In our previous ActiveGrowth podcast episode, we had a chat with Tim Soulo from Ahrefs about the importance of SEO and knowing your potential customers to increase your website traffic without spending much on it.
You learned that SEO doesn't exclusively happen on your own website: to get quality backlinks and reach more people, you should get featured on other channels. And to make it happen, you need to start doing outreach.
Today, we brought to you Colin Shipp, networking, PR and outreach expert, to dive deeper into effective targeting and outreach. You'll learn how to do your research, reach out to the right people and get the "yes" you need to get more traffic, customers and quality relationships that will help you level up your business.
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Shane Melaugh: Hello and welcome to The ActiveGrowth Podcast. Today's episode is a continuation of our series on how to generate traffic on a bootstrap budget. So if you're in a position where you need to get more visitors to your website and your business but you can't just reach into some deep pockets and start spending money on things like pay-per-click advertising, then this series is for you.
Today we're talking to Colin Shipp who has some advice on how to do networking and outreach and PR, which is what I would call very up to date. It is tested and proven in the present, in this ever changing environment, that is online marketing. And Colin has some advice that I need because he specializes in some of the things that I'm generally not very good at, that I, if anything, have neglected in my own marketing. So I'm learning as much here as you are during this interview.
From Colin, you'll hear why you should put together a hero list and how to use it and will also talk about the importance of how to differentiate yourself and how to be able to compete in an increasingly competitive space, where for example if you're trying to sell an online course, you're basically up against large players like Udemy or MasterClass who do have deep pockets, who do have big budgets and who are trying to stamp all over your market. But with this approach that we're going to talk about today, you can differentiate yourself and you can compete.
To get the show notes for this episode as well as links to everything we mentioned, go to activegrowth.com/herolist. That's activegrowth.com/herolist, all one word, to get show notes and to leave a comment or a voice message.
And with that, let's get into the episode. But before we get into the main part of the episode, I want to go to our voicemails and take a look at new messages we've received and I want to reply to some of those messages. So here's the first message on the topic of traffic generation. This was sent in by [Bhavish 00:02:13], I hope I didn't just mangle your name there but here is your input.
Bhavish: Hey Shane, this is good stuff. I just wanted to add one more thing which is that one of the things that I've tried is giving people platform as guests. I think this is all for variation of the podcast combined with the idea of being a speaker. But the idea here is they're putting together a panel of people that share expertise in a specific niche. So this could be done through video conferencing nowadays, so that's another way to do it. So this way people get to be speakers and experts in front of a lot of people without them having to show up as speakers per se. So this is sort of like adding a video twist to a podcast with a guest. I don't know if that's a separate strategy or not but I just wanted to add that in. And I also wanted to try out this new feature that you have, new product. I just wanted to test it for myself and see how it works. Thanks, hope that helped.
Shane: This is a good point. This is something that is indeed a high breed of some of the strategies we talked about in the first episode, the big list of traffic generation strategies. And yeah, we didn't mention that specifically. And I have seen this, I have seen this often called something like an online summit. So it's kind of like a conference but instead of it being in a physical venue, somewhere in the real world, it takes place online. And it's usually in the form of some webinars and things like that. And I think it can be an interesting thing to try out for sure because it is easier to put together something like this, that it's an online summit of this kind, than it is to do a real world one.
And in a way it might be a good way to kind of test the waters. If you're in online marketing, I wouldn't recommend doing this. And there's probably some other big kind of saturated niches where I wouldn't necessarily do this because it's probably overdone. And there's already a ton of real world conferences that people would rather go to than basically attending a bunch of webinars online.
But, if this isn't something that's already overdone in your niche, I think this could be worth trying. It's first of all worth finding if anyone else is doing this and seeing if you can appear as a speaker, but it's also something you could try putting together. And if there's a lot of demand for it, if it does really well, that could be a signal that maybe doing an offline, a real world event could be something that you could use. Now, I wouldn't call this a traffic generation strategy, doing a real world event, because that's not so much of a traffic anymore, that's more of building a brand and building a community. But that of course can be great. So I think this is a great input, this is a great addition to this traffic generation strategies we already talked about. So thank you for this message.
And then there's one more message I want to respond to that was sent in by [Angli May 00:05:10].
Speaker 1: I'm really impressed and I feel really lucky to know about you because there are so many voices in the online entrepreneurial world that are misleading. And I thank you for being true and for being people with the highest integrity. I respect you a lot, thank you so much.
Shane: Thank you very much for this message. That's really encouraging for us to hear. Of course, this is a big deal to us. We do this podcast, podcast is still just a passion project as you might have noticed from the fact that there are never any ads or anything playing. And this means a lot. This means a lot so thank you very much. It's really great to hear that you find value in what we do and ... yeah. So thank you very much for this and for any positive reviews and comments you send in. It is really, really encouraging for us.
All right, so with that said, here is Colin Shipp. Thank you for joining Colin and can you give us a quick introduction of who you are, what you do?
Colin Shipp: Yeah. Thanks for having me on Shane. Yeah, basically, the past I'd say three and a half, now going on to four years, I've done what started of as just video marketing for clients is now kind of a full content promotion and content marketing consulting for brands.
Shane: All right, cool. So we brought you on because in this series, we are talking about how to gain initial traction. If you've got your product ready, you've got your course ready to sell, you've done your validation so you basically know that this something people want. But the people don't just come beat down a path to your door unfortunately, you got to do something to get the word out. And you've got some advice that I'd like to talk to you about this strategy you've mentioned to me on how you would recommend someone get this initial traction.
Colin Shipp: Yeah, of course. I mean, you've kind of already said it. A lot of it is that there's no one coming and banging down your door to buy your stuff on the internet. A lot of things, especially in digital products and digital courses and maybe 15 ... I have some friends that have had businesses now for like 20 years and the digital course and online course info products market. And 20 years ago, there was like one product in certain markets. Like there wasn't 100 like there is now. There was literally one, two a few products and there was only a few ways to advertise those products. You couldn't host video online, a lot of things have changed. And now with just online education, getting bigger with these courses, these big platforms like Lynda, Skillshare, Udemy, and then even just big new, premium ones like Masterclass and these different online sources that have funding and unbelievable marketing budgets that just crash you when it comes to Facebook advertising, AdWords and just any form of paid marketing.
Now, most people listening to this, probably have either a tiny direct response paid marketing budget or zero paid budget at all, which doesn't always matter to get started. Actually, you probably don't want to start spending money to start your business to acquire your first customers.
Shane: Yeah. Actually, and if I can quickly jump in there, I think you mentioned there is really important regarding outdated advice because there are still ... I mean, you can buy books now, some of them are former best sellers and they might show up in the recommendations basically in Amazon. You can find online marketing teachers or gurus or whatever who will teach you things that worked one or two decades ago. And the original niche marketing online was find a niche, build a website basically jumped on. Because you could be the first to talk about whatever, some niche topic. And then indeed people would beat the path to your door because it's like, "Oh, finally there's a website about this topic I care about." But I think that's very important to be aware of when does this advice come from? And that's one of the things we are talking about here, about the kind of stuff that works now in a saturated market where it's no longer a new and exciting thing like, "Oh my God, someone made a course. I've never heard of that before."
