Why People Hate Outreach Emails

by Guest Author on June 18, 2018

in Articles, Guest Posts

Haters follow us every step we go. Some people just can’t think positively. And that’s their problem. But in some cases, the problem is in our actions, which cause negative attitude.

Today we will speak about email outreach and the reasons why most of our messages go straightly to the trash bin. The goal of this article is to point you to the possible mistakes in your outreach campaigns, correct them and make this marketing tool really efficient.

Why should you read this? Because every online marketer has to do a lot of outreach. The purposes of the campaigns may be different. For instance, you need to spread the word about your content, ask for a backlink, or just make a connection.
Whatever your goals are, you should never forget that your outreach may easily turn into spam. I advise you never cross this line.

But how to distinguish outreach and spam?

It’s really easy to notice that the message is actually an ordinary template, like this:

Hello, I just found your post: here goes the link to one of your posts
It links to this post: here goes the second link
I have a similar post: here goes the third link
Why not linking to me too?

Well, that was the first reason why people delete your outreach emails – you just send out templates and ask for a link.

Let’s view the next common situation.

Supposing you have just published a new article on your blog. What are you going to do? Send a mass email to your niche influencers starting with a similar sentence: I saw you tweeted a similar post.

Did you ever think that those people are not interested in your article? How do I know that? If people want to track your publications they subscribe to your newsletter.

Moreover, it’s a kind of disrespect to send a generic outreach email to reputable people in your niche.

Famous people get so many outreach templates every day. The best advice here is to divide your prospects’ list into groups and treat each group differently.

1. Industry sharks

These are the people like Gary Vaynerchuk, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim Ferriss, and others who have a huge audience and impressive achievements.

They won’t read emails from strangers, just don’t have time for that. Do you have any chance to reach them? Sure, but you will need a personal introduction or something really creative and outstanding to approach them.

Reaching out the sharks will take considerable work and luck, but these supermen can send hundreds of customers your way with a single tweet. We can arrive at the conclusion that the game is worth the candles.

2. Big fish

These are people like Noah Kagan, Nathan Barry, Glen Allsopp, and others. They are not so famous, yet their audience is still huge and can affect your business.

Your chances to reach them with a template are miserable, but if you write a nice personal email, you are likely to get a reply.

Don’t ask big fish for tweets and links. This is silly. You can get much value asking them to critique your work or ideas.

If they find your work worth attention, they will tweet and link to it.

3. Small fish

These people are your perfect outreach targets. Their audience is not big yet. Their websites are only starting to get traction. They are trying to actively promote themselves by contributing to niche communities, writing guest posts, and participating in all sorts of events.

4. Spawn

These people will most likely reply even your templated outreach email. They are newbies in the industry.

But does it really make sense to reach out to them? They don’t have traffic to send your way and a link from their website is worth almost next to nothing.

The takeaway is – focus your outreach efforts on “Small fish” and “Big fish” groups.

The next mistake is using the incorrect email address

This may seem too obvious to talk about, nevertheless, a lot of people use the automated tools or even their brain to guess their outreach prospects’ email addresses. For some reason, they are reluctant to invest their time in researching the info about a person manually and find their actual email.

Such kind of emails is ignored in 99% of cases. What does the fact that a person didn’t bother to find my real email tells me? Only one thing – they are not really interested in getting in touch with me. Ok, then I’m not interested in replying them.

Side note: check out this article “9 Actionable Ways To Find Anyone’s Email Address” to know about the best ways of finding email addresses.

Is there any value in your email for people you are reaching to?

You reach out to people with a purpose – you want a link, you want a tweet, you want to be presented to somebody’s audience. You want this, you want that but what do you offer in exchange?

If you only ask for something and never give back, your own success is under a huge question mark.

However, you can always tailor your outreach.

Show the recipients something new & valuable

Do you have something truly unique and outstanding? Influencers will surely appreciate that.

People whose audience is large need a constant flow of fresh awesome content to keep it loyal and grow. I believe they will be grateful if you show them something valuable.

But you should face the truth – both Sharks and Big Fish are hard to impress. That means the stuff that seems extraordinary to you might look outdated for them.

