When was the last time you received a letter? A real letter. Not bills, or birthday cards, or Christmas cards, or vacation postcards. I mean a “real” letter.

We write emails every day, but do we put the same care into them as we would in a letter? More important still, if we want something from the person we send the message to, how much thought do we put in our mail? And how would the perfect email for a request, as in: a link request look like?

Link acquisition via email can be very effective – especially since emails practically cost nothing, except 10 minutes of your time. However, a lot can go wrong in contacting someone and asking them to place a link on their site.

But fear not: to write the perfect link acquisition mail is not rocket science. The more often you do it, the easier it will get! So let’s get started and send out some great emails.;-)

With the help of these 27 simple steps, you can compose a message that is not only (nearly) perfect, but will make your link acquisition in general more effective and successful.


7 Points To Consider Before Writing Your Outreach Letter

1. First things first: make sure your site and content are the best they can possibly be. This includes graphics, design, and social media accounts. A site that is well-kept, that has a lot of traffic and contains valuable content will be more likely to receive links from other sites.

2. Determine the nature of the link you are looking for. Do you want to acquire a high-quality link from an article covering your product/brand/service? Do you want to acquire a link within a list of online shops/software tools/blogs etc.? Do you want to acquire a link from a site that is highly authoritative? Do you want to acquire a link form a site that is still developing (e.g. a small blogger, a start-up, etc.)?

3. Not sure about the site’s authority? The Moz bar is activated and de-activated with only one click and will tell you the Page Authority and the Domain authority of every site you visit (which are good indicators for the quality of the site in general).

4. Carefully chose the site you want a link from. Make sure it’s worth the time you are going to spend on it. The site should have a high number of subscribers, a high interaction level (lots of valuable comments) and ideally belong to a well-known and influential person and/or company in your niche.

5. Your email has a bigger chance of being opened if the person who receives it actually wants to receive it. To that end: use brand monitoring to find sites which are already talking about you (or your competitors) and approach those sites first.

6. Best approach: pre-establish a relationship with the person you are going to contact. If you can, comment on their articles, like them on facebook, follow them on twitter. It also doesn’t hurt to mention your enthusiasm for their work in the actual outreach letter: “I found your view on XYZ very refreshing and as a new subscriber, I am looking forward to your articles.”

7. Determine what subpage on your site would be the most interesting for the other person to link to. Ask yourself: which site contains the most compatible (or valuable) content for the other person.

Before you write your email, determine the nature of the link you want to get, the nature of the site you want to contact, and be sure to foster a relationship with the person you are going to write to.

3 Ingredients Every Perfect Subject Line Needs!

1. Again, first things first: if you only have an info@ address, include the person’s name that you want to contact in the subject line.

2. Compose a clear and concise subject line that lets the other person know what your email is about.

3. Keep it professional…but friendly! It is often better to use a neutral tone than pretending to be on first-name terms with someone you have never met before.

A subject line needs to be short and sweet in order to be successful.

1. In general, chose the right tone of your email! Different branches often entail different styles of communication. A punk rock-supply shop would probably use a different writing style than a lawyer’s office.

2. Work with email-templates to save time. But…

3. …individualize your message! Address the recipient by their name, introduce yourself and give them your name and position. Mention their site’s name and URL. This will show them that you actually know their website and who they are.

4. Shortly(!) introduce the purpose and content of your website. CEOs and webmasters are usually busy people, so keep your opening paragraph as short and sweet as possible.

Your opening paragraph should contain a personal address and a short(!) introduction to your website.

7 Reasons Your Outreach Mail Stands Out From the Rest

1. People seldom ask content-related questions in link acquisition emails. You can stand out and earn some brownie points by showing real interest in the work of the person you are writing to. Best way to do this: ask them a follow-up question on an article they recently published. A question is often the more sincere version of a compliment and will make you stand out from others who are writing: “I really love your page.”

2. Explain from which of their sites you’d like to get a link to which of yours and give them valid reason why this would make sense. Possible reasons could be: the content on your site XYZ adds value to their argument on page XYZ, the article you have written on XYZ would be of great interest to their target audience. You can also notify them of a broken link and provide similar and/or better content they could link to instead.

3. Avoid terms like “link exchange” or “link trade” (these might sound fishy).

4. However, if you have(!) in fact previously linked to their page, let them know! As in: “I found your article on XYZ very helpful for my own coverage of XYZ and recently placed a link to it in my piece.”

5. Include an offer if you feel like this might help your case. This could be a product testing + review on your site, an article cooperation, an interview that would feature them, the possibilities are endless.

6. Encourage them to approach you if they have any question, alterations or suggestions to your request.

7. Include various ways to get into contact with you (email, social media, telephone).

Show some interest in the work of the other person, offer high-quality and informative content and have an open mind about possible changes to your proposal.

1. In the end, if you do get a link: Congratulations! And it goes without saying that you should always thank the other person.

2. If you do not get a reply, two things are possible. a) Your subject line was not convincing enough. b) The other person is generally not interested in communicating with you. In the first case, you can try it again with a different subject line and an altered message. In the second case (if you contact them again and they still not respond), you should just let it go. Nothing is worse than a person that cannot take a hint.

3. If you don’t get a link: don’t sweat it. You’ve probably only invested a good 10 minutes, and the other person has at least heard your name and knows you are not a spammer.

4. In general, you should always stay professional, accept it and make the best of it: “Hey xyz, it is completely fine to decline. Maybe another opportunity will arise in the future for us to cooperate. Kind regards.”

5. Some people still play the old blackmailing game and threaten to remove links (which link to the person they got in contact with) if the person does not link back to them. Don’t be like that! It is unprofessional and downright rude. And most of all, it never hurts to have links to high-quality websites on your own site. Even if they won’t link back to you.

6. Last, but not least, you should save all the data you have gathered in the course of your mail acquisition campaign for future references (the contact’s name, email address, additional information on him/her, the history of your communication).

If you do not get a link, your mail can still be successful: new business partner, seeding source or new contact for future outreach.

In the end, the perfect outreach letter can(!) be accomplished. Will it always result in a link? Probably not. But in most cases, a well-written, personal email will bring in positive results in some form. For instance, you might incidentally build a new business contact, create a future cooperation of some kind, or gain an additional seeding source.

Keep looking for interesting sites to approach, use brand alerts to find websites that are already talking about your product, reach out to people and, last but not least, put your heart in every link acquisition email you write! A little personal touch can go a long way!