Manual outreach is one of the best ways to build quality editorial links that stick and help improve your relationship with the fellow bloggers in your niche.
Outreaching is not easy though, in fact, it’s so hard that people like to avoid the headaches of finding prospects, building relationships (by interacting with real people) and instead hire an SEO agency or go with private blog networks.
I am not saying that PBNs don’t work. They sure do but they are expensive to build and to maintain.
Once you master the techniques of outreaching and building relationships, I promise you won’t think of going back to PBNs as landing quality links through outreach doesn’t feel any less of an achievement (and costs just one-fourth of what you’d invest in a PBN of the same quality).
Since we are interacting with humans, there are some tips and strategies (technical, conversational and behavioral) which you can implement and help turn your outreach campaign into a success.
8 Crucial Tips for a Successful Outreach Campaign
Creating your list:
This will be the foundation of any outreach campaign. The time you invest in researching and creating the list will equally pay you back with additional links as a bonus. There are two common ways to do this and both of them requires the use of Google. The first one is manual research and the second one involves using ScrapeBox.
The manual research method is plain and simple but time-consuming which is why we will be talking about the second method which involves the use of ScrapeBox and helps save us the valuable time which can be better used in crafting a good email.
The first thing you need to do is pick a few keywords for your niche (it is advisable to pick broad keywords instead of narrowing it down) with the following modifiers suffixed:
For example, if your niche site is about vacuum cleaners, you pick the broad keywords as health, home, family, lifestyle etc. since they are related to vacuum cleaners in one way or the other and thereby you can increase your prospects enormously.
After suffixing the modifiers with the keyword, it should look like:
“health” blog inurl:write-for-us
“health” news inurl:write-for-us
You get the idea, right?
What you need to do is open ScrapeBox (you can purchase it if you haven’t yet), load up some proxies (back-connect rotating proxies work best with ScrapeBox) and then insert all the keywords with the modifiers into the keyword list in ScrapeBox.
It is advisable to go with one broad keyword at a time (so you will be having 10 modified keywords in the list at a time).
If you are new to ScrapeBox, here’s an excellent YouTube channel where you can learn about it in no time.
Aim to harvest at least 3000 domains (the more the merrier). Once you are done with harvesting, keep ScrapeBox open as you want to clean your list.
Cleaning your list:
If you have been spending some time playing with ScrapeBox harvester, you will soon realize that it will pick multiple URLs from the same domain and gather each and every URL in search results to the depth you specified.
This gives you a “dirty” list which needs to be cleaned and filtered in order to make it work. Thankfully you can do most of the cleaning in ScrapeBox itself. Here’s how you are going to do that:
Open notepad and then paste the following and save the file in a .txt format named as “List Filter“.
Once done, go back to ScrapeBox and check the sidebar for “Trim” option. Click on it and select the “Trim to Root” option.
Then click on “Remove/Filter” and then select “Remove Duplicate Domains“. Again, click on Remove/Filter and then select “Remove URLs containing entries from…“.
This should open up a file explorer box which allows you to select text files. Select the “List Filter” file you created earlier. Doing this will remove all the subdomains from the free blogging platforms as well as eliminate the .gov and .edu websites (which are worthless since it’s impossible to get a link from such sites)
This should trim your list down to 1500 to 2000 unique domains.
The last step in cleaning your list is to sort it on the basis of DA. You can use a tool named DomDetailer for that.
Once the tool spits out the Moz and Majestic metrics of your list, export it in an excel .csv sheet, open that sheet and use the filter function on the DA column to arrange domains in the descending order (sites with higher DA will be on top).
After that, just keep the sites in between DA 25 to DA 70 and delete the rest.
Now, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Your list is now squeaky clean!
Finding the emails:
Finding emails is easy. All you need to do is open 20 to 25 domains from your list (use a bulk URL opening tool and open 20 URLs or more if your PC is fast enough). Check those sites for the information like owner’s name, email or contact form and make note of the special requirements if they have any. Use excel sheet and carefully record this data besides each domain.
Aim to get around 200 emails (or contact form URLs) a day (shouldn’t take more than 3 hours)
You might be wondering why we aren’t using ScrapeBox’s built-in email grabber for this. The reason for that is the email grabber is not reliable and it can pick emails of co-workers, partners or commentators which we don’t want. So manual is the way to go for this.
