Building links by reaching out to website owners takes an approach closer to sales than conventional link building. Outreach is especially similar to cold calling since we follow parallel strategies to open communications with those who own domains.
Once you have a generous list of potential websites to contact following the tips from finding the right domains in our previous post, here’s how you can successfully get in touch with site owners.
Find outreach contact details
You’ll find the usual contacts in the footer or contact page. This manual method can be tedious but you’ll get the information firsthand from the website. A browser extension like Email Extractor helps when you have the website open.
If you find generic [email protected] or [email protected], there’s a very good chance your email won’t be opened for a while or it’s sent to the spam folder. If this is the case, then you need to get creative so you can reach out to them. For example, you can look up the domain on “whois” or similar domain tools for the site owner’s contact information.
Additionally, we use multiple tools like hunter.io, buzzstream, and rocketreach. We can cross reference the contact details to make sure we’re messaging the right person. This saves a lot of time when you’ve sourced thousands of domains.
Create message templates
Every advice you hear about doing outreach successfully is to personalise your messages. While this is not wrong, it takes up too much time thinking of something positive to comment on their latest blog post and more.
Moreover, most site owners are too busy to read a 300-word email about why you think their latest blog is “so impressive.” Unless you’ve followed them on social media, have liked or commented on their post and they’ve responded, you’re a stranger to them and they will likely ignore a long winded email.
Due to this, the Outreach team at QWERTYlabs changed their strategy by becoming more forthcoming with site owners. We’ve seen better responses to a direct and succinct message along the lines of, “I will pay you to let me post an article on your website, are you interested?”. It’s a simple yes or no question and quickly lets you know how to move forward.
Use all forms of communication
Almost all websites have social media profiles so you can use this to your advantage when reaching out to site owners. Use Messenger, IG DMs, and even LinkedIn to reach out. On the other hand, you can switch to messaging them on Telegram or Whatsapp if they have this since it’s more likely you’ll get faster responses from instant messaging than via emails.
Get creative with and use contemporary forms of messaging but keep it professional. One or two emojis are enough. We avoid memes but attaching puppy or cat images help show that site owners are not being messaged by bots. Sad puppy eyes with a caption about not returning messages works well. Even if the answer is “not interested,” it at least tells you to move on to the next contact.
Since messages get missed, especially from unfamiliar senders, you need to make sure that you have three or four follow-up messages ready to be sent at different intervals. This is important because consistent follow-ups improve the chances of your outreach being seen by website owners.
Here at QWERTYlabs, our follow-up intervals are set at 2 days, 1 week, and 2 weeks by the 4th follow-up. We’ve set it up like this because we want to avoid pestering website owners with daily messages. If there’s no answer by the 4th follow-up, we’ll park the contact and try again after 3 to 4 months with new message templates.
Track your progress
Besides reaching out to site owners, you need to monitor how many emails and messages you’re sending weekly. Here are the parameters we track for each region:
- Domains filtered
- Websites messaged
- Site owner responses
- Link building agreed
More domains contacted will mean more responses but you also need to look at close rates. If you look at your weekly stats on your outreach, it can help you reach your targets to increase your link building catalogue. Moreover, if you separate the markets, it can give you a better idea how much resources you can put under each region.
Doing all of this will help you adjust your templates especially for messages in foreign languages. We’ve seen European regions respond better to blunt messages versus South East Asian countries that require a more delicate, passive approach.
Cultivate your relationships
Once you’ve established contact, treat each site owner as an independent supplier to nurture that business relationship. If payment is the means to building links, pay in advance or on time. Reuse their websites as long as there are no conflicts with your different clients.
It’s also very likely website owners run multiple domains, even across different regions. If their other sites have impressive parameters on organic traffic and domain ratings, add them to your catalogue.
The methods listed above are tried and tested techniques that have helped us at QWERTYlabs to create a catalogue of tens of thousands of domains over the years. Each domain we use has a minimum of 50 domain rating and 5,000 organic traffic in their target region of the same language. Because of the relationships we’ve cultivated with site owners, we have double the amount of domains with lower parameters but are improving organically.