Outreach is tough work, but in many instances, when done correctly, it’s the first step in building a great relationship with a potential prospect.
It’s likely that whoever you are contacting gets swamped with outreach requests daily, so it’s important to make sure yours uniquely stands out, otherwise, you’ll end up in the junk with the rest.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst outreach violations which you should avoid at all costs – accompanied with some very fitting GIFs, of course!
Not knowing the audience
Let’s start with the basics. Get the recipients name right! There is nothing more off-putting than reading an email, only to find that it came from an automated system that made an error and got your name wrong. Automated emails may be considered the easy option, but taking that few extra seconds to ensure all of the names are correct could make the world of difference. It might sound like an obvious point to make, but this mistake happens often and can be avoided if you keep your eye on the ball.
As well as knowing the name of the person you’re reaching out too, also make sure you know exactly what they do – you don’t want to step on any toes. Make sure that you are outreaching to people of relevance, as you’ll end up straight in their spam inbox if they’ve shown no previous interest in what you have to offer.
Offending the recipient in the first two lines
Here’s the thing: no matter how influential the person may be, you are reaching out to them and asking them for a favour, so be conscious of how you present yourself. A little flattery and a personal touch will go far.
If you dive straight into a sales pitch, then you’ll likely to end up ignored, or worse, asked to never contact the recipient again. Show that you’re a caring human, build that relationship, and then deliver your pitch. No one likes a cold sales pitch, and when you only have an email to deliver yourself on, you need to make it as expressive and friendly as possible.
Selling what they already own
Reaching out to people who have absolutely no need for your project just increases your chances of getting no responses. Nothing screams out laziness more than someone who hasn’t bothered to do their research properly. No one is going to publish your links if there’s already something similar on the website, and it could damage your credibility for future uses if you were planning to use them again.
Who’s going to want to work with a company that can’t be bothered to do their research and read their content? You’ll be falling at the very first hurdle! If you can justify that a company is worthy of an outreach request, then surely, they are worthy of detailed research.
Poor email etiquette
In 2018, only a minuscule percentage of the computer-savvy population should need to be told that poor email etiquette won’t get them very far!
If any email is too long, it simply won’t get read. If it’s too short, it could come across as blunt and rude. Most importantly though – the subject line. This is the very first impression that someone gets of you and the company you’re representing. A typo or load of waffle in the subject heading could have it redirected straight to the junk folder.
Be simple and to the point. Be respectful of people’s time by not wasting it. That first point of contact should be a hook, you can reel the prospective customer in with the details after.
Reaching out to dead sites
Another outreach violation which is far too common is the action of plaguing dead and out-of-use websites. It’s again, a massive time waster for both the end client and you. Once again, research is absolute key, and you need to make sure that the site you are reaching out to is active and accepting requests.
Bugging your contacts
With any sort of sales pitch, the work can often teeter finely between giving people what they want and becoming a pest. It’s easy to become desensitized to the ease of automation and forget that the people you’re contacting are real people, like you or I, with a life, a job, and an overflowing inbox. Reaching out fifty times to the same person, each time acting as though it’s your first form of contact, is not going to be beneficial.
Let’s be real here, there are tonnes of outreach practices which can have negative results if the wrong person is contacted. However, when it comes down to it, common sense will be your best friend. Remember these pointers next time you carry out your outreach and make your next digital marketing campaign the most successful one yet!
If you’re looking to nail outreach, then don’t forget to check out Buzz’s guide for more tips and info.