5 tips for crafting effective outreach emails

by | May 4, 2021 | Analysis, Public Relations

If you’re working online in a sales or marketing role, you’ll need to master the outreach email. A well-executed one can generate leads for your business and help you make professional business connections.

Writing a great outreach email, however, can be challenging. The good news is, there is a proven framework you can follow to improve your response rate. This guide will walk you through five tips you can implement to craft an effective outreach email.

1. Consider your approach

The first thing you need to be clear about is your goals. Generally speaking, there are two types of email outreach campaigns:

  • You send an email to a single recipient or a handful of recipients. These are focused email outreach campaigns.
  • You send emails to a list of prospects. Those prospects may share certain characteristics. For example, you might send emails to 100+ editors at publications as part of a guest post outreach campaign.

The number of people you are sending your email to should impact your approach. If you send an email to a handful of people, and getting a response is important, it makes sense to spend time personalizing each email. If you plan to send an email to dozens of people, you will need a more generic email template that appears personalized.

Once you’ve defined your approach, you need to consider your audience. If you are sending a personalized email, spend time researching each individual. Review their social media profiles, and try to identify talking points. For example, maybe they recently hosted a webinar.

The best outreach emails feel personal. Adding relevant details to your copy about the person you are mailing will create that impression.

You can make that impact with a tiny bit of research, like in this example:

5 tips for crafting effective outreach emails


You can’t be expected to input the same level of detail into a mass outreach email. That doesn’t need to be an issue, though, if you have a good hook.

2. Define your hook

If you’re sending an outreach email, you probably want something from the recipient. You might be running an outreach campaign to secure a new client, for example. Or, you might want to land a guest post.

That’s your goal. A great outreach email flips things around. Your value proposition should align your goals with that of the recipient. You need to show how responding to your email will help them fulfill their wants, fears, and needs.

Simply put, you should ask yourself, “what do they get out of this exchange?”

A clear value proposition is your hook that will make a person respond to your message. If you get the value proposition right, you’ll get a high response rate. If your value proposition is not tempting, people will ignore your email.

5 tips for crafting effective outreach emails

Blue Wire Media

The example above is an outreach message with a nice hook. The email structure is straightforward:

  • Opening hook – “I think I can make you money.”
  • Solution – here’s how we can arrange a meeting
  • Postscript – social proof that I can deliver on my promise

The better your hook aligns with the goals of your audience, the higher the response rate. With your

3. Grab attention with the subject line

The first thing your recipient sees is the subject line. If you have an engaging subject line, people are more likely to open your email. A catchy subject line helps your message stand out in a busy inbox.

A good subject line is compelling but short. Anywhere between 21 and 40 characters is a good length. It’s also good to be direct, especially when messaging a stranger. Remember that your subject line should accurately convey the contents of your email.

4. Write a short email

The next thing you need to do is write your email copy. Effective outreach emails are generally just long enough to convey the main points quickly. That’s especially important when you’re writing an email to a stranger.

You’ll notice when you research effective outreach emails that most examples are just a couple of lines. They start with a short introduction and then transition to the hook.

5 tips for crafting effective outreach emails


The emails then end with a clear Call To Action. If you struggle to write an outreach email, I recommend you follow this structure. You can play around with various formats as you test your copy.

5. Send well-timed follow-up emails

Hopefully, the outreach email you send will generate a response from the recipient. Sometimes people don’t respond to your email. The reason people don’t respond to your email can be quite mundane. For example, I’m sure there are plenty of emails in your inbox that you meant to respond to but didn’t for whatever reason.

A follow-up email is an important part of the outreach process. An outreach sequence can significantly boost response rates.

5 tips for crafting effective outreach emails


You should send emails over 1-2 weeks. Wait between three to five days before your first follow-up email. If the person doesn’t respond, send another email. Don’t spam your recipients with endless emails, though.  And finally, make use of audiences in Google Ads and set up retargeting campaigns.


The starting point for any outreach email campaign is to consider how many emails you’ll be sending. The fewer emails you send, the more time you should invest in each email.

Once you’ve considered your goal, define the hook. A good email hook is central to your campaign. It will generate a high response rate. You should then write your email subject line and copy. Finally, write a couple of short follow-up emails to help boost your response rate.

Domingo Karsten
Domingo Karsten has over 10 years of experience in online marketing. He is involved with We Can Track. His writing has been featured in FastCompany and others. Follow him on Twitter at @domingokarsten.


5 effective PR strategies for small businesses in 2024

5 effective PR strategies for small businesses in 2024

Small businesses might have the impression that there’s no need to worry about having a PR strategy—if you build it they will come, and all that. But the reality is that this is just as much a part of being profitable whether you’re operating on a local scale or...