Yasmine Dehimi
Yasmine Dehimi 23 April 2019

Do's and Dont's of Email Outreach

Contacting people via email seems simple enough, right? Sure, however, successful email outreach requires adherence to some ground rules. Sticking to the following do's and don'ts should make all the difference when it comes to your email open rates.

You may wish to email outreach for a number of reasons. These might include; seeking new investors, to generate more leads, to increase engagement and generate backlinks, guest posting and getting product reviews. Making contact with select people and companies via email, for whatever reason, requires an understanding of email outreach-etiquette to get the best possible results from your efforts.

If ‘email open rates’ determine the success of your campaign, it should come as no surprise that this non-exhaustive list of Do’s and Don’ts could determine the number of emails that are opened. The best case scenario is to achieve a 100% email open rate. Worst case; you find yourself in the trash, or worse- spam folder.

  1. DO Find the right leads and their emails.

If you select an irrelevant target or one that is unlikely to respond, you won’t see much success- obviously. Getting a hold of relevant target contact information requires some deep digging. Most websites will have a ‘contact us’ page that either lists the email addresses of authority figures within the company- take your pick and reach out, or some might have an on-site contact form- don’t expect too much success here.

Scouring the web for the contact information you need can be tiresome and often unfruitful. Technological advancements have narrowed the gap between you and your point of contact. Google extensions, such as Hunter Email Finder, helps to minimise effort and maximise efficiency by providing the user with automated guesses and verifying relevant email addresses. Keep in mind that email list building is fundamental to the future success of your outreach campaigns- and there are tools to help you do it.

Ordinarily, email is the best form of contact. It is non-intrusive and can be personalised. Other good points of contact include different platforms on social media- a great place to reach out to influencers, where they are likely to be most active.

  1. DON’T Stop after half a dozen

Don’t stop after two dozen either. Successful outreach requires volume. If you are sending 5,10, or 15 emails a day, you cannot expect to land that prestigious publication placement, or that golden speaking gig. Measurable success depends on sending closer to a hundred emails, each of which are carefully constructed and tailored to the company you are outreaching.  

At this volume, writing individual emails can very quickly become absurd. Sending mass-emails only transpires into spam and less of a chance of getting a response. Rather, you’ll find yourself in the trash or spam folder. Tempting as it may be, do not fall into this trap. Aim to up the volume but create multiple templates that complement a specific audience. Structuring your email outreach this way will ensure you avoid sending irrelevant mass content.

  1. DO Be polite and charming

Polite, because your mother raised you well, and charming because flattery gets you everywhere. After the subject line, greetings are the second most important part of your outreach emails. If you are aware of the name of the person you are reaching out to, use it. Firstly, recipients are more likely to open an email addressed to themselves. Secondly, they will be more inclined to read your complete email, as you have called them to attention.

Charm your way to a reply. You’d have to be Cruella De Vil herself to ignore a well-composed, charming and polite email, that offers wonderful and mutual benefits. Wish your email recipient a pleasant day. If the weather has been particularly nice, tell them that you hope they are enjoying it. To humanise your content is to create a real relationship. This type of writing appears less spammy and is more likely to work in your favour.

  1. DON’T  Be Boring

Unless you are a world-renowned writer of international excellence and recognition, don’t assume a “Hi, I'm reaching out to you for X and Y and Z. Let me know” approach will work. You are presumingly reaching out to offer new and interesting information, to sell a great innovative product or service, or to build relations. These all require a particular style of writing, to convey your message.

If you are one to struggle with words, grammar or creative writing, there are ample tools to assist you. Consider activating the Hemmingway app on your writing device. This app uses colour coordination to help highlight sentences that are too long, common errors, and weak phrases. It suggests alternative words and restructures sentences for you.

Alternatively, you can avoid all the hassle of creating multiple email templates altogether. Invest in a quality content writing service. Writers with skill and expertise will compose a carefully structured and creative email for you.

  1. DO Test multiple templates

It is unlikely that you will achieve a 100% open rate with your first ever template. Come to think of it, it is unlikely for you to ever achieve such a rate. This is because there are multiple factors that contribute to reducing email-open rate. Many of which cannot be modified, despite your beautifully crafted email, perfect template and awesome proposal. But don’t despise, there remain ways to increase your open rate regardless.

It might take a few attempts over a matter of weeks before you recognise that one template works better than the others. This depends on your industry and purpose for outreaching. Hence the reason there is no one-size-fits-all template.

  1. DON’T Make it all about you

Email outreaching should be the beginning of a conversation. Make contact, provide value, then ask for something. Any outreach email should be written with the thought ‘what’s in it for the person I am writing to?’.

Consider what you are asking of this person or company. All transactions of information should be mutually beneficial. How does what you’re asking for benefit them? Put this forward to them. If you are asking for a link, don’t use what everyone says and write ‘i think this will be of interest to your audience’. Whilst that might be true, the person you are writing to needs more than that. You could potentially suggest that a specific post/ product or service of theirs would be complemented by what you have to offer.

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