Colin Shipp: You know creating a course is not about being ... The reason why I bring this stuff up about the creation and the product and what market you're in, in general because that dictates a lot of how you market and what I found and what methods and what strategies to reach out and to get your brand exposed and out there, it depends on kind of what your product is and what market you're in. So for example, in the fitness industry, it's not about the best fitness product because it's all preferential. 'Cause there's every little of diet 'cause there's like the ketogenic diet or paleo or counting calories or whatever you want to do. All of them work to some extent, it's just a preference for different customers and different parts of the market.
So it's not about having the best course, it's about connecting, what I found when it comes to outreach and getting your brand kind of the first website or your YouTube channel or whatever it is, launched and started, is by having a unique voice and finding people that connect and resonate with that. And finding blogs that are similar or finding content creators or other related businesses or places that would feature your business that kind of resonate and relate to your unique voice. Even if you're just starting off, you have a different angle about whether it's fitness or business or it could be woodworking for some random small niche. You have a different way that you do it.
Shane: Yeah. And this is one of the reasons why it's so important not to try to appeal to everyone, not to try and be like, "I'm going to make the fitness product for everyone. I'm going to include every possible person is the right person for this fitness product." That's exactly the wrong approach because then you miss out on this opportunity to appeal to a specific subgroup. And if you just make the generic fitness course, it's going to be so difficult to win people over. But if you make the fitness course for single moms who want to have a plant-based ketogenic diet or something, then it's like there's going to be this small group of people are like, "Yes, this is the one I want."
Colin Shipp: Exactly. You want to talk to ... I've talked this with Hannah as well too about the 1000 True Fans thing by Kevin Kelly. Silicon Valley made that thing really popular but the premise of that is you find your small group of people that are your loyal fans and customers and you base your business around them, not around the masses. So why I even bring that up, 'cause I'm not talking about production creation, I'm talking about outreach and what I call it, the new form of PR.
PR used to be very different in outreach for your brand and business. Like getting press and media exposure and publications used to be way different. And now it's much simpler, streamlined and everyone has access to it now. But before you even step foot to promoting your brand, you have to know who you are and what's different about you and who would even want what you're selling, what you're offering as a service or what you're even doing. Connecting those dots before you even begin to make steps to make relationships in your market or to get to do any kind of collaboration in your market, you have to have that nailed.
Shane: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think this is all something ... I'm really looking forward to hear what you say about this because this is something that I have not done very well and I have warned about this before. It's like, I do try to run my business in such a way that's kind of a good example of how to do it but there are some things that I'm not very good at. And this kind of thing, PR, outreach and even like having a very strong clear, this is who I am identity, is something that I have not done a great job of, especially not on ActiveGrowth. 'Cause what's missing here, if you look at a website like ActiveGrowth, it's like, "Okay, yeah, Shane is the entrepreneurial skills guy, I guess." But it used to be that I was the SEO guy and then I was the affiliate marketing guy and it's like it's changed so many times that even I'm confused at this point. So that's not great.
If you compare that to a site like ConversionXL. ConversionXL for me is one of the best examples of this because they launched with huge success and right away it's like this is the professional conversion rate optimizer blog, that's what this is. It's so clear what this is about and everybody can sum that up in one sentence. And it's this kind of thing, if you have this kind of really clear identity, the way I think of it is, it should be summable like that. People should be able to say, "Oh yeah, Shane is the such and such guy and Colin is the PR and outreach guy." That is the kind of clarity that you need to bring to the table.
Colin Shipp: Yes, exactly. So part of the strategy and the methods I'm going to give for doing outreaching kind of doing the new form of PR is you have to make sure your brand is memorable before you try to make a relationship with someone. You can't try to be the jack of all trades or the life coach that does 10 different things or the guy who talks about marketing of everything form of marketing. It just doesn't work like ... If I want to do Facebook advertising, I want to go to the best Facebook advertising person that doesn't double in other forms of paid marketing. I don't want the pay-per-click specialist, I don't want the guy that does the SEO on the side. I want the person that they eat, sleep and breath for that one particular method. And actually, when you want to reach out to people for your brand, that's what you want to have in mind. Yeah, actually I think now would be a good time to maybe transition into the actual what I want to do.
Shane: Exactly. Let's get into this. So assuming that we have this, we've talked about this in previous episodes, so assuming you have this clear idea, this is who I am, what do we do? What's the first step?
Colin Shipp: Yes. The main thing is ... So, there's lots of different names for it. I call it the combination just a couple of names. There's dream 100 list or your superhero list. So whatever name you like, it doesn't matter. Essentially what this is, it is a list of people in your market that you aspire to be or you would love to be featured on. So whether it's a blog, a YouTube channel, an Instagram feed, I look at all these things really similar. So I don't like to differentiate between platforms. I like to look at a lot of them the same. Like Instagram and YouTube and a blog is all like a hub now. They all get so much traffic and there's so much exposure and the right audiences are in each of those different places. So I like to know who those people are. So you just literally make a spreadsheet, it doesn't matter if it's Google Sheets or Excel, it doesn't matter. And you search your market for these different people that are like your superheros in your market that you want to aspire to be.
Now, with that list, it's not just the biggest of the biggest players. So how I find this list is very simple. I call this like just digging, like internet. I've talked with some people on your team about this Shane, with just like digging the internet and kind of just connecting the dots of where to find these people. So the obvious one is Google search. So google searching your top keywords and just figuring out who the blogs are on your market. Now, if you do like generic searches, let's say like fitness, like that's an easy one. It's like paleo diet. If you're like in the paleo diet or recipe market, you want to just search like paleo diet on Google.
Now, don't just pick the first like one to five search results. Go deeper, go to like page three, four and five 'cause you'll find blogs that are good. They're just not ranking in Google but that doesn't mean a) they don't get traffic, b) doesn't mean they're not a real business or a potential collaboration with you to feature your brand. And doesn't mean they might have something like a podcast you could go on. They may have something like a YouTube channel but their SEO isn't that good on Google. So I don't want you to just think of the first one through 10, type your main keywords in Google and then go through a few pages to find all different blogs of ones you haven't heard of. And that's kind of one strategy I use.
Shane: Yeah. I have done similar things for market research as well and one thing that I notice is I really have to dive deep because it's only once I actually start reading different blog posts and checking out different YouTube channels and whatever else I'm looking for, that you start to see these patterns. For example, on YouTube you'll easily find the top most popular channels in any given niche. But once you actually go and look at some of their videos and for example look at the comments, you'll often find that some of the smaller channels will leave comments on the videos of the big players.
And that's one of the ways you might not find the smaller channel directly, but as you go through this content, you see, "Oh, this person here is showing up in the comments again and again." So you check them out and then yeah, maybe it turns out that they have their own channel which is a bit smaller or they have a podcast. And it's this kind of thing, like you said, it's only once you go a level deeper than just the initial search, that you start finding this potential candidates that are not the most obviously ones.
