4 Keys to Email Outreach Success


Andy Cabasso

September 30th

If you are using the right tools, it can be easy to build an email outreach campaign. 

But, that’s not to say it’s easy to get “wins” from email outreach.

Getting backlinks isn’t a given.

A successful outreach campaign needs the right strategy and the right pitch.

If you want to send outreach emails that get you positive responses from your email recipients, here are some keys to success that can help.

Setting Proper Expectations in an Email Outreach Campaign

If you have never sent many outreach emails before, you might be wondering:

  • What should I reasonably expect from a campaign?
  • How many emails do I need to send?
  • What is a good open rate?
  • What is a good reply rate?
  • What kind of responses will I be getting?

Let’s spend some time and set proper expectations on email outreach.

Email outreach can be a powerful way to build links, build relationships with other websites and potential partners, and also get new customers.

When used effectively, email outreach can help you grow your website traffic, get your business press coverage, get you more paying customers, and earn you more money.

But, if you have never done email outreach before, it can be a bit of a learning experience…

First – I don’t want you to get discouraged if your first outreach campaign doesn’t get you the results you hoped for at, and you’re thinking about giving up.

Realistically, you should not expect 50% of the people you reach out to respond to you or agree to whatever your pitch is.

Especially from your first few outreach campaigns.

Over time, you will get better at email outreach.

You will get better at finding the right audience.

You will get better at crafting outreach emails that get your recipient’s attention.

And, you will get better at crafting a good pitch.

But, for your first few campaigns, it’s going to be a learning experience.

You may get zero, one, or two responses from your campaign that goes out to 30 people.

What kinds of responses should you expect from email outreach?

Some people will say “no thanks.”

Others might say “Sure, let’s work together, but in exchange I’ll want some favor from you, like a link-swap.”

Some people might reply to your outreach email asking for you to pay them for a link insertion (this is a very common response).

You may even get a few negative responses, catching someone on a bad day.

But, don’t let it discourage you if you don’t immediately get the response you were hoping for.

(And I say this as someone who takes all feedback personally, and feels bad whenever I get a negative reply.)

What is a good open rate / response rate / win rate?

Email outreach is often a numbers game. The more emails you send, the more responses you will get.

And also – the more you personalize your outreach emails, the better your open and reply rates.

One thing to mention before we get into stats is there are a bunch of variables that can come into play here, such as:

  • What industry are you in
  • How personalized are your emails
  • How many people are you sending emails to in a campaign
  • Are you sending as a real person vs. a generic-looking sender
  • Is your sending domain “warmed-up” and does it have a good spam reputation?*

*Postaga helps with email domain warm-up.

For Postaga, we have seen an overall average open about 40%

This metric is platform-wide, so it includes a variety of users in industries, with different levels of personalization, campaign audience sizes, and work going into audience targeting.

The more targeted and personalized you get, the better your outreach is going to be…

From one study on cold emails, they found:

In this case – no personalization means 0 relevant information to the contact; personalization means mentioning mentioning relevant information to the contact like first name, company name, etc.

For responses, the study found:

average cold email reply rate

Another study found the response rate average to be about 1%.

And that’s just the response rate – the actual “win rate” – or, percentage of websites that agree to your pitch, is likely going to be lower.

So, keeping that in mind – the more outreach campaigns you send and the more contacts you reach out to, the more wins you will get.

At the end of the day, email outreach can be a powerful way to build your business – so keep on at it!

Selecting the Right Audience For Your Outreach Pitch

With outreach emails, there is often a tendency to target as many people as possible and send them all a variant of the same email.

And for some campaign types (e.g. Skyscraper Technique) that might work…

But for others, it’s not the best move.

You will want to make sure that when you are doing email outreach, you are reaching out to people for whom your pitch is going to be relevant.

I know that sounds like it goes without saying – but it does need to be said.

For example, if you have a pitch that is specifically geared towards social media blogs, you don’t want to “go broad” and target general marketing blogs just because you can get in touch with more websites. 

