Connecting with prospective customers is essential for the growth and sustainability of a business. In order to identify these potential clients, a business must develop an effective outreach strategy. No matter the size of a company or the product it produces, nearly all can use variations on similar outreach methods to showcase itself to customers and bring them into the fold. Here, 10 experts share their most effective outreach strategies.
1) Neil Patel
“Every time I link out to a website in a blog post, I email them. In that email, I let them know that I’ve linked to them, and I would be honored if they shared the URL. It is a great way to get more social traffic, potential links, and leads.”
Everyone loves recognition. When another blog, business or other online entity share a link back to what the current company already did, it demonstrates others appreciate what they did. With this tactic provided by Neil Patel, he lets original creators know he has linked to their content, providing a quality backlink. This not only has the potential to send new traffic to the original writer, but it may increase the quality backlinks leading to the site, which helps provide a bump in search engine optimization ranking.
By asking someone to share the new content, it, in turn, acts as a request to share a quality backlink and to send traffic to the new poster’s site. However, the request itself helps the original creator demonstrate to his or her reader’s just how much what they have created is helping other users online. This illustration helps solidify themselves as an expert in the particular field.
Effective outreach strategies do not always need to be complex or excessively time-consuming. This tip takes as long as penning a short email takes, yet may generate hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of new, organic visitors.
2) Alex Campbell
“Ask for advice or a feedback.”
As Alex Campbell points out, sometimes the best outreach strategy is the most straightforward. Simply ask current customers for feedback and advice on nearly anything. What did they like about a product they purchased? What would they change or improve upon? The same works for how visitors like a new website design or whether they enjoyed a YouTube video. People want to know their opinions matter, yet far too often companies seem to either not even want feedback or wave it off without much thought. Some clients and visitors won’t provide feedback, but there are others who want to share their opinions. This not only opens up a relationship with a customer, but it also provides free market research.
Feedback can come in varying forms. It may simply be to rate a podcast or a product on Amazon. A single rating on these kinds of platforms helps increase exposure and show other prospective customers of the product’s worth. This request may come from a video on YouTube, asking viewers to subscribe and to leave their feedback in the comments section. Much like a product or podcast review, additional comments and likes on a video help demonstrate the overall value of the video to new viewers. There are also much more in-depth methods for feedback requests. A business may provide a special discount code for customers who complete a survey or simply ask current customers to message the business with their thoughts on the products, how a website functions and any other concerns the consumer might have. Any and all advice or feedback from current and prospective clients needs to be accepted with open arms and an open mind, as these suggestions may very well help improve the product and outreach potential.
3) Felix Tarcomnicu
“I love to spy competitors and find new link building opportunities. I often search for competitors that are writing guest articles and with the help of Monitor Backlinks I find all the sites where they have contributed. That’s the technique that works best for me. With a good email outreach, I can easily replicate some of my competitor’s best links.”
Always know what the competition is doing. Felix Tarcomnicu suggests not only spying on what the competition is doing but looking for ways to siphon off potential link building opportunities. Competitive businesses with successful outreach programs will often write guest blog posts. Within these guest posts, there are often backlinks, which send readers out to associated sites and blogs. While the guest post can help generate traffic, the backlinks often prove just as, if not more important and valuable. By continually spying on what the competition is doing online, it’s possible to easily replicate the links in a similar manner.
4) Lee Hughes
“Developing relationships. Similar to reciprocal altruism, if you provide value for other people, they will return the favor.”
An effective outreach strategy must include developing relationships. Customers and readers want to feel connected with the creator of the blog and the owner of a website. If there’s no connection, it is a much more sterile environment without much loyalty involved. Creating and nurturing this relationship develops a sense of loyalty, which helps ensure the reader and customer continually come back. As Lee Hughes indicates, by focusing on value to develop the relationships, people, in turn, will return the favor by coming back to the company when the products or services are needed (or simply when a new blog post is released).
5) Sapph Li
“I proactively seek out influencers and high-value potential customers who would benefit from my content or product in some way and then cold email them. Choosing only to reach out to relevant people lets me make a compelling case why my ask is worth their time and puts me in front of people who wouldn’t have discovered me on their own.”
High-value influencers often have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of social followers. This means every single tweet, Facebook update or Instagram post is seen by an expansive audience (likely with a much greater outreach than the business itself). However, even with this kind of massive outreach potential, high-value influences have needs of their own. Sapph Li suggestions identifying these kinds of influencers who could benefit from the use of a company’s product or service. Contacting the individual through email (or the influencer’s desired content method) and point out how the products or services could benefit the person may prove especially fruitful. The influencer may request some sort of financial compensation for showcasing the product, in which case the business needs to weigh the cost against the potential exposure. Others may see the true benefit of using the offered product and recommend it to their followers for free. Still, some may not reply at all. However, by creating a compelling message to the high-value influencer or client, it may, in the end, prove far more fruitful than any other email a company sends out.
