In the world of link building, few things are more frustrating than spending hours sending carefully crafted emails to people and not getting a single reply.

None. Zero. Nada. Nichts.

Perhaps a bunch of those initial emails landed on seldom-used inboxes, or maybe some of the people on your list are not the right people to contact about your content.

At this point, most of us will sit down and build another list. It makes sense, right?

But before you decide to build another list, did you check your email open rates? If it’s below 5 percent, then your subject line probably sucks.

Before spending more time finding new sites, you should fix your subject line and try again.

Let’s look at tested formulas and subject-line mistakes you need to stop making right now.

“subject lines really can make such a difference”

Much has been written about the perfect subject line in the world of email marketing, but less about content promotion.

That’s why you see so many email marketing tips being applied to link outreach, even though they are two very different worlds.

In one world, you’re more likely to be contacting someone who has opted in because she wants to receive your emails.

In the other world, you’re pitching content to someone who doesn’t know you in hopes of getting a link back to your site.

The scenario is different, so your mindset needs to be different as well.

The foot-in-the-door technique

One of the most powerful theories I’ve applied to my subject lines comes from the world of social psychology, more specifically from the psychology of compliance.

The foot-in-the-door technique tells us that agreeing to a small request will increase the likelihood of agreeing to a second, larger request.

For example, imagine one of your colleagues asked you to sit in on her behalf at the weekly client call because she has a personal errand to attend to. This is a small request that seems reasonable: You work with this client and know what’s going on, so you attend the call and share updates with the client. A week later, the same colleague asks you to take her place on all future weekly calls with this client.

This is definitely a bigger request than the first one.

Research shows that the foot-in-the-door technique will work as long as the big request is consistent with or similar in nature to the original, smaller request. But how does this connect to the subject line of your link pitch?

Our small request here is to open the email; that’s our foot in the door. The larger request will be to get the link.

So, how can we launch our small request? It’s actually quite simple:

Make sure your subject line clearly states what the email is about.
If they click on it, they’ve just told you they’re interested in what you’re sharing.
You now have your foot in the door

When it comes time for the “big” request of linking to your content, it won’t seem like a big or crazy question.




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