By Dan Knauf –
Link Building is not easy (my success rate is around 7%) and is only getting harder. Earning links through quality content has become the most effective strategy when it comes to acquiring links. Some say that manual link outreach is dying, but it can still be a valuable and effective way to get quality links and authority for your brand. I will go over three components of the link outreach email: subject, email body, and thank you follow-up email.
The subject is the most important part of the email. I have received many link outreach emails and most, given how irrelevant their site or content was to mine, have very uninviting subject lines. I have received emails with the subject “Links”. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds pretty spammy, and I would not open that email.
Another thing to avoid is using the word “advertising” in the subject. This implies you are interested in paying for it, which unless you are willing to risk the possible repercussions, is obviously not what you are looking to do.
The more basic the subject is the better, as webmasters are busy people. For example, if you are sending an email regarding a broken link on your prospect’s site, you can stick with something simple like “A Broken Link on [website name]”. This doesn’t imply anything other than that you are pointing out a fixable error on their website, which almost guarantees they will open the email.
If you want to send them a piece of linkable content, a simple subject like “Suggestion for [website name]” or “Hiking With Dogs”, if that is what your article is about, could be the most effective.
Tip: Sometimes it is better to come up with the subject after you have constructed the rest of the email.
Let’s say you just published a new post on your blog with tips for hiking with your dog. There are a couple different niches you can go with for this one. The most important thing to remember is you need to show the webmaster how linking to you is beneficial for them. Again, I have seen emails that just say “hey please link to our site”. This kind of email gives no insight to what their site is, and quite frankly offers no value to me as the webmaster. I would probably be too afraid to click on the link to their site to get more information.
Instead, start off by introducing yourself and who you are representing if it is a client.
Hi [blog owner’s name],
My name is Dan Knauf, and I am writing on behalf of [client name].
Next, give them a little flattery. Be nice, and maybe point out a post you saw on their blog. Don’t overdo it, as most webmasters are busy people and don’t want to sit there and read some long email, even if it is flattering.
I was reading your article about fun summer activities to do with your dog (article URL), and thought you had some really good suggestions. I especially like the point you made about taking your dog kayaking. I’ll have to do that with my dog this summer.
Now is when you want to state your purpose for writing, which is obviously to ask for the link. Again, the importance of this cannot be overstated. Showing how it provides value to them is the most important part of the email.
[Client name] recently published an article with important things to know and prepare for when hiking with your dog. I was wondering if you would please take a look when you have the chance and let me know your thoughts. The article can be found here: [URL]. I think it is a good fit on your blog and would appeal to your readers. Please consider sharing it with them.
Finally, you should end the email with a thank you and an opportunity for them to respond.
Thank you so much your consideration, and please let me know if you need any more information.
And then, of course, end the email with your full signature.
Another important thing that it is way too often ignored is thanking the webmaster after they place the link. Link building should be about building relationships with the webmaster, and they just went out of their way and did you a huge favor! This can be very simple. Since you know their name now after they responded to you, use it. Something basic like “Thank you so much, Dan! I sincerely appreciate it. Have a great afternoon!” is fine. The thank you email should never be more than a sentence or two, but is really important – if nothing else to show your respect to the webmaster.
Although using outlined templates is a good idea and saves time, personalize the emails to the website you are prospecting. There are several link building platforms that will allow you to create and store email templates, while also helping you save time in the personalization of the email. I use Buzzstream. Whenever possible, use the webmaster or blog owner’s name. An obviously templated email will be ignored every time.
Make the email easy to read. Each part of the construction should be its own separate paragraph and be spaced out.
Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. You don’t want webmasters thinking you are some foreign spammer or not worth paying attention to.
Don’t overload them with emails. If they do not respond, there is no reason to send a follow-up the next day. Wait a week, but not any longer than that.
Link building is challenging, but is still vital to SEO and will be for the foreseeable future. If you find yourself not getting any responses, change up your template and don’t keep using an ineffective one. It’s never a bad idea to use an A/B test and use multiple templates at once. By doing this, you get a better idea on what is working and what isn’t, and can use the more effective one more often. Remember, webmasters can get hundreds of emails a day, so showing them how linking to you is of value to them is the most important part of a link outreach email.