How to Automate Personalized Email Outreach Without Breaking The Bank

by Scott - 11 Comments

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One of the big innovations in sales and marketing has been making personalized email outreach more efficient.

Today my buddy Nat Eliason from SumoMe.com shares a completely free way to do this in the context of content marketing which he has absolutely crushed as SumoMe.

Many of the tools that I love like Salesloft, Outreach, and Tout cost $$ which mean they aren’t necessarily a great fit for someone who isn’t a full time sales development rep.

This alternative strategy for personalized email outreach Nat shares is awesome for making those one-off cold email instances more efficient when investing in a heavier solution like the ones above doesn’t make as much sense.

Enter Nat Dude…

The SumoMe blog has grown from 12,852 views last July, to 163,260 views this February.

1,270% growth in 6 months doesn’t happen on accident. It’s been a tactical combination of SEO, email marketing, and more recently, influencer outreach.

Whenever I publish an article on the SumoMe Blog, or on nateliason.com, I’ve started emailing everyone we feature in it, big or small.

Simply sending someone a “hey, I mentioned you in this article!” email not only frequently gets them to share it to their social channels, it puts you on their radar when they’re writing future content.

Sites that publish a lot of content are always looking for people to feature as examples, and you’ll be on top of their mind if you include them in your content. For example, this article on getting more traffic references 50+ other sites!

This is worthwhile even if you’re a team of one and not a marketer. Quick outreach like this can be the difference between no traffic, and going viral from a few influencers tweeting about you.

But, manually emailing everyone becomes time consuming, especially when you’re writing monster posts. So I figured out how to automate it as much as possible, and make it so that every time you do it, you make it easier for yourself next time.

Using this strategy, you can reach out to anyone you feature in your articles 10x faster, without sounding like a robot.

Step One: Build Your Outreach Spreadsheet

The first thing you need to do is keep a Google Spreadsheet of everyone you’re mentioning in your articles.

You can make it yourself as we go, or just make a copy of my example.

There will be two worksheets: one is a list of everyone you’ve mentioned at least once:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.22.41 AM

 

And the second worksheet will be where you record anyone you’re mentioning in your articles.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.23.29 AM

Whenever you finish an article, you go to this worksheet and add the “Site Mentioned” to the first column. Then, Column B uses the formula:

=IF(A2=””,””,VLOOKUP(A2,’Blogger Contacts’!$A$2:$C,2,FALSE))

To look up the contact name from the first spreadsheet, and then Column C uses this similar formula to look up their email:

=IF( B2=””,””, VLOOKUP(A2,’Blogger Contacts’!$A$2:$C,3,FALSE))

This way, as you’re listing out the people you mentioned, you’re getting a spreadsheet of exactly who you need to reach out to.

And if you mentioned someone that you don’t have the contact info for, just find their email address and add it to the first worksheet so that you’ll have it for any future mentions as well.

Now, with your worksheet of all the people you mentioned and their contact info, it’s time to hit them up.

Step Two: Prepare Your Outreach Emails

You could manually email each person on your list, copying and pasting the responses, but there’s a much faster way that still lets you personalize what you’re sending.

We’re going to use a tool called Connector from the folks at ContentMarketer.io. Head over there, and hit “Start Your Outreach” (it’s 100% free if you email 25 people or fewer).

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.24.06 AM

We’re doing blog post outreach, so you can leave this as is and hit next:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.24.34 AM

Here’s where that spreadsheet you made comes in. Download the worksheet with the contacts for your current article, by going to File -> Download as CSV.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.31.43 AM

Then upload that CSV to Connector, to get the list of people that you need to email:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.26.08 AM

Once it’s uploaded, it should figure out which info is the name and email address, but it’s good to double check:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.26.36 AM

Now you should have all of your contacts pulled in, with the info you need for emailing them:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.27.00 AM

If it looks good, hit “Next”.

You’ll need to connect your email account, and then customize your template to something that sounds like you.

Using the default isn’t a good idea because other people are likely using it, and it’s not going to be in your voice. Use the merge data to create something you’d be comfortable representing you to people you might not know, following the best practices for sending a cold email:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.27.34 AM

Step Three: Personalize Your Outreach Emails

Here’s where this strategy gets seriously cool. If you use my other auto-email-outreach strategy then you can just email everyone the exact same thing, but that’s problematic when you have different relationships with each person.

For example, if I were emailing Scott, I might say:

“Yo, mentioned + linked to you a couple times here: [link] Hope you like it :)”

But if I were emailing someone I don’t know, I’d be a little more formal:

Hey Bill,

I just wanted to let you know I mentioned and linked to Microsoft a few times in this article I just published: [link].

Hope you like it 🙂

Have a good one!

Nat

Connector lets us customize each email to the level of personalization that’s most appropriate, while keeping the same base message. So for people you have an existing relationship with you can add a personal touch, and with other people you don’t know as well you can keep it more formal.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.28.44 AM

Then you can hit next, and next again (unless you want to schedule the sending or do automatic follow ups), then you’ll be ready to send!

If you feel comfortable being more forward, you can add a Click to Tweet in the email to make it easier for them to share your post. But I don’t recommend this for people you don’t have a relationship with already, because it comes across as presumptive and overly forward.

And when you do, you’ll get nice follow-ups like this:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.29.09 AM

You can use a similar personalized email outreach strategy for:

Hiring: Email a list of prospects with a bit of personalization on why you think they’d be a good fit for a job you have opne.

Sales outreach: Similar, email a list of prospects but with a personal touch on how you can benefit them.

Pitching guest posts: Email a list of bloggers with an article you just wrote to see who would be interested in publishing or republishing it.

Getting quotes: Reach out to a list of influencers about an article you’re writing, inviting them to give a quick piece of information in return for a link back to their site.

Building links: After you publish an article, email a list of other sites about it and invite them to link to it now or later.

Anything else with lots of emailing. Get creative :). Have a virtual assistant scrape LinkedIn for opposite sex people in your area with interesting jobs, find their email addresses, then email them inviting them out for dates.

How will you use this for more personalized email outreach?

 

Nat Eliason runs marketing for SumoMe.com where he helps you massively increase your website traffic, and writes at nateliason.com about lifestyle optimization, tea brewing, travel, and other quasi-related topics.

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