Email outreach is one of the best ways of connecting with influencers, new leads and getting your content out there.
But just because you’re reaching out to the right people doesn’t mean you’ll generate a response.
These days, you need to put your work in before you send your first email. According to ADP, sales reps who use social selling techniques are 50% more likely to exceed(or meet) their sales quota.
This is why an omnichannel approach is key to any outreach campaign. In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to research and set up an omnichannel outreach campaign. You’ll also learn how to create great outreach templates and position yourself as an authority in your space.
But first, let’s explore what omnichannel outreach is.
What is omnichannel outreach and why is it important?
Before talking about outreach specifically, let’s first define omnichannel marketing:
Omnichannel marketing is a sales and marketing methodology that provides a streamlined and delightful customer experience across multiple communication channels. In other words, the aim is to engage with your customer on the channels they’re most active in.
Therefore, omnichannel outreach is the art of actively getting in front of your audience(whether that be clients, influencers or journalists) through social media, email outreach and community engagement.
So, why should you care? Well, in a study conducted by Google, they found that 98% of Americans switch between devices every single day. And we already know that how we use those devices differ.
For example, you may find that your target audience sits down to respond to email at a desktop computer. When they’re on the move, however, they’re likely using Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat a lot more.
Which is why, when conducting any outreach campaign(whether that be generating B2B leads or connecting with prominent influencers), it’s important to approach, engage and nurture them across several channels.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the process on how to do it effectively.
Step 1: Identifying key social marketing channels
So, what’s the best way to find out where your customers are? Talk to them.
Customer interviews can yield some fantastic insights on your audience. Here’s a simple process to follow when conducting them:
- Identify your best customers. These are the people who come back to you again and again. Find more of them by asking why they did business with you, what their challenges are and where they go for information
- Reach out and ask. When you ask people for their opinion, people usually love to give it. Especially if they’re advocates of your brand.
- Don’t follow a script. Scripts put you at risk of sounding like a robot. Go in with three broad questions and focus on digging deeper into their responses. Use follow-up questions to get to the true motivations behind their challenges and needs.
- Don’t ask leading questions. Leading questions are those that “lead” your customer to a certain conclusion. For example, “what did you love most about our customer service” vs. “how did you feel after talking to our customer service team?”
- Built rapport. Make them feel like there are no right or wrong answers. Encourage them to be as honest and open as they can be.
- Listen carefully. Avoid bringing your own biases and opinions into the conversation. Repeat what the customer has said back to them to ensure you’ve understood what they mean.
With data-driven marketing being all the rage these days, you should use your analytics platform to fuel these insights further. Let’s start with identifying the channels that generate the most engagement and revenue.
Open Google Analytics and head to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. This is the bare-bones basic way of finding your most popular marketing channels:
However, a better way is to uncover your top-performing content and reverse engineering where those readers come from. For example, here are the top sources for one of our most recent blog posts at UpLead:
Measure each channel by two key metrics: volume and engagement. In other words, which of these sources drive the most traffic and which have the highest avg. time on page?
For example, if a channel has a high time on page but low volume, it’s well worth investing more resources and testing new approaches on that platform.
Finally, look at your existing social media profiles. Which generates the most engagement for your content? Using a tool like Mention can help you uncover this data:
Step 2: Building your personal brand & expert positioning
Before you begin putting together an omnichannel outreach campaign, it’s important to get your foundations right.
Building the personal brand of you and your team can put you in a better position for success. The content subject matter and format will vary from platform to platform. For the sake of this guide, we’ll focus on two channels: Twitter and LinkedIn.
Engaging on Twitter
Twitter’s strength is in the ability to create micro-content. These are short (or a series of short) tweets that tell stories and narratives around a particular subject.
It’s also great for one-to-one engagement with individuals, which can help expand your audience.
There are three content formats I recommend:
- Lessons learned in your topic or business
- Stories and experiences
- Takeaways from other brands and individuals
The third on this list can help you get attention from specific individuals/influencers and their audiences. Let’s look at some Twitter content formats in action. The first is from Pieter Levels, where he shares search engine alternatives to Google:
As you can see, this sort of “resource-based tweet” generates a generous amount of engagement:
In this next example, Brittany Berger shares a polarizing opinion on the message that many influencers promote about hustling:
These threads connect several tweets to form a longer narrative. As threads are a relatively new feature, they tend to generate a lot of engagement.
Finally, this example from Nat Eliason shares his journey starting an ecommerce tea business from scratch. In it, he shares what he’s up to step-by-step from inception to launch of the store:
Whichever format you choose, ensure that it adds value, tells an engaging story, and focuses on the interests of your audience.
Create engaging LinkedIn content
LinkedIn has become a “content mecca” for professionals looking to build their personal brand with engaging and value-driven content.
Before you begin creating content, you must optimize your profile. This will be the first thing people look out when checking you out, so you’ve got to make sure everything is tight.
Here’s a quick checklist of the basics:
- Profile picture: Have a professional and up-to-date profile picture. Make sure you smile and that your face takes up most of the space.
- Headline: Use this area to showcase your topics of expertise, as well as any awards or accomplishments.
- Header image: Here, you can boost social proof by including logos of publications you’ve been featured in or client logos you’ve worked with.
