4 Brilliant Outreach Strategies That Are More Likely To Stand Out

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing strategist who has worked with both startups and Fortune 500 brands. He’s also the Founder of Foundation, a B2B Content Marketing Agency and Hustle & Grind, an online store for entrepreneurs. He’s passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing and all things tech.
  • May 8, 2019

I love a meaningful conversation.

In fact, the best part of my day is the time I spend interacting with my clients, my team and my network on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong—I love creating too. But life is all about the people we meet and the things we learn from them.

Yet lately I have started to detest email due to the sheer volume of cold outreach emails I get asking for links or selling me something.

I get it—these tactics are crucial for maintaining good SEO and increasing sales. But it’s painful to read these emails because they aren’t really for me—they are templated, they lack research, they are void of personality. Bottom line: They are just plain bad.

Here’s an example:

This needs to stop. The average office worker receives about 121 emails per day!

No one has time for this.

Cold outreach is vital for every business, but the outreach needs to count. So whether you are approaching another business for a partnership, guest posting on their blog or even sales, there’s a better way to do it.

In this post, I’m going to share four brilliant outreach strategies that will make your cold outreach emails stand out—in a good way. Let’s get to it.

Incorporate Personalized Video Content

A bespoke meal, a tour tailored to our interests, a personalized gift—we all crave a customized experience, don’t we?

It’s because such experiences make us feel valued. They get our attention.

So how can teams build personalization into their outreach efforts?

Using personalized videos is one strategy. Videos have the power to cut through the noise. Companies like Vidyard and Wistia offer tools to create videos tailored to your audience that can then easily be incorporated into your cold outreach pitches.

The sales team at Wistia has been using video as part of their sales outreach for a while now and believes that more companies should try this medium. Here’s what one of their team members says about their success:

“I had a prospect tell me it was the best email marketing approach they’d ever seen, so even if people aren’t ultimately interested, they’re still willing to respond saying how impressed they are.”

But is this a winning strategy? It is.

The Wistia team found that sales outreach emails with video voicemails had a significantly higher click-through rate than those without — 42% as opposed to just 10%.

Jason Dhami, a business development executive at Dooly, also believes in the power of video outreach.

“With video marketing, you have the ability to tell a powerful, unique story. You can’t fake it; the prospect knows it’s made specifically for them,” he explains.

In the video below, he talks about how using video in their outreach helped Dooly 10x their click-through and response rates:

[lyte id=”SZej64zfU7o” /]

The success achieved by Wistia and Vidyard is proof that when it comes to B2B sales, companies need to experiment with innovative and exciting ways to capture their audience’s attention.

Build Trust Before Going In For The Pitch

Have you ever tried to get the attention of a baby you’re meeting for the first time?


We all know how that turns out—at least most of the time.

Getting a response from a prospect who doesn’t know you or trust you (yet) is similarly challenging.

So what we can change here? Regular interactions with a baby will get you in the door, and that same approach can work for your outreach strategy—but only if it’s done in a genuine, non-spammy manner.

Here are 10 different ways you can get on a prospect’s radar before going in for the hard sell. These tactics will increase your chances of getting a click-through and a response:

  1. Leave genuine, meaningful comments on their blog posts
  2. Interact with them on Twitter—retweet them, join a thread they’ve started, or tag them in a relevant conversation
  3. Interact with them in shared communities on Facebook, Slack and other forums
  4. Show your support on social media by downloading their latest ebook or contributing to the nonprofit that they champion
  5. Send a thoughtful email—personalize it by referencing something you saw on their social profile
  6. Recommend them to others
  7. Send them a resource that they will find valuable
  8. Acknowledge their wins on social media and try to start a genuine conversation
  9. Get on a virtual chat with them
  10. Engage with them on LinkedIn

It doesn’t take long to send an outreach email, but by doing some homework and going the extra mile you can definitely increase your chances of getting a positive response and building a long-lasting relationship.

Leverage Visual Personalization

The use of personalization in cold outreach has been a topic of discussion for many years now.

Unfortunately, it often stops with personalizing the headline.


The truth is that personalized email headlines are old hat—everyone and their neighbor is doing it. What marketers should focus on is personalizing the body of the email.

Why does it matter?

Because personalized emails achieve a better click-through rate! A recent study by Backlinko found that personalized messages receive 32.7% more replies than messages that aren’t personalized.

Yes, customizing copy is tough work. Yes, it will make you sweat a little. But isn’t it worth the effort if it brings in $$$? Definitely.

But should only the text be personalized?

Nope. Here’s why:

A study concludes that visuals can increase engagement by more than 180% as well as the desire to read the content by 80%.

Now try applying this insight to your cold outreach process. Do you think adding visuals as a form of personalized content could boost your click-through rate? I believe it would.

Why? We live in a world that’s increasingly visual. We love images and respond better to them than to text.

So how can marketers use visuals in their outreach?

There are a number of ways you can get this going:

  1. Use GIFs to introduce yourself – This is a winning tactic because it shows off your personality. Gifs work well for both marketing and sales outreach. Good one, Team Strikingly:

  1. Use your own pictures for link-building outreach – A fun way of getting attention to your outreach emails is by using your own pictures. Incorporate a picture of you waving at the screen and then adding the prospect’s logo and your company logo to it, or snap a picture that shows you reading the article that you want a link back to. The images can be changed for each prospect. Creating multiple images can be taxing but you can use an Upworker or VA to make the process faster.
  2. Use personalized assets – Adding the company’s logo to assets that you share in the email body can entice them to take a closer look.
  3. Do a micro study on the prospect’s business – Create customized graphs to get their attention.

Those are a few good ways to get started. After a while, you can evaluate your efforts and further refine your outreach process.

You Scratch My Back & I’ll Scratch Yours

I love psychological theories, and talk about them often—especially the ones that can be tied back to marketing. One such theory talks about reciprocity. The theory states that if you offer something of value to people, they are more likely to return the favor.

When applied to cold outreach, the theory of reciprocity can work extremely well.

Take for example an outreach campaign designed to connect with journalists—let’s say you want an intro to their editor or a guest posting opportunity on their blog. First think of ways you can help them, and then seek a favor in return.

I’d probably start on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn where a journalist might post when looking for help with new stories, ideas, etc.

You could also be proactive by, say, identifying a broken link on their website, alerting them to the issue and then making your big ask.

Marketers who are approaching other companies for link building can use this tactic to warm their leads too. A quick way is to link back to the company in a post before approaching them for something in exchange—in a subtle, friendly way.

Adding them to a roundup of experts or inviting them to appear in a podcast or webinar are other clever ways of building a relationship that can simplify later outreach.

Making Your Outreach Count

Cold outreach is a tested strategy that if implemented well can bring marketers and sales teams a lot of success. Of course, that means you need to step out of your comfort zone, be creative and test ideas that will help you stand out.

Whether it’s creating personalized video content, leveraging visuals or finding ways to build trust, there are tons of ways to breathe new life into your cold outreach. You just have to take that first step.

So pick up an idea from the list and apply it to your outreach efforts.

Send me a tweet @TheCoolestCool—I’d love to hear from you.


Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing strategist who has worked with both startups and Fortune 500 brands. He’s also the Founder of Foundation, a B2B Content Marketing Agency and Hustle & Grind, an online store for entrepreneurs. He’s passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing and all things tech.

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