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How a Successful Outreach Email is Like A Marriage Proposal

Insights February 14, 2013

She Said Yes!

Although I am but a young bachelorette, and have never been proposed-to or proposed myself (don’t worry mom!), I can safely say I have read enough romance novels, seen The Notebook and episodes of The Bachelor enough times to know how to declare your love effectively and, ultimately, how to construct a good proposal.

Learning how to successfully communicate with a target audience in marketing, specifically when writing a pitch email here at Terakeet, my dorky, love-obsessed brain couldn’t help but note the similarities.

Essentially, when you are asking for something, you are proposing
something. Regardless of if we’re talking marriage or talking outreach, there is a similar art in succeeding at both.

  •  Starting off with the greeting. “Hi Juliana!” It is very important that you make it personal as well as friendly. Obviously, be careful to say right name (don’t pull a Ross Geller from Friends).
  • Next is the intro. Set the stage for what you want to talk about. Comment on something that this person has done so they know that you not only notice, but that you actually care. Perfect way to lead into the…
  • Give back. You get what you give. Show that you are a reciprocator and let this person know that you value them. You love the new layout of their site, or you love the way they cook dinner for you even after a long workday. Butter them up, but in a genuine way. If you go over the top you can risk losing credibility. There is a fine line between complementing and sucking up. Once you’ve got their attention and they’re feeling good, time to….
  •  Ask. Now, it’s time to pop the question. Come right out and state what it is you want. Be it asking for a share, link, or comment, or if it’s saying “I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day”, be clear and confident but not insensitively pushy.
  •  Close. Be humble and thankful in showing appreciation for this person’s consideration. Worst case scenario, if you are worried you will get majorly denied, you can let the person know if there is some other alternative for them. If they don’t want to fully commit to marriage just yet, maybe you can let them know the offer will remain on the table for the future and you can keep working towards it. Similar to if this person doesn’t want to link to you, maybe they can mention you in a tweet or share your page on Facebook.
  •  Signature. I’m stuck here. I guess this only applies to an outreach email. Unless you’re proposing marriage to someone via email, a letter, or a text, in which case…just don’t.

…Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz inspired this post with this great Whiteboard Friday Video. Check it out!

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