This Sales Pro Wrote Outreach Emails for 15 Years. Here Are His Best Email Tips

Every day, millions of outreach emails are sent by entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world. 

In fact, I have a bunch sitting unopened in my inbox right now. The sender is hoping to catch my attention, so we can work together in a way that grows their business.

But here’s the cold, hard truth: I won’t reply to the majority of these messages. I’ll put most in my trash folder. 

The Most Important Lesson of Sending Outreach Emails

When I first started out in sales 15 years ago, my outreach emails were also ineffective at driving action. I was wasting my time writing messages that ended up in people’s trash folders.

That was, until I learned one important lesson: The true goal of any email outreach is to build meaningful relationships with the person you’re hoping to contact. It isn’t to bombard them with offers until they magically decide to purchase from or collaborate with you. 

Once I realized this, my outreach emails started to get opened. Since then, I’ve scored business opportunities with everyone from startup founders to Fortune 500 executives. I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t.

That’s why I put together relationship-building email templates inside our product at Close.io. These templates help hundreds of thousands of sales professionals increase their open rates, start more conversations, and drive more sales. 

So whether you’re looking to secure a spot as a contributor for a major online publication, book yourself on someone else’s podcast, or land your next big client, outreach emails are a necessity in today’s business world. Follow my 5 tips below to learn how to effectively write them so they don’t end up in someone’s trash folder.

(Heads up: An outreach email is different than email marketing. You send an outreach email to a single recipient who has no prior relationship with you. Email marketing, on the other hand, is a message sent to a mass audience that has opted-in to receive your content.)

1. Use mutual connections

Did you know that 92 percent of people trust referrals and recommendations that come from people they know?

When sending outreach emails, remember that you’re probably not the only one emailing with a similar request. (Let alone the only one pitching them that very same day.) So whenever possible, leverage your personal or professional connections who have a more direct relationship with your intended recipient. Then, ask them to make an introduction.

Related: How to Get Your First 50 Subscribers in Less Than 30 Days 

I recommend researching your recipient’s LinkedIn profile to find mutual connections. You can also follow them on Twitter to see if you have any followers in common. If they have a blog, check out who contributes as a guest. If they have a podcast, see who they’ve interviewed. You may just uncover a common connection.

You’re not always going to have a mutual connection that can just fire off a quick intro, so look to see who you might build connections with that could influence your target recipient.

2. Write the world’s most intriguing subject lines

Surprisingly, 47 percent of people decide whether or not an email is worth reading based on the subject line alone.

At most, you have a little over a second to make them want to open your message. Try to create as much intrigue as possible.

You want your reader to think, “Really? Why?” as soon as they read your subject line. While there are a variety of ways you can do this, in my experience the easiest way to create intrigue is to either challenge a commonly held belief they may have, or simply ask them a question.

Here are several examples of effective, intriguing subject lines: 

  • Interested in being on my podcast, [first name]?
  • Can I feature you in an upcoming blog post?
  • Are you looking for speakers for [name of event]?
  • Why I think you’re the perfect person for my next podcast
  • I want to run an idea by you, [first name]
  • Question for you, [first name]…
  • I surveyed my audience, and they asked for you…
  • I just had [name of influential person] on my show… care to jump on as well?

Strive to make your subject line as specific and personal as possible to show you’ve done your homework. Even more importantly, make sure your subject line reflects what the reader will find inside. This is by far one of the easiest ways to establish trust with your prospect. Without that foundation of mutual respect, nothing else is likely to materialize with the relationship.

Related: Your Guide to Writing the World’s Best Subject Lines

3. Personalize your email and get to the point quickly

When sending outreach emails, remember that you’re hoping to speak with one specific person, which means you want to personalize your pitch as much as possible.

In my own inbox, I always see emails with paragraphs of text about the company’s mission and values, and why they’d be so perfect to work with. The reality is that most professionals don’t care about that—and they have no reason to.

The only thing prospects care about is how you can help them.

