When it comes to implementing a marketing strategy, for some reason, outreach is often overlooked. While businesses put a lot of effort into creating great content, they generally don’t work as hard to put it in front of the right people. And with the increased competition that social media platforms have created, it’s more important than ever to use every tool at your disposal. The market is so saturated, the only way to get ahead of the competition is to direct a decent percentage of your resources towards outreach.
Of course, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t continue generating quality content. Great quality content and outreach have to go hand in hand! By incorporating outreach into your marketing strategy, your content should meet its potential, and reach larger, interested audiences.
What is Outreach Marketing?
So we’ve established the fact that marketers need to focus on outreach. But what exactly does an outreach strategy entail? Essentially, it’s the step you need to take after confirming your content strategy. Outreach is the process of boosting your brand awareness through reaching out to the right people at the right time.
The important thing to remember is that you’re not just speaking to your target audience when you undertake outreach. You’re also connecting with your peers. These are other individuals and businesses working in your industry that would be interested in your content. It’s about building meaningful relationships with these people, and demonstrating that you’re all on the same level in terms of expertise and authority. It’s a two way street too – you can promote each other’s work, in order to increase awareness and be seen as experts in your field.
Outreach marketing is a huge part of any digital strategy. It comes with the obvious benefit of increasing your exposure, but also helps establish trust with your customer base, and increases your backlink profile. This in turn should help with your SEO efforts.
Creating an Outreach Strategy
The first step when it comes to creating an effective outreach strategy is to fully understand your brand. What makes your brand stand out? Is there a problem you’re trying to solve for your customers? What are your values, and why should they appeal to your audience? And once you’ve confirmed these points, you need to learn more about your audience. This could include their demographics and buying personas.
The next step is thinking about how your brand and values align with your audience. For instance, if your company has a strong focus on using recycled materials, you would be marketing to individuals this selling point would appeal to. You can then create an outreach list of potential influencers who would also engage with your business. For the above example, perhaps people who talk about sustainability and the environment. You should also include media partners on your list, who could help you get in front of the right audience.
Once you’ve done the groundwork, you can start reaching out to influencers and other relevant organisations. Invest time in searching for up-and-coming influencers, as well as authoritative websites in your industry. Get involved in online communities, and really engage with your audience. You’ll probably see much better results if you make connections of your own, alongside using influencers and other outreach partners.
The Power of the Influencer
Influencers weren’t really a thing a few decades ago. But now, they’ve become a big part of marketing, especially within certain industries. And there’s no arguing with the results – influencers can certainly be said to be effective. They often spend years building up a loyal following, constantly engaging with their audience. And they tend to have a lot of sway with their followers. Recent research has shown that 90% of people believe influencer marketing is an effective strategy, and could be persuaded by influencer endorsements.
This type of marketing is understandably becoming more popular. According to Insider Intelligence, 86% of marketers use influencers in their outreach strategy. The budgets for influencer marketing have dramatically increased over the last few years too. When it comes to paying influencers though, around a third of brands do so by giving them free products or simply discounts, so you don’t need to spend a fortune on influencer marketing.
Another thing to keep in mind with influencer marketing is that you can’t simply approach someone with a huge follower count. If your brand doesn’t align with the interests of the influencer you choose, you’re not likely to get much traction. And reach isn’t always the most important factor! Sometimes using a relevant niche influencer can be a better way to target specific audiences.
Once you’ve determined how you’re going to move forward, and perhaps made a shortlist of businesses and influencers to contact, you can start to forge relationships with these individuals. One of the best ways to do this is to personalise your communications – sending out a generic email probably won’t get you very far.
Even just including someone’s first name in the subject line of an email can increase the open rate by 26%. This sort of personalisation assures people that the message isn’t spam, and is intended for the recipient. People also like to know that you’ve done some research and made an effort to appeal to their tastes. So if you’re able to give specific reasons as to why they should work with you, like common interests or similar projects you’ve both worked on, you’re much more likely to yield a positive response.