Tricky Outreach: Tactics For Reaching Out By Email

Outreach emails are different from campaign emails. They typically go to small audiences — often, only one person. Many go to work colleagues.

But there is a set of tricks for getting people to open them, and it’s every bit as complex as the one for promotional emails, judging by a new study by Backlinko and Pitchbox. Those companies analyzed 12 million outreach emails, according to a Backlinko blog post by Brian Dean.  

Only 8.5% of those emails received a response. And that is probably because the remaining 91.5% were ignored.

Generic outreach emails don’t work, the company concludes.

Some of the findings may bust a few myths — for example, in terms of length. In general, contrary to what some may believe, long subject lines pull a 24.6% higher average response than short ones.

The ideal outreach subject line is 36-50 characters and it produces a response rate of 22.3%. In contrast, lines with 1 to 15 characters achieve only16.8% — the worst response of all.  



Avoid short lines like: “Quick question” that fail to say what the email is about. Instead, say "Quick Question About Your Latest Blog Post."

The second-best length is 51-70 characters, and third is 70+. One wonders whether there will be a line for everything.

Subject lines with 16-35 characters are rated as second-worst.

In addition, personalized subject lines boost the average response rate by 30.5%, and personalized messages increase it by 32.7%. Non-personalized subject lines draw a 16.7% response, and personalized ones generate 21.8%.

If there is no response, even to a well-crafted personalized email, don’t stop.

Send a followup and you’ll draw an 8.5% response rate. Send two extra emails and you’ll get a response rate of 14.1%.

This is based on the old saw: Out of sight, out of mind. The company states that “when you send more than one message, you have yet another chance to stand out and push through the noise in someone’s inbox.”

For the best response, send the email to five or more contacts, although that can lead to diminishing return. Four contacts is second-best, and so on right down to one contact.

Moreover, send your email to more than one contact — it improves response by 93%. Again, three emails to multiple contacts will do better than two, and two will perform better than one. 

A single email to a single contact will leave you with an 8.5% response rate. Send multiple follow-ups to several contacts, and you’ll reach 21.5%.

The best day of the week to send outreach emails is Wednesday, although not by a wide margin. Wednesday emails pull an average response of7.64%, while Thursday generates 7.6% and Friday and Tuesday 7.54%.

The lowest response — 5.6% — is generated on Saturday. Sunday actually does better — with 5.9%.

Another tactic for boosting response is to link to your social profiles. Emails with a social link average a 22.2% response, and those without score a 20.02%.

Links to Instagram do best, followed by LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.



1 comment about "Tricky Outreach: Tactics For Reaching Out By Email".
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  1. PJ Lehrer from NYU, April 23, 2019 at 11:49 a.m.

    Interesting data.  However we know unsubscribes rise with more frequent emails.  So do those incremental responses compensate for lost subscribers?

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