For example, if you want to secure someone on your blog, podcast or webinar, be sure to include the following in your outreach email:

  • Introduction
  • Why you’re reaching out to them (what type of partnership or opportunity are you pursuing?)
  • What’s in it for them (e.g., How many readers will see their blog post on your website; How many leads they can expect by being a guest on your webinar or podcast)
  • How you’ll help promote them and their business throughout the partnership
  • Why your audience is the right fit for them.
  • Make the ask

Related: The Easiest Way to Skyrocket Your Open Rates

If you want to secure a spot on someone else’s blog, podcast or webinar, be sure to include the following in your outreach email:

  • Introduction
  • Why you’re reaching out to them (what type of partnership or opportunity are you pursuing?)
  • What value you can provide to their audience (e.g., education, service, products, etc.)
  • Why you have the right experience to be featured on their site or show (e.g., give examples of other blogs, podcasts or webinars you’ve contributed to in the past)
  • Make the ask

If you want to tell someone about your business, products, or services, be sure to include the following in your email:

  • Introduction
  • Why you’re reaching out to them 
  • Show you’ve done your research (highlight something you both have in common, like an alma mater or a past work colleague, or highlight something they’ve worked on recently that you enjoyed)
  • Make the ask

Keep your email short and to the point. Your prospect is busy. Make your pitch concise and stick with just the essentials they need to know upfront. That way, they can make a quick decision about whether they need what you’re offering.

4. Nurture ALL contacts

One of the most frustrating aspects of email outreach is deciding your best course of action when a recipient doesn’t engage with your messages. 

The reasons for a recipient dropping off the map could be numerous — maybe they don’t have the time right now, they just never bothered to reply, or they’re simply not interested and haven’t explicitly told you that.

Whatever the reason, you may be tempted to shrug your shoulders, write them off in order to pursue a new opportunity, and never follow up with them again.

But that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

According to a Rutgers University study of 224 executive MBA students who reached out to dormant connections—people they hadn’t spoken to in at least three years—for help with an important project, researchers found that not only were the dormant contacts useful, but they were often more helpful than active connections.

The study further suggests that the novelty of seeing an old friend, previous co-worker or former classmate pop back into your inbox, tends to spur people into taking quicker (and more enthusiastic) action than with existing relationships that already have an ongoing value exchange.

Related: How to Find Your Customers’ Pain Points

This means you shouldn’t abandon an opportunity as soon as they stop replying to your messages or even after they say they’re not interested at this time. Instead, take a relationship selling approach and keep the opportunity on file for quarterly check-ins. Just because someone says, ‘Not right now’ or drops off the radar today, doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit a few months down the line.

Since the last time you got in touch, their circumstances (or yours) may have changed, and you may be able to better address their past objections.

Before you begin sending outreach emails to every dormant connection you have, consider the fact that they might not remember you from that one conversation you had over a year ago. Treat them as a new prospect again.

Always begin your reconnection email with a quick reminder of how you met or where you worked or collaborated together. Establish a clear context around why you’re reaching out today.

5. Use other channels beyond email

Despite the fact that 86 percent of business professionals prefer to use email when they communicate for business-related purposes, be wary of relying on email too much in your outreach.

For some people, email might not be their preferred channel of communication and you’ll have a better chance of getting their attention if you speak to them over the phone, in person, or on social networks like LinkedIn or Twitter.

If your prospect doesn’t respond to email, try one of the following:

  • Follow them on Twitter and send them a DM.
  • Send them a message on LinkedIn.
  • Private message them on Facebook.

Start by introducing yourself and what you do. Ask them a question, or comment about something they recently worked on. This helps create common ground and trust, and sets you up for further conversations.

When it comes to bigger opportunities, like complex co-marketing partnerships, there’s typically a lot more back and forth that occurs. In this scenario, phone calls may be much more effective at building trust and securing the opportunity. Use email for following up on conversations and nudging a prospect closer to locking in the opportunity.

The key to successful email outreach

Targeted email outreach is an effective way to create and nurture opportunities that can help you grow your business to new levels.

The key to successful email outreach is to focus on creating conversations and building relationships without the immediate expectation of a quick transaction. If you can do this, you’re well on your way to email outreach success.

Not sure how to get more leads? Struggling to create a profitable email strategy? We can help. At AWeber, we’re not just an email marketing platform — we’re a team of email experts that want to see you succeed. You can contact us day or night to get all of your questions answered.  Start your free 30-day trial of AWeber today.

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