content through shares on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social platforms
  • It increases your content’s visibility in Google, as influencers, readers and sharers link to your content
  • It expands your promotional audience for future content pieces by giving you warm outreach leads to contact in the future

Despite the huge benefits of successful outreach, most marketers take the short and simple path to outreach by spending out a mass email whenever they publish a new blog post. The end result is predictable: most people immediately archive the email (or worse, mark it as spam), with only a small minority of recipients bothering to read the piece and an even smaller minority opting to share it.

Unless you have an endless list of influencers to reach out to, this isn’t a winning strategy. By taking the spray-and-pray approach to email outreach, most content marketers limit their ability to spread their message and compromise the results of their campaign.

Worse yet, they slam shut doors that should be kept open by treating bloggers and online influencers as if they’re commodities instead of real people.

Below, I’ve listed three simple techniques that you can use to triple (or 3x, if you prefer the tech industry term) your outreach response rate and massively improve the reach of your content:

 

Get to know the people you’re reaching out to

Do you know the people you’re emailing? If not, you shouldn’t expect a particularly high response rate from your outreach emails.

Before you start a content marketing outreach campaign, think about your own email habits. Of the two emails I’ve described below, which are you more likely to open, read and respond to?

  • An email from a friend, colleague or professional acquaintance asking for a favour
  • An email from a total stranger asking for you to read and share their blog post

The answer is pretty obvious, isn’t it? As humans, we trust people we know more than people we don’t know, and we’re far more willing to respond to the request of a friend than a stranger. One of the easiest ways to double or triple your response rate is to get to know the influencer you’re reaching out to before you email them.

Now, you don’t need to become close friends with someone to earn their trust for something trivial like an outreach email, but it’s important to establish at least some kind of connection before you start asking for a favour. You could:

  • Respond to several of their tweets with your point of view or input
  • Comment on their blog posts with insightful, constructive information
  • Meet up and socialise with them at a local tech industry meetup

The stronger your connection with an influencer, the more positively they’ll respond to your outreach emails. After all, friends like helping friends, and few people like being told to do something (even if it’s a relatively small ask, like retweeting a link) by a stranger.

Build a relationship, even a minor one, and you’re immediately outside the “stranger” category, giving your outreach campaign a significantly higher response rate.

 

Write content that appeals to your target influencers

Few tweets are as valuable for a technology startup as one from Paul Graham. Few blog mentions are as valuable for a hotel as one from Condé Nast Traveler. Every industry has influencers — people whose mentions of a blog post can result in a flood of traffic, links and social shares.

In a rush to reach the largest possible audience, a lot of marketers build their outreach strategy around the largest, most influential targets — the Paul Grahams and Condé Nast Travelers of their industries. They send out the typical outreach emails and promote content that’s barely, if at all, relevant to the people they’re reaching out to.

Almost every blogger under the sun has received a typical template email asking for a link, social mention or promotional guest post for a generic piece unrelated to their interests. Just like outreach emails from strangers, most of these emails are either left unopened or quickly deleted with no results for the marketer behind the campaign.

An email that directly references the influencer’s interests, on the other hand, is rarely ignored. From talking about one of your target influencers in your blog post to writing about a topic they’re passionate about, find a way to build the outreach into your content and you’ll double, triple (or even 10x) the response rate of your outreach emails.

Groove does this by building a list of influencers and emailing them whenever a new post goes live. By sharing content that appeals to the same audience as their influencers, they’ve built one of the most successful startup blogs on the Internet.

 

Don’t use a template. Instead, write a real, honest email

Finally, the worst mistake you can make for your content marketing outreach campaigns is to use a template email. There are endless examples of outreach email templates out there (a quick Google search for “outreach email template” is all it takes to find hundreds) and they’re almost always ineffective and downright disrespectful to their recipients.

Now, if you’re taking the spam approach and sending out 5,000 outreach emails to every single person on earth with a blog, a template may be useful. But you’d better get used to response rates in the 2-5% range and success rates for you campaign in the range of 1% or lower. A far more effective approach is to write a real, honest email to each target influencer explaining what you have and what you’d like.

Since you’ve already built a relationship with these influencers, your emails aren’t just template spam — they’re real communications between people who already know each other, even if only through a weak connection via Twitter or a local meetup. As such, they’re opened, responded to and followed through with at an incredibly high success rate.

 

Are you struggling with your outreach campaigns?

Not getting results from your outreach emails? If you’re struggling to get social mentions, blog posts, links or help from influencers, try adjusting your strategy using the tips above. If not, send us an email and we’ll help you improve your campaign.

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