Writing a good email copy:
Now, this is where we move to the conversational and behavioral aspect of this guide. Since we are interacting with humans here, here are some points which you need to follow:
– Make sure the tone you use is polite and the language is without any spelling or grammatical errors.
– Always address them with their first name (feel free to start with “Hi there” if you don’t find a name on the site)
– Avoid making any false praises or claims. For example, don’t claim to be a regular reader of his/her blog, if you aren’t since it’s pretty easy for them to catch you.
– Keep it simple and avoid rambling on and on for 500 words in your email copy. You can construct an appealing email in less than 150 words.
– Don’t present them with a wall of text and make use of paragraphs.
– Restrict the subject line to less than 60 characters and make sure you get to the point.
Configuring your email client:
While you can send emails from your Gmail account, it is advisable to use a professional email (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with G Suite since you get a bit of a leeway for sending emails compared to a free Gmail account.
Once you get your own G Suite account, it’s time to add your domain and create the desired email (email@example.com format works best for most of us). After that, make sure you properly configure the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC (or get help from the excellent customer service provided by G Suite) to avoid sending your emails directly into the spam folder due to technical issues.
Here’s an excellent YouTube video if you’d like to configure the records on your own.
Note: None of the steps in this section apply to you if you are using free Gmail service (firstname.lastname@example.org) to send emails. This might be a good idea if you have budget issues or just starting out and are happy with sending less than 100 emails per day.
Ensuring delivery in the Primary Inbox:
Since Google started categorizing incoming emails into five separate tabs (namely Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums), it’s been a bit of a challenge for outreaching as there are chances that our emails land in either Promotions or Updates tab instead of Primary Inbox (which is the most important of all).
This is where a paid G Suite account comes into play. If you are sending emails from G Suite, you are already having a great chance of delivering 90% of your emails in the Primary folder. Anyway, here are some points for you to follow if you want to ensure better deliverability rates and avoid the dreaded spam folder:
– Make sure your subject line doesn’t contain words which trigger the spam filter (examples include buy, as seen on, earn, make money, miracle, etc.). Here’s an exhaustive list of words which trigger the spam filter in Gmail.
– Avoid including excessive HTML and huge images in the email copy (learn more about image optimization here).
– Never ever include unsolicited attachments when you send your first email.
– Give your prospects an easy way to unsubscribe. The last thing you want is for them to mark your email as spam (which they will if they can’t find an easy method to unsubscribe).
– Please refrain from sending emails to recipients which aren’t related to your niche. Always follow and respect the CAN-SPAM Act and honor the unsubscription request of a user by removing their email address permanently from your list.
Fixing the technical aspects:
Now that you have made a complete effort (both technical as well as behavioral) in your email marketing plan, it’s time for you to double check for any possible issues or technical aspects which you might have missed. This can be achieved by a free online site https://www.mail-tester.com
What this does is assign a temporary email address to which you need to send an email using the email address which you will be using for outreach and using the same subject line and the email copy (consider this as a real prospect and send your best email copy).
Once done, wait a minute and then check your scores.
Anything above 8 is a great score.
You can also score a perfect 10, but that’s a rare occurrence if you are using email services like G Suite or SendGrid since numerous people use the same service and you might find the server IP address blacklisted in two or three directories (which is nothing to be worried about unless stated by Mail Tester)
This is the last but the most important tip of all. Since we will be emailing a real person, they may or may not respond your first email.
That doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested (well some of them might not be interested but most of them usually forget about your email for genuine reasons like office work, other priority emails to answer or just plain laziness)
All they need is a gentle reminder or two (please don’t go beyond two follow-ups as it might make you look desperate for links). Here are some points for you to follow:
– Make sure you time your follow-ups properly. Give at least two days before you send your first follow up and three days after your first follow up before you send your second (and the last) follow up.
– Be polite and use a gentle tone in your follow-ups.
– Experiment with time when it comes to your follow-ups. Suppose you sent your main email early in the morning, send your follow-ups in afternoon and evening respectively. You never know when would be a good time for a particular user.
There you have it guys! By following these eight tips, you will be sending kickass outreach emails every time and landing quality links.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Author Bio: Hey guys, my name is Imran Khan. Being in the SEO industry for a decent period, I have seen many techniques go obsolete and new ones emerge at the same time. The core concept, which is user experience, however, remains the same and I don’t see it going anywhere. Let’s connect!