If you’re a new blogger & you don’t have the budget to buy ads, chances are you are having trouble getting noticed. Whatever you do, you’re failing to make an impact.
How do you change that? How do you get your voice heard?
One of the best ways to do that is by influencer outreaching. Influencer outreaching is connecting with bloggers, authors and other influential people. It is a great strategy to build connections with influential people, drive traffic, get backlinks, increase brand awareness, gain customers, etc.
It’s hard. Most people get inconsistent results. Because influencers are busy. They are hard to reach. If you’re trying to get backlinks for your site, for every 100 emails sent, getting five links will be considered a success. That means 95% of your efforts will bear no fruit. So why do people bother with it? Doesn’t it sound like an incredible waste of time & resource?
Yes. But if you can utilize it correctly, it can be an extremely powerful tool. Marketers know this. According to one study, marketers rated influencer outreach as their “fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel.“ 59% of them are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets.
Why do most people fail to run an effective outreach campaign? Because they can’t write good emails. It’s as simple as that.
So In this post, I’ll show you how to write emails that elicit responses. But before I do that, let me tell you how you can grow your site using influencer outreaching strategy.
Ask a couple of experts in your field a question and then publish those answers as a post. This type of post is commonly known as “expert round-up”. This type of posts works very well. Often they end up being the site’s most viewed article.
After you publish the post, you email all the people you interviewed. You give them the link to your post and ask them to kindly share the link with their social media followers. Because the post contains their email, most of them will share the post.
If you do an expert round-up, your question needs to be good. If you ask a generic question, chances are they have already been asked that question hundred times. So they may not pay attention to you.
If you get a backlink from an influencer, it will help your SEO. To get a backlink, first, find a really popular article in your industry. Then write an improved version for your blog. Now using Ahrefs or similar tool, find who linked to that popular article from their site.
Email to let them know, you’ve got a better, improved version of that post on your blog. Their visitors will appreciate it more if they linked to your post instead of that popular post.
If you do everything right, as I’ve mentioned, you’ll get around 5 backlinks for every 100 emails you send.
You can also check which popular blogger in your industry has resource page or blog list pages on their site. Then you can write a piece of content that would add value to those resource pages. After that, let them know you have a content that would be helpful for that influencers readers if they added it to their resource page.
Write guest posts
You can get huge amounts of traffic by writing guest posts for popular blogs. Many people built their site by just posting guest posts.
If you have a good relationship with someone, he may recommend your products or services to others. He may even become your affiliate.
But you have to keep in mind that an influencer won’t share your product if they haven’t seen it or if it’s not high quality. So, create the best product you can & give them full access.
Get your contents shared
Lastly, you can simply ask influencers to share your post or give you a mention on their blog. You won’t have much success. But if you manage to get a mention from a handful of influencers, your content may well go viral.
Now that you have some idea how influencer outreach can help you, I will show you how to do it well. First,
Carefully select influencers
You need to find influencers who will be great fit for your business. If you cast your net too wide, you’ll waste so much of your time sending a generic emails that won’t bear any fruit. So you need to create a short list of influencers who are just perfect for your business. You need to send all of them a personalized message.
Not every influencer will also be able to provide the same value to you. So you need to qualify them with their reach and engagement. If someone has the same audience as yourself but have very small reach, it doesn’t make sense to waste time on him/her.
But if you are just starting out, target micro-influencers – people with say 20,000 followers. Micro-influencers tend to be more receptive because they don’t get bombard with hundred or thousands of email every day.
If you are a small fish, people with hunderds of thousands of followers won’t pay attention to you. So you need to work your way up.
You probably already know some people like that. Try to find if you know any popular youtubers, writers who regularly contribute in mainstream sites, blogger/social media users with sizable following. Make a list of them in spreadsheet. Write down their name, email, website address, social media followers etc.
Then find other influencers using google. Just google the keywords you are targeting. For example: social media experts, popular fitness bloggers, etc. You can also use buzzsumo to make the task a whole lot easier.
Find mutual connection
Use LinkedIn or Facebook to see if you have any mutual connection with the influencer. If you have, ask the mutual friend to introduce you. If your mutual friend is close with the prospect, some of the trust they have in that person will transfer to you. So they will be willing to engage with you.
Your friend is also a busy person. Introducing someone over email is hard. Your friend may hesisate and eventually forget to send the email. You can avoid that secanrio and make his life easier by writing the majority of the email. He can then personalise the email and hit send.
If you have a mutual connection, you can also directly email the prospect with “[Mutual connection] recommended we talk.” subject line.
If you don’t have any mutual connection, you have to send cold email.
