At TechWyse, we receive a lot of outreach emails from businesses, offering all kinds of products or services. Companies send outreach emails about everything from web hosting deals, cheap kitchen supplies, laptop offers, office plants, and local restaurant offers. More than 80 percent of these emails end up in our delete folders because they lack a crucial ingredient: Personalization.
It’s not just the lack of personalization that makes these emails unappealing. But, the senders didn’t do any research into who we are, what we do, and what we might need, their emails were spammy and really off the mark. What a wasted opportunity! Email can put you in touch with key purchasers, influences, potential clients, and anyone else who could be valuable in turning towards your product or service. As one of the top digital marketing agencies in Toronto, TechWyse frequently recommend outreach emails as a key part of a digital strategy – personalized emails, of course!
Let’s discuss how the eight ways of personalizing your outreach emails so that you hit your target and really ramp up your chances of getting leads, sales, and more revenue.
Personalization Begins With Research
Like so many things in business that yield results, personalized outreach emails begin with research. First, you need to find out which companies you should be targeting. Who are they? What are their key products or services? How can you help them improve their business? Sometimes just reading a company’s website will give you all you need; other times, you may need to dig a bit more by using a search engine, LinkedIn, the firm’s social media, or business directory. Search for the company in Google News; you may see that they have hired recently, won an award, or announced a big contract.
It’s also important to reach the right person and get their name right. You need to reach the right person and, next, get that name right. This means doing research to find out who makes the decisions regarding purchasing your product, and who may influence their decisions. Next, make sure that you get the correct spelling of the name. In some cultures, such those in Asia, misspelling a name can create an unrelated (and possibly offensive) word. Finally, don’t make an assumption about the email format. Sending an email to firstname@ won’t reach your target if the email format is firstname.lastname, unless the company has a catchall in place.
The Subject Line – Make it Relevant!
The first place to start with personalization is your email subject line. According to research, a personalized subject line can increase open rates by up to 50 percent. Sounds great, but how do you personalize that important field of an email? Given that you have such a small space, one of the best options is to go for emotive personalization. In addition, you need to be compelling, informative, and creative. If you can produce a good subject line, it means you’re massively increasing the chances that it will be opened, and for you, that means opening a door to a sale.
Here are some creative ways of writing personal outreach email subject lines.
- Make them curious: Lines such as: “We have something that will benefit you”, or “This email has arrived at just the right time”. Such lines are tempting and don’t have the fake urgency of “Act now!”, which is mildly insulting to the recipient. They usually know what they have to act upon quickly, and it’s unlikely that it’s your email.
- Give an offer: Who doesn’t love free stuff? An email giving something someone can really use, whether it be a trial period or free sample, is usually welcome. Use a subject line like: “You’ll really like/appreciate/enjoy using this insert your offer.
- Content: If you are emailing marketing people, offer them content that is relevant to their business or industry. And that content shouldn’t contain an obvious pitch for your business. Send it as a genuine, no-hooks offer.
- Make a compliment: Follow your target businesses online and look at what they are posting, or read something they authored on LinkedIn. Then you’re in a position of making a genuine compliment. A subject line like “Great insights in your recent LinkedIn post” will definitely lead to the recipient opening the email.
However, you begin your email, ensure you follow through with a few more lines of connecting the subject with the content, and then transition to why you are emailing and how the recipient can follow-up.
Don’t Overdo The Flattery
Most of us like positive feedback. And most of us also know when the feedback is insincere flattery. So, don’t insult your target by flattering them with over-the-top comments that will get your email quickly moved to the delete folder. And, that’s a real shame if they actually opened it in response to your clever subject line. At TechWyse we’ve received lots of vague pats on the back that are vague or insincere, such as:
“Last week I read your blog and it was awesome!” This doesn’t work because our blog has hundreds of posts on it and publishes regularly. What post is the sender referring to?! Instead, the writer should have named a post and said why they like it.