I advise you to deeply research your topic before contacting top people in the field and be critical about the revolutionary nature of your offering.

Once you can clearly utter what exactly makes your content unique, articulate it in your email in order to spark the interest.

Don’t say something like this – “Check out my mind-blowing article about link-building.” Explain what you did and share a few quick takeaways from your research.

This will help a person who received your email decide whether your content is worth reading and reduce the chances of wasting their time on an average article.

Feature a person you are reaching out to

A rare person can resist the desire to check out a piece of content that talks about them. Use this trait to your advantage.

If there is any way to feature a niche celeb or their business in your article, don’t hesitate to do that and let them know about it.

What can this be? Anything! For instance, a quote from their article, podcast or talk, some feedback about the things you’ve learned from them, a positive experience with their product, service or company, etc.

The above things help them build a positive image, so they will be eager to share them with their audience.

Are you sure that you use your best work?

We, at Ahrefs, have more than 300 articles on our blog. Most of them are very good, but we do not outreach all of them. We do this only for a selected number of the very best ones.

You have only one chance to make a good first impression on the niche influencer. I hope you are not going to lose it by sending them your mediocre article, are you?

Unfortunately, most of people strongly believe that each and every of their articles is a chef-d’oeuvre. So, influencers’ mailboxes are teeming with the “chef-d’oeuvres”.

Even if your article is a true masterpiece, it can easily be buried in that heap of second-raters. Is there any chance to avoid it? Sure, just read on and know some tricks.

Social proof is helpful

Think what is there in your article that proves that it is cool?

  • Did it generate lots of comments?
  • Did it get tons of upvotes on Reddit?
  • Did someone famous tweet it?
  • Did you get cited by authority website in your niche?

Any of the above will make your outreach email stand out against the others.

What you need to do is get some initial traction with your article and then use it as a social proof when reaching out to people.

What is your outreach excuse?

Below are 3 most common excuses people use for outreach:

  • You tweeted this post, and I wrote a similar one…
  • You published this post, and I wrote a similar one…
  • You linked to this post, and I wrote a similar one…

But what is the reason to check out a post similar to the one you’ve just read? A bad excuse for outreach, isn’t it?

What is a good excuse? It would look something like this:

  • Saw you tweeted this post and thought you’d be interested in checking out a different opinion on that topic. In a few words, it’s about ??? and you can read it here…
  • Read the post you wrote but you didn’t mention one very important point. I’m talking about ??? and I’ve explained it in this article…
  • Noticed that you linked to this post, and I thought I should show you a better resource on that subject. I consider it’s better because ???…

I’m sure you feel the difference.

What do you need to come up with an excuse like that? Skim through the post they wrote/linked to/tweeted and figure out what differs your own article from it.

Searching for an excuse may sound like an extra work you should do but if your content is offering something really unique, it won’t be too hard to craft it.

Do you still use outreach templates?

I have already mentioned above that it’s easy for your recipients to recognize an automated email and ignore it.

I don’t want to tell you that you must not use templates at all. It simply takes too much time to email to a few hundred people about one and the same thing and write your email from scratch every time.

What I want to say is that you should spend more time crafting a template. Actually, your template shouldn’t look like one and have some room for personalization.

Hope the tips below will help:

1. Stop using generic subject lines.

Keep your email subjects short and not too obvious.

For example:

Subject: ahrefs keywords research advice

2. Avoid patterns.

When people use some automation software for outreach, they often follow a certain pattern that is easy to distinguish.

It commonly looks like this:

Hey First Name,
I just came across your article: URL_of_the_article. It’s an awesome piece of content and I learned so much from it.
I noticed that you linked to this post: URL_they_link_to
It’s a great post, but it seems to me that I wrote an even better article on that same topic.
Check it out here: URL_of_my_article
I hope you can add a link to my post in your article or at least tweet it.
Thanks!

