Hello, friends! So you’ve spent the past few weeks learning how and why to get great backlinks. Today we’re wrapping up the series with a final post all about how to email people (and actually get a response).
First, let’s talk about why you might be emailing a stranger, especially one who is likely very busy.
Two weeks ago we shared our list of best guest posting spots (including links to apply for submission), plus our strategies for making the most of HARO (Help A Reporter Out). People on the other side of either of these tactics are expecting emails from strangers. They’ve invited that, and while any emails you write to these groups should be well written, you can relax knowing that you’ve passed the biggest hurdle: getting read.
We’re assuming that for any of these situations you’re emailing a “busy” person (I put it in quotes, because who isn’t busy?) because you want them to link to your content for some reason.
With the tips we’ve already shared with you, you have lots of great starting places for getting your content featured. But what if a blog doesn’t have a dedicated page for submissions? Or what if you have something to share that you are certain your favorite blogger would care about, but you’ve never actually met her?
In short, what do you do when you need to cold email someone?
You craft the perfect strategic email.
Today’s post is all about how to do that well so that you get what you want from this exchange (and offer plenty for the other person!).
So, why is email writing such a big deal? We do it every day, right?
The trick here is to write an email that does two things:
1). It gets opened and read.
2). It gets the receiver to do something that you want them to do (in this case, link to your site in some way).
Writing an email to a busy person that gets a response is definitely an art, and today we’re giving you our best tips (plus a template!) for writing emails that elicit responses. It’s juicy, and we’re so excited for you to use this for success in your business!
Everyone’s time is limited, and the biggest hurdle you’ll get in this email is why they should give you some of theirs. Tell them why you’re emailing, but avoid telling a long story. It’s important that you give them an idea
Your opening line or subject line should include some indication of:
- How much time your email requires for them
- What benefit they’ll get from your email/you
Write out a few subject lines and make sure that you’re being specific, including mentioning the time required from them.
This kind of email is not the place to weave a narrative into your ‘ask’. Just say what you mean, and that will be enough. If you have an article to share, say it! If you were recently on a podcast they might like, then just say that and include the link. This is not the time to let them guess at your point, so just be direct in stating why you’re emailing them.
Heavens, I can’t stress this one enough. In general, people are really willing to help, so please make it easy on them! Have you ever gotten an email that rambles on, lacks proper punctuation, and leaves you wondering what sentence is what and why the sender emailed you? It makes it hard to respond, right? That’s a frustrating feeling when you want to help…but just aren’t sure how exactly to do that.
Your email should get the point across with a quick skim of no more than 30 seconds. So, this means you need to format your email to be skimmable and edit yourself so you have perfect grammar and don’t ramble.
It’s also wise to ask someone else read it to make sure that what you wrote is clear; if you don’t want to do that, try reading it aloud, preferably a day or so after you wrote it. If there are parts that aren’t clear, another person or you a day later will catch them.
Offer, Don’t Ask
This tip is probably the most important one here. When you’re cold-emailing someone, it’s crucial that you position it as if you are offering them something, not asking for something. For example, maybe they’ve recently launched a course, and you have an article on how you used their strategies. You’ll get a link and exposure, but it’s by giving something of value to them.
The key here is to offer something to the person you’re emailing, not ask them for something. As busy people, they get asked for things all the time. Imagine how nice it would feel to be offered something for a change! This may seem like a semantic issue, but a change in wording makes a big psychological difference.
What are you offering this person that would benefit them?
(I don’t mean your services–this kind of email should be from a place of generosity, not sales). Did you recently write a tutorial that’s a great fit for their audience, or a nice supplement to something they posted recently?
Use a 2-Step Process
- Ask if they want to see something
- If yes, then send a second email with the link
People don’t tend to like to just get stuff thrown at them, and often will mentally categorize something as spam, even if it isn’t, so just ask them if they’d like to see something. Note that this is different from the ‘offer don’t ask’ written above. Yes, in this system, you’re asking them a question, but you’re not asking for something. That’s a huge difference.
Here’s how this works:
You find a website that your recent article would be a perfect for fit for. You find the appropriate email address, and then you can send something like this:
Email 1: Offer
Love your blog and everything you post–your recent blog about how to boost email subscriptions was super helpful to me, thank you!
Since you write for female entrepreneurs working to grow their audiences, I thought you might like a post I just wrote about how to email busy people. It’s part of my recent link-building for SEO series, and my audience has gotten lots of good use out of it, so I thought yours might too.
Would you like me to send the link over?
Notice what happened here. I opened with a compliment and thanked her. People love to hear this, so it keeps your reader interested, plus it’s just a lovely thing to say. Then, I mentioned that I had written something my audience found useful, and because we have overlap hers might too. This step highlights the benefit for her and her audience, aka having another useful.
Then, and this is crucial–I ask if she wants to see it. I don’t just assume she does and give it to her, because I don’t want to be spammy.
Ok, so let’s say that you get a response (yay!) Here’s what you do next.
Email 2: Send the Link
Hi again (name),
Great! So glad you think it would be helpful. Here’s the link!
(make it more personal here, perhaps elaborate on any kind of connection you have).
Email 3: The Follow Up
Send a thank you note! If someone links to you, send a thank you note! If they do something bigger, like repost your content, then give them a shout out on social media. They’ve done something wonderful for your business, so send some love their way.
Time your email strategically
Busy is busy, and people get emails 24/7, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t rhythms and patterns you can use to your advantage. There are some obvious rules to this, like not emailing on Friday night, or after 5 PM, because you’ll then be at the bottom of their inbox.
Watch for OOO Autoresponders
There are some things you can’t control, like knowing if someone is out for vacation. It’s possible that you send the perfect email at the perfect time of day (if that exists!), but if someone is on vacation, you’re just not going to get a response.
However, there’s a silver lining to this. if you send an email and get an OOO auto respond, Most people include a note about when they’ll be back in at work, so use that info to your advantage! Try resending your message 48 hours after they return. You’re much more likely to catch them when they’re rested from vacation and have cleared out their inbox. The result? YOU land at the top of their inbox, and are much more likely to get a response.
Other (obvious, but crucial) tips:
- Use the person’s name
- Write naturally (read it aloud)
- Flatter them
- Tell them how much you love their work (and mean it).
- Be specific-was there something they posted recently you liked or found useful? Tell them.
- Be aware of their local time zone. You can’t always know this, but if at all possible, email during their time zone’s afternoon time. You can schedule emails to go out at certain times.
There’s (as always!) plenty more we could say about this, but we think this covers lots of major points on this topic. We’re so excited for you to get great big features! Have Qs? Leave a comment, or send us a note. We’re here for you!
Clapping Dog Media Team