Colin Shipp: Exactly. I got this from Brian Dean in backlinko.com so I'll give him credit. He always used to tell me that you want to find, and this is for SEO purposes but it's very similar, you want to find backlinks and links to upcoming blogs that are growing, not just the biggest ones. You want to ride the wave with these sites, in these channels, in these publications, you don't want to be the one that just gets on Huffington Post. Like a good example is if you are on Tim Ferriss's podcast about four or five years ago when it started, and then you built a relationship and did another one in the past couple years, you rode the wave. You were there when it was small and then now you're here when it's like the biggest online. Same with like Joe Rogan's podcast. And there's a list of these things with podcast and blogs are the same. Someone who wrote for Huffington Post or Forbes a long time ago, is now writing a lot or getting a lot of exposure because of these riding the wave with these publications.
So, you can do the same in your market. It's easy to give the examples of mass media ones because everyone knows what they are. But every single market, I mean, I haven't found one that doesn't have some media publications like a content site, is what I would call this. It's like a site that just creates content, whether it's for sponsored content, advertising, digital courses, whatever. That's writes consistent content or produces content in video or podcast form. Every market has it. I just take it as an excuse when someone says I can't find anything. There's always a market and there's always an adjacent market or a shoulder market that's very similar to yours that could potentially promote your product.
So, once I find ... A really simple way to find other blogs is you find a really awesome blog. Awesome is relative but I'm going to use it in the terms of like the one that has the most actionable long form content that you can find in your market. So if that's in cooking, it's like a 4,000 word guide to cooking this one dish or this type of dish, or this type of recipe or a style of cooking. Like if you want the really long form content, you don't want the blog that post this little 300 word blog posts and just lets 'em go like five a day. That's not really what you're looking for, for this next strategy. You want to find a really high quality long form content site. And typically, these sites have more backlinks than the ones that just write little 500 word blog posts. That's a blanket statement but typically that's what I find.
Now, another way I do define it a little faster is I use a backlink analysis tool. I prefer Ahrefs, Ahrefs, I'm not sure how to say it, or Moz I think has the same feature and there's probably a couple other tools in the market as well. These are SEO tools. This tool allows me to just see who's linking to the bigger site with greater high quality content. So what I look for is other sites in the market that link to the bigger site.
And then there it gives me a whole new list of sites and potential blogs and other publications that I didn't find in Google. And you're not really going to find any results unless you spend crazy amounts of time searching through like places like Quora, Reddit and Facebook groups and stuff like that. So I like to put these in a link analysis tool. A lot of these even have like free trials if you don't have this. And you can find out who's linking to these other sites. And that's like a very quick way 'cause you can sort it by all these different unique URLs. That's why I find them at scale.
Shane: Okay. Yeah, so that's how you kind of find the secondary stuff. Yeah.
Colin Shipp: And once you find the tops ones, you're going to end up finding the same exact sites in Google. It happens every time I do this. After like an hour of doing this, you just keep running into this. It's like an 80/20, like the same, the top 20% of the sites on Google. So you're just going to keep finding the same sites after a while. And I find unless it's really big market, you typically find about 50 to 60 unique sites with decent traffic.
And on the side of this, now, I'm not sure how well this tool is, as far as like traffic analysis goes, but I use a Chrome extension called SimilarWeb to at least get a gauge if the site has traffic. So I'm not really concerned about how much traffic they're getting 'cause I've seen these numbers be wildly off but SimilarWeb, it's a pretty premium software tool but they have a free Chrome extension that I use. They just gauge how much traffic a site gets within ... It could literally be off by 100,000 but it shows you if it's at least getting traffic.
PART 1 OF 3 ENDS [00:23:04]
Colin Shipp: Maybe off by 100,000, but it shows you if it's at least getting traffic. And that's what I use.
Shane: So these kinds of tools are very much like ballpark, even though they will give you exact numbers, the basically nonsense, but it will tell you this website get thousands of visitors or millions of visitors. Like on that scale it can give you some feedback. So if we've done all this stuff. So I follow all these steps and I make my list, write my spreadsheet of 100 websites where I want to get featured or linked or something. Let's say I've got my 100. Do you sort them by any, like do you sort them from biggest to smallest or it's you just have 100, however you found them.
Colin Shipp: Yeah. So I like to sorted by take all metrics out of the equation. So especially when you're just starting off in your business. And I did this when I first got started. As you're thinking like I want like for backlink purposes and SEO like I want the highest domain authority site first or you want like the biggest site first and I find that a little bit backwards because all of these metrics and all this stuff really isn't all that important when it comes down to you actually making sales and getting your brand to grow. So I like to bring it more to if you could just pick a brand that gut feeling and reaction that you want to have your blog or YouTube channel featured on listed from order from, you want to be on it most to least. So no metrics, more like which one would you like to see like blogger, if he linked to you or if you got to appear on his podcast, you've got to write a guest post for him. Which one would you want to be on the most? Just from a personal standpoint.
Shane: Okay, that's great. Alright, so we've got this list and so what do I do next? What do I do with all these sites and links?
Colin Shipp: Exactly. So this is ... So just to give the listeners an idea that part is the most like kind of headache inducing labor parts so there is no shortcut to creating a cold outreach campaign or executing it. This is the part which is gotten me a lot of clients and the reason why this works is because it is so difficult for like a larger business of like maybe 15 or 20 employees to someone to execute this because there's so many moving parts. And if you already have a lot of stuff on your plate, it's tough to do this right and take the time and effort required and put the attention to detail. So once you find this list, what you need to do is you want to, I call it gathering dirt. So you basically want to gather dirt on all of these websites. What you want to do is you want to use the same spreadsheet and you want to get as much dirt as you can on the site.
So if it's like a news site, who's the editor, who are the top writers, who and if it's like a blog, a business like an online course creator or maybe they sell econ or whatever the case is, or an Amazon business bloggers something. Who is the owner or like the name of the business, like who is the one who's on the byline of all the posts and all the all that stuff. So for active growth outlook for it'd be you or I think maths is to disarm or whatever it'd be, I'd find that person. And for other blogs you want to just find who's writing the content, who's the one who's like shipping it out. And that's what you want to do is find who these people are and get there, whatever you can.
If they have a name, put that in the spreadsheet. If they have a Twitter handle and put that too, they have their email. Put that there. If each, like in the news world, like media, Twitter is huge. They love to put their Twitter handle, but they never put their email ever, ever. But if you go to Twitter, their Twitter says open for DMs. Oh, that's like email to journalists, like don't email them, but send them a DM on Twitter. That's where they're kind of open to communicating. So when you're going through, just find like these different connection points and touch points that you can get ahold of each of the right people. So to kind of recap it really simply, what I do is I take the, find the people that are the most important for me to get featured on their site in all aspects that could be doing a guest video, guest blog post, backlink, podcast guest, social media shout out.
