Link Building

Outreach Email: A Guide to Building Relationships

Eduard Klein
August 20, 2021

As business professionals, we’ve all received those cringy, overtly self-promotional emails, haven’t we? Though the intention behind those emails might have been to network and build relationships, such emails often land in the trash.

Be it for link building, PR, partnerships, or lead generation—building relationships is a must. And, reaching out to people through emails is the best way to go about it. Yet, out of hundreds of such emails that land in our inbox, only a handful seem to make a genuine effort.

This is probably because outreach emails have a lot to do with psychology than ready-made, so-called “proven” email templates. Everyone values their time and attention, and it’s essential you make your outreach email worth their time.

In this comprehensive guide on building relationships through outreach emails, we will talk precisely about that. Let’s dive deeper into understanding more about building relationships, followed by steps on how to do the same through email outreach. 

What is Email Outreach, and Why is It Important for Building Relationships?

Email outreach is the process of reaching out to people through emails to build relationships and get them to take some desired action in your favor. 

Through email outreach, you can network within your industry and build mutually beneficial relationships. Over time, these relationships may bring in many opportunities for your brand—website backlinks, collaborations, interviews, press coverage, podcast guests, and many more.

Email outreach involves reaching out to people who might not know about your existence. Hence, things may get awkward sometimes. So, is email outreach and building relationships necessary for any business? If so, why is it so important?

Here are a few reasons why email outreach is significant for building relationships:

1. Link building

Backlinks or inbound links are hyperlinks incoming from other websites (usually relevant and high-authority ones) to your website. Link building is the process of gaining such backlinks from other websites. 

Backlinks play a vital role in any business’ inbound marketing strategy. Here’s why:

  • Backlinks bring inbound traffic from other high domain authority sites to your site.
  • Inbound links play a pivotal role in improving your search engine rankings. This is because search engines like Google consider high-quality backlinks as an essential ranking factor.
  • As the domain authority of the linking websites improves over time, so does the domain authority of your website. Hence, link building has compounding effects on your inbound marketing over time.

Moreover, building links through strategies such as guest posting and link exchanges, play a pivotal role in any brand’s content marketing strategy. Most of these link-building strategies require email outreach. Hence, if you want to create an impressive, fruitful link profile for your website, you have to be a pro at email outreach link building.

2. Lead Generation

Building healthy relationships with prospects is essential and goes a long way. When we talk about outbound lead generation, emails are one of the best ways to reach prospects, build trust, and turn them into customers.

Many businesses make the mistake of sending mass cold emails to prospects through the same old generic templates. Unfortunately, such emails have little to do with relationship building and hence do not fetch good results.

This is why it is important to use cold emailing as a way to build connections with your prospects, rather than simply pitching them your product through copy-pasted templates. 

3. PR and Brand Awareness

Today, the competition amongst businesses is very high as compared to what it was a decade ago. Hence, it’s not easy for businesses to get the limelight, even if they truly deserve it. Therefore, having a proactive PR strategy is crucial for getting the right attention and building brand awareness.

As with the previous two cases, email outreach is again the most cost-effective and fruitful way to gain brand recognition. Through outreach emails, you can build relationships with journalists, publishers, bloggers, and influencers across the industry and benefit from the network.

Through a well-thought-out, winning PR email outreach campaign, you can get good press coverage, get brand mentions in top publications, and project your brand in front of a relevant audience.

4. Partnerships & Collaboration

As an extension to the previous point on PR and brand awareness, partnerships and collaborations are also great ways of expanding your customer base, penetrating new markets, and improving brand awareness. 

Email outreach is a no-brainer strategy for establishing partnerships with influencers in your niche. Reaching out to relevant influencers through partnership emails will help you open up new and exciting business opportunities. Influencer brand promotions can help you:

  • Penetrate brand new markets
  • Build trust with your target audience
  • Enhance credibility for your brand
  • Expand your client base.

Similarly, email outreach is also a great way to collaborate with people from different facets of your industry. Let’s say you want to launch a new podcast and you’re looking for guests for your podcast show. In that case, launching an email outreach campaign will help reach out to relevant people for podcast interviews. Email outreach will also help you with podcast promotions.

How to Build Relationships With Email Outreach

Now that you understand why email outreach is the necessary evil that you need to master for the growth of your business, let’s make things easier and look at how you can build relationships with email outreach.

1. Find the Right People and Understand Their Needs

The results you can get from your email outreach campaigns are determined even before you start drafting the emails. Why? Because the first step to email outreach is to find the right people who would be interested in building a relationship with you and find value in what you have to offer.

For instance, when you are doing email outreach as a part of your sales prospecting process, you have to be pretty sure the people you are reaching out to will be interested in your offer. 

To find the right people for your email outreach, you can start by understanding your goals for the outreach. For example, are you looking for influencers to promote your new launch or are you looking for press coverage? In either case, the kind of people you look for will be different.

Once you are clear about the type of people you are looking for, you can find the right prospects for your email outreach using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It is a premium tool by LinkedIn using which you can search for email outreach prospects. 

The tool comes with various filters that help you find prospects based on geographical location, industry, company, position, past activity, etc. Based on this information, you can create a spreadsheet full of email outreach targets.

LinkedIn sales navigator

You can extract emails from LinkedIn and also use email finder tools to get their email address.

Next, it is also crucial that you understand the prospects’ needs before you start reaching out to them. For example, as a part of a PR email outreach campaign, you have to make sure the journalists that you are pitching to are looking for stories similar to yours. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen often. In fact, in a survey of 2000 journalists, 75% agreed that fewer than 25% of the pitches they receive are relevant to them.