- Bio: Finally, talk about how you help people. Be as specific as you can and be sure to drop in the names of any big clients you want to show off.
With your profile optimized, it’s time to create killer LinkedIn content. There are two primary formats that generate the most engagement on LinkedIn:
- Story- and value-driven posts
- Video content
Let’s start with native posts. These provide you with an opportunity to show your expertise, add value and tell stories. For example, Aaron Orendorff uses LinkedIn posts to share lessons learned from his time in business and growing his own personal brand:
Here, Ross Simmonds uses a simple “list format” to share his suggestions on how to level-up your year:
LinkedIn posts must have one or a mix of the following elements:
- An engaging hook. Start the post off strong to encourage people to click the “more” link.
- A compelling narrative. Is this a story from your own experiences or lessons from someone else?
- Real value. What is the lesson and takeaway you’re giving your audience?
- A call-to-action. What do you want people to do when they get to the end? This can be a link to more content or simply to comment and share their own experiences.
Then there’s video content. In recent months, LinkedIn video has skyrocketed in popularity on LinkedIn and has a high chance of going viral. In this example, Eric Siu uses the elements above and puts them in video format:
Making video content this way doesn’t have to be expensive. Just set up your iPhone, hit record and share your insights.
Creating video content in this manner is a great way to get your personality across and build a personal connection with your audience. Struggling to think of what to talk about? Start by repurposing older content into distilled overarching lessons. Test small and measure your results over time.
Step 3: Omnichannel influencer, journalist and lead nurturing
Now you have your foundation set up, it’s time to identify who you’re reaching out to. First, it’s important to understand your goals. Are you trying to:
- Expand your audience by connecting with influencers?
- Get featured in publications through journalists?
- Engage with new leads or nurture existing ones?
Your goal will ultimately define the content of your campaign, but the architecture will remain the same. It all starts with prospecting the right contacts.
There are several ways to do this. The first is to use BuzzSumo to find prominent influencers and decision makers around a certain topic.
Head to their platform and search for a relevant keyword:
Order the results by “Twitter Shares” and click on “View Sharers” on the top results. This will show you a list of users who shared this content on Twitter:
Voila! You now have a list of potential thought leaders to reach out to.
Another simple yet effective method is to Google search the following queries:
- top influencers
- best journalists
This will usually provide blog posts of curated influencers in your space:
Mention also has several influencer marketing tools for this process. With it, you can identify your existing advocates and other thoughts leaders around certain topics:
If you’re looking for new potential customers, start at the company level and work your way down. For example, AngelList has a list of companies categorized by marketplace and includes key insights such as funding and found details:
You can then use LinkedIn (or invest in Sales Navigator) to uncover the right contacts at your target companies:
Organize your target list of influencers or prospects in a spreadsheet. Record key information such as follower numbers, website, and where they create content.
The next step is to engage with them. Before you ask them for something, it’s important you become a known-name first. There are several ways to do this:
- Engage with them directly on Twitter
- Comment/share their posts on LinkedIn
- Comment insights on the content they create
- Include them in your LinkedIn posts
- Share content and start conversations in the communities they’re active
- Follow, connect with and reach out to them on social networks
For example, if my target audience were on LinkedIn, an omnichannel outreach approach might look something like this:
- View their profile
- Connect with them (using a personalized invite)
- Send a welcome message once they accept
- Comment on their content
- Start conversations in LinkedIn Groups where they’re a member
- Send the email
By spreading this activity over time, you’ll become a familiar face to your outreach targets. When the time comes to reach out via email, they’ll recognize your name.
Step 4: Creating killer cold email templates
The fourth and final step to a great omnichannel outreach campaign is, of course, a strong cold email template. Here’s our five-part formula that generates us a 78%+ open rate and response rates of 24% on average:
- Short but relevant subject lines
- Personalized openers
- Talking about our product
- Stating why we’re better
- A no-brainer CTA
Here’s what it looks like in practice:
I love the conversation you started in the [GROUP] LinkedIn Group. Your point about [TOPIC] was spot-on and thought you might find this of interest:
We built a tool called UpLead which is like ZoomInfo but with built-in real-time email verification and we’re much more affordable. You can check it out here: UpLead.com
Are you open to trying it out at no cost?
Let’s break down each element. First, I open up with familiarity. I’ve already engaged with them elsewhere, and referencing this immediately shows we already know each other.
Then, I get to the point of the email. I’m reaching out because I believe they’d find our tool of interest. Furthermore, I state exactly why we’re better than other competitors (which they’re likely using).
I then wrap it up with a soft call-to-action. I don’t ask if they’re available for a call at a specific time, as this welcomes them to say “no.” Instead, I get the commitment of interest first. Once I know they want to learn more, then we take care of specifics.
This formula can also work for influencer outreach. Instead of talking about your product, talk about the content you want to share etc.
Outreach marketing is a staple of every growth-minded marketer’s toolkit. The strategy I’ve shared here takes a different approach to the usual cold email approach.
By engaging with your target prospects, influencers and journalists on the channels they’re active, you turn that cold email into a warm one.
Tell us, how are you currently using social media as part of your outreach strategy? Share your experiences in the comments below!