Cold Email · · 5 min read

How to Do Cold Email Outreach for Backlinks (Off-Page SEO)

Cold emails are essential to building backlinks. Read on to learn more about cold outreach strategies that you can use to boost your backlink building campaign.

email outreach for backlinks

Cold emails are essential to landing high-quality backlinks for your site, but without a proper framework, your email can fall in the 91.5% of cold emails that don’t get a response.

In this article, we’ll go over the do’s and don’ts of cold outreach as well as the key components of a great cold email that will make all the difference in your link building campaign.

By the time you’re done reading this, you will understand:

  • Why Email Warmup is Crucial for Backlink Outreach
  • Email Outreach for Backlink Building Best Practices
  • Things to Avoid When Doing Backlink Outreach

The first step to a great cold outreach campaign starts with email warm up, a crucial part of building a positive sender reputation so that your emails reach your prospect without landing in their spam folder.

Warming up an email means using it like a normal person would, receiving and sending emails, subscribing to newsletters, and signing up to websites.

Although email warm up can be done manually, it’s a time-consuming process. Automating your email warm up will not only save time but get your email ready for cold outreach a lot quicker.

Check out how you can automate email warm up with for the best deliverability.

Now that your email is up and ready, the following steps outline how to write a cold email that gets replies.

Keep It Simple

Keeping your email simple and concise from the subject line down to your call-to-action will increase engagement and open rates. For example, short and catchy subject lines average two times the open rate of long detailed ones.

When reaching out to website owners, the simpler you can make engagement the better. Adding hyperlinks to referenced pages mentioned or including a link to book a call are all ways of making things easier for prospects.

Customization Is Key

Reaching out to build backlinks means pitching guest posts, pointing out broken links, offering value, and many other situations.

Rather than strictly sticking to a template, you can customize your email to better suit the occasion. If there’s a need, adjusting your wording to current events such as a pandemic or using relevant up-to-date terms will break that generic template tone.

Get Personal

Here is the opportunity to make your cold email stand out from the competition and will not only help you build backlinks, but your network as well.

Message personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and is considered the number one tactic to increase customer engagement.

But what exactly goes into personalizing a cold email? Here is where a little research and crafting get involved.

Before reaching out to a prospect, take the time to learn more about:

  • Their background.
  • If they are active on social media.
  • What their website is about.

Starting your email with a genuine compliment on their latest hit twitter thread or addressing a pain point they recently mentioned on LinkedIn will make your email instantly stand out and maybe even flatter your prospect.

For inspiration, lead gen expert Jack Reamer lays out the CCQ (commonalities, compliments, and questions) method as an easy way to personalize your email.

Linkable Assets

Linkable assets are pieces of content created with the goal of attracting links. In-depth studies, detailed infographics, or online tools are all examples of linkable assets.

Website owners are often on the lookout for valuable content, which is where your linkable asset can come in.

It helps to think backwards when creating content worth sharing. What are competitors creating that generates lots of backlinks? What studies, statistics, or even online tools would audiences find valuable?

The skyscraper and reverse outreach technique are two examples of how the above questions can be put into action.

Demonstrate Value

The key to a results-driven email outreach campaign is demonstrating what value you can offer to your prospect and highlighting how they or their readers can benefit.

While the main goal of your cold outreach is to build backlinks, it is the end product of a successful value proposition.

Asking the following questions will help guide you in demonstrating value:

  • Does your email offer content valuable to the website owner’s audience?
  • Do you have a linkable asset that is relevant, resourceful, and worth linking to for this prospect?
  • Is your guest blog idea unique, backed by research, and sure to drive engagement?

Using tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush offer more in-depth methods of demonstrating value such as pinpointing broken backlinks or outdated references that can be replaced.


Include a clear and strong call to action at the end of your email. Make sure your CTA is not vague or left up to interpretation. Ask whether your offer would interest them or, if applicable, invite them to book a call through a booking link.

Follow Up Emails

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, an email can get lost or simply ignored for a variety of reasons. In the world of sales, 70% of salespeople stop at one email, and when it comes to link building, it’s likely not so different.

That’s why sending not one, but several follow-up emails are crucial to a successful outreach campaign. You instantly stand out from the competition and show your prospects you’re serious about getting in touch.

Before sending a follow-up email, wait at least three to five days and avoid sending them on weekends or holidays.

Looking to create a great follow-up sequence? Use these follow-up email templates to get started.

backlink email outreach

Below we’ll go over some common mistakes people make when doing link building outreach and how you can avoid them.

Not Optimizing Your Subject Line

Sometimes when sending out emails in bulk quantities, a mishap can occur where the subject line will include input code like {{firstName}} or long reference numbers that immediately scream out “delete me!”

Be sure to test send your emails beforehand to avoid such mishaps.

Merge Fails

Just like having a blaring line of code in your subject line, the same problem can crop up in the contents of your email as a merge fail, where {{firstName}} shows up in place of where the recipient’s name should be.

Using Weird or Spammy Fonts

Fancy and colorful fonts may look more attractive but in the mechanical eyes of spam filters, it risks landing in the spam folder or in the promotions tab.

Sticking to plain text without any formatting throughout the email, including in the signature, is always a safer strategy.

Exclamation Overload

This one may seem obvious but too many exclamation marks in the subject line or email can trigger spam filters, especially when coupled with words like “free” or “buy now”.

Keeping exclamation marks to a minimum sounds much more natural! Really!

Mind Your Grammar

Subject line: “Great chances for guest blog!!!”

Grammatical mistakes in the subject line or in the email will immediately make your outreach attempt look unprofessional, lackluster, and likely get it discarded on the spot.

Good Copy, Bad Copy

Using generic or overly official greetings like “Hello,” or “Dear Sir/Madam,” may have been the norm for handwritten letters back in the day, but in emails, they’re a great way to make someone lose interest from the get-go.

The same goes for bland introductions like:

“My name is John and I am the content manager at I am sending this email regarding…”

Try adding humor, genuine compliments, or simple questions in your opening lines to grab attention and keep your prospect engaged. If you can make them smile, you’ve made their day a little better! And as a result, they’ll be far more open to reply.

Key Takeaways

Cold email outreach is one of the best ways to expand your brand, build your network, and most importantly, land quality backlinks for your site.

To effectively get the most out of your cold outreach efforts in link building, be sure to:

  • Warm up your email to reach optimal deliverability.
  • Simplify and personalize your emails to get the best results.
  • Have something of value to offer.
  • Prepare and schedule follow-up emails in advance.
  • Use plain text and check your grammar before hitting send.

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