Outreach Emails: 11 Tips for Writing Emails People Actually Reply To
If you have a business or plan to start one, reaching out to people in your niche is inevitable. That’s how marketing works and everyone does it. But if you don’t get it any Answers, you’re probably sending the wrong outreach emails.
While there isn’t a very specific formula that will guarantee your outreach strategy will be successful, there are still some unwritten rules you must follow to improve your chances of engagement.
After years of outreach and experimenting with different ways of reaching out to people in our industry (and received some outreach emails myself), we learned some hard lessons about writing successful outreach emails that we want to share with you today.
Would you like to learn what these lessons are? Read on to find out how you can write better outreach emails that get people’s attention and replies.
Let’s dive in!
How to write outreach emails that get replies
Now that we’ve explained why outreach emails are important, let’s look at eleven excellent tips that will get you instant results.
Share a very specific suggestion – not a generic “collaboration”
If you want to collaborate with a website, you need to have a plan or at least an idea of how you could promote each other.
Actually, that’s the point of an outreach email — presenting a business idea that you already have in mind.
If your email doesn’t contain a detailed partnership plan (ie describe how you would go about the partnership and why), the chances of getting a response are close to zero.
Why? Because it gets the recipient to work and prompts them to send additional emails asking you for more details about your intentions, which in most cases won’t happen.
This is an example of a vague outreach email:
What are these options? Why should I be interested in learning more about your site?
No one wants to do extra work, especially when there is nothing that piques their interest. If you are not able to present your idea professionally from the beginning, why should anyone play back and forth with you?
Be specific and present your offer clearly, with bullet points, examples and benefits.
Make a suggestion that will benefit them too
While this might sound like the obvious, I still get emails where people are asking for something big and in return they will just do it “Share your article on Twitter”. That sounds like the chance of a lifetime indeed – *Not*.
So if your email is all about you and the recipient doesn’t get any benefit from that business, don’t send it. By benefiting others, I don’t mean instant traffic or money, but it should at least be something that helps them in the long run.
For example, the opportunity to enter a new niche and target a new audience, or an invitation to work together on a project.
Just don’t make your outreach emails all about you. Earn the offers, don’t beg for them.
Personalize your message for each business
A partnership plan is a form of personalization in itself, but there are a few other aspects you can consider when writing outreach emails:
👉 Don’t write one Message and send it to all the companies on your list.
👉 Depending on how well you know the person you are contacting, your message may change. You can be easygoing with people you have met or worked with before. Can you actually mention it “I’m X, we met at the Y conference last year, we talked about marketing and pizza”.
👉 Use the same message but change a link and name is not considered personalised. Eg “I found your post about X and was hooked. Very useful tips. Would you consider adding our tool?”, where X is the first article you see when you enter someone else’s blog. It’s definitely not original.
This is an example of a generic default message:
👉 Avoid standard and overused corporate language like “I hope you get this email” or “I am looking forward to your answer”.
Actually, think of it this way: If there’s a phrase you wouldn’t use in a live conversation with this person, don’t use it in your outreach emails either.
Don’t try to use a company’s generic contact form
This isn’t necessarily a total failure, but there is a risk your message will never reach the right person. If the company has a policy of not accepting business proposals, the support team will shut it down without a second thought.
If you have something interesting to say and are contacting the right person using their own email address, they might make an exception for you.
What’s even better is Contact someone you know at a company directly. They remember your name and open your email. The chance of an answer, even a negative one, is higher.
Sending your suggestion to someone from the department you wish to contact also implies that you were motivated enough to do so conduct a minimum of research about the company and you not only used the first contact form which was useful to you.
Do not send contact emails on Fridays or weekends
Sending outreach emails on Fridays or weekends will only decrease your chances of getting a response. No one will be in the mood to read, much less respond to, business proposals on Fridays. People just want to wrap up their week and do other important things that were on their agenda. you are her least important Task.
Most of them will just delete your email, others will keep it in their inbox in case they check it next week while others read but probably won’t reply because it’s Friday and nobody wants to start a deal on Friday.
Saturdays and Sundays? That’s out of discussion. People have private lives too. When the next business week starts, your email won’t be the first thing they do or check, so it’s easy to lose it.