Survey of 2000 journalists via PRnewswire

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Therefore, explore through each of the prospects’ social media profiles, websites, etc., to understand what exactly they are looking for. And, you can add the same to your email outreach spreadsheet. When you do this, your email outreach conversion rates will improve drastically.

2. Find Similarities and Build a Connection

By now, you must have a list of relevant people you want to reach out to and a clear idea of the objective of your email. The next step would be to find some similarities or connections with each one of them.

This is because when you talk about similarities, empathizing stories, or any form of shared interests—it builds a connection right from the start. And the person would at the least want to know about what you have to offer.

For example, let’s say you want to sell an online course software to HR departments and you’ve been in the same situation. You can address the pain and struggles they have with training and educating their team, communicating how you understand what they’re going through.

You can try building such a connection with the first couple of lines in your email. Here are some ideas to create a compelling opening line that acts as an icebreaker:

  • Compliment the person on a recent job, promotion, achievement, or something similar.
  • Bring up a mutual friend or acquaintance.
  • Appreciate a piece of content that they recently put out. Make sure that it sounds genuine.
  • Or, talk about a pain point that you know for sure the person is currently facing. If possible, agitate the pain point further so that the person gets interested in reading your email further.

You can start even building a connection with the prospect even before the opening line—talk about similarities by creating personalized subject lines.

3. Personalize Every Email

No one likes to be one amongst the crowd. And hence, a one size fits all outreach email template is the worst way to do email outreach. Like any other marketing tactic, personalization is the key to a winning email outreach campaign. 

This holds true for all kinds of outreach—link building, PR, lead generation, influencer marketing, etc. For instance, studies show that personalized emails for link building generate 33% higher response rates.

Email personalization can be as basic as adding the first name of the prospect. But, if you want to get good open and conversion rates, then going beyond first names is imperative. So, try to make a genuine effort at personalizing every email if you are serious about building strong relationships.

For instance, embedding personalized images or videos in your outreach emails can be a great way to achieve very high email response rates. 

embedded personalized image

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You should also personalize the subject lines to get good open rates. You can use a subject line tester tool to evaluate the personalized subject lines.

personalized subject lines

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Here’s an apt example of a hyper-personalized email that involves in-depth research of the prospect:

example of a hyper-personalized email

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4. Make Use of the Reciprocity Principle

According to Robert Cialdini’s famous reciprocity principle, when you offer something valuable to someone, they are more likely to return the favor by fulfilling your ask. Applying this principle in your outreach emails can be highly effective.

For applying this, simply offer something to the prospect for free, which will be truly valuable to them. For example, you can offer to share their blog post on your social media or offer personalized discounts for something relevant. 

Robert Cialdini’s famous reciprocity principle

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5. Keep the Email Crisp and Straightforward

While trying to make a lasting impression on your prospect, you can easily go overboard with the amount of information you include in the email. Yes, it is important to build a warm connection with the prospect right from the start. But, it is also important to value the person’s time.

So, try keeping your email crisp and straightforward. Avoid beating around the bush as no business professional wants to spend their precious time going through their email inbox. It is best to introduce yourself, establish a connection, and get straight to the point. 

Here’s a great example of a professional email:

email sample via Hunter

6. End With a Mutually Beneficial CTA

Always aim at building a relationship more than directly pitching your offer. Relationships are a two-way street and built on mutual trust and benefits. You should apply the same to your call-to-action as well.

Ending with a mutually beneficial CTA can be an excellent way to reiterate your offer and state how the person benefits from this relationship. For example, here are some excellent email CTA examples that clearly state the value proposition:

mutually beneficial CTA samples

7. Follow-up Strategically

Did you know that follow-up emails tend to get better response rates than the first email? In fact, response rates can go up by 27% with the sixth follow-up email.

Following up is essential because the prospect may have forgotten to respond the first time. So, reminding them can be a great way to get better results.

But remember to follow up strategically and not just for the sake of it. Try to make sense and add some value to every follow-up email. The last thing you want is for the person to get annoyed and block you, so try not to annoy them with your follow-up emails.

8. Consider Using an Email Outreach Tool

Lastly, let’s talk about setting up your tool stack for email outreach. Let’s face it—email outreach can be painstaking and time-consuming. So, why not make use of tools to launch email outreach campaigns at scale?

There are many fantastic email outreach tools out there, such as PitchBox and NinjaOutreach, that help you find prospects, create custom email workflows, segment your prospect lists, and personalize your emails.

Most of these tools also offer analytics on your email outreach campaigns by helping you track metrics such as open rates, response rates, unsubscribes, lead scoring, etc.

PitchBox's email outreach tool

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Relationship-Building Outreach Email Examples

In this section, let’s look at a few email outreach emails that aim to build long-lasting relationships with prospects.

1. Link Building Email Example

Active campaign's link-building email example

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2. Collaboration Email Example

Influencer marketing hub's collaboration email example

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3. Lead Generation Email Example

Sales hacker's lead generation email example

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Start Building Relationships Through Email Outreach

In the highly competitive online world that we live in, networking and building relationships sometimes take a backseat, especially after the outbreak of the pandemic when we are all forced to stay at home.

However, after going through this guide, you will understand the importance of building relationships for different reasons, such as lead generation, link building, and PR. And, what better way to reach out to people and make connections than through a consistent, long-lasting medium of communication such as email?

This guide will help you follow a step-by-step process to create a winning email outreach strategy. So, make sure to follow the tips and techniques offered in this article to network with people and grow your brand.

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