Would you like to see an example of the template we use at Ahrefs? Here it is:

Hey First_Name,
I just stumbled upon your article about {what their article is about}
{Try to say something smart about their article: feedback, compliments, jokes, etc}
I figured you might be interested in checking out our (Ahrefs) “Noob Guide” to keyword research: URL to the blog post
Obviously, you’re not a noob, and it is unlikely that you’ll find anything groundbreaking there.
But I’m pretty sure that you get some “noob” questions about keyword research now and then, so perhaps you’ll find our guide good enough to share it with these people, instead of trying to explain everything on your own.
In this guide, we have featured all the major keyword research techniques and even did an industry survey to figure out which were the most popular and most effective ones.
Oh, and if you think our guide is lacking something — we’ll be happy to revise it.
So yeah, looking forward to your feedback.
And thanks in advance!
– Helga

This is a template. But this template leaves room for personalization and doesn’t follow any obvious pattern.

Please see the pattern for creating a unique outreach template for every new piece of content that won’t be deleted by the recipient:

  • Mention which article of theirs made you reach out.
  • Give feedback about that article (if any).
  • Plug your own article.
  • Explain what makes your article unique and why they should take their time to check it out.
  • Ask for feedback.

Quit using the templated flattery

Everyone loves to be praised, which is the reason why every outreach template starts with a few words of praise. The praise is usually awful.

I just read your article and it is very cool.

I’m a long-time reader of your blog and I think your content is totally amazing.

Thanks for posting your outstanding article about TOPIC, I’ve learned a lot from it.

Don’t use this kind of templated flattery in your outreach emails. Say something smart or nothing.

Here are some good examples for you:

I loved your advice on doing ???. I’m totally going to implement it this month.

Your story of ??? is totally inspiring. I’ve just shared it with a couple of my friends.

Your take on ??? totally rocks! I never thought of it this way!

Replace ??? with a context and you’ll show that your flattery is not templated, that you actually studied their work.

Do you show that you know your recipient?

Dig a little to know more about the person you’re reaching out to and your chances to get a response will increase incredibly.

It may be any sort of information. Supposing you got to know that your recipient is a coffee addict because this is stated in their LinkedIn profile. This information is already enough to send them a personalized outreach email.

Do you ask the authors to update their old articles?

If somebody wrote some article a few years ago, there is almost no chance to make them update an old article and link to you.

However, if the article is fresh, its author is an easy outreach target. Most likely they will be happy to update it with the new info if they get your suggestions.

What do you ask for in your outreach emails?

It’s safe to say that asking for favors is an art. But most people act as if everyone owes them something. This is a wrong approach. Here is a couple of rules we follow at Ahrefs reaching out to people:

Don’t ask for tweets as it’s obvious that you’re reaching out because you want more exposure for your piece of content. As soon as you ask for something directly, your email stops to be valuable. It asks for a favor. Moreover, if people don’t want to tweet your article, you put them in an awkward situation. If they like your content, they will tweet it, even without request.

Ask for links

The situation with links is not the same. You need to softly urge people to link to you.

But do it cautiously, giving them an easy way out in case they don’t want to do it.

You may word your request like this:

Let me know what you think about the post. Maybe it’s worth mentioning in your article (or in future ones)?

Would love to know your opinion on that article. And if you’ll find it useful, please consider linking to it from that post of yours, or perhaps mentioning it in your future writing.

You’re clearly asking for a link, but your request is easy to ignore if a person doesn’t want to do it for some reason.

How many follow ups do you send?

Sometimes people don’t respond because they just forget to. You can easily solve this with a short polite follow up:

Hey First Name,
Just a quick follow up in case you’ve missed my email.
If you’re short on time right now — no worries. I won’t bug you about it again.
Thanks.
– Helga

That’s it. Send only one follow up, it’s enough.

To Conclude

I would be happy if this article made you understand why people hate outreach emails and reconsider your outreach tactics. I guess the main secret of efficient outreach is in being genuine and providing real value to the person you’re reaching out to.

Never forget that there is a human just like you on the other side of the screen.

BTW: Would you like to know how to find high-quality backlink opportunities to make your outreach efforts more yielding? Watch this video.

Have any questions on the topic? Maybe thoughts or suggestions to share? Please drop me a line in the comments.

Thanks for reading this article and good luck with your email outreach!

Guest article written by: Helga Moreno is a passionate content creator and marketer at Ahrefs bold enough to believe that if there’s a book that she wants to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then she must write it herself.

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