Write a clear, actionable email subject line
This is another important aspect that you probably often overlook because you are too focused on the pitch. But the subject of the email is what your recipient sees first.
It could convince them to open or delete your email without checking it depending on how clear and summarized it is.
👉 Do it again Not be very formal, vague, and corporate (eg “Partnership Request”).
👉 Try to make your subject line captivating and interesting for the recipient. If you say “check my article”, that’s not very interesting. Why should I review your article?
Use something like instead “Have an idea to improve your content” or “I have a question about your work” or “Feedback on your latest TV sketch” could cause the recipient to open your email out of curiosity.
This is an example of a subject line that will entice you to open the email to learn more:
Our post on writing great email subject lines offers some good general best practices.
Follow up, but no more than twice
If someone doesn’t reply the first time, they may have missed or forgotten your email. It happens to all of us when we’re busy.
Some people reply after you first ask because they remember it. Some still don’t. So you’re sending another follow-up, the result of which should give you the answer you’re looking for, whether you get an answer or not. Not answering is an answer itself.
If someone doesn’t respond at all after the second follow-up, there’s no point in trying again because this is where you’re going to piss people off. Your lack of interest in your proposal is more than obvious, so go ahead “What do you think of my suggestion?” will move you directly to the spam folder.
One method that might increase your chances of success on your second attempt is to offer the recipient something special that you didn’t mention in your first email.
Don’t use worn out templates
Among the hundreds of emails I’ve received over the past few years, I can count those that didn’t use any of the classic email templates we all find in our inboxes.
As I scan an email that uses a standard template, I automatically hit delete because I recognize the pattern. I don’t care about the suggestion.
Sending the same template over and over means you’re not targeting a specific company. They just send dozens of emails hoping that eventually someone (whoever that is) will respond.
Recipients realize they are just another brick in the wall, so why invest in a superficial collaboration?
Here’s an interesting way to target a company where the sender introduces themselves by forwarding an internal email:
Introduce yourself and show your competence
Write a few lines about who you are and what recommends you, along with any essential details you propose. Show some examples of your work, but don’t get too long-winded. A paragraph and two to three links are sufficient.
Whatever your job title, link to some examples from your portfolio so the recipient can analyze the quality of your work.
Doesn’t sound like sales and marketing
If you’re hoping to get replies to your contact emails, don’t behave like those salespeople trying to persuade people to buy a product. That doesn’t really work.
Start a normal conversation explaining what you need and how the other can benefit from the deal. If you’re too pushy, forget all feedback. Speaking superlatives won’t work either.
When contacting someone, the more human you sound, the better chance you have of responding. No one wants to start a conversation with someone who writes like a robot and is trying to impress. You can remotely detect fake emails.
Why sound like a robot when you’re human? Be respectful, but at the same time be kind and natural.
Double check outreach emails before sending them
How often do you get emails that misspell your name or address to a completely different person/company?
What about kudos for an article you didn’t write or a project you don’t own?
This is an immediate turnoff. You only had one job, copying my name and linking it to the correct company website, and you failed. Who wants to work with someone who can’t?
Make an effort to write better outreach emails
With that in mind, it’s time to put in more effort and write better outreach emails if you want to increase your success rate. Especially if you are sincere and genuinely looking for honest partnerships with companies you like, don’t make those rookie mistakes that can cost you a bargain.
It will come naturally over time, but you need a little practice first. Get rid of all the templates in your head and be creative. For starters, you need to do the following:
- Come up with a specific partnership plan
- Propose a deal that benefits the recipients
- Personalize your message for each business
- Don’t try to use the general contact form
- Do not send contact emails on Fridays or weekends
- Write a clear email subject line
- Follow up, but no more than twice
- Don’t use worn out templates
- Introduce yourself and link to your portfolio
- Doesn’t sound like sales and marketing
- Double check emails before sending
If you’re sending outreach emails specifically to snag guest posts, you might also want to check out our guide on how to write better guest post pitches.
What do you love or hate about outreach email? If you have any examples or tips worth sharing, don’t hesitate to comment below.