In this blog, we will talk about 3 link outreach approaches, the most recommended for
prospecting, and how to write the best emails for a successful link building campaign.
So let's get started and talk about the different link outreach approaches along with their pros and cons. Traditionally there are two approaches to link outreach.
The shotgun approach
The shotgun approach is when you send the exact same email to all your prospects and the only piece of personalization would probably be the prospect's name. The primary pro of this method is that it is fast, this is because it removes the vetting stage of the entire link building process.
As for the cons, you will obviously spam people, taint your brand's reputation, burn bridges, or risk building links on sites you would not typically want your links on, and you will likely
burn email addresses which could possibly be a real problem if you are building links at scale.
The shotgun approach focuses on mass, it is a pure numbers game and it has worked effectively for many many people. However, it is not considered the best because the negative impacts on brand image outweigh the possible "quick wins" you may get from this approach.
The sniper approach is quite literally the opposite of the shotgun approach. The sniper approach is when you thoroughly check and carefully pick websites and pages you want to get a link from. Rather than using cookie-cutter email templates, you will have to send personalized emails, where your first contact would probably be to start a conversation instead of getting a link.
The pros of the sniper approach are that you will get better links, potentially start building relationships that go beyond just link building, and your link acquisition rates will be high.
When it comes to the cons, the sniper approach is not at all scalable, it can take months to get a single link. It needs above average skills in negotiation, persuasion, and understanding people's desires. So, the sniper outreach is too slow when you are looking to grow in a popular industry where links are an imperative requirement. However, you should still do it for links that are difficult to get or where the relationship is more important than the actual link itself.
Now, it is not necessary to use either of these approaches exclusively – or any one of them
for that matter. In our blog, Understanding who you should Pitch to for a Backlink?, we cover specific ways of finding and segmenting the best possible people for link building. If you understand that method, you will understand that both of these outreach approaches are optimal.
For example, if you use the shotgun approach for these prospects, it would not make much sense because all the research and segmentation that you have done would be of no use.
In the same way, the sniper approach does not make sense because each segment of
prospects have a lot in common. Therefore, you do not really need to do a 100% bespoke outreach for each and every prospect.
This brings us to the link outreach approach we recommend in almost all situations, which is the hybrid approach.
Like the shotgun approach, you need to send emails to a large group of prospects. And just ;ike the sniper approach, the emails are personalized to a certain degree. The personalization is generally based on a commonality within a segment – also known as a linkable point. Hence, it's a hybrid approach to link outreach.
The pros are that you are able to send personalized emails at scale and link acquisition rates are usually in the 5 to 12% range.
As for the cons, it can become quite difficult to consistently find seed prospects that are actually very good and effective. Which means, you need to be able to creatively analyze data and come up with angles which sometimes may not work.
Regardless of the approach you use, the structure of the emails will more or less be the same. It's all about finding a good reason to contact and provide a value proposition that will
resonate with a cold audience. This is by far the most difficult part of outreach.