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Quantifying Outreach


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What we learned from nearly 300k outreach link building emails. My presentation form LinkLove London 2012 and

What we learned from nearly 300k outreach link building emails. My presentation form LinkLove London 2012 and

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  • 1. QUANTIFYING OUTREACHWhat we learned from nearly 300,00 outreach emailsMICHAEL KING@ipullrank
  • 2. Download this deck:
  • 3. I did SEO here 2010-2011 SEO Lead until last FridayWorking for huge brands is cool, but it was time for a change. @ipullrank
  • 4. Director of Inbound Marketing Lead Inbound Marketing Efforts for the BrandLaunch and Lead On-Page Optimization and Digital Brand Strategy Teams Training Link Building Teams in Social Link Building Working With Tech Team to Improve Products & Processes @ipullrank
  • 5. QUANTIFYING OUTREACH What we learned from nearly 300,00 outreach emails MICHAEL KING DIRECTOR OF INBOUND MARKETING @ipullrank5
  • 9. @JamesAgate from Skyrocket SEO did a cool study on the performance of outreach emails by different features and I was inspired (@jamesagate)
  • 10. Gender Opening Salutation Day of the Week Hour of the Day Number of Mails Message Length First Touch on Twitter Email Trust SignalsCombining the iAcquire iRank and Buzzstream datasets we analyzed the featuresof 297,791 emails to develop definitive insights on outreach link buildingDownload the study:
  • 11. Super props to MikeBernardez for all his hardwork wrangling this datafor me.Give him a shout on Twitter @mikebwinging
  • 12. The Link Building Process@ipullrank
  • 13. RANKING DIRECTORIES 647,631 OUTREACH RESULTS & LINK DB’S OPPORTUNITIES 3-4 attempts made 12,558,303 MANUAL VIEWING PAGES REVIEWED QUALITY CONTROL CLIENT • Full-time Highly-trained REQUIREMENTS POTENTIAL PARTNER Team • Relevancy Guidelines BLUELIST FILTERING • Multi-layered Review • Content Guidelines • Evolving Quality Guidelines • Legal Requirements TOP 5,000,,, etc NO “NO” RESPONSE BLACKLIST FILTERING 535,062 112,569 “DO NOT CONTACT” LIST UNQUALIFIED “YES” (internally established) OPPORTUNITIES PAGES BAD NEIGHBORHOODS (link network & spam) SEO METRICS FILTERING Client Specific – Filtering out data based on IBL, Moz-Rank, OBL, PR, etc. NEW Content & Link Partner POTENTIAL FUTURE QUALIFIED PAGES OPPORTUNITIES 11,487,318 PAGESVETTING PROCESS REMOVED VIEWING PROCESS OUTREACH PROCESSTechnology Driven
  • 15. Sure you can. Right in Excel, no less. Crawl prospects Pull any other metrics you Pull Open Site in list mode care about Explorer metricsDownload Screaming Frog: Niels Bosma’s SEO Tools: @seogadget
  • 16. Scrape Rate and Share Rate Scrape Rate is why ranked first page for Googlebot for several monthsCompute the Scrape and Share Rates of the sites you guest post on todetermine the propensity for the article to get scraped and generate more linksRead “Scrape Rate and Shareability Rate:” props for scrape rate belong to @pointblankseo)
  • 17. The Study (finally)@ipullrank
  • 18. I ASKED A LOT OF QUESTIONS For every link building feature we will discuss I wanted to know: The number of emails that fit the criteria The rate of response The rate of link placement or close
  • 19. MY ASSUMPTIONS The dataset is large enough to be statistically significant Conclusions are made in a vacuumBuzzstreams data represents varying link building practices, philosophies and time zones Correlation is not Causation
  • 20. MY ASSERTION iRank’s data represents a controlled and highly structureddata-driven link building methodology implemented by a teamworking out of one office from 8AM-6PM PST Monday-Friday
  • 21. LIMITATIONS iRank™ Reporting Limitations BuzzStream’s Privacy Policy BuzzStream User Types
  • 22. Would you give us the data already?
  • 24. WHAT GENDER PERFORMS BEST? 60000 # Emails Sent # Responses Received 50000 # Closed 40000 30000 20000 10000 14.91% 4.8% 16.82% 4.5% 0 MALE FEMALE
  • 25. GENDER ANALYSIS iRank™ data shows that while women do get a higher response rate than men (2.1% more responses for women) in outreach, the close rate is slightly in favor of men (men close 0.31% more links).
  • 26. GENDER INSIGHT Hire outreach professionals based on their ability and the quality of their work rather than their gender as neither has an inherent advantage that affects the ROI of campaign significantly.
  • 27. GENDER ACTION Invest resources in equal hiring and/or training for link builders of either sex.