If you received a generalized email from someone doing outreach, you will never want to respond to them again, even if they come back months later with a more relevant outreach email to you.

That’s going to waste your opportunity.

The key here is – don’t be lazy and not review your audience before creating a pitch for them.

Crafting a Good, Tailored Outreach Email

If your messaging is not aligned with a particular recipient, they’re simply not going to respond to you.

So, don’t waste your outreach opportunity if the recipient is going to take one look at it and go, “Ugh, this is not relevant for me at all. Do they even know who I am?”

Send multiple outreach campaigns, each campaign tailored to a specific audience and segment. 

You do not get only one shot to email as many people as possible.

For example, if you have a great article on digital marketing that you are pitching to different blogs with resource pages that would be a good fit for linking to your content – you can have a unique pitch for different categories of blogs.

You can have one pitch to SEO blogs. Another pitch to marketing blogs. And another pitch to social media blogs.

In your emails, the more specific you can get for your recipients – the better. Demonstrate that you know who you are reaching out to.

When you can, find a first name for a recipient. Know what company they work for. Know their website or blog URL.

The more specifics that you can show in your outreach email, the more obvious it is to the recipient that you have “done your homework” and you know who you are getting in touch with.

And the more likely you are to get a response from them.

If you are reaching out with an email that starts, “Hey there” rather than “Hey Andy,” then you are starting out at a big disadvantage.

One tip for personalizing and going above-and-beyond: refer to what your outreach contacts have written in their blog posts.

For example, saying something like, “I really liked this piece of advice you had in your post…” shows that you know their content. And if you are using a tool like Postaga, you can pull relevant snippets from blog posts when doing your outreach.

Lastly – provide value in your pitch.

One way to get a higher response rate is to offer something of value in your outreach email

This could take the form of a link to their website, some link exchange opportunity, offering to mention their podcast/website/brand to your audience, or giving them a free sample of your product/service.

Follow Up

Any good email outreach campaign needs follow-up emails.

More follow-ups mean more chances to get a response from the people you are reaching out to.

With follow-up emails, you don’t need to rehash the content from your first email.

Assume that they got your email and just didn’t respond to it, so you are sending a friendly reminder, checking in to see what they thought.

If you make the same pitch on your follow-up email, I think it comes across as spammy. You’ve already reached out, and if they didn’t respond and you make the same pitch again, it’s like you are recognizing, “I sent a pitch. They ignored it. Let me brute-force my way to their inbox and try again.”

In my experience, most of the replies to my outreach campaigns come from follow-up emails.

Some people might send 1 or 2 follow-ups. You will likely see diminishing returns on more than 2 follow-ups though.

Conclusion

Email outreach can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you improve your search rankings, get more traffic, get more paying customers, and help you build your business.

By setting the right expectations and implementing the most effective strategies, you can quicker ensure your outreach success.

If you have any additional thoughts or questions about outreach, feel free to comment below and share your thoughts!

2 comments on “4 Keys to Email Outreach Success

  1. Hey Andy, thanks a lot for your valuable tips. A few days ago, I ran a campaign where I targeted 500 people. Most of them replied but asked for money. And as you said it’s a number game, I’ll keep trying unless I succeed.

    1. To share what I commented in our Facebook Group about this:

      There are a few things you can do with these:
      1. Say something like “I don’t have a budget for paid link placements, BUT I can offer [a link exchange / sharing their article / some other pitch] (I have an article about offers here – https://postaga.com/how-to-get-responses-to-your-outreach-emails/)
      2. Find an alternative / pitch a guest post, “I don’t have a budget for paid link placements – is there something else we can provide / are you open to guest posts?” (this works sometimes because with a guest post, you will get the link, and the website you’re pitching gets new fresh content. This doesn’t work all the time, and it obviously creates more work for you since you then have to go write a guest post, but it can get you that link).
      3. Negotiate / pay for it

      Hope that helps!

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