Prepare for cold email
Cold emails are annoying and irritating. Nobody wants them in their inbox. So how do you get reply from cold email? You prepare yourself so that they know you exist before you send the email and personalize the email when you send it. It will take time, but the result will make it worth it. If you just send a generic email, you will immediately earn a spot in the trash folder.
You don’t need to spend hours researching a person before sending them an email. With 15 minutes of research, you can learn enough about them to send a personalized email. Just search their name on Google and read everything in the first 5 pages. Then use some of the information to personalize your email.
If you want to increase your chance further, read the influencer’s blog regularly. Leave genuine, insightful & complimentary comments. Don’t just write a generic “Great post!”, “Thanks for your post!” comment.
Share their posts on twitter with a mention (@) to them. A lot of people closely follow their mention. Include a compliment when you share their post. Take part in conversations they are having on social media. If you do it constantly, they will start to notice you.
Now comes the hard part. You have to write the email. You can find many email templates on the web. But we’re going to ignore them because we don’t want to use any generic emails. You should test a few and see what works best for you personally.
Do you already have the email address?
If you don’t already have the email address, it’s quite easy to find someone’s email address. There are two fantastic tools that can help you: Voila Norbert & Email Hunter. Email Hunter will help you find 100 emails every month for free. After that, you have to pay $39 / month for 1,000 emails or $79 / month for 5,000. If you need more than 100 emails, you can take a subscription just for one month, collect all the emails you need and cancel the subscription. Voila Norbert has the same pricing.
You can also find a lot of people’s email address by a simple guesswork or a little research.
Now comes the hard part. You have to write the email. To write a great outreach email:
Choose a compelling subject line
According to Convince & Convert, 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based solely on the subject line. So you have a tough nut to crack. But there is some light. 35% open emails because of the allure of the heading.
So you have to immediately grab the receivers attention in your subject line. Here are couple of subject line you can use:
Long-time [listener, reader, fan], first-time emailer
I listen to a movie review podcast and I see this subject line pop-up reguarly. I have also used it in different occassion with great success. Even if you aren’t a long-time fan, you can use it if you have researched them a bit before sending the email.
I have an idea for [X]
If are seeing the prospect grappling with a problem, offer them a solution if you have one. If they have been facing the problem for some time, the subject line is sure to catch their attention.
Have you considered [recommendation]?
Is X a priority for you right now?
If you want your prospect to think about their current situation, these two will work well. You can use it in sales email to get the prospect talking.
Isaiah, quick question for you
Hoping to get your advice on X
Question about [X]
What do you think about [X]?
If you have a genuine question to ask, these work well. Most people are quite egoistic. So they like answering question.
I loved your tweet/post on X.
People love genuine compliment. So if you start with a compliment, they will read the rest of your email with a kind eye. So the chances of your request being fullfilled increases.
I recently came across [X] and thought you’d find it valuable
I have a few suggestions for capitalizing on [X]
If you can add genuine value, the prospect will appreciate it and be more open to whatever you’re suggesting. So if you have an interesting report you can share or an advice on how they can take capitalize on new development, share it.
What would it mean to you if your business was able to achieve [X]
I recently helped a company like yours [do X].
Do you have a customer case study where you helped someone increase revenue or cut cost by an impressive amount? Share that number in the subject line and the case study in the start of the email. Sharing the case study will give you credibility and it will make the prospect think what if.
If none of the above is your liking, you can use the very simple subject line –
Typical outreach email
Keep your subject line short. Otherwise people won’t see the whole subject line on mobile device.
Don’t use superfluous superlatives. You don’t want to sound like a street salesman. Avoid spammy words like reminder, sale, help, final, unique, exciting, solution, special, etc at all cost.
A/B test your subject line
Make a list of 80-100 emails (anything fewer will statistically meaningless) and split it into two subgroups. Send these subgroups the same email but two different subject lines. See which subject line yields a higher open rate. Then send the winner to the rest of the list.
If neither manage to get 35% to 50% open rate, test two entirely different subject line.
Pick a salutation
Before your opening line, you need a salutation. Many people overlook the importance of it. How you greet the receiver can make a difference. If you are emailing someone in a traditional industry, use “Dear [First name]”. Don’t use “Dear Sir”. It won’t sound personal.
If you are emailing someone in a hip industry, use Hi [First name], Hello [First name] or Hey [First Name]. Don’t use “Yo”, “Hey!” or “Hi friend”. It’s too immaturish.
If you have the habit of using [First Name] [Last Name], drop it. It’s not the norm and it sounds too formal. Just use their first name. Also never use “Mr./Mrs./Ms.”, unless you’re emailing your teacher.