Me doing social media concept for them. Whatever you however you think fits for your business or your idea, that's who you want to find. And you want to find at least one to three people. Never rely on one. Always try to find multiple because so example, Shane, if someone couldn't get ahold of you, but then they messaged Hannah and then they emailed you again. Then the emailed someone else, they're going to get through to somebody. Someone's going to be like, who is this? Someone's going to let it come through and you need to find out who the right person is. So that is ... And then that you can't always tell by their website, contact us page.
I typically try to avoid those. So that's the process of kind of gathering the dirt on these websites as you go through and find all the relevant information, pop it into your spreadsheet and there's no real organization system. Just make sure you can understand what you're doing. You don't need, you can use as many columns or rows as you want. Just make sure you can read it and then you gather that data and then that is how you have the contact data for or at least the name. So that's what I do with it next.
Shane: Okay, cool. Yeah, so we ... I think one of the thing that we're getting here is that you basically want to get down to the person, right? Because yeah, sure, the website has a contact form, but often you can send an email there and who knows what happens with it.
Colin Shipp: Every site has people you can email. This is like I can't find a common excuse. Again, I can't find the contact info. Yes, you can for first is that every site you can find it through, whether it's the next thing I'm going to talk about, but there's always a way to find an email to someone. The way to find an email is. So there's cool tools. I've only used them sparingly but I've had friends that have used them for me Email Hunter is like a extension, I want to say. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but that's a good tool. I personally like to do a little bit old school and I like to use three to four platforms. So I'd like to do one, take their name if you have first and last and just pop it into Google and see what happens.
Like just what do you find, do they have a personal blog. Do you find what, whatever you find, did they have like an about me page? Do they have, what do they have? Second thing I do is I like to go to ... So if you can't find the email of the person there, I like to go to Facebook and type in their name and try to find the person that's like try to find that exact person. So they're employed at the same company. Maybe they live in this state where the company is based in. Sometimes you have to kind of just dig. That's why I call it like digging the Internet and getting the dirt because it's not like there's no tool that just scrapes all this data accurately because what I'm looking for is their personal phone number.
Like I want the most direct form of contact you could possibly find. Company like jobs at XYZ or info@Xyz.com is the worst email you could get. And I'd prefer like a personal number I could text. So like there's like two extremes of the scale you want to get as close to like the personal number you could text as you can. So in order to do that requires you to find them on Facebook and see what you can find their email and their about section. Go on Twitter, see if you can search their name and if you could find their email or linkedln is the one of the last ones I like to use. That's kind of can usually find some kind of email. If you go on linkedln and search for them and find them, you can usually find that email that way.
Shane: Okay. So let's say we have that for most of our sites least what's next?
Colin Shipp: Let me to touch on one more thing before we move on. Is that this process is the reason why I like to batch it in groups of like 50 to 100 is because if you're staring at a spreadsheet of a thousand names, this looks really daunting. This is really intensive if you have 1000 names, but realistically if you focus this will take you about a week of pretty intense work or a week or two but once you do this right and weaker to meeting also sending the emails and getting results and getting like feedback back to you. But it just takes focus and time. But if you have 1000 sites and you get like a 2% response rate, that's not very good. But if you have 100 sites and you can get a 20% response rate and success rate out of like 100 sites, you built way better relationships and you have way less stress because you're not looking at like 1000 names.
You remember all these sites you're talking to and you're reaching out to. That's a really key thing to not focus because we talked with this before we started recording was everyone wants to scale everything in marketing. Oh, it's like you start a business, you just want to go right to the moon. Like, oh, like we do a cold outreach campaign, how do we get a million or a thousand backlinks? How did we get 1000 people that want to do a guest post for it. Let's get like one and then we'll get two and then we'll get three and then we'll get maybe five. This process is going to get you like one to 20 efficiently versus using a bunch of tools to send a bunch of mass cold emails and to do a bunch of stuff that doesn't work and gets you 2% results.
Shane: Yeah, yeah. For sure there is a huge aspect of basically power laws in this kind of thing because yes you can automate some of these, right? You can get some scraping tool that just goes through Google results, whatever and scrapes email addresses and then you can blast people with emails of stuff. But the problem is you can do that at a mass scale and yes, maybe you will get 200 back links out of that, but it's going to be 200 back links from some rubbish websites. Or you can get and you have to see that you could get 100 people tweet a link to your website that makes no difference, but if you get one, if you get the right influencer to tweet about your website, not because they were like cajoled into epics, but because you contacted them, they actually like what you're doing. And they're like, yes, I want to mention this. That could move the needle. And I think it's very important to focus on the things that actually move the needle and not just a numbers. I've seen this over and over again. There's so much you can do to get the numbers without getting the results.
Colin Shipp: Yeah, exactly. And this is something that people, I've talked with Hannah about this a lot actually, is that I still don't have a website for myself and I neither do I have like "traffic" but I don't have the time for more work. So it's just like, okay, I focus on selling and growing money in the front door, which is what grows the business. Not necessarily just raw traffic that doesn't convert and that's what this strategy is developed out of is let's say I give a presentation somewhere at a conference and I have five interested potential clients I want to have three of them start working with me, not like 1000 clients and I have get two clients out of it. How can I make turn like 50%, 75% of people that I would talk to, like they're serious.
And I like to take the same approach to, but I do cold outreach for clients is, that it's all translates over and especially when you're starting wanting to go forth, everything is in thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands. It's better to just get like a quick winds and start moving the needle with numbers that matter and they get you traffic and email subscribers for your business. So I know that's what you guys talk about a lot to unpack there is like getting real email subscribers and customers and not Facebook likes.
Shane: Yeah, exactly. As you focus on the stuff that matters. So I 100% agree with this part.
Colin Shipp: Yeah. So that's kind of setting up for why I do it this way and why it's so manual intensive. But what it does is it sets you apart because the next thing we're going to talk about is how you actually reach out to them and why it's actually effective. Why I say, Oh, I get like on average we get a 17% success rate when I do this. I've attracted in 17% of this when I do from the start to the end. This is the results that I get is because when you start doing the outreach these people, they're shocked at how much effort, time and attention you spent to send them an email. Like they're absolutely blown away that you took the time to gather all this information and figure this stuff out and presented how you do.
Shane: Yeah. So let's get into that because I think that's one of the big problems with outreaches that any influence or anyone who's got any kind of audience online and it kind of exposure will basically get an unlimited flood of just rubbish outreach or just copy pasted messages where people are making the most insane demand. I mean we're just clear that they haven't spent a second looking at your website because they're asking you to do something that's just for example, a typical thing for me is that I will get outreach messages saying, Oh, do you want to run our ads on your website? It's like you have to take one look at my website to see that I don't run ads. So why are you asking me this? Right? So what do we do to not be part of this Just flood of requests that people get?
