There are so many reasons to reach out to other people in your industry. It may be purely for back links. It may be purely for social shares. It might be for some other kind of partnership.
However, as any business minded individual will tell you, networking is essential.
As a digital marketer I try to network with everyone I can, both online and offline. Youll never know when you might be able to help them or when they can be of some assistance to you.
Its a big part of my day to day work.
But is it for you?
When you reach out to someone, for any reason, are you building the required relationship?
If not then you might want to look at these three common causes of failure.
1. Youre using the wrong words!
Before making contact with anyone you need to be appreciative of their style.
Imagine trying to make friends with a market trader by running up to him and saying:
Good day old chap. Could you possibly delve into the intricacies of your wares so that my wife can make an informed purchasing decision?
Of course you wouldnt.
So why do it online?
Check out the website of the company, individual or group you want to reach. Is their style formal? Is it conversational? Do they get straight to the point or prefer a fuller explanation?
Not only their website, but their social media channels will be invaluable in researching the correct tone to make your approach.
After youve written your initial contact, re-read it after flicking through a couple of pieces of their content. Does it sound like it would sit correctly with them?
If so Go right ahead. If not, take a minute to re-word or even re-write the whole contact.
If you get it wrong once, chances are its a bridge burnt.
2. Youre using the wrong channel!
This is a simple but powerful tip.
Check on the history of your contacts social accounts.
If they post 3 tweets a day, you may have more chances there than by writing on their rarely used Facebook wall. Equally, check their Google+ page or blog comments? Do they appear to use that as a popular way to engage with others.
Email is a tough one. Its often the best way to communicate your message privately without any restrictions. But its also the most likely to be ignored and/or have a delayed response.
One of my favourite ways to approach individuals is try to engage them via a secondary channel such as their social networks, before approaching them via email.
Theyre much more likely to prioritise their contact if youve been brought to their attention previously.
3. Youre being too generic.
Both of the points above feed into this larger issue.
Everybody likes a personal touch.
Most people who are used to working in the digital age can see canned emails a mile off.
To stand out from this incredible wave of s***e youve got to do something different.
First and foremost this means using the persons name! If youre not doing that, youre already in trouble.
Congratulate them on something theyve done thats impressed you. Mention something of theirs youve read in the past. Talk about their Twitter feed.
Whatever it is, youll need to find a way to personalise your approach.
Thats the key to building relationships. Care about the person your contacting. Not the end goal of getting something out of them. If you build the relationship on a personal level, youll no doubt reap the rewards due!
I cant by any means say Im an expert at this yet. Im refining my craft all the time. But by following a few basic best practices, like the ones Ive mentioned in this post, youll soon see your response rate improve.