I have seen so many Blog Posts, Articles, Tweets and Status’s proclaiming that email outreach is dead, or is at least a dying practice. When I refer to email outreach I mean approaching potential customers and clients with the outlook of creating business. However, the techniques and practices explained within this post can also be applied to email outreach for guest post offers and link building strategies.
“This Is an Ex-Parrot”
First things first, Email Outreach is NOT dead. I have had huge success securing clients through email. I do not cold call and I do not engage in paid advertising. All our clients come to us through email outreach, organic search, networking events, social media marketing and by referral. Of these practices it is email outreach that has performed the best for us.
What I generally hear from clients, or other Digital Agencies, is that email outreach does not work anymore. That any email they send gets filed in the junk box, or is simply deleted before it is even opened. We all do it. Every day I get a large volume of rubbish in my inbox, and just like you I delete it all. I could have won all the money in the world! But if I read the subject line and I smell spam or a sale, I’ll avoid opening that email like the plague! As would you, and every other person in the world.
So what’s the secret to my success?
“Show Me The Money!”
Well I’m afraid there is no secret. What I do is not magic or witchcraft. There are certain elements to practice in order to get right, but at the core all I am doing is being genuine. I approach my emails with all the politeness, charisma and enthusiasm I would, if I was standing in front of you. It is this approach that resonates with the reader, and separates you from all those wanting a fast buck. It shows that you actually care, that you are interested in their business, product, service and that you genuinely wish to help.
However, before you get to put this into practice you have one giant wall to get over!
“One Does Not Simply Read Every Email.”
Yup, before you even get an opportunity to engage and deliver your message, you will need to fight with a whole bunch of other genuine emails and dreaded junk emails. This is the most IMPORTANT element of your entire email.
The Subject Line
The Subject Line is your weapon, and like any weapon, the better it is, the more damage it will do. I first became aware of the power that a good Subject Line holds when I was applying for my first agency job. I had just come out of five years playing in a Signed Metal Band, I had no qualifications, but I did know how to harness the internet and social media to Promote and Market something. I wanted to get into Online Marketing, yet I didn’t have a CV. So I did what I do best, I wrote a good email.
The Subject Line of which read:
“Rockstar Seeks Internship”
Ok, so before anyone feels it necessary to point out, compared to the likes of Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin, I was no Rockstar. That’s not the point. The point is those three words stand out more than:
“Adam Holt – CV”
In a list of almost identical Subject Lines, who do you think got selected for interview? You guessed it, the Rockstar.
The key to a strong Subject Line is the ability to stand out and intrigue.
Recently I emailed a Fine Foods Specialist. They didn’t approach me; I saw their business online and saw potential for business growth. Now, during my time in my band, I worked many part time jobs to make ends meet when not on tour. One of which was as a Chef in a Michelin Starred Restaurant. I enjoy cooking and that was part of the reason why this Fine Foods business excited me. So I emailed them.
The Subject Line of my email read:
“Have an Ex-Chef Manage Your Online Marketing”
I received a reply the same afternoon simply saying:
“I like your approach; I would love to meet to talk about your ideas.”
If you can relate and portray any of your own experiences, knowledge, interests, passion, anything that gives you an edge above the rest; DO IT.
Another great method I use for Subject Lines is to simply compliment and flatter. People can’t resist this kind of approach; who doesn’t like to hear good things about themselves?!
I approached a Fashion Boutique, they were a popular shop and I thought I would contact them to discuss launching them Online. It was a women’s Fashion Boutique, not something I can directly relate to (only on a Friday Night) but that wasn’t going to stop me.
The Subject Line of my email read:
“My Girlfriend Loves Your Shop”
A day later I’m standing in the shop talking to the owner.
This is the part that’s easy. You already have their attention, the key is to keep it short and sweet.
Start with something that refers to your Subject Line, such as:
“Every time my girlfriend and I walk past your shop, she makes us stop so she can look at all your wonderful shoes…..”
A True Story
This allows you to again relate and compliment the reader, and allows you to explain and strengthen the claim you made in your Subject Line. I also feel that this also makes you more human, and by that I mean the reader connects to your words more because you are being genuine.
Next is your pitch, this again should be something short and to the point. Do not use any Sales Talk! Keep it natural and express genuine interest and concern.
“I would like to introduce myself, my name is Adam Holt I run a Digital Agency in Edinburgh called Ionic Media. We specialise in helping businesses succeed Online……”
I round my email up with a simple call to action.
“I would love to meet with you to discuss this further. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
The Perfect Outreach Email.
As mentioned already, the success of this approach lies in being genuine and expressing actual interest in their business. I was in a band, I was interested in marketing, I was a Chef and my girlfriend does love that shop. These were not lies made up to win business, but I do use these experiences and interests to connect with the reader. This is not an email marketing technique, this is about winning business, these emails have to be personal and strike a chord.
I would love to hear any other techniques or success stories you have had with email outreach.
Please feel free to leave your tips, advice, stories and comments below!