Colin Shipp: Exactly. So if you were going to do in this to grow your business, you do not use any automation tools and sending us emails. You get a Gmail account. So don't use a Yahoo, use a Gmail account, which I'm guessing most of the listeners do, but just get your hands dirty with the Gmail account in one chrome extension called MixMax, M-I-X-M-A-X. It's free and there's a paid version. It's a great value. It's like $29 a month or 19. It's very inexpensive and it's very valuable. It's literally the only tool I use in this entire process outside of a Google sheet and random notes on pieces of paper around me. I'm not the most organized or most organized person in the world. And this I could still make this work. So yeah, and those things, that's it.
The main thing that the email is you need to get into the mind of a couple things or there's this one phrase I was myself is how can I stroke their ego? First and foremost, how do I stroke their ego? So Shane, if someone messaged you or emailed you and it's like hey, I read your blog posts about starting online business and I'd love this, this and this, and I thought this point about how you guys talk about how people doing it this way or a wrong and people doing it this way or just killing and all these things are like the thing, your core beliefs. It's kind of going at your core beliefs and you're like, oh thanks. I thought, yeah, like someone's getting value out of this. It's like the personal trainer that gets that email or that message of like super detailed and personal, how they changed their life. They usually put it on Instagram.
Colin Shipp: It's like, someone's like, "Oh look at my client." Boom. Those kinds of things that really hit the person's core beliefs is like in core beliefs are easy to find in when you're talking about people that are writing and producing content and video or podcast. You can hear it in their voice. You could hear the stuff they always talk and write about, so what they're about, like you already know before you reach out what their ankle is and what they're about. So for me, for active growth, I already know it's no nonsense business building, focus on the metrics that matter, they make your business money to grow it to where you can actually grow and have a business for your life. Like pretty simple.
Shane: And I think this for sure I can confirm that. I love hearing from people for whom I've made a difference, that's one of my favorite messages to get is when someone says, hey, sometimes it's like hey, I took this course you made like five years ago and it changed I'm now, I have my own business. And things were going well at that kind of thing. Right? Or even just like, oh, this podcast episode really spoke to me. It really made a difference for me. This is my favorite thing to hear. So for sure that will be a basically an example of stroking my ego. And also it makes a huge difference because almost all bad outreach messages or just me, me, me, me, me from the person sending it, right. It's like I run this agency, I have this product, I have this thing, will you link to me? It's like, no, no, this is all just about you. You don't even care who I am. Right.
Colin Shipp: Exactly. 100%. So there's two main components of the email. One is this is like, so you need to put in your copywriting hat. So this is like, you need to think in a little bit of might of like a direct response copywriter of like when you're, if you haven't studied copywriting, I recommend that if you're going to learn a skill in marketing, that is the skill you want to learn, that's a different topic. But that's just, that helps with everything. Second of all, you want to make sure you're speaking to them, not at them. So when you write a subject line, don't yell at them, you want to make it like you're trying to start a conversation with them, not pitch something.
You need to think of the mind if you want to start a conversation with this person, just like if you saw them at a restaurant or a bar. What would you want to say to them or what would be one of the first things you would say that would make them want to talk to you? Because if you walked up to someone at a bar and said something to pitch them on something, they'd walk away. That'd be best case scenario actually best case scenarios, they walk away. So in this case, don't treat it any different because it's actually, they're gonna. All they know is your tone of voice through this written message. They don't know anything else about you. So you have like a split second. I get dozens of emails a day and a lot of times they just go subject line unread right to the delete.
Out of sight, out of mind, I just don't want to reply. I don't make that a thing. I don't say ... And most people do. They're not going to reply to that.
Shane: We all have to protect our time from this overflow of messages, right?
Colin Shipp: Yeah. It's impossible to get anything done and it just gives you a headache. So you have to think that you're unimportant. I know it's like of hurtful to the listeners like you have to realize that you are unimportant in their world, but what can you do to make yourself valuable and important. That frame is how you want to approach this subject line. Now, each market, the subject line is different, but in the gist of it, the main frame of it I like to use is you want to ask for their opinion however you word it, but you want to ask for their opinion, thoughts, ideas, theories, whatever you want, whatever your market kind of the lingo or the language of your market is, but you want to get their opinion. That's, that's bottom line. What I want to do with the subject line that gets, literally gets upwards of 60% open rates on a cold email because of a few things that lead before.
Shane: Yeah. That makes sense to me.
Colin Shipp: Because it was the right email.
Shane: Again, it's kind of flattering, right? It's kind of flattering. Someone wants to know my perspective on something.
Colin Shipp: Yes, exactly. So you want to use ... One I've used before is like first name, comma, or just first name nothing. Can I get your opinion or can I get your opinion on this?
Or if you want to get really specific, can I get your opinion on the paleo diet if they've like either for it or they're really against it. Either one of those is like kind of get your opinion on it so it doesn't matter always if they're for it or it gets it because you've covered both. If they hate it, they're going to come back, oh I can't wait to write this email, I'm going to show them. And then the other way is like. And then even if that person gets like I'm using air quotes, angry emails you, you can be like, oh no, I totally agree with you. I just wanted to hear your thoughts. They're like, oh, awesome, like thanks. And if they are like for the paleo diet, they'll give you this. I've gotten like three paragraph answers back, like literally three paragraph answers that are about that topic.
And I'm like, wow, I don't even care. Like it's like it's a great, like wow, that worked because you're the point of it's not even about what they reply back that they took the time to reply. So we get 60% to 70% open rates with about 30% to 50% reply rates. There's ranges because each campaign gets, it's in a decent range, but it's not like a 5% range. I can't say it's like 45% to 50%. It does swing sometimes. It can be all kinds of things between spam tech problems, the time you sent it, holidays, promotions. There's all kinds of things. If we're sending these cold emails and November, December in the U.S. forget about it. Like they're going to drop your inbox is crazy flooded. So you have to be super mindful of these promotions and times of years and this kind of stuff. It actually makes a pretty significant difference.
Shane: So if we send this first message, let's say we sent the first message, we get a reply from some people. So initially there's no ask if the message is that right? You basically just get their opinion, get their reply.
Colin Shipp: Yes. So in the content is literally asking their opinion on. So what I'd like to do, what I like to do is I'd like to get your opinion on a piece of content so it can be something you've written. Ideally it's something you've written or something you've produced or something like that. Like something that's yours in the actual body of the email is what can I get your opinion on this here? And it's something that they would want to give their opinion on. Or if it's a bigger site you want to give, if it's like a new set or something, you may want to put something in that's controversial or something they might have an opinion on.
So in the diet world that could be like a new medical case study about the keto diet that a big one that like took the inner, the market by storm. Some new proven data or some new scientific study that everyone read in the market. Or it can be like if it's government like a new law that got passed or it could be like whatever is like something new and exciting in the market that they would have a strong opinion on. Or you assume they would have a strong opinion on. It's literally three to five lines max, in that sentence is like, I like to keep it about six to eight words aligned. So if you're in Gmail, you don't want to write like a 15 words on one line. You want to make it read vertical like you want it to be about 10 words wide max, maybe less.
Shane: Right. So super short. That's another thing right, it has to be easy, like if someone opens your email after they read the subject line and then there's like a block of text there, they are like, "oh never mind."
