Creating an effective email outreach strategy is something any business investing in digital marketing will have to face.
Whether it’s for lead generation or nurturing, or for influencer marketing and link building, reaching out to people via email is an integral part of any marketing strategy.
And yet, it can sometimes feel a bit discouraging.
Too many businesses give up on email outreach due to poor results from early attempts.
But keeping at your email outreach efforts is a smart business investment because you get to accumulate all those contacts (so you can build long-lasting relationships with them), learn from your success and failures and consequently adjust your marketing efforts to make it more effective.
So how to do email outreach strategy right?
Here are the steps to success.
1. Take Care of the Fundamentals
Before starting your first campaign, take your time to do your homework. You will need to:
- Establish your representatives’ branding
- Decide which email(s) you’re going to use
- Create communication guidelines for your reps to follow
Neither of these tasks should be taken lightly as people emailing on your behalf represent your brand: You need to ensure they do it professionally.
Establish your representatives’ branding
Each of your emails should openly and honestly represent your brand. This is important because authenticity is impossible to fake, so be transparent. Plus you want your prospects to remember your brand even if they never reply to your first email.
Your email outreach should contribute to building brand recognizability, while helping you to also achieve short-term goals.
Email signature generator by WiseStamp I am aware of that will help you build your outreach emails in the most effective way. You can add your company’s logo, link to your company’s social media profiles, upload your rep’s photo, add your CTA etc. This way you will make the most of each email you send out.
Decide which email address you’re going to use
This task is much trickier than any outreach newbie would think. When it comes to cold emailing, you basically have two choices:
- Set up an email address on your own domain
- Use a free platform, like Yahoo! Or Gmail
Neither of these options is ideal.
Cold emailing carries an inevitable risk that someone might add your email to a spam box. If enough people do that, your email address (and main domain) could get under the radar of spam protection systems, so your future business emails will find themselves filtered more and more often.
On the other hand, if you go with the free email addresses, your emails just won’t be taken seriously (and also filtered out by corporate spam protection systems as well).
A better option is to set up an email address on an alternative email (possibly matching your brand identity as well). Namify is an easy and free tool to find a domain for those purposes.
Make sure that you do it a few weeks prior to starting your first outreach campaign because spam filters don’t handle emails coming from new domains too well. So make sure to set up your email address and use those emails for internal communication for a couple of weeks to establish it a bit.
Create communication guidelines for your reps to follow
Your outreach managers are going to talk to third-party companies and people on your brand’s behalf.
This is a big deal.
Many of those people are public figures. Make them angry, they will have no problem taking their outrage to social media networks, and then you are facing a reputation management crisis.
Make sure your outreach managers go through detailed training, know business correspondence ethics and have brand communication policies to follow.
Your brand’s communication policy should include:
- Topics to avoid (e.g. politics) discussing in emails or on social media channels
- Best ways to reply to criticism
- How to handle rude emails or respond to rude comments
- Where to escalate complex situations which may blow up
2. Continuously Work on Your Templates and Timing
The two big aspects of email outreach which are never perfect enough are:
- Email template (including, of course, its subject)
- Timing, i.e. when is the best time to do the outreach.
You need to continuously experiment with both.
The golden rule of any email template: The less boilerplate text, the better.
Yes, it sounds counterproductive and even diminishes the meaning of the word “template” but the more personal and authentic your email is, the better.
- Add your prospect’s name (take time to find real people behind emails)
- Add some personal details (e.g. their company’s or personal milestone, something you saw on their social media profiles)
- Come up with a personalized offer or CTA, for example, not all of the influencers may be up for a monetary reward but would agree for mutual promotional campaigns.
When is the best time to send your email? What if you want to time your outreach campaign to something, like Christmas?
Timing is everything in just about any marketing campaign, and it is never easy to decide what’s the best time to launch it.
Google Trends may help you get a clue: Just look for a date when an interest in a particular topic or holiday starts rising every year:
This is what I call a seasonal trend which is easier to predict.
Another trick is to monitor your competitor to learn how they are timing their campaigns and try to learn what’s working for them. Visualping offers a powerful competition monitoring feature which alerts you when your competitor announces a new campaign, sets up a new web form or adds a new page. Those are all great cues of something going on:
3. Develop Those Relationships
Finally, this is a missed step in just about any outreach campaign. Your job doesn’t end with one sale, one backlink or one lead. You need to develop relationships with your outreach targets.
- Follow them across social media channels and interact with their updates
- Follow up via email or Twitter (Use email automation to create smart and well-timed follow ups)
- Invite them to your company’s initiatives
- Curate what they are saying online and turn it into content (generate more customer reviews this way as well)
- Give away freebies and demos, etc.
Focusing on connections will help you make the most of each email reply.
Email outreach is a long-term strategy that requires a lot of effort but it also has cumulative potential: It gets easier and more effective with time. So don’t expect to get great at it within a week or month. Don’t give up and you will start seeing results over time.