Write a compelling opening line
Most people start their opening line like this:
My name is X and I’m Y. I’m reaching out because…
This is a terrible line. This screams cold email. You don’t want to highlight in the first sentence that you’re a stranger & they don’t know you. Instead your opening line should be about them. Mention how much you love their work or congratulate them on a recent success. Here are some example:
I noticed you [do x]
I loved your post on [x]. I never learned so much from a single article.
Congratulations on [a recent success]. I’m inspired by the work you’ve done.
[Mutual connection] mentioned …
You have done an impressive job at [x] doing [y]
Or if you want to share something that will add value, get to the meat of it immediately.
Now you are probably thinking, if I don’t indroduce myself, how will they know who I am? Use your email signature to do the work for you. Or if you have to, introduce yourself later in the email when you don’t have to think about catching their attention..
Explain why you’re reaching out
You’ve complimented them & hopefully stimulated their interest. Not it’s time to mention why you are reaching out.
For example, let’s say you want to meet someone to learn more about their job. You could start your email like this:
Congratulations on winning PSA’s Journalist of the Year. I’m inspired by the stellar work you’ve done. I’m considering a career in journalism and would love to buy you coffee so I can learn more about it from an expert.
Can you add any value
You’ve probably already given them a thoughtful, authentic compliment. So you don’t necessarily need to do more. But if you can, it may convince them to do what you are asking them to do. Keep in mind, people don’t care about you. They only care about themselves.
So when you are writing a cold email, do it from the shoe of the prospect. The best type of cold mail is where you only add value and don’t ask for anything. Is there anything that will benefit the receiver from your request? Make it extremely obvious. If you want them to participate your conference, tell them how it will help them.
If there is no obvious benefit, you need to provide a value before you ask for something. For example, if you want backlink for your site, there is no benefit to them. Many say “your audience will love it”. Maybe. But real benefit for the receiver of the email. You need to offer them something they can’t refuse before you ask for something.
To add a value before asking for something:
- You can review their book on GoodReads or Amazon
- You can offer to help them with a problem they are facing
- Offer to introduce them to someone they’d want to know
- Recommend an article/tool they might find helpful
Make your request
Now it’s time to make your request. Don’t make any excessive or unreasonable request. Your prospect is a busy people. If your request is excessive, they will hesitate. The smaller the ask, the more likely they will respond.
So make your request as simple and as specific as you can. If you want to meet, you can share your schedule so they can see exactly when you are free. You need to make the work as easy as possible for your prospect. Don’t make them spend too much time and effort on you.
You also need to end your email with a question that prompt a definitive response. If your end goal is a phone call, never end an email with “so what time works for you?” Be as specific as possible to make your prospect’s life easier. End you email with 2/3 possible times and locations so that the prospect can just say yes to one. Don’t make them search for their calendar.
If your request is too big or you are asking for more than one thing, they may not answer. So don’t ask for something like that. Also, don’t hurt your chance by sounding desperate or insecure. Be both polite and confident in your request.
Don’t write anything more. If you make it too big, your recipient will be put off by its length. At the end of the email, say “Thanks, [Your Name]”
You can find hundreds of email template by a simple search. But they lack your charm, your personal touch. Instead of using them, use the formula I mentioned above to write your outreach email.
This is the most important part. The people you’re emailing get hundreds of email every day. Chances are they won’t open yours — let alone reply. To combat this, you need to send a follow up email. If they don’t give a reply within two days, send a follow up email. It should be simple reminder of your original message. You don’t need to put any effort to it.
If they don’t reply after your follow up, knock them on Twitter. Politely tell them you’ve sent them an email and if they had a chance to look at it. Because of Twitter’s character count and opennees, it’s seen as less formal. So they may respond to you in Twitter.
Don’t send more than 2 follow up email. If you haven’t got a reply by now, they are probably not interested in you. If you send more emails, you’ll just nag them and may go straight to spam. Just move on to your next prospect.
Try to create a relationship
Many of us get bogged down with tactics & forget about the relationships. What you will get from a cold email won’t last a long time. But if you can create a relationship, it’ll continue to serve you for a long time.
How do you develop a mutually beneficial relationship? Don’t always try to sell something. Be personable and offer information and insight. This way, you’ll gain trust & respect. Keep in mind: you need to bring values. If you constantly help the other party, they’ll return the favours. So always ask yourself how you can bring value to the relationship.
The best day to send your email is Monday to Wednesday. Send it between 10 AM and 12 PM.
Influencer outreach is tricky. But it’s a powerful strategy. If you take the right approach and have enough patience, it will work for you.