Colin Shipp: Yeah, I do-
Shane: Too busy.
Colin Shipp: I do three lines, three to five lines, and every line has a ... it's like double spaced and it's very vertical, so they're like, if you look at email, like people look at it, click open, they just run down.
PART 2 OF 3 ENDS [00:46:04]
Colin Shipp: If you look at email, like people look at it, click, open, they just run down. They instantly go from top to bottom. You want to just make it top to bottom. Let them just go with it. Make it easy to scan and skim. That's it. That's all you do. Now you're going to get replies and you're going to also get people that don't reply as well. You get both. Now I'm going to touch on what happens if they don't reply. I'll go back to when they do reply. Let's say no one replies or let's say a lot of people don't reply to the first email. What you have to do is you have to have a second email that it's in the followup. The second followup email it's pretty simple. You need to stroke their ego even more, which I lead with a question.
What I do is I share their newest piece of content, their most proud piece of content or their site or social media profiles in general on your business' blog, podcast, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, whatever, and all or any of the above, whatever is the biggest driver for you, or just any at all. Then you send a message and you just do it and then you tell them that you did.
Colin Shipp: You go ahead and do it. What I do is the subject line is like, "Oh, can I share your site? Can I share your channel? Can I share your blank to our fans, to our audience, to our email list, to our fill in the blank."
Shane: Okay, but then you've already done it by that time?
Colin Shipp: Yes. In the email, you ask them ... You basically say, "Hey, you know what? I was going to ask you if I could do this, but I just went ahead and did it anyways." Screenshot.
Colin Shipp: That's it. That's it. That's the extent of that second email. Now the trick with this too is why I like to use Gmail is I do it as a reply to the first email so they can see both the emails. They see that you emailed that person twice. They'll see that you emailed them twice like oh. Usually the reply I get is, "Oh, thanks for sharing that. I'm sorry I missed your first email. Here's my reply." Boom. It's like I want them to read the first one, but this was just really eye-grabbing. This is like the copywriting skill I was talking about. It's like you need to use your copywriting hats to get their eyes to pop to open the letter.
Because if they open it, then you realize that you actually were genuinely asking for their opinion in the first email. In Gmail it's great because they probably use Gmail too.
Shane: Right. It's important because otherwise it's easy to ... If you send it as a new email, it's easy to ... The connection isn't going to be there. This will look like the first email they've gotten from you. That would kind of be pointless. Right.
Colin Shipp: The longer the thread, the better is what I always say. If you have like a 15 thread reply, the better. If you guys are just going back and forth, even better because like they're not going to forget that. You know? I mean I probably do three to five deep on average. Like just daily communication. Not for this, but like just in my general. But if I did one that was 15 deep, that's memorable. That's like a legit conversation. That goes from like small talk to like actually having a debate or setting up plans or something. That's something.
Shane: Yeah, and you're not going to drop a conversation that deep in, right? It's easy to ignore an initial message, but if you're already in a conversation with someone, the natural thing to do is to continue it.
Colin Shipp: Yeah. Completely. 100%. That's really the trick of the first two. The third one, if they don't reply to the first two, they're most likely not going to reply, but the third one is kind of like a recap in the same email thread. It's more of like, "Would love to get your opinion, did you get my message? Did you get my last message?"
Shane: All right.
Colin Shipp: That's kind of a last grab effort, "Would love to get your opinion. I'm dying to hear your thoughts." You kind of stretch because I mean worst case scenario is they just don't reply again. Oh, well. You don't want to think that you ... I'd rather push to get them because I'm trying to offer them ... I'm not trying to scam them, so I'd rather like push to get them to at least acknowledge me and reply because that's the trick of cold outreach. Kind of like in copywriting is the goal of one line is to get you to read the next. The goal of this is to get them to open the email so they read it and then open the next one.
It's this process of getting them to take small actions, little by little, that is what we're trying to do. The same things apply.
Colin Shipp: Then that one's kind of a restatement of the first email. That's it.
Shane: All right. We followed this process at this point and we've gotten replies from some percentage of people we reached out to. Presumably they're giving us an opinion or something. What happens next?
Colin Shipp: Once you get the opinion, this is where you need to use templates, but not scripts. You need to have ... Something's ready to go on your end. This goes to knowing ... This goes way back to the beginning of this call, if you missed this, go back, is you need to know exactly who you are, what you have to offer and why you're unique and why you can standout in the market. Because you have to have this ready to go for when they reply back to you.
Because most the time after you ask their opinion, the bottom is going to usually include what do you want or what can I do for you, or after you do the social media share or you promote their blog with the screenshot or whatever the case is, they're going to ask, "Oh, thanks for doing that. How can I help you?"
Colin Shipp: We're creating this reciprocity. That's the whole point of asking them questions in these emails is you ask them for their opinion and you share their site and you share their social media and it's like, "Oh, well, I feel obligated," so they just ask, "How can help you or what do you need or what's up?"
Shane: Okay. Then in your next message, you somehow pivot into an ask? What is it even? What do you ask for?
Colin Shipp: Exactly. What you ask for is ... It depends on the market. It also depends on the type of content usually. This is why it's better to lead with content not like your product itself. Leading with a piece of content or something you produce is better because there's no sales involved. There's no like, "Hey, I think this product will be great to help you grow your business. Hey, I'm a consultant. I think I'd be great to do your SEO." It's like, "Oh, great. That doesn't work." What it has to be is you have to continue the relationship. What I typically like to do is I would offer to write them an epic guest post. If it's the right blog, you want to write them an awesome guest post.
This would be if I went to you, Shane, and I asked if I could write like an 8,000 word guide to affiliate marketing for your site and you approved it and I did all the work and spent like 30 hours writing it, that's like, "Oh, okay. If he wants that as a guest post, sure."
Shane: Yeah. Yeah.
Colin Shipp: You know? Like yeah, I guess.
Shane: I can again say from the receiving end of outreach stuff, it's so typical that people just go straight away for, "Yeah, I'm a marketing agency. Hire me for this and that," or even if it is guest post outreach, it's often the kind of thing where it's, "I wrote this article. Do you want to publish it?" It's like, "Look, this article is not up to my standards. It's not the kind of thing I usually write about. It's just if I publish this on my site, it would basically lower the value, the average value, of my website," because you clearly didn't pay attention, right? You're basically just trying to get this link.
Yeah, if someone told me basically, "Look, I get it, right? I've had a brief conversation with them. I trust that they understand what it's about." They're like, "Here's a really awesome piece of content that I think your site would be good for," that's totally different and to be honest, I basically never get outreach like that.
Colin Shipp: Right. No one does that's why it stands out. The thing too is that this goes back to the way back to the do 100 list or the superhero list, of you have to know who these people are and what they do.
Colin Shipp: You have to do. You have to know what they're about. You got to know what makes them tick, and you got to know what their core beliefs are of their business, of their brand, whatever it is. It all ties in. It's weird how it all like comes full circle. It all comes back to these basics. Like these core fundamental things of knowing yourself, your audience, your customers, your influencers, all of that ends up tying in because if I gave Shane a guide ...
