Today we welcome Kelvin Newman – the organiser of Brighton SEO – to talk about email overload and how to manage it in Outlook.
I’m a big believer in outreach, in all its different forms, as part of the link building approach. Great content without outreach is a pointless exercise, unless you’ve already got a huge audience. And often that lack of audience is the reason you’re link building in the first place.
Whilst I think you can improve your link building hit rate by picking up the phone, the cold hard truth is that email is often the main method of reaching out to potential linkers. If like me, you use Microsoft Outlook, you might be pleased to hear there’s a number of hacks, tricks and tools that are simple to implement, but could also potentially have a huge impact on your success.
Did you know you can choose to delay when you send your message? This gives you the option to send the message when you choose rather than when you hit send. From a link building perspective, this is huge. Here’s why:
1. You can schedule all of your outreach emails to be sent at once. You’ll have time to genuinely personalise them, but can still ensure everyone gets the scoop at the same time. Great news for the bloggers whose surname begins with Z rather than A!
2. You can schedule your emails to be sent for a time when they are most likely to be read. There’s a huge science in email marketing around timing. While the sweet spot for commercial newsletters may not exactly match outreach, there’s a lot you can gain from data like this. Put simply sending someone a link request ten minutes before they’re due to leave the office is going to have a very different level of success to one sent mid-morning.
3. Using this you can set up a rudimentary CRM. If someone tells me they’re off on holiday for two weeks, I forward the email to myself and delay sending it until they are due back from holiday etc.
There’s a great plug-in for outlook called Xobni (inbox written backwards) which has all kinds of interesting tricks that can help with your link building. I’m not the only person who is much quicker and reliable at responding to their social media messages than my actual emails, and your link prospects are probably the same. With Xobni you can easily get access to the social media accounts associated with that email address. So if you’ve been finessing a piece of content with a blogger, only for them to go a bit quiet, with Xobni you could easily get access to their Twitter account to drop them a reminder through a different platform.
The way this plug-in visualises when people send you emails is a great feature. It can help you spot a blogger who always spends the first half hour of the day dealing with their emails. It can also help you notice that all of your emails come through at 4.30PM.This tells you that maybe this is a good time to close Outlook, so you don’t get distracted with notifications popping up when you’re trying to write a piece of killer content.
LinkedIn for Outlook
I’ve only just started using the LinkedIn Plug-in for Outlook, but I’m already expecting it to have a huge impact on my link building. Basically it draws everything from your LinkedIn Account into Outlook. If you’ve built yourself a good LinkedIn network, it’s now become much easier to use that network within the more familiar and productive world of Outlook.
No more forgotten link approaches hidden away in your LinkedIn Inbox, no more desperately trying to remember the name of that Fashion journalist who wrote a great piece abouton a client twelve months ago.
It’s not the most sophisticated tool within Outlook, but I’ve found that few people actually know how easy it is to embed a voting panel within an email. It’s intended for questions like, “which day would you like to have the meeting on?” In the BrightonSEO office, it’s more frequently used for “Shall we listen to the Spice Girls or Bruce Springsteen?” However, this doesn’t mean it’s not without its uses in link building – you can quickly poll your colleagues on what link bait title they think would work best. Or maybe which blog to target first with that amazing infographic. You can quickly and statistically assess a group’s opinion.
Auto Flag Emails
I’ll admit it, I’m not the most organised person in the world. Far too frequently I’ve forgotten to follow up on an email, one that would have led to a great link if only I’d given someone an extra nudge. Maybe you’re using a CRM to keep track of you link prospects, but if that feels like overkill, I’ve got another option. Just flag your link request emails. That way you can quickly get a tab on who you’ve replied to, but not heard back from.
Giving you a link is never going to be another webmaster’s top priority, so the onus to make it happen falls on you.
A word of caution though; your link building can only be improved so much by using these Outlook tips. You might achieve more picking up some tips from the PR industry’s playbook at this workshop. This is one of five workshops taking place the day before the BrightonSEO conference, being sponsored by Koozai.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.