How to nail outreach: best practices for maximum results

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How to nail outreach: best practices for maximum results

The first step to any PR campaign starts with outreach. Want your brand story splashed across the pages of mega influencers? Or your latest infographic featured by the biggest authorities in your niche? Then you’re going to need a killer email that gets them interested. In this article, we’re looking at some of the best things you can do to ensure your outreach proposals are up to par and get you the response levels you’re gunning for.

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Personalisation is essential

Most people approach their first email campaigns with a sheer numbers strategy. It’s very tempting to copy and paste the same pitch to every single entry in your prospect list, but when it comes to outreach for your brand, this can be a big mistake. Run your campaign without any personalisation in your copy and you can look forward to huge bounce rates, around 50% of your prospects to view your email before ignoring it, and less than 2% to actually respond.

Many of the people you’ll be contacting will be influencers with large, established audiences. These authority figures will have access to huge pools of followers which inevitably means they’ll have egos to match. Send them the exact same message you’re sending everyone else on your list and you’re only really saying one thing – that they’re just another number in your plans and aren’t worth more than a couple of clicks.

You need to build relationships with these people and first impressions are always vital, even via email. Construct a personalised message for each prospect, compliment them on their individual achievements, and take the time to explain exactly how your brand fits so perfectly in line with theirs.

Pitch to the right contact

Most influencers make it very clear in their pages where they want potential partners to contact them, but if you’re trying to connect with a company or organisation, you’ll need to do a bit more digging.

You can have the best sales copy in the world, but if your email turns up in the wrong inbox, it’ll be as easy to ignore as any other. Take things up a gear by doing your homework and finding out about your targets personality. Have they published anything recently that you can comment on? What’s their sense of humour like? The more information you can gather, the better you’ll be able to design your pitch to knock their socks off.

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Warm leads up before sending your proposal

So, you’ve built a long email list and think it’s time to start throwing out your pitch left right and centre. Hold your horses! Warm leads are going to be more receptive to your ideas than completely cold prospects. When you’re looking up your targets, try to get a grip on the social channels they seem to be engaging with the public most. You could send them a message via their favourite social media, comment on a few of their blog posts if they write content, or mention their work in a post of your own.

As long as you mean what you say and don’t come across as false, your prospects will begin to recognise your name and what you represent. This might add a decent chunk of time to your overall process, but it has the potential to catapult your success rates.

Let them know why you’re choosing them

People tend to be far more motivated to help you if they feel uniquely qualified to do so. This is a key component you can exploit in your pitch. Just stating your intent isn’t really good enough. You should be explaining to the prospect exactly why you feel they would be the best option for you and your brand. Be as specific as you can without overdoing it. A simple sentence pointing out a certain piece of work they’ve done recently and how it inspired you to get in touch would work well.

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Use automation platforms carefully

Email automation makes it easy for anyone to blast out emails to thousands of contacts. The trick is to find a platform that saves you time by providing helpful templates but also allows you to customise each email for great results. The more time you spend tailoring each message, the fewer emails you’ll be sending out it total, but the better chance you have of creating a connection with individual targets.

You want to look for programs that offer you a handy collection of templates with proven performance as well as ample customisation options. A favourite of ours is Buzzstream.

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Test like a fiend

Email marketing, much like any other form of copy, is about trying, refining, and then trying again. You need to monitor the performance of your email campaigns and identify what works best over time. Here are some of the key questions you should be looking to answer as you send out different versions of your emails and start collecting initial data:

✅ What do your highest performing subject lines have in common?
✅ What do the lowest performing subject lines have in common?
✅ What kind of language are you using in your lowest and highest performing emails?
✅ What are the average lengths of your best and worst performing emails?
✅ Which personas are you seeing the most positive response from?

You should organise your prospects by priority and start your campaigns with your lowest priority targets. Ask these key questions as you start to build response data and then adapt your emails accordingly. Once you’ve refined your emails to incorporate the elements that have returned the most impact, you can start sending the most refined versions of your pitch to higher priority targets.

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That’s it! These are some of the most important ways you can up your email game and improve returns from your outreach campaigns. Today, everyone’s inbox is being crammed with more and more sales pitches. It’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd with a message that’s tailored, carefully aimed, and refined for maximum impact. We hope this quick list of pointers helps you achieve some serious gains!