6) Alex Turnbull
“Deliver value first. It’s more difficult and time-consuming, but you’ll get more results delivering value to 50 influencers before asking them to help you than you will by spamming 500 influencers with cold asks for things you haven’t yet earned.”
Value trumps just about everything else in the world of outreach. Regardless of the other methods used to connect with customers, if a visitor does not arrive on quality material, they will never return. This results in not only a lost opportunity but also a reduction in return on a marketing investment. If a business doesn’t create quality blog posts, why create the blog post, to begin with? Alex Turnbull believes it is far better to spend time creating great content, even if it means connecting with fewer readers and prospective clients up front. As he suggests, a business will receive better results in the long run by offering exceptional value to 50 influencers instead of spamming hundreds with less than quality material. There’s no reason for an influencer to offer any kind of assistance to a business or blog when they themselves didn’t receive any kind of worthwhile material, to begin with. It’ll take longer to produce quality over inferiority, but in the end, it pays off in more ways than one.
7) Karl Kangur
“The first step is making certain that your outreach targets are interested in the subject. See what they’re linking to, see what they’re sharing, see what they’re thinking. Make sure your content is highly relevant to reaching out.”
Before attempting to connect with a potential customer, it’s important to make sure the prospective client may actually have an interest in what the company offers. Failure to do so results in a total waste of time for both the company and the recipient. It also is a loss for the company in both manpower hours and financial resources. Due to this, it is imperative for a company to determine ahead of time whether the target falls under the target audience. For high-power targets and power influencers, one of the best ways to do this is, according to Karl Kangur, to look over what they’re linking to and sharing. This will provide valuable insights into their own thought process and what they find beneficial. Before making any kind of move to market directly to a target, it is crucial to know the product offered has relevancy.
8) Rahul Vohra
“One, posting regular updates on product progress (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Dribbble). Two, creating high-value content for our target market. And three, getting folks to share on Twitter just after they sign up for early access.”
Rahul outlines a three-prong approach for developing an effective outreach strategy. It begins with staying connected with subscribers and potential customers through social platforms. However, it’s not just about posting random content. While the occasional inspirational quote or visual can help keep a company continually exposed to followers, while the updates on products will build interest in new products coming up while revealing the development window of how a new item or service is developed.
At the same time, the posts need to offer high-value. A customer wants to extract something out of the update. No matter what a company posts, it needs to look at the post and decide whether or not a follower, subscriber or customer can extract value from the post. If they can’t, there’s no reason to post it.
Lastly, having customers share content over social media is one of the best ways to quickly expand a company’s outreach. Many businesses do this in the form of early access shopping opportunities or a product giveaway. Stores like Sephora and Funko ask subscribers to share posts in order to possibly win a limited product. This helps increase exposure and boost customer interaction.
9) Ann Handley
“Create user-centric content that answers the questions your prospects have, and that makes them feel like you understand their problems, shoulder their burdens along with them, and feel their pain.”
Every customer has questions regarding products and services. Whether it is something as simple as how much will it cost to how it will improve their personal lives, it is important to provide content that not only connects with a customer but addresses their needs. As Ann Handley points out, this begins with a strong understanding of the key demographic. By understanding what the target audience likes, dislikes and is drawn to, it becomes that much easier to craft very specific user-centric content that will address the questions and concerns they have. This not only increases a potential customer’s chance of buying the product, but it develops a stronger bond between company and customer as it demonstrates the business understands what the customer’s needs and concerns actually are.
10) Stoney deGeyter
“Search engines want to show only the best and most relevant websites to their searchers. Which means that instead of trying to please the algorithms, we should do what search engines do: try to please the searcher.”
So many blogs and companies make the mistake of trying to doctor the content in order to better meet the needs of a search engine. Search engine optimization in many ways is fine, but a company should never lose sight of why it write posts and creates new content: the customer. Stoney deGeyter points out the purpose of search engines is to provide the most relevant websites. Due to this, it is important for a blog writer or company to please the searcher, instead of the search engine. By doing this, it will actually improve the ability of the search engine to find the quality content and elevate its ranking. So above all else, produce content for the consumer, not the search engine.
Developing and customizing an effective outreach strategy takes time and continued experimentation. However, by identifying which methods work before even starting, it becomes that much easier to fine tune an outreach marketing approach and reach more customers in a shorter period of time. By taking advantage of what these 10 experts have to say, any business, regardless of size or the products offered, can dramatically improve its advertising return on investment.