Outreach in practice: Constructive responses to 5 common obstacles
Struggling to keep your outreach email chain positive? Use these five tactics to overcome common objections...
At the centre of good outreach practice lies the ability to communicate value persuasively (but without sounding like a door-to-door salesman.) Each sentence in your initial outreach email should add value to both the email and the overall project briefing.
But sometimes, no matter how valuable your client’s website and the associated project, it can be a real battle to convince influencers that it is worth their time. If you’re struggling with a string of negative responses, you need to tackle the problem from two ends: first, revisit your strategy and list and look for underlying weaknesses (if everyone is saying no, there could be a bigger reason). Second, don’t give up at the first sign of an objection. In this post we’ll focus on the second of those two approaches, giving you some ideas for constructive responses to common obstacles.
“It doesn’t fit my blog”
This essentially comes down to targeting. However, if you’ve done enough research before your initial email, you should know that it is right for their blog. Not only do they already post resources similar to yours, your project and brand is extremely relevant to the rest of their web content.
Your task then, is to convince them that they are inherently right for the project. Begin by politely reinforcing why X project can benefit their page. Feel free to reference similar pieces that you’ve seen on their blog, explain how you enjoyed them and how your suggested piece can complement these.
Above all, reiterate why you initially reached out to them for the project and don’t be afraid to massage their ego a little here.
“I don’t have the authority to change that page”
Otherwise known as ‘Company tag’. This is essentially not a hard and fast no but rather a ‘I’m not the right person to deal with this’.
Instead of rushing to scout through the company’s website to find the right contact, politely ask your existing contact if they can pass you through to someone who does handle press/ media enquiries, or who has the authority and access to make page changes. Not only can you get a new contact from this (and one whose email address isn’t necessarily visible on the website), you can also cement a relationship with your initial contact. You might need them further down the line.
“I don’t have time”
This is harder to overcome. Sometimes it is simply a way of letting you down easy – influencers are always on the lookout for contacts too, and the time card allows them to reject a project without slamming the door on your brand or agency. But it can also be code for ‘This sounds like a lot of work for me’.
If you think you’re dealing with the latter, try to overcome it by easing their load a little. Offer to send through some pictures or screenshots that they could use in their post. Aim to minimize their research time by making sure they have all the information they need.
“Why should I send my audience away from my blog?”
Links are the currency of the web, but this remains a common fear for influencers across the spectrum. The best way to address this problem is to begin by emphasising the importance of external links. Not only will links work to improve their Domain Authority and search ranking but they will also considerably improve user experience. Reinstate the fact that they will be providing content that is of interest and is in high demand.
Assure them that all of this will ultimately reposition them as experts in their field.
“I hate X brand/ company, please don’t email me again”
We lied: there is no positive response to this one. Abort, abandon ship and promptly remove that person from all email lists. Persistence is a useful quality in an outreach campaign, but so is knowing when to draw a line – hassling people with obvious antipathy to the project wastes your time, annoys them and risks trashing your reputation (and that of your client). Reply with a brief, polite note to confirm you’ve removed the contact from your list.
So – if you’re facing objections one through four, don’t lose hope. If your initial research is sound, there may still be a way to make things work. A positive and constructive response can reignite the prospect in hand as well as your relationship with the influencer.