Examples of bad outreach emails

I get a lot of “outreach” emails trying to get me to add links to websites from my own sites. Of course, what these poor junior “outreach specialists” don’t know is that I’ve been in this game for a lot longer than they have and I’ve both sent and received my share of really bad link building emails.

Eight years into my career as an SEO/digital marketer/entrepreneur, I’m now the guy being outreached to for links (and sending a few of my own from time to time).

I normally just delete or send them to spam, but I’ve started replying to a few of them. I want to show them to you because I want to help the SEO and digital industries level up their skills. I’ve also removed information about the sender, who they work for, and who their clients are because I don’t think they need to be publicly shamed. They’re just trying to do their jobs.

Example 1: Please add a link to our page

I received this email a week and a half ago. Ironically, I used to do some consulting work for the parent company of this person’s client, and I actually personally know this person’s boss at the agency.

Also remember, he sent this to a GetCredo.com email address. Credo is a digital marketing marketplace, not a travel site.

Check out the email:

I actually decided to be constructive on this one and sent the person some feedback directly. I never got a response (not surprisingly):

Their email does have one good part to it, namely that they specify the page they want a link from. In this case it was a terrible ask because it’s my blog homepage, but at least they gave *something*.

But overall, it’s terrible because it:

  1. Is all about them, and nothing about why it would be valuable to my specific audience;
  2. Zero personalization;
  3. It’s generic and offers nothing of value to my audience;
  4. Doesn’t even sell me on the content (but it does link to it so I could check it out if interested)
  5. Doesn’t offer me anything in return. Why should I add it??

Example 2: Education/Employment site outreach

I received this email yesterday. This also came to a GetCredo.com email address, and I assume they were asking for a link from a category page, but I can’t even be sure because they don’t specify which page!

At least they didn’t start with “Greetings of the day!”


This email is a mess. The only thing it does well is ask me if I’d be open to it, instead of essentially ordering me to do it.

The major problems are:

  1. Not personalized at all (same as the first example)
  2. Doesn’t tell me which page they even want a link from (even the first example had that)
  3. Vertical is all wrong
  4. Incredibly generic intro. I:
    1. Don’t know who they are
    2. Know that they don’t care how I am
    3. See that they give a weird “oh by the way” generic compliment
  5. Don’t tell me piece of content which they’d prefer I link to
  6. Don’t give me a good reason why I should link

Both of these outreach emails fall flat because they are:

  1. Generic
  2. For irrelevant industries to my company/site
  3. Give me zero reason to do work for them (aka add their link)

Please learn from these and up your outreach game.

One thought on “Examples of bad outreach emails

  1. Everyone receives those crappy emails. I just dump them in the trash. I bet you get tons of those everyday! I was wondering, what is your take in using emojis in cold emails? would you personally like it?

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