If I looked at his blog and looked recently, the recent most 10 post on Active Growth, and I wrote something that was like a combination of the few top posts in there that have the most comments or the most whatever engagement, if it was like a really, really high quality piece of content, there's a chance that Shane would just say yes even if he never says yes to guest posts.
Shane: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I mean it's like I don't publish guest posts out of print. Well, I've just never gotten the pitch that was good enough.
Colin Shipp: Exactly. That's why it's opening your ... It's kind of the old sale, but you have to ask to get what you want. You have to ask. You have to try. You have to give the value. Not just ask out of nowhere. You can't ask with noting to value to give. If you have something of value, ask and keep asking and bother them and get through to them. Because even if it took five time, three chain and he finally published your post, he's not going to hate you because you emailed him five times. You know? If it was value at the end, it's okay. This is with all your industry. If you do this, it's like yeah, don't be a spam and don't be an asshole, but you also have to ...
You have to be persistent because people are busy and these people that are running these companies or whatever position they maybe or the owner all the way down to content writer, they're all busy. They have lives. You have to get through.
Shane: I would add to that. What's important if you do this repeated outreach is that I need you to respect the fact that I ... The reasons I have for not replying immediately. I need you to respect that if you're a customer and you've got a problem, we've got support channels, we've got a huge support team, we've got all these systems in place, we spent enormous amounts of money to help you as quickly as possible. But if you're trying to talk to me, you have to respect the fact that I get way more emails than I can ever answer. You have to not get mad if I don't reply.
Colin Shipp: Exactly. You have to keep that in mind. You have to always remember that these are people when you're messaging them. These are not email addresses of companies. These are human beings that have lives and have jobs or they're owners or they're in a business that looks successful, but is like a 12 hour a day grind. You have to just really understand the reality of the situations of the people you're reaching out to are vastly different.
Another main benefit when you do these kind of emails and you promote with content and you give them something to do, which by the way could also be, "I have this perfect topic for a podcast," if they have a podcast. "Hey, I love you guys have talked about this. I'm an expert in this field. I'm an expert on this diet. I love to give a 30 minute ... I could even pre-record it and you could just run it as a podcast. I could pre-record this entire thing and you guys can just do whatever you want with it. You could run it as an extra, a bonus. You can even put your own ads on it. It's fine. You can even make money from this thing. I couldn't care less." That's like going above and beyond in a podcast.
Same with YouTube. You could make a guest video for them to upload to their channel. Look at YouTube as in you could do like a guest video blog. I know it's not a blog, but you could still make a video that's for their channel that's amazing and then they could upload it. That's one less video they have to make. You know? That's great. Cool.
Shane: Yeah. That's another thing that I did a long time ago now. When I was doing this kind of outreach for my first product, one of the things is I looked for people who had something on a regular schedule. Someone who maybe had a newsletter was like, "Oh, I share some hot new strategy every week or a weekly podcast or a weekly video." A membership, right? Basically where people sign up and they expect to get new courses and things every month or so. I approach those people. I was like, "Look, I'm going to create some content for you, right? I'm going to create a course for you to put in your membership site."
Like you say, like, "You're going to make money from this, right? I'm just giving you this material, or yeah, I'm going to appear on your podcast and I'm going to give people some really awesome advice that can be one of your weekly podcast and so on." The reason I think this works is that it can be difficult if you have a recurring thing where you have to churn out this content. Everybody has times where it's like, "Oh my god. I have no time for this. I have to do another weekly update, but I'm so busy. I wish that someone else could do this for me." You can step in and be like, "I'm going to do this for you, right? I'm going to help you with this."
Colin Shipp: Exactly. When you help them, the main thing of going above and beyond, so this is the part that ... The harsh reality of this. People think it's a harsh reality, but it's actually not even close, is that let's say you make a video and you do all this work to build the list, send the emails, get replies, manage all this, reply back to emails when you're on a date, and all this stuff. You're like, "Man, it took like my entire week or even two sometimes." I publish the video. This is going to be great. It's gets like half the views of their normal videos or you publish the blog post and you get like no comments. It's just crickets. People are like, "Oh, wow. This didn't work."
I'm like, "Are you kidding? Now you can literally send them an email or call them at some point." Some people you build enough relationship after this you could just call them if the business is smaller or you got along or now you have an open email to collaborate with them in the future. That is the entire point of doing this is right there. It's not the first time. It's the tenth time. It's way later on where whether you guys create products together, do podcasts together, there's so many business out there that have joint podcasts now. So many guys in the information marketing world like combine together to do one podcast together or a YouTube series or a JV launch.
There's so many ways to monetize this, grow your list, grow your audience. It's unlimited. That's because what you did is built relationships. It's just like going to a conference in your industry and meeting people for a week, except virtually.
Shane: That's an important part, right? It's not about getting that one thing. It's not about getting that one backlink or something. I also would add, yeah, sometimes you get something published and the results are poor. I've also had this. I have made entire videos, I have made entire mini courses for people's websites or memberships and then they never got published, right? That can happen as well. But again, it's just a numbers game, right? It's like, well, if you do five of them, maybe four of them get published and maybe two of them are going to be real hits, but you still build relationships with five people.
Colin Shipp: Exactly. What you start to do is you start to ... It's kind of like an omni presence thing. You end up popping up all over the place in different markets. The obvious point now is like in the marketing business, personal development podcast market, like Lewis Howes and all those kind of podcasts, you see like the same ... If a guy's launching a new book, you're about to hear them on about 15 podcasts.
Shane: Yeah, exactly.
Colin Shipp: Get ready. You're about the hear the same story like 15 times over. Now you go, "Why is that?" Because they've built relationships with each other period. It's not like their PR person reached out. These guys are too big and these guys are not like that anymore. It's not like some news channel podcast or radio show. It's like, "Oh, he's helped me before. I'll help him. Oh, we're friends. We like met at a conference or we've launched this product together." It's like a relationship. It's not these things you're like, "Oh, he just had the best book. I had to have him on."
It's not, "Nope. I met him through this person and we had a relationship where he sent me an email, where he wrote a blog post for me or really helped me with the part of my business I didn't understand out of pure generosity," and that started the relationship. You can do the same in a small scale for your own blog or business where you can maybe get consistent backlinks, consistent podcast appearances, YouTube collaborations, social media post on Instagram back on forth. If you're like in the beauty or fitness space, Instagram is a real traffic source. That's ways where you can really make it to kind of "scale" for you and really drive numbers through relationships, not through paid advertising.
Shane: Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. All right. Are there more steps to this? Is there anything else that we need to do to kind of tie this strategy together or is that pretty much it?
