Crafting great outreach emails is a fine art that's hard to master.
In many cases, you're reaching out to someone who already gets tons of similar inquiries in their inbox on a daily basis…
Along with all their other email.
Getting their attention and standing out are essential, and that's a lot easier said than done.
If you talk to successful bloggers and journalists, they'll tell you that the majority of the emails they get about guest posting, backlinks, and related requests aren't worth responding to.
But at the same time, there are things you can do to maximize your chances of being taken seriously, and of getting a real response.
In a recent blog post for Moz, business strategist Ronell Smith explains what separates effective outreach emails from the ones that get deleted.
He's spent time experimenting with different tactics, and he's come up with a trackable system that he uses to create great emails that people will respond to.
Here's his advice.
#1 -Tell me what's in it for me
After the opening salutations, get right to the point. Show me you value my time and have used yours to identify my needs and how your brand can help me meet them.
It all begins with having empathy for the person on the other end, clear brand goals and a willingness to respect people’s time.
#2 – Grab mobile readers' attention with the first sentence
I have a confession: I don’t trust your subject line.
We’ve all become masters of the clickbait email subject line. If you’re going to get me to open your email, you’ll need to think different.
Like most of you, I open most emails on a mobile device.
To consistently get my attention on a smaller device, disregard the subject line and use the first sentence of the email, which is often shown via mobile.
Yes, this can mean your emails have my name in the first line. But for brands I recognize, I don’t need to know you realize who I am; I need to know what you’re sharing is of value to me right now.
#3 – Mind your grammar
One of my first jobs out of college was a business writer for a newspaper.
The metro editor had a standing policy regarding email correspondence that got everyone’s attention:
- If you spelled his name wrong — no matter how great the pitch — he discarded it
- If you misspelled a word in the email, it met the same result.
In the years since, I’ve met many people who feel the same way.
Don’t focus on the message at the expense of respecting the person you’re contacting.
Take the time to figure out who you’re writing to. It might be a make or break.
#4 – Create & exhaust tension
If you’re really serious about wanting your email opened, show me that you can help me solve a problem you know I’m facing.
“I know you’re looking to…”
“Brands facing the challenge yours now faces…”
“Your content team is doing an excellent job, but are likely stretched thin…”
That’s when you step in with a worthwhile answer and can likely earn more than my attention.
The key is to show the individual reading your email that you feel her pain, have taken the time to find the solution, and, most important, you are the person to handle the job.
#5 – Have a well-defined call-to-action with clear next steps spelled out
One of my biggest weaknesses when I first started in content marketing was calls to action.
I’d write a blog post that simply ended.
There was no thoughts about intended next steps for the folks I was writing to.
Don’t be me.
#6 – End on a high note
A recent post regarding email outreach I wrote for Moz listed “thank you” as a better alternative to “thanks” as a closing.
Not so fast, says the latest research from Boomerang.
[image source: Moz]
While “thanks” seems gratuitous to me, their research shows it as outperforming every other closing but “Thanks in advance.”
The main point I’m taking from this research is the need to test, test, test.
At the very least, start experimenting with various closings while keeping track of the responses.
Your results will likely vary.
You can learn more about how to craft great outreach emails over at Moz.
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