For what it’s worth, outreach doesn’t get much love.
There’s nothing wrong with prospecting, but everyone seems to focus on it and forget the actual nitty gritty of outreach.
Although these rules can be applied to other strategies, I’m going to be breaking down outreach for broken link building, just because it’s one of the few quality things that can be scaled at the moment.
Even though they could be considered synonyms, one word might be OK while the other is a complete deal breaker.
For example, Melanie Nathan talked about how she used to use “found” instead of “encountered” in her subject lines. This made it sound like she was looking for broken links. That doesn’t sound very natural to the webmaster, does it?
Choose your words carefully. Think about the intent of verbs you use so you don’t sound like you set out to find broken links & try and get links in return.
Whether you say “cite”, “share”, or “reference”, try to avoid saying “link” to this!
Webmasters in today’s web environment are so turned off to SEO that if they even smell something SEO related going on, it sets off an alarm that makes it VERY difficult to get a link from them.
Avoid using any search related terms. Either go for:
Once again, choose your words carefully!
It’s easy to see an initial email and never respond to it. In our society we’ve grown accustom to reading & not responding to half our inbox.
That’s why you need your focus should be on getting a response. I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s not completely negative.
Once they respond to an email, they’re MUCH more likelier to respond back again when you start trying to get that link. They’ve already invested in starting the conversation, so they’re not going to just stop responding (they could, but again, likely they won’t).
Because they’re responding back, they don’t want to sound unreasonable, so if you’re providing value in some way to them (by fixing a broken link), the law of reciprocation comes into play and they’ll probably do a quick favor in return (give you the link).
For example, what’s been working for me is emailing the prospect who I should get in touch with so they can fix a broken link, even if I know they’re the right person. If they’re not, then great, I now know who I should be getting in touch with (pro tip: if that’s the case, don’t send them a new email, just forward them the response you got!).
If you’re wanting them to update a broken link with a link to an article of yours, show credibility so that they can trust linking to what you wrote.
For example, if it was a post on cancer research, talk about how it was written by a university professor.
I’m not saying you should lie, but if there’s credibility behind your work, let it be known.
Just like a website without proper CRO is leaving money on the table, you not following up with prospects that never initially responded is pure lost opportunity.
Use tools like FollowUp.cc to make sure you follow up until you get a response.
I usually stop after the 2nd or 3rd follow up, but you can take things further. It might sound like you’re bugging them, but in the end, it’s only going to increase the number of responses you get (which means higher success rates), so you’ve got nothing to lose.
Don’t only suggest your site to be linked to after they fix the broken links. Suggest another great resource first, so once they see it, they automatically think better of yours just because it’s grouped together.
Props to Ross Hudgens on this one!
For some prospects I go above & beyond to help them out. I might ask if I could update the content on that page, add new content, fix broken images, or whatever it might be. But I only do this for highly valuable prospects (i.e. a PA 60+ page) that I got a response from.
The point is, our time is limited, and we should make decisions on how we should use it based off opportunity. If it’s a low level prospect, scale up those emails and don’t bother trying to find another helpful resource to suggest alongside yours.
If you’re taking the time to do outreach then you should have some type of CRM, Excel sheet, Google Doc where you can reference your previous interactions, make notes and keep their contact information available for future outreach campaigns (I personally use Raven Tools CRM for this).
Thanks Jeremy for this one!
What did I miss?