Outreach Guide For Small Businesses
If you’re new to SEO or online marketing, let me give you a quick introduction which will help you understand how online outreach can help your business move forward.
Whether you’re a new company, launching a new product, or just want more exposure, you do this by approaching or outreaching to somebody who already has an audience, IE a local newspaper for example.
In this example, I’m going to use a small plumbing company, so you’ve just launched and nobody currently knows about you, you serve a small local area, who would be the perfect person to promote you? A local newspaper. No wasted effort on areas that you don’t cover and best of all if done correctly, you don’t have to pay to advertise.
This would be perfect if it were that easy, nothing is free, whether you’re paying with money or time is another matter, sometimes they’re covering a subject you might just be an expert on and be able to help. Others you may have something interesting going on that will appeal to their audience, outreach is about building relationships that will help you in the long run, not overnight.
You can see the benefits from an SEO standpoint and a PR if you’re able to get a large number of authoritative websites to link back to your product/service.
How To Go About Outreach:
Whilst it’s easy to say approach people with audiences, how do you actually go about it?
There are various methods, for the purpose of this, we’re just going to over email outreach. There are a few different types, completely unique, somewhat unique & full templates. The conversion you get will depend on what method you choose, if you’re looking to target the “big fish” such as national press, anything other than completely unique just won’t work.
Somewhat unique, this is getting a template and altering it for each industry, for example, a sports blog you can edit this so you can interact with the recipient on each without getting into too much detail.
Pros & Cons Of Automated Email Outreach:
There are of course benefits to this method, the most obvious being is time. It takes time to personalize every email you send.
That doesn’t mean that email outreach if automated is a quick venture, either way, this is a time-intensive task. Whether that is compiling the list of people you want to speak to, or compiling emails and content that you actually want them to publish.
Depending on your industry you may have a small or a lower potential for places to be published in, if this is the case then automated outreach is not the way to go. Oftentimes companies/blogs/newspapers will no longer consider a piece from somebody who has sent them obviously templated emails before.
Pros & Cons Of Manual Email Outreach:
There are two different routes you can go down when thinking about manual outreach, completely 100% personalised and somewhat personalised.
Let’s discuss the differences and what is better for you?
If you’re writing completely personalised emails, where you research the editor/owner and ask them insightful questions you will inherently get a much better response rate, however, this takes a very long time.
If you’re going after a certain industry or a certain type of link, then the email can be pretty similar, this is where we create a template where we only personalise 1-2 lines per email. Cutting the amount of time down it takes to send the emails, whilst also keeping the personalised aspect of a winning email.
SEO is becoming more and more like PR, the way in which we build contacts, links and relationships are essentially exactly the same.
Outreach Style – What Is Yours?
There are many different styles or openings to outreach, whenever you email or contact a potential publication you usually have an “excuse” ie why you feel it would work. For example, if they have some similar content on their website, is that enough to contact a website owner? I don’t know many real websites that would publish an article or a piece of content based on the fact that they have “similar” stuff already on their website if anything that’s a very strong reason to NOT post your article. Instead, write pieces that complement and reinforce ideas they have already presented in theirs.
There is a common thought that flattering your target is going to get you further than anything else, whilst you don’t want to be rude, flattering with no substance will actually put them off. If you’re connecting with somebody new after you saw a blog post that you want them to link to, in most cases, people will include something generic like “I really loved reading your post”, which in all honesty when I receive these I just delete without going further. If you loved reading my blog post, tell me what about it you liked, do you have a different opinion (tell me!)?
There are many different ‘excuses’ you can use to get in touch with somebody, to get the best response possible you would personalise this for everybody but that probably won’t be reasonable for most people looking to do outreach, so it’s important to find what works for you.
So you now have a rough idea on how to approach the writers, journalists and website owners. But where do you find them?
Typically if you’ve been operating in a market for some time you will already know who you want to approach where you believe you can get good exposure for your business, however, if you don’t here are a few general tips on how you can find them.
We use it for everything else, so why not to find businesses that can help promote you in exchange for content?
If you are targetting people in a certain geographic, a local paper would be perfectly positioned to help you.
Who are the big influencers in your market on social channels?
Often overlooked, but email is still one of the most engaging forms of contact, there are many newsletters that are sent weekly that can help your business grow.
What Kind Of Results Can I Expect?
As for business, it’s impossible for me to know how much you are likely to bring in or your sales funnels. But for links/ responses, usually, I aim for 20%, if I get 20 responses from every 100 emails sent out than I know I’ve done a good job in captivating my audience.
Thanks for reading, if you need help with marketing your business please get in touch today.