Colin Shipp: No. I mean the main thing is to repeat this. Say you put a hundred on the sheet, on your spreadsheet. You want to continually service those. Let's say people don't answer. You need to keep the spreadsheet very marked up and very organized in the sense of knowing who you've reached out to and who you haven't because what's good to do is once you ... The ones who did not reply to any emails whatsoever go back to those blogs and find a different person and repeat the process. Because you don't want to give up on the blog. There's only so many good blogs in each market. There's lots of blogs. There's only so many good ones you want to be on. You don't want to burn these bridges.
You want to keep being persistent. Just like we said, it might have taken me five times to get a hold of Shane, but I finally did. I got an affiliate guide posted his site. It took like a month of actually emailing or two months to get it done. Okay, but it's done and it worked. That's where you need to kind of put your head out. You got to keep servicing these hundred and don't think so quickly about finding the next batch of a hundred. Service these ones. When the time comes, reeadd to the list again and make a hundred turn into 200.
Shane: Another thing I would add here is that a lot of these people also know each other. When you get your foot in the door with one of them, you can ask them to introduce you to the other people on your list. Because for sure, if you have your list of a hundred people basically, guaranteed that most of them ... There's basically connections between almost everyone on this list, right? There's probably like hundreds of connections between those 100 people where they've met each other, they've worked together, they know each other, they know someone who knows the other person, and so on. Again networking is not my strength at all, but I've often found that is an easier way to get through to someone.
If it's just like, "Oh, you're friends with this guy? Can you send him an email saying I have a suggestion or something?"
Colin Shipp: Yeah, exactly. It's kind of like you were talking about earlier like a power lot of this and that's one exactly. Think deeper into this that you're internet friends with some of these people now. I won't take personal friends because you have to meet them in person first or talk to them on the phone or something. You're like internet email friends with these people. That can move you and get you introductions if you have value. That's why you want to prove yourself and show that you are bringing value to the table. If you do, they're not going to feed guilty or you shouldn't feel guilty and they aren't going to feel embarrassed or mad if you asked them to introduce you to someone.
Shane: Yeah. Yeah.
Colin Shipp: That's the process. I mean that's the main thing to PR and the honest truth of it is yes, it takes time, yes, it takes focus, and yes, it takes energy, but when you're starting your business, that's really all you have. That's the main commodity you have to work with. Time is valuable, but you have to spend time and invest time somewhere.
Shane: This is about more than just getting traffic, right? This is about more than just getting links and getting people back to your website and stuff like that because this is really about getting traction. It's about getting your name out there. Traffic and customers is more of a side effect of this kind of work. It's totally the kind of thing that when you start out and you're bootstrapping, this is the exact kind of thing you can do where a lot of other stuff you can't just drop $100,000 on advertising or anything that, right? But this is the kind of thing you really can do.
Colin Shipp: Exactly. It gets you customers, which I know this is ... I remember when you guys launched this podcast. I cannot remember the exact date, but I know some of the first few messages were about ... First few podcasts were about getting customers, not email listeners are traffic. I remember that's like music to my ears. Someone who's not talking about like SEO or getting a quick hack from Reddit or something like that.
Shane: Yeah, exactly. All right. Colin, that was really good. Thank you for the in depth content here. Now I heard that you don't have a website, so what do people do? Where can they find out more about you? How can they connect with you?
Colin Shipp: Yeah, of course. The best way to get a hold of me is to email me. You can just go to me@colinshipp, C-O-L-I-N-S-H-I-P-P, dot com and just send me an email.
Colin Shipp: That's the easiest way to get a hold of me.
Shane: All right. That's awesome. That concludes our episode. Thank you very much for listening. As I mentioned in the beginning, if you want to join the conversation here and if you want to get links and resources to the stuff we talked about in this episode, you can go to the show notes. You can find them at activegrowth.com/herolist. That's one word, herolist. Activegrowth.com/herolist. There you can click on a button or tap on a button to leave us a voice message. It's a really simple thing to do. If you have any kind of feedback or any questions you want to ask and you'd like us to answer on the show, we really appreciate hearing from you.
That is all for this week. Thank you for listening and I'll catch you in the next one.
PART 3 OF 3 ENDS [01:08:18]
What You'll Discover in this Episode:
- What a hero list is and why you need to put one together before you start reaching out to anyone.
- Why you need a hundred items on this list and how exactly you can find quality candidates.
- Not everyone responds to emails. How to find the right person to contact and their preferred way to communicate?
- Avoid generic, copy-paste outreach emails. Colin will share his method for making his emails personal and specific.
- How to apply your copywriting skills to your outreach emails and what to say in the first email.
- How to follow up when nobody gets back to your first email?
- Why most outreach emails suck and never get opened.
- How to write an email even busy people will have time to read?
- How to build mutually beneficial relationships and provide value to the people you reach out to.
- Why it doesn't matter if you get features and nobody cares?
- Read the classic article, 1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly to understand why you should focus on turning your existing customer base into raving fans.
- Check out ConversionXL, one of the biggest conversion optimization blogs.
- Check out Backlinko to learn more about SEO and link building.
- Listen to The Tim Ferriss Show podcast
- Check out Ahrefs and Moz, the top SEO tools out there, or listen to our podcast episode with Tim Soulo from Ahrefs.
- Install the Similar Web Chrome Extension to get an idea of how much traffic a website gets, within seconds.
- Use Email Hunter to easily scrape company email addresses.
- Create your About.me page and make it easier for people to contact you.
- The Mixmax Chrome Extension helps you use your Gmail more effectively.
- Click here to contact Colin Shipp.
Are You Doing Outreach?
What's your experience with reaching out to other websites and influencers? Have you been doing it? Do you normally hear back from people? What are your experiences and thoughts about this topic?
Let us know in the comments below!
As always, we want your feedback, questions, tips and stories. You can leave them in the comments section or leave us a voice message by hitting the "Start recording" button below:
See you soon with another episode!
I’ve heard a lot about this type of outreach over the past year or so and it’s definitely a lot of work, as Colin says.
I get lots of these emails trying to “stroke my ego” and none has ever succeeded because I think “right, they’re just trying to follow this formula …
The problem, I think, is that there is so much more involved here than people realise:
– You need *great* copywriting skills. Cold emailing is almost a whole industry in itself.
– You need to really find the right person
– You need to find what really, really makes them tick. So, for example, finding someone who “does WordPress maintenance” will not work (on me). It would have to be “someone who does WordPress maintenance for non-techie green or conscious business owners and who hates conventional manipulative marketing.” That’s a huge difference and involves a huge amount of extra work that most just won’t do.
– You need to give a *lot*! It’s not a simple task to prove to someone that you aren’t just after something like a link or other exposure.
For these reasons I can see this strategy will be used more and more but mostly by people who fail to go as far as they need with it to make it work.
Thanks for adding your tips, Seán! Valuable stuff!
On two different strategies…
Would it help SEO if I hire a blogger with good reputation in my area to write about and link to my on-line course page?
And what about if we agree on both writing and linking to each others sites?
I believe these would be quite fast ways to get quality links and also build partnerships.
Yes, I think that could work. I have to say, though: in my experience, someone who’s really good at writing content and has some understanding of SEO as well will be pretty damn expensive. Good writers for hire are rare.