“I’ve read your blog for years and your content is absolutely incredible”. This doesn’t work because, all the emailers know, we just launched our blog 18 months ago. And, while we’d love to think that our content is absolutely incredible (and no doubt a few of the posts are!), the flattery is a bit over the top.
“I’ve learned everything I need to know about marketing from your recent blog posts”. This is incredulous and the sender sounds like an uninformed outsider who has no knowledge of our business. Why would we respond?
Again, flattery or hyperbole has no place in outreach emails, even if you think it sounds or looks cool. As with presentations, your emails should contain meaningful content – otherwise, cut the unnecessary words.
Now let’s take a look at some better sentences that will resonate with the email recipient, provided you have done your research and personalized content really well.
“Your blog post about Dynamic Facebook ads was really informative and we can now share this knowledge with our clients”. This intro is focused and meaningful and makes the reader feel good. Of course, change the content to suit your business.
“I appreciate your guidance on doing ___. Our firm is going to implement it next week and monitor results.
“I found your story about ___ truly inspirational and moving, so much so that I shared it with my wife when I got home”. Again, this is specific and meaningful and will resonate with your reader.
“Your advice on ___ came from a perspective our company has not considered! It’s unique and informative and definitely has convinced us that we need to realign processes/revisit our practices/or whatever works for your company.
Demonstrate Your Value
To do so, effectively communicate how valuable you are to the recipient of your email and vice versa. Show how linking to your site or posting your content on theirs adds value on both sides. Avoid long-winded pitches. Be concise and persuasive without begging for a link or a retweet and get the timing right.
Make sure what you are pushing is timely and relevant to their expertise and audience. Don’t push content that you wrote a year ago or compliment them on something they posted back in the day. Remain current and you’ll demonstrate how valuable you are to them and how they can be valuable to you.
Be Creative With Your Content
The content of your email doesn’t have to be written content. You can include a link to a recent marketing video, a data visualization graphic, a printable coupon, a promo code, or a creative infographic. Of course, what you choose to include should have some content built around it, explaining why you’re sending it as well as the benefit to your user. Double-check your links to make sure they are working, and ensure your site is set up to receive any promo codes.
Being creative with your content also means thinking about tone. Look at the target’s website and social media, and take into account their business niche. For example, creative agencies are considered to be fun, creative places to work, so a more relaxed tone is acceptable. A legal firm, local municipality, or an accountancy business are seen as more professional and formal. Be sure to check your target’s website and make a decent judgment call. Adjust your content according to your audience.
Avoid Automation and Templates
Using outreach software or templates may be tempting, but they do use formulas and patterns which can be easy to detect. By all means, look through good templates for ideas, and ensure you customize them. But as far as TechWyse is concerned, outreach automation is a bad idea and the process is best left to your business or an agency. Personalization stands out and shows that you see the recipient as valuable. Again, raises the chances of interaction. In your email, ensure that what you send has something in it for the recipient. Be sure to highlight the benefits to your recipient’s business as well as any other unique selling point.
Be Sure To Follow- up
If you don’t hear back, it’s fine to follow-up in a week but no more; if you leave it any longer the recipient will likely to have forgotten about your original email. Refer your original note and the date, but change the wording somewhat. Usually, we recommend two follow-up emails; after that your simply harassing people and so it’s time to move on. At the very least, you’ve put yourself on the map and if the target company needs your service in the future they are now aware of you.
You Get A Response!
If you get a polite rejection be sure to respond quickly with a Thank You, and encourage the company to contact you if they ever need your service. A positive response will be in an email or via phone call. Respond quickly. Also, continue to personalize your approach if you are conducting the conversation by email. It’s poor form to begin with a personalized outreach email and then send one that says “Dear Sir”. Also, track your campaign, and be sure to note who you have contacted, dates, responses, follow-up dates, leads, and actual sales. The data will clearly give you vital information about the success of your campaign.
About the Author:
Rebecca Hill is the Outreach Coordinator at TechWyse, an SEO agency in Toronto, Canada. While she isn’t building relationships with bloggers and influencers in the marketing world, she can be seen rooting for the Blue Jays.