  • 29. OPENING SALUTATION DATA 45000 “PERSONAL” # Emails Sent CLOSE RATE # Responses Received 40000 35000 6.52% # Closed 2.41% Higher 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 13.8% 5000 20.6% 6.52% 10.54% 4.1% 3.12% 0 PERSONAL CUSTOM GENERAL
  • 30. SALUTATION ANALYSIS The response and close rate was substantially higher for emails that were addressed directly to a person. If that’s not available a general salutation such as a “Hello” performs best. The next section will discuss the performance of the different types of general salutations.
  • 31. SALUTATION INSIGHT Expend the extra effort to find out the name attached to the prospect.
  • 32. SALUTATION ACTION Use a tool such as Rapportive or RapLeaf to find out more info on the prospect. With Rapportive you get all of a given users social information in the right pane within Gmail.
  • 34. GENERIC SALUTATION DATA “HI” CLOSE 40000 RATE # Emails Sent # Responses Received 35000 5.63% # Closed Higher than all 30000 specific types 25000 20000 15000 10000 14.37% 17.47% 5000 4.14% 13.63% 16.21% 5.62% 3.82% 5.45% 0 HELLO HI HEY GOOD AM/PM OTHERS
  • 35. GENERIC SALUTATION ANALYSIS Of those general salutations “Hey” yielded the best results however due to the lack of volume “Hi” is the winning general salutation.
  • 36. GENERIC SALUTATION INSIGHT Expend the extra effort to find out the name attached to the prospect.
  • 37. GENERIC SALUTATION ACTION Use a tool such as Rapportive or RapLeaf to find out more info on the prospect. With Rapportive you get all of a given users social information in the right pane within Gmail.
  • 39. iRANK DAY OF THE WEEK DATA 18000 # Emails Sent 16000 # Responses Received # Closed 14000 12000 10000 DAY CLOSE RATE 8000 6000 TUES Higher than other days 4000 2000 0 MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAYTHURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY
  • 40. BUZZSTREAM DAY OF THE WEEK DATA 20000 # Emails Sent 18000 # Responses Received 16000 14000 DAY CLOSE 12000 RATE 10000 8000 SAT Higher than other 6000 days 4000 2000 0 MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAYTHURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY
  • 41. DAY OF THE WEEK ANALYSIS For BuzzStream data close rates we were able to determine that Saturday resulted in the highest response rate followed by Sunday and Friday for the Buzzstream data. We’ve found that the iRank data shows emails sent on Monday have the highest rate of response, followed by Thursday with Tuesday and Wednesday tied for third. Initial emails sent on Tuesdays yielded the highest rate of activated links, followed by a tie for Monday and Wednesday.
  • 42. DAY OF THE WEEK INSIGHT The volume of overall email lower on the weekend and therefore it is simply easier for an email sent on the weekend to be seen. Therefore in this case we believe that Buzzstream’s data is more definitive.
  • 43. DAY OF THE WEEK ACTION Outreach specialists should schedule initial link building emails during the weekend with a tool such as Boomerang for Gmail to ensure the best chance at a response. Integrating Buzzstream with Gmail allows you to use Boomerang for this as well.
  • 45. iRANK TIME OF DAY DATA RESPONSE RATE 18000 # Emails Sent 16000 9AM # Responses Received # Closed 14000 Higher than other 12000 times 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0
  • 46. BUZZSTREAM TIME OF DAY DATA 8000 RESPONSE # Emails Sent RATE # Responses Received 7000 6000 2AM Higher than other times 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0
  • 47. TIME OF DAY ANALYSIS Buzzstream’s data shows that sending emails at 1AM, 10PM and 2AM EST result in the highest responses. Conversely, iRank data shows that 4AM, 9AM and 6AM EST return the highest rate of response and emails sent at 9AM, 4AM and 5AM EST return the highest rate of link activations.
  • 48. TIME OF DAY INSIGHT It’s hard to draw a definitive conclusion here but however since all these times fall within the 10PM and 9AM range the insight is that the volume of email is lower throughout the night than during the day and therefore prospects come across these emails first thing in the morning before “email fatigue” sets in.
  • 49. TIME OF DAY ACTION Schedule emails to send within between 10PM and 9AM EST to using a tool such as a Boomerang or hire a link building team that operates at those times within the targets time zone.
  • 51. NUMBER OF EMAILS DATA 35000 # Emails Sent # Responses Received 30000 # Closed 25000 20000 MALE CLOSE RATE 15000 0.31% 10000 Higher than women 5000 0 1 2 3 4 5 6+
  • 52. NUMBER OF EMAILS ANALYSIS Outreaches that continued to 6 emails and beyond proved to do substantially better than those that stopped at the standard 4th email. Most importantly, we found that we achieved 60% more responses by sending a second and third email.
  • 53. NUMBER OF EMAILS INSIGHT Be persistent until the prospect explicitly says no without abusing someone’s inbox.
  • 54. NUMBER OF EMAILS ACTION Schedule follow-up emails with a tool such as Boomerang.
