Email Outreach 101

Email Outreach 101 – A Complete Guide on How to Outreach Correctly

There are lots of tutorials on how to do email outreach correctly on the web. Different experts share their point of view on this topic. And every expert is right on every count.

Email outreach is not a complicated process. It is pretty straightforward. Furthermore, if you read a few different guides on email outreach, you will find the same core elements. These aspects form a single scheme that works efficiently.

You might ask me: “Why then I should read another one post on email outreach if the topic has been covered hundred of times before?

Good question!

Yes, it is somewhat hard to invent something new regarding email outreach. However, the secret of a successful email outreach is in an accuracy of activity breakdown.

In other words, this guide’s aim is to show you a step-by-step process of how to do email outreach fast and resultative.

Fair to Ask “What Is Outreach?”

I would like to give you a few definitions of what outreach is according to the sources I could find on the internet. Afterwards, I will share my thoughts about it.

Here is what I found at searchenginepeople:

Outreach is a way to increase exposure beyond traditional search engine optimization and social media engagement. It is an active form of marketing that takes both time and effort…

Neil Patel once said:

Outreach is what you do when you reach out to people via email, social media or even in person to ask them to share, promote or simply look at your blog posts.


From my perspective, outreach is the process of reaching out other people related to your niche to introduce them to your content or brand. One of the main priorities of outreach is getting a backlink.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Now let’s dive into the outreach.

Basic Preparations

Outreach is not the thing you can do in a rough-and-ready manner. It needs some preparations first.

Let me ask you a couple of questions.

  • Do you reply to the messages you get from people you know nothing about?
  • Do you read the messages that you get from the people who are relevant to your niche?

I can predict your reply. It will be “NO.” And I know why.

Nobody wants to deal with an unknown person. And it seems ridiculous to reply to the messages that have nothing in common with the niche you work in.

So, it is essential for you to make your persona recognizable.
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Source

Everything is built on trust. It means you should create accounts on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Try to make each account full of your personal information (interests, hobbies, achievements.) The more facts your target knows about you, the more chances you’ll get a reply.

Another advice I suggest you to follow is creating a list of your guest publications. It will help you earn some credibility (it is in the case if you do guest post publications often.)

Well, it looks like your social media profile is ready. Now let’s speak about the niche you work in and your target audience.

– Move within your niche

You know that outreach is a perfect way to grow a business. It is suitable to use this strategy within any niche you work in. However, there are still some differences in the approach for outreach that are based on the niche you refer to.

You might think “What is the most notable difference in the outreach strategy if it could be used whatever niche I work in?

The main difference is in the way of crafting email templates for a particular outreach. You can’t use the same template scheme everywhere. It requires an in-depth analyses of the niche you run your business.

Let’s say you are an owner of an agency that is specialized in Digital Marketing. On the one hand, the niche is identified as Digital Marketing; on the other hand, Digital Marketing is a generic concept. It involves sub-directions.

If you ask Google something like “types of digital marketing”, you’ll see this:
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Digital Marketing includes such directions as SEO, PPC, Content Marketing, etc. I strongly recommend you to to decide in which direction would you like to move your outreach campaign. It will help you identify a target audience to reach out to.

– Find your target audience

Once you’ve chosen the niche you want to operate in, it will be easier to find your target audience.

I want to suggest you start a search using social media channels first.

Now, let me show you how to do it. Let’s start with Twitter.

For example, put a query “content marketing” and go to “people” tab:
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Here you can see the relevant people (influencers) and communities (companies) where you will be able to find outreach opportunities.

LinkedIn works excellently. Do the same steps as I described above and get the results:
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Obviously, social media channels can help you a lot with finding outreach opportunities. However, this way of search doesn’t promise you that you will get the exact people you need. How do you know for sure that they would be interested in the service you are going to offer them?

Right you are! You can’t do outreach randomly. You must be sure that you’re reaching out the right and relevant people.

The best way to avoid ‘wrong contacts’ is to search them with the help of your primary competitors. No, it doesn’t mean that you should ask your competitors to borrow you a bunch of their customers. It says you should do your personal research taking this into consideration.

Well, let’s get to the meat.

How to Find Outreach Opportunities in a Flash

Searching outreach opportunities using your competitors is easy to manage. Here you will need Google and a few additional tools.

– Google research

The first step is to go to Google and put a query you are interested in the most. As a rule, the best way to describe the process is via a visual example. Now let’s do this research together.

For instance, you’ve just published a comprehensive guide on a keyword research, and you want to push it up to top10 Google results. The task seems hard to accomplish. Likely, with the right outreach campaign, you can do this.

So, go to Google and put a query that is related to the topic of your piece of content. As you guessed, the query will be “keyword research”:
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Google suggests a few pretty good competitors’ posts. Believe it or not but these two posts will help you do a successful outreach.

But how to get those opportunities?

With the help of checking backlinks using Ahrefs.

– Backlink research

The only step you will have to do is put a competitor’s link right into Ahrefs Site Explorer tool and go to a backlink report:
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(Ahrefs puts the link right to a Site Explorer tool automatically)

You can see that this competitor’s post has 5.91K backlinks for the whole period of time. There is no need in discovering all of them. The significant part of them is outdated and has no potential value for you. I recommend you to filter down the results by setting the date of publication you are interested in, and language (I choose English.)
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Here I decided to get the results for the past year. You can see that now we have 1,456 backlinks. The next step is to review each link manually to find potential prospects.

