Using Images for Email Outreach

by Richard Marriott on August 8, 2013

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Since clambr’s last blog post went a little viral - 55 SEO Experts Reveal 3 Favourite Link Building Tools, I’ve been on a 1 and 1/2 week backlink building quest to solidify the post’s current position on Google.com for “link building tools”.

Google top for Link Building Tools

After not having much luck with pure text based outreach emails I decided to get a little creative and try using images instead!

Since we live in an image driven world and know that images are vital for creating engaging blog posts I thought outreach emails could benefit from a little image love too.

I know you’re probably thinking I’m crazy for suggesting this, because image heavy emails will likely either go straight to the spam folder, won’t show up or people will get pissed at waiting for the email to load and click delete. Thing is, you never know until you try!

A Personal Touch

Since deciding to give images a shot I went one step further and personalized an image for each person I reached out to in the hope that it might induce the warm fuzzy feeling you get when opening a funny personailzed e-card on your Birthday :)

In my previous job I used to get my colleague – Sean’s attention on QQ (the Chinese equivalent of MSN messenger) by sending him this:

Getting Sean's Attention on QQ

So in honour of the office banter I used to enjoy with Sean I chose this image to use as the bread and butter of my image outreach campaign.

I’m no Photoshop expert but it only took me a couple of hours to personalize 130 of these images with the blogger’s first name (or website name if I couldn’t find their name):

130 Personalized Images for Email Outreach

You may argue that this is not worth the time but as it happens out of the dozens of different emails I’ve sent out so far it was an image rich email that landed me my first link :)

I’ll post the results of my first email outreach campaign in a future update once I have some measurable data to share!

In the meantime, here’s a copy of the exact email outreach template that landed me my first link:

Sean

I was browsing Website Name and I noticed you have a…

Broken Link

…on this page: http://www.websitename.com/page and it’s this link, https://support.google.com/webmasters/topic/8458 that’s broken.

If you’d like to replace the broken link with something Website Name’s audience might like, I recently asked these experts…

55 SEO Experts

…this question: “if you could only use 3 SEO tools for link building which 3 would you choose?”

They answered and the results are here: http://www.clambr.com/link-building-tools/

May be worth adding to your article, maybe not hehe!

Either way I’m happy to get in contact with you and hope you liked the Totoros shouting SEAN!!! If the images didn’t display then you’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about hehe ;)

All the best,

Richard

A few emails later I finally secured a link on a PR2 page. Yay!

First ever link to clambr PR2

And here’s the link nicely recorded for future tracking on BuzzStream:

Link Recorded on BuzzStream

Far from P, P, Perfect

Although the email above landed me a link it is far from perfect.

Matt Gratt wrote an excellent post about the importance of the three P’s: email should be personalized, positioned and persuasive.

Here’s how I should utilize the three P’s to give this “broken link” email a better chance for the future:

Personalize: In the first sentence I should talk all about the blogger – e.g. their points of view, a viral post they wrote, or a hilarious quote of theirs.

Position: Explain why the link would fit in well with the page I’m suggesting to put it on and how it will benefit the blogger’s audience

Persuade:  Back up my link’s value by dropping the name of an authoritative site it was mentioned on, e.g. “the post got a nice mention on Search Engine Land - http://searchengineland.com/searchcap-the-day-in-search-july-25-2013-167964

Indeed, it’s difficult to cram all this into one email without making it too long and breaking the golden rule of keeping email as short as possible.

You can try all sorts of techniques to see which works for you. It’s arguably better to not even mention your link in the first email and just compliment the blogger and try to strike up a conversation.

It all depends on who you’re reaching out to. If it’s someone very important, Mike King recommends you never ask for anything in the first email and make your first priority establishing a relationship.

I’ve still got a lot to learn and will try various different techniques until I find a handful that work best.

Other ways to get Creative

Apart from images there are plenty of other ways to get creative with your email outreach. I’ve only just begun experimenting but Mike King, who’s been doing this a lot longer than me, has written some real “out of the box” tips for getting creative with your email outreach, including video! I recommend you check this gem of his out.

I’m pumped for trying video soon, but since this first email outreach session has consumed so much of my time this past week and a half I’m itching to get back to doing what I like doing most – blogging!!!

Conclusion

Email outreach is a long and painful process, but mixing it up and being creative can turn an arduous task into a lot of fun! If you’re struggling to find motivation for link building, this is where I got some of my motivation from and for top tips on how to find influencers who already want to share and link to your content click here.

Remember, even to just land one link a day is awesome! It all adds up!

What creative methods have you experimented with for email outreach?

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5 comments… read them below or add one

Thomas August 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Hi Richard, thanks for sharing your broken link building strategy, it seems it’s already reaping dividends. I wonder how many of the 130 bloggers you contacted get back to you, hopefully at least 5- 10%. Another sterling post from Clambr, I just tweeted it.

Reply

Richard Marriott August 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hey Thomas, glad you liked it! Although I must come clean, although this template landed me my first link it has unfortunately not performed as well as I hoped it might.

In fact, it has performed like a damp squid! I think it’s because I was too “salesy” after the broken link image.

If I was to use images again I’d just cut off the rest of the email and simply say: I found a broken link I’d like to point out and wait for the person to get back to me.

Nevertheless, it was fun to play around with. I’ve had much better results from a simpler email template that has worked wonders. Will share that in a future post ;)

Reply

Thomas August 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Cheers for the update Richard, sorry to hear it was mostly a wash out – so far.

A lot of folks are on holiday right now, it may take a few weeks before most of the replies are in.

Could still be a few quality links from this outreach effort flowing in soon :)

Reply

Jerry Low August 21, 2013 at 1:25 am

Hey Richard, the image-method you use to pull people’s attention is smart! I believe I have not seen anyone do something like that. One question though: What if the email recipient is not able to view image on his/her mail agent – Have you thought about it and did something to overcome the problem?

Again, great post! I’ve just tweeted it and you’ve got a new friend on G+. :)

Reply

Richard Marriott August 21, 2013 at 1:50 am

Hey Jerry,

Glad you liked the post! It was a lot of fun playing around with! I hoped people would find it funny or different but unfortunately the response rate was really really low.

I think the reason for that is exactly like you said – people probably couldn’t see the images in their mail client.

I’d like to try using images again in the future, but next time would be better to imbed them so they don’t get blocked. Have no idea how to do that though lol.

Another problem with the above email, I think, is that I shouldn’t have fixed the broken link in the first message. I noticed that a few people fixed the link and never replied or even said thank you, so perhaps I’d have more success with the images if I simply used the one with the blogger’s name and “you have a broken link”.

Might try it again soon and see what happens ;)

Really happy to make friends with you on G+ btw! I can’t get on much due to my terrible connection and the Great Firewall, but will try my best to get on more often and hang out there.

See you soon Jerry!

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