We have enough SEO analysis & prospecting tools, but we’re usually stuck with 3 main manual tasks:
I understand that the first two need to be done manually for the most part, but those of us who aren’t blessed with a custom agency solution for outreach could use a tool to speed up the process.
I don’t think Buzzstream is 100% completely there yet, but I really like what they’ve done with their outreach features. I’ll walk you through one way I use it.
Note: there are affiliate links in the post, but I wouldn’t be writing about Buzzstream unless I thought it was well worth your attention.
Before you can use the tool, you need a list of prospects & contacts in Excel like you see below.
Sort the list by those you have emails for, copy & paste the two columns into a new spreadsheet, and save it as a CSV. I highly suggest you find first names as well, but it’s not completely necessary (just makes outreach more personal).
Next, go into Buzzstream and import the CSV you just created in your intended project’s “People” tab. Choose the “Match My CSV” option:
Then match up the different columns in your spreadsheet with the Buzzstream value (love this feature!!).
Now that you’ve got the contacts in Buzzstream, select the checkbox next to each (can select all or filter down, then select all), then select “Create a template” (if you don’t already have one).
Here’s what the “Create a template” page looks like.
I usually create my template in Word first, then transfer it over and use the correct Merge Fields, but it really doesn’t matter. If you included the first name of each contact, then use an opening line like “Hi [First Name]!”
Here are a couple outreach templates that I like to use.
Broken Link Building
Hi [First Name],
I was surfing your website when I encountered a few broken links. I didn’t know whom I should get in touch with so they could fix this, so could you point me in the right direction?
For this template, I like to act like a casual visitor, and my number one goal is just to get a response. Since this is harmless enough, I usually do get one. Once they respond, they’re much more likelier to not leave me hanging after I send them another email. They’ve already invested in the conversation and shown that they’re reading the emails.
Hi [First Name]!
My name’s Jon Cooper, I’m the VP of Marketing at *CLIENT*.
I just wanted to say that everyone here is a big supporter of your club! We especially loved what you guys did with *RECENT EVENT / SOMETHING PERSONAL*. We’d love to become a sponsor of your club, but since our budget for nearly everything at the moment is so small, we can only afford sending $50 your way. I know it’s not much, but I was thinking every bit could help a school club like yours.
Let me know what you guys think, and hope everyone is having a great start to the spring semester!
VP of Marketing
In this template, I used a regular email footer to show we’re a legitimate business, as well as saying something personal to show we actually do keep up with them in some way.
Note: you can also use other custom fields to your advantage. If you’ve got multiple people working on the same project, you can use the fields “[User First Name]” and “[User Last Name]”. I’m still trying to figure out how to import a CSV with the field “Primary Website” so I can use that field in the templates.
Once you’ve got it setup like that, you’re ready for some lightning fast outreach. Before I get into it though, I wanted to show you one more cool feature. Once you’ve used a template at least a few times, the next time you select all prospects and click Outreach > Select A Template, you’ll see you have response rate %s next to each!
(As you can see in this example, I need to step up my game with those clubs…)
Alright, now that you’ve created or selected a template, you’ll get this screen.
(Had to delete any sign of my client, and used a slightly different template than the example because we could give our product in exchange for a sponsorship instead of just money.)
If your merge fields are correct, then first name will fill in without you doing a thing. If you want to say something personal, you can write it in before you send it off, but if you don’t, just look things over and you’re good to go.
Note: I highly suggest you take advantage of the Send Later function; just choose one of the specified times and you’re golden (week day mornings FTW). You can also undo this by going into that prospects profile page.
Now, for my favorite part: Once you click send (or send later), it automagically takes you to the next prospect with the filled in template and everything! Sounds like nothing but saving me a few clicks, but if you do a ton of outreach, it’s a HUGE time saver.
Also, if your entire list isn’t only emails, you can select all, then click the “Remove” button next to Send Later and skip it. Really convenient if you know a few of them you either only have the Contact URL for or if it needs more of a personal touch.
Another thing I like to do is add a column marked (I think?) Notes, which then shows up in the history panel on the left. The note I leave is the type of template I might want to choose, because, in this case, I was doing outreach to both marketing and art clubs. I can then switch template on the right to the Art Club one, and vice versa.
For those who don’t know, Buzzstream is a link building CRM that keeps track of relationships, so now that I use it for all of my outreach, it’s extremely to keep track of those contacts and their history.
Before, it was a little bit of a pain to get Buzzstream running properly because I used Gmail for my outreach, but now that BZ’s outreach features are superior, it’s really easy to sync up and take advantage of the CRM features as well.
I’ve luckily had the chance to chat with Paul May, the founder of Buzzstream, over email, and after asking him a few questions of features I’d like to see, he told me about some things they were working on.
Follow ups. Every link builder needs to be disciplined in properly following up, so this was naturally one of the things I needed that was currently lacking in BZ. Luckily, though, Paul said that not only was it one of their top priorities, but he also introduced me to a new way of doing it.
Instead of individual emails or notifications of follow ups you needed, you could get a daily email (or something similar) that shows you all of the follow ups you need to make (organized my project). I also suggested having follow ups done in the click of a button with preformatted templates like in the way initial outreach was done, so that might be a future update as well!
Bonus: he sent me this video on how to hack together followups until their new addition is ready. There’s also a few other cool features he included in the video.
The RSS feed is included in the outreach module. This can be helpful for personalizing and for determining if it’s a live blog (last publish date).
More built-in metrics. The response rate feature is awesome, but why not do it for open rates or others as well? They’re currently trying to get around an issue with deliverability, but once that’s out of the way, they should have that feature as well.
Possible Rapportive-like features. I used to use Rapportive a lot in Gmail to get personal (shows me prospect’s recent tweets & other profiles), and it’s definitely hurt losing this feature. But again, Paul is working on a solution like this, it’s just about finding space in the Outreach screen.
Other features? See something that might be missing in the outreach tools? Let me (and the BZ team!) know in the comments below. If I like it, I’ll really push it on them to make it happen 🙂
If you haven’t tried Buzzstream out for at least a free trial, I suggest you do. They’ve made so much ground in the past 12 months in terms of product features that I’m confident the majority of all non-agency SEOs (and even a good amount of agency SEOs) will be using it as their outreach & relationship management platform in the near future, but even now, it’s superior to other solutions in my opinion.
Note: the above link is an affiliate link. I only wrote about Buzzstream because I think it’s genuinely helpful to link builders. If you do choose to use the link, thank you so much for supporting me & my blog!