Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Effective Outreach Strategy
Word of mouth has been one of the most powerful marketing strategies even before marketing itself was considered an actual practice. More than five centuries later, the majority of marketing executives still believe word of mouth to be the most effective form of advertising. The only difference is that nowadays this practice starts with a solid email marketing and outreach strategy.
In order to increase your business’s exposure through the recommendation of trusted entities in your industry, you’ll need to put together a detailed plan of action. This plan is known as a marketing outreach strategy, and will help you identify the best sites through which to promote your business website and offering, as well as how to successfully reach out to them.
What is outreach marketing?
Outreach marketing is a promotional practice that allows you to build relationships with like-minded brands in your field, in order to increase exposure for your website and promote your products or services. As the value of brands and influencer marketing grows, these techniques have become a crucial part of any strong advertising plan.
A mention of your brand on a well-known site or social media channel will guide a large number of leads to the higher-level stages of your marketing funnel, significantly increasing your chances of generating sales. Moreover, outreach strategies can have major SEO (search engine optimization) benefits, as backlinks from high-quality referral websites are seen as a signal of credibility and help you rank higher on search results.
A practice with such potential comes, of course, hand-in-hand with fierce competition. In order to conduct successful outreach marketing, you’ll need to come up with a solid strategy that makes your brand stand out.
How to craft an effective outreach strategy
Define your audience
Collect target sites
Write a compelling email
Follow-up with a fresh approach
Track your results
Build lasting relationships
01. Define your audience
The first step to effective communication is knowing who you are talking to. As you set out to build an outreach strategy, you’ll need to start by identifying the unique characteristics of your target market. One of the most efficient ways to do so is creating a mold of your ideal customer, commonly known as a buyer persona.
Your ideal customer profile should include between three to five strict points that are consistent through your entire client base. For example, your buyer persona might be defined as “20-40 year old females with high disposable incomes living in suburban areas.”
The more precise you are when creating your ideal customer profile, the more accurate your outreach marketing campaigns will be.
02. Collect target sites
Once you know who you’re targeting, you’ll need to find the right platforms through which to target them. For example, if you have a small business that sells baby accessories, you’ll need to find websites and blogs that are related to these products, such as a parenting or maternity blog.
This stage is one of the most crucial and demanding parts of developing a marketing outreach strategy, as it requires thorough research of your industry and will directly impact your chances of success. To help you navigate these uncharted waters, we have selected three of the best techniques you can use to find relevant, high-quality websites in your industry:
Technique 1: Google search
Heading to Google for research seems quite obvious, but it’s the most straightforward way of finding relevant blogs and sites to contact. Just enter the type of blog or magazine (e.g. parenting news or parenting blog) in the search box and click to check out the results.
Do they provide quality and relevant content? If so, start by copying the names of the websites into an Excel sheet. Organize them by type, and add a column for email addresses. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to keep track of your work.
Technique 2: Related search
So technique 1 already provided you with some great websites to approach, but you’re hungry for more. Cue: the related search operator. The whole idea here is to find other websites that would attract the same, or a similar, crowd of visitors. This will allow you to search more accurately for websites that are similar in topic, content and quality.
How does it work? Simply enter ‘related: www.examplewebsite.com’ into the Google search box. This will generate a search engine results page (SERP) full of websites that are very much like the one you found.
Technique 3: More advanced operators
To be even more precise, there are several other advanced operators to search Google for relevant sites. These searches allow you to identify websites that have a specific search phrase in the URL, in the text, in the SEO title or as anchor text within the website.
Here are a few of the advanced operators you can use to find more specific websites:
allinurl: search phrase – the URL contains the search term, for example allinurl: best baby accessories.
allintext: search phrase – the text on the page contains the search term.
allintitle: search phrase – the SEO title contains the search term.
allinanchor: search phrase – an anchor text (text that links to a URL) on the page contains the search term.
03. Write a compelling approach email
Once you’ve identified the right targets, the next step is to reach out to them via email. Considering your prospects likely get numerous marketing outreach proposals on a regular basis, you’ll need to carefully craft every element of your email in order to ensure it doesn’t end up in the trash.
More than a third of recipients decide whether to open an email based on the subject line alone. To make sure your messages pass this barrier, craft a short subject line that taps into a certain feeling such as intrigue or FOMO.
Afterwards, personalize the body of your email to the person you’re sending it to - a practice that has proven to generate 41% more click-through rates. Show them that you’re familiar with their work and audience, and elaborate on how your product and services can be relevant to them. Making this connection explicit will help improve your success rate.
End the email by pitching your plan for collaboration, which can be anything from offering to write a blog post on their site to sending them one of your products to test out and write a review.
Don’t forget to include at least two calls-to-action (CTAs) in your email: one near the beginning and one at the end. The first one should offer more information about your brand’s offering, while the second serves as an invitation to respond to your proposal.
04. Follow-up with a fresh approach
Follow-up emails are an essential part of a strong marketing outreach strategy. Since not every initial approach gets a response, it’s important to send a second or even third email. However, outreach etiquette determines that you shouldn’t message a potential target more than three times, waiting a week between emails.
Set reminders for when to follow up on each email you send and keep track of your communications with each person. The more organized you are, the less likely you’ll be to end up messaging the same person five times within two weeks, or missing potential opportunities.
Make sure to change the subject line every time you send a new email to someone, as otherwise they might appear as part of the same thread in the recipient’s inbox. This practice also helps to prevent an email from being erroneously marked as spam.
05. Track your results
Outreach marketing requires managing an enormous amount of data. You have to track the websites that you’ve reached out to, the date at which you contacted them and what kind of collaboration you offered them.
While a regular Excel sheet may do the trick, you should also consider using some of the more advanced tools available for this purpose:
Buzzsumo (paid): This great tool will help you find websites that have covered the topic that you are searching for. Just type a topic into the search bar, and it will provide you with a list of the most popular pieces of content from blogs and websites. You can easily export your findings and create a full blown list of websites that you’d like to contact.
Boomerang (free and paid options): This Gmail add-on will help you remember when to follow up on approach emails. If you don’t receive a response from a first approach, it will throw a reminder email right back at you.
MozBar (free): This amazing toolbar instantly provides information about the site quality by giving a score called domain authority. The higher the score, the better the website.
Email tools and extensions: Even after identifying a new website or blog to approach, it can sometimes be difficult to find an email address. Here are two tools to help you find website owner’s emails; Email Hunter (free and premium options) and Clearbit Connect (free Gmail add-on).
06. Build lasting relationships
Paradoxical as it may sound, one of the best things about marketing outreach, is that you get to communicate with real people in your realm or industry. Once you’ve made a real connection with someone, they may continue to have a positive impression of your business and will be more open to further promoting your products or services.
This is why keeping your industry colleagues updated with the latest news about your business is a great idea, enabling them to share your updates with their readers. There are several ways that you can invest in these relationships and make sure that your partners know how much you appreciate them, including:
Use Wix Email Marketing to send out a newsletter updating your contacts about the latest news and products. To avoid overwhelming them, you should only do this every three to four months.
Send them one of your products for free, or a coupon for a service.
Send out a letter for the holiday season with a personalized message to each of your partners around the web, as a way to let them know you appreciate the relationship.
By Ruth Eschenheimer
SEO Content Specialist
By Judit Ruiz Ricart
Blog Content Expert