  • 56. EMAIL LENGTH DATA 50000 LONG EMAIL # Emails Sent CLOSE RATE 45000 # Responses Received 40000 1.09% # Closed Higher than short 35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 14.93% 16.47% 5000 5.41% 4.32% 0 LONG EMAILS SHORT EMAILS
  • 57. EMAIL LENGTH ANALYSIS Short initial emails resulted in 1.54% more responses than long emails however long emails converted at 1.09% higher rate.
  • 58. EMAIL LENGTH INSIGHT Longer emails typically resulted in more personalization and more detail specific to the content partnership opportunity.
  • 59. EMAIL LENGTH ACTION Throw away your form letters and write more personalized emails.
  • 61. FIRST TOUCH VIA TWITTER DATA TWEETED FIRST TWEETED FIRST Got a Response to Email After Tweeted before emailing Tweeting First Did not get a response Did not tweet first
  • 62. FIRST TOUCH VIA TWITTER ANALYSIS In 2011, 347 emails were sent from users on Buzzstream that have a Twitter account attached. Of those users there were 16 emails sent after initial contact was made via Twitter. Of those 6 elicited responses.
  • 63. FIRST TOUCH VIA TWITTER INSIGHT While the figures are not statistically significant within the scope of this study, the 37.5% response rate is worthy of further investigation.
  • 64. FIRST TOUCH VIA TWITTER ACTION Build relationships using Twitter to engage prospects with contextually relevant information that benefits them.
  • 66. PHONE # VS. NO PHONE # DATA 80000 # Emails Sent # Responses Received 70000 # Closed 60000 50000 40000 NO PHONE # CLOSE RATE 30000 20000 2.48% Higher than with phone # 15.32% 10000 4.62% 20.1% 7.1% 0 WITH PHONE # NO PHONE
  • 67. PHONE # VS. NO PHONE ANALYSIS Emails without phone numbers got 4.78% more responses and 2.48% more link closes. INSIGHT Prospects may correlate the appearance of a phone number in an unsolicited email with those of famous email scams. ACTION Remove phone numbers from initial outreach emails and only provide a phone number should a prospect explicitly ask for it.
  • 68. PHONE # VS. NO PHONE # DATA 80000 # Emails Sent # Responses Received 70000 # Closed 60000 50000 40000 NO PHONE # CLOSE RATE 30000 20000 2.48% Higher than with phone # 15.32% 10000 4.62% 20.1% 7.1% 0 WITH PHONE # NO PHONE
  • 69. PHONE # VS. NO PHONE ANALYSIS Link builders performing outreach without a linked profile in their footer closed 4.98% of the prospects they reached out to while those with linked profiles closed 4.33% of their prospects. The difference in response is similarly negligible at 0.77%. INSIGHT The difference in effectiveness is negligible enough that it does not weigh too heavily on performance whether a linked profile is present or absent. ACTION Link builders should not scramble to add or delete any linked profiles when sending outreach emails. However if a 0.65% increase in closes will make or break a given campaign it is wise to remove them.
  • 70. LOGO VS. NO LOGO DATA 50000 LINKED LOGOS 45000 CLOSE RATE 40000 35000 6.86% Higher than no logo # Emails Sent # Responses Received # Closed 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 14.11% 5000 18.08% 6.03% 3.72% 18.29% 10.58% 0 LINKED EMBEDDED NO LOGO
  • 71. LOGO VS. NO LOGO DATA ANALYSIS Linked logos have the highest rate of close at 10.58% with embedded logos coming in strong at number two with a close rate of 6.03%. Emails with no logos close at 3.72%. INSIGHT Including logos in outreach emails is a trust signal that leads to a drastic increase in link closes. ACTION Link builders should put a brand behind their link building efforts and include the logo for that brand in every outreach email.
  • 72. TADA! I’M AN OUTREACH MASTER!@ipullrank
  • 73. The Worth of A Link (shout out to Mike Essex)@ipullrank
  • 74. LINK EQUITY NOT LINK JUICE What “link juice” makes me think of What “link equity” makes me think ofFormalizing the nomenclature allows clients to the idea of building links a lot moreseriously when they think of it as building value into their online home.
  • 75. LINK EQUITY AS THE FUNCTION OF A LINK BUY Link Brokers charge $100/month for a PR5 link Number of Links You Build Monthly Price of Labor for those links monthly THE VALUE OF LINK EQUITY YOU ARE BUILDINGUse what it would cost to buy the number of links to explain the value of a backlink profile. Thevalue of your labor is offset by the risk of being penalized.
  • 76. LINK EQUITY AS THE FUNCTION OF CPC Incremental Traffic Increase As Computed by Projected Visibility Increase of Link Building Efforts Cost Per Click in Paid Search Price of Labor for those links monthly THE VALUE OF LINK EQUITY YOU ARE BUILDINGAt iAcquire we use what it would cost to buy the incremental projected traffic in PaidSearch. This is a rough approximation of how that could be applied to pricing.
  • 77. Michael King Director of Inbound Marketing @iPullRankTHANK YOU / Q&A