Email Copywriting in SEO Outreach: What NOT to Do

From writing for Google Ads to email copywriting, copywriting has many faces.

But what does SEO have to do with copywriting in the first place?

Well, off-page SEO is about link building and link building is a lot about communication with other blogs and webmasters.

This is where email copywriting comes in.

In this article, you will learn about having the proper email outreach etiquette. By knowing the do’s and don’ts, you can improve your open rates, and thus create more backlinks.

Why outreach etiquette?

Sending outreach emails is one of the most advanced link building strategies. Usually, you will have to contact someone with a website from your niche relevant website and ask them to publish your content or link to their website.

And, as you probably know, link building improves your SEO. Your website gains authority when it receives links from other websites. With better SEO, you improve your Google ranking, get more clicks to your site, and increase traffic.

But why do people choose outreach among other advanced link building strategies?

Outreach is popular because email marketing is cheap, relatively easy, and efficient. In fact, email delivers the highest ROI for marketers

Although outreach emails promise excellent return-on-investment, there’s also a flip side:

Only 8.5% of cold outreach emails receive a response.

However, don’t let that statistic scare you away from using outreach emails as part of your marketing campaign.

The sad reality is that most outreach emails demonstrate poor etiquette, and hence deliver poor open rates. With good outreach email habits, you can get an excellent response rate and achieve your goals.

So let’s take a look at what not to do when sending outreach emails.

Don’t send a generic outreach template

If you are getting low response rates for your outreach emails, you might want to take another look at your outreach template. Is it a generic template you found online? Even if you have used the target’s first name, it could still sound very generic.

Email copywriting tip: Personalize

Personalize your outreach email and your subject line. Research shows that personalized subject lines boost the response rate by 30.5%. On top of that, personalizing email content also increases response by 32.7%.

Aside from and , there are many other ways that you can personalize your email.

Try referring to a specific blog that you read and liked, what actionable tip you took from it, and how you implemented that tip.

Your email will read as much more genuine. The target of your email will notice this immediately. They will actually read and absorb your email, and be more amenable to respond!

Don’t write a boring subject line

We live in an age where people get dozens of emails every day. And most of them are spam and promotions. Your email needs to stand out from the crowd if it’s going to get noticed.

The subject line is the single most important factor that affects your open rates. Therefore, your outreach strategy is not going to get very far without good subject lines.

Email copywriting tip: Create curiosity

Personalizing email subject lines is a good first step, but it’s not enough.

Go even further by creating subject lines that generate real interest and curiosity. This is one of the most important aspects of your SEO outreach strategy in 2020.

Research also shows that emails with long subject lines have a 24.6% higher response rate than emails with short subject lines. While there is conflicting data about the best subject line length, we simply recommend being creative and original to avoid boring subject lines.

There are many elements that go into a clickable email subject line.

Use a tool like Coschedule’s Email Subject Line Tester before you click send.

And, above all, be relevant.

Don’t be insincere

If you’re emailing someone about how you love their website and read it every day, they’re going to know if you’re lying. Don’t say you use someone’s product if you don’t.

Insincerity is not hard to read in outreach emails.

When you send an insincere email, the person reading it could feel hurt or develop a poor opinion of you as disingenuous. Why should they care about the rest of your email?

Email copywriting tip: Be genuine

Find genuine ways to connect with the recipient. If you express sincere interest in their website or content, they will recognize that and will be more open to listening to you.

Another advantage of being genuine is that you’ll get better results. You’ll get responses from people whose website is relevant to your own, thus their backlink will matter more.

Don’t be fluffy

Writing long, irrelevant and flowery email body copy is going to get a bad reaction from your reader. They’re going to see a slab of text and feel disheartened even before reading the first word. They’re short on time⁠—and have a million other emails to get to⁠—remember?

A long email also signals that you’re probably trying to convey a lot of irrelevant information. And of course, no one wants to read an email that isn’t relevant! 

Email copywriting tip: Be concise

If your subject line was intriguing and relevant enough to get your email opened, your next step is to retain your readers’ attention. To do this, be concise.

A short and to the point email is going to get read. Use the least amount of words possible to communicate your message effectively. Your reader will thank you for it. More importantly, they’ll get to the end of your email and have time to reply.

Don’t ask for something in exchange for anything

So you’re cold-emailing someone who hasn’t met you and doesn’t know who you are.

Is it really wise to ask them for a favor right off the bat? 

If you want someone to post your content to their site or to promote your product, then avoid asking them upfront. This could get an eye-roll and a delete.

Email copywriting tip: Reach out first

Aim to communicate in a way that is mutually beneficial. Your first email to a stranger should demonstrate the value they gain from engaging with you. 

Perhaps you used one of their products and want to share some feedback. Or perhaps you really liked their content and wanted to tell them how you put it to use. Use your first email to communicate value and get the person on your side before asking for more.

Here’s a great example:

Hi Alice,

I discovered your website a few weeks ago and have been reading the content on my lunch breaks. I’m loving it so far. 

I have found so many useful tips on content marketing, and I thought it would be a great idea to convert your article ‘User Generated Content Strategies That Actually Work’ into a video. 

Here’s a link to the first draft. Please let me know what you think!

Cheers, 

John

Mastering email copywriting & outreach etiquette

Outreach is one of the best link building strategies. It’s extremely cost-effective and delivers excellent ROI. But at the same time, cold outreach needs to be done right to deliver any benefits.

Follow this guide on what not to do and you can improve your SEO outreach strategy in 2020.

Avoid being insincere, irrelevant and boring. Instead, personalize emails, communicate value to your reader, and make sure you’re straight to the point.

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One Response

  1. Hi Michael,

    I used to receive lots of cold emails from content marketers looking for, obviously, links. If we’ve shared something in the past, it gets easier to respond to this kind of request.
    But if I haven’t known you, and you just ask for links in your first email outreach, it might get deleted or just scroll past it.

    Thanks, Michael for sharing some useful tips here.

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