Emails can be a real bummer.
Replying to emails to get them out of the way can be even worse.
But what’s even worse than replying to those emails?
Letting them pile up in your inbox into the thousands.
It’s never good to leave anything left unsaid, especially in an outreach campaign that has you reaching out to hundreds of people a day.
You don’t necessarily have to look at this begrudgingly and see this as a monotonous task.
There are a lot of strategies, tools, etc. that you can use to not only weed out the sites you’re going to have the chance to work with, but the sites you do have the potential to work with can also begin lasting relationships.
The Real Value of Pitching
Outreach is not only about getting in touch with people and coordinating with them to get a link placed on their site: it’s about building relationships and keeping a repertoire of sites you can rely on and work with.
Outreach is also about time management within your response team and how to train them effectively to move through the inbox quicker and get information about hundreds of sites daily.
I will give you a strategy of how to respond to any email you ever receive in your inbox – from
“I’m interested. Send topics.”
“I hate you. Please remove.”
I’ll show you how to ask for what you want while building a relationship with the potential opportunity.
First, all replies are good emails
You can see intention from the very start of an email before you open up the entire thing in the Subject line or the email preview.
You might see a bunch of different responses, but how do you necessarily move through them quickly?
If you use tools like MonkeyLearn, you can teach it to read any negative replies, out of office replies, and automatic messages from the subject line to the actual message.
MonkeyLearn’s use here shows us 3 things:
- Which emails were direct replies
- Which replies were automated messages back to our email
- Which emails are out of office emails.
This helps the team with identifying each type of email response by filtering by milestone and can help us tackle each milestone accordingly.
We can work through our MonkeyLearn identified opportunities.
Then, we can make a decision on whether we should use canned responses to respond to negative emails or bulk archiving and resuming outreach on OOO/Auto-Reply responses.
Replies that are still marked as “Got a Reply” is where we have the most opportunity to work with a site.
The best way to reply to these potential opportunities fast would be to set up a ‘Quick Reply’ before you begin outreach for these particular replies.
This is how you set it up:
1. Go to ‘Settings’ in Pitchbox, then click on ‘Global Templates,’ you will see this list.
2. Click on ‘Quick Replies’ and create a template that you can use for those replies that aren’t currently interested in working together.
Two things to remember about this template would be:
- Make sure to mark every template with a subject line to minimize time looking for the correct one.
- Make sure every template includes a ‘thank you’ to the opportunity.
- Make sure every template does not include a persona name. You don’t want to have to reply as ‘Steve’ when you’re ‘Gabby.’
Go through all the “No thank you’s” first
My reason being, if you’re going to get rid of any email, you should get rid of the negative ones first.
They’ve stated they don’t want to work with you, they don’t allow guest posting, they already have contributors, etc., so you can’t waste time on them for too long.
I would hover over each of these, and quickly reply with:
‘Thank you for letting me know.’
The reason being is that you don’t want to seem like you were trying to get something out of this person and you want to leave the opportunity open.
What if they’re a site that told you they aren’t interested currently but would be in the future? You don’t want to push them away.
If you reply to them, there are two things you should do here:
- Tell them thank you, and
- Tell them that you’d like to contact them in a few months about a future opportunity to work together.
From there, I’d obtain their contact information and save it for a later date when a similar opportunity comes to mind.
This creates a connection with someone. Even if it didn’t start the way you imagined it, this opportunity in the future could help you in a future campaign.
Out of Offices
Now, most people will see this email come through and think they missed their chances with this opportunity.
But, not necessarily. What you should do in this instance is set a scheduled reply for when they’re back in the office.
It should act as a follow-up email to your first email.
I sent you an email while you were out of the office and I just wanted to check in and see if you got a chance to read my email?
Let me know!
The benefit of not deleting those emails and following up on them is so you don’t miss out on a potential opportunity.
If they end up saying ‘no,’ at least you didn’t give up the opportunity.
Most out of office emails never get seen by the intended recipient.
Interested / What did you have in mind?
Now, there are some sites that do offer content contributions and will know exactly what value you’re trying to bring to their site.
But, there are a lot of others that won’t know exactly what you’re speaking about.
You’ll usually get an “I’m interested” or “What did you have in mind?” from these two people.
Before you reply to these people, check out their site and see if you can find a common subject or theme you can connect to both sites.
It can be as simple as this:
You’re a home warranty site. Their site is a luxury condominium site. Pitch to them home improvement articles.
There are two ways to address this as concisely as possible so that they understand exactly what you’re looking for and there’s nothing left unsaid from both parties.
You can follow this email formula for either of these replies:
Thanks for getting back to me. I’m glad to hear you’re interested in this opportunity.
Just to clarify, what I’m looking to do is submit content for your site on X subject. I think we can create something fantastic for your site.
If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll pitch you some custom topics for your site.
Also, do you have any guidelines for this or anything I would need to know before we collaborate?
There are two important things being addressed in this:
- What you’re looking to create for their site and the subject
- Guidelines for posting on their site.
The answer to these two questions could make or break your budding relationship but can help you continue to move forward as quickly as possible.
But, the good news is that when you do find a site to work with, you’ll get more responses to these questions.
After you take a look at the interesting site’s guidelines, it can tell you a bit more about what they’re looking for as far as content creation, etc. Plus, it’ll let you know what they don’t allow. Some sites explicitly say in their guidelines that they will not accept any external links of any kind in their posts.
After you go through this initial vetting process, you’re essentially ready to go and put their information in your database or your client workbook and begin creating content.
The purpose of this process is to effectively go through emails from the worst to the best. It helps compartmentalize and get down to the nitty-gritty with sites that are worth your time and you make good use of their time as well.
So, to wrap it up:
- Go through all the negatives in the inbox and reply with thank you’s.
- Schedule replies to out of office emails to continue the conversation with a potential opportunity.
- Reply to all the neutral replies answering specific questions such as what type of content that you’re looking to create and any information on guidelines.