SEO Glossary / Email Outreach

Email Outreach

What is Email Outreach?

Email outreach is the process of sending targeted emails to prospects (individuals or organizations) aiming to build relationships, promote a product or service, or achieve a specific goal. In SEO specifically, email outreach is a link-building method where you reach out to webmasters, authors, and journalists to request or negotiate, in one form or another, a link to your website.

Email outreach generally serves the following purposes:

  • Promoting a new piece of content
  • Building relationships with influencers and industry peers
  • Requesting press coverage
  • Securing guest posting opportunities
  • Raising brand awareness
  • Generating qualified leads

It is worth noting that there are different types of email outreach; the two main ones are cold and warm emails:

  • Cold email outreach: Reaching out to prospects for the first time without any prior relationship.
  • Warm email outreach: Contacting prospects you’ve previously interacted with or have been introduced to by someone else.

Moreover, there are two ways to approach email outreach - known as the “shotgun” and “sniper” methods:

  • Shotgun approach: Mass-sending emails to a large number of prospects, focusing on quantity over quality. This method is less time-consuming but often has a lower response rate and can appear spammy.
  • Sniper approach: Conducting thorough research on each individual prospect and sending hyper-personalized emails. This method builds long-lasting relationships and typically has a higher response rate.

Why is Email Outreach Important?

Email outreach is important because it is among the most effective ways to develop your online presence, obtain high-quality backlinks, and generate quality leads. A properly executed email outreach campaign typically has a high ROI, making it a vital part of marketing campaigns.

In the context of SEO, email outreach is an efficient way to promote your content and earn backlinks, which boosts your website's authority in Google’s eyes and helps your pages rank higher in SERPs.

Email Outreach Best Practices

At the outset, the concept of sending emails to specific targets—asking them to check out a new post and link to it in their content—seems simple enough. However, there’s a right and wrong way to go about email outreach, and if you get it wrong, you run the risk of your emails being labeled as “spam.”

1. Research Your Prospects

One of the main aspects of a successful email outreach campaign is ensuring that you send emails to the right people—those likely to be interested in your offer and take action.

  • Define your targets: Base your targets on your goals and demographic and psychographic data.
  • Analyze competitors: If doing email outreach as part of link-building efforts, analyze the backlink profiles of your main competitors to see who is linking to their website but not yours. You can use tools like Ranktracker's Backlink Checker for this.
  • Find the right contact information: Preferably use email addresses that belong to specific people instead of reaching out to the company’s general “Contact Us” email.

2. Get Creative with the Subject Lines

The subject line is the first thing the recipient sees. It’s what captures their attention among all the other emails in their inbox and, ideally, persuades them to open your message and check what it’s about.

  • Keep it short and to the point: No more than 60 characters long.
  • Personalize: Use their name or the name of someone you both know to add a personal touch.
  • Pique curiosity: Ask a compelling question.
  • Use statistics: Include actual numbers and statistics rather than vague statements.
  • Create urgency: Use words and phrases that create a sense of urgency.

3. Personalize the Emails

There’s nothing wrong with using a template. However, there is a big difference between generic templates and “blueprints” that leave plenty of room for personalization.

  • Go beyond the name: Address their specific pain points or interests, mention a mutual connection, or reference content they’ve recently published.
  • Build trust: Show that you’ve taken the time to do your research and that your email was intended specifically for them.

4. Provide Clear Value

Keep in mind that you’re probably not the only one trying to contact the person, and your email is just one of many. If you convinced the recipient to give time and attention to your email, the last thing you want is to waste it by beating around the bush.

  • Be concise and clear: State your intentions and the action you want them to take.
  • Focus on their benefit: Make it clear how your proposal would benefit the recipient.

Learn More

For more detailed information about link-building strategies and SEO, visit the Ranktracker Blog and explore our SEO Glossary.