Work with Data You Have

Now when you have a full range of backlinks to work with, it is time to process data. Please, note that a backlink can give you just a small piece of the information about a person you want to reach out to. You will get only the name and a current position this person holds. Unfortunately, it is not enough for contacting the person.

Your aim number one is to get a full, detailed information about the recipient you need to contact. This information includes some background aspects of work, hobbies, and a personal email address. My experience has proven me that the process of finding one’s private email address is the toughest part at the outreach “pre-phase”. I want to start with highlighting this stage first.

– Hunt for correct email addresses

Finding one and only email address for any recipient is essential. And here is why.

When you don’t do proper research for finding a correct email address, you get the following notification from Mail Delivery Subsystem:
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You can ask me “what is the main issue with the email address I found?

The reason for this issue is simple – the person might change his or her place of work and the email address is no longer available.

To avoid a wrong email address, check the information about a current place of work on LinkedIn:
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Furthermore, you can find a correct email address here as well:
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Despite the fact of the usefulness of the search via social media channels, it is not always resultative in terms of finding email addresses. Not everyone shows off email info on LinkedIn.

Likely, there are different tools for the email hunt that you can utilize. Hence, I would like to share my favorite tools with you.

ContactOut is a convenient tool with a Chrome extension that helps you get email address right from LinkedIn in a single click.

Findthat.email and Voilanorbert are the tools that I use if I have a huge problem in finding email addresses. And the last one helper that I use is Rapportive – a Chrome extension that shows email’s validity.

– Create personalized email templates

Entrepreneurs get hundreds of messages every day. Literally, it is one hell of a thing to make your recipients open, read, and reply the message. You can nothing about it except of crafting an outstanding and personalized email template.

Before I explain you how to create good email templates, let’s review the bad ones first.

  • Absence of a recipient’s name

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Maybe I don’t understand something, but from my viewpoint, it is nonsense to avoid using recipient’s name. Instead of the name, you see only links that the sender wants you to click. Don’t do this!

  • Weird or complicated subject line

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A catchy subject line shouldn’t be something like this:

Don’t create a subject line with capital letters. Don’t overuse the emojis. It sucks.

Now, let me show what you should do when crafting email templates.

First of all, make sure that a subject line is personalized or simplified. Here is what I am talking about:
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I studied what the recipient prefers to do in his free time and combined it with his primal activity. Such an unconventional approach.

And simplified subject lines that have nothing special but a direct idea of the message:
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That’s all. Follow this strategy, and you will see that your subject lines work!

The body of the email template should be personalized likewise. I know that it is hard to do for each email you send. However, I don’t say that you must customize the whole body of the message. No. This tactic regards a personalization of an introduction section:
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You can see that I created a personalized subject line together with an introduction section. It doesn’t take too much time to handle this. Just add a few thoughts about the particular piece of content the person you’re reaching out has written before. Don’t be too critical. Make your message friendly.

– Don’t shy away from sending follow-up emails

I know that you can spend hours crafting and sending nice looking emails. And I know that you can get a low percentage of replies. It is not your fault. Business people get lots of emails every day. And if you didn’t get any reply, it doesn’t mean your email pitch sucks. Your message might be lost among hundreds of others.

What to do then?

Send a follow-up email.

For the record, follow-up messages have 30% higher response rate than your first pitch!

A couple of things you should remember before sending a follow-up email. First of all, wait a few days or a few weeks. Secondly, don’t write a long-form message.

I had different situations in my practice. Let me give you an example.

This example illustrates that I sent a follow-up message the following day:
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Likely, the recipient replied me, and I got a conversation I expected.

However, sometimes there is a need to wait a bit longer.

Anyway, do send follow-up messages and you will reach your targets out.

– Track the progress

It is critical to keep an eye on the progress of each outreach campaign you run. And here are a few questions you should ask yourself after a small recap of the outreach you did:

  • How do your email templates perform?
  • What does a reply rate each template have?

Knowing this information, you will be able to use only those email templates that bring the best results.

I recommend you to use Buzzstream for your outreach campaigns. This service makes the process of outreach more convenient and customized.

Now let me run over the benefit it has.

Buzzstream provides you with the metrics that indicate a status of the templates you use. There are 3 basic metrics like open rate, clicks, and replies.

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According to these metrics you can clearly see which of the templates performs the best.

The next trick that Buzzstream has in its arsenal is an indicator that shows whether the message has been viewed or not. It can be seen with the help of the “green eye” icon:
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Well, I believe I’ve convinced you that it’s necessary to keep your outreach progress under control.

Over to You

I’ve just shown you how to do a step-by-step outreach with all aspects included. I don’t say it is simple to accomplish and I don’t mean it is impossible either.

You will reach success doing the outreach regularly. Keep on practicing this fantastic method for growing your business.

If you found my piece of content useful, please, leave comments and share it on social media channels.

And if by any chance you need a guide on how to get your first 100 subscribers, read this article.


This article was create by Sergey Aliokhin. He is a Marketing manager at Ahrefs. Sergey spends most of the time discovering and learning SEO and Internet Marketing tendencies. His primal goal is to study and practise new aspects of outreach strategy. In his spare time he likes to spend his time with family, visit specialized sports club, study martial arts. If he has nothing to do at all, he prefers reading books on science-fiction and playing the bass guitar.