Outreach ideas to turn your prospects into partners

Publication date
Imogen Beech
Reading time
7 minute read

If you have your eye on the perfect brand, influencer or affiliate that you’re desperate to work with, there’s only one way to turn them from a prospect into a fully-fledged partner: outreach!

But how can you make sure your outreach hits the mark and stands the best possible chance of getting the results you’re after? Here are some email outreach ideas that will help.

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1. Warm your prospect up

First things first, it’s worth noting that warm outreach has a better success rate than cold outreach. In fact, smith.ai claims that warm calls have a whopping 20-30% conversion rate, and 84% of all B2B decision-makers start their buying journey with referrals. 

So, consider whether you can turn a cold lead into a warm one before reaching out to them. Some ideas include:

  • Ask a mutual contact to introduce you
  • Include the name of a mutual contact in your email
  • Focus on relationship building before proposing a partnership

We get that it’s not always realistic to spend months sending relationship-building emails to a prospect before even suggesting a partnership. But if you have the time – and the prospect is worth waiting for – then it can be a fantastic strategy that could reap heaps of rewards.

If this is an approach you’re willing to try, here are some ideas for things to include in an initial email.

  • Introduce yourself and your company
  • Praise something about their company (eg. a recent blog post) and tell them why you like it
  • Mention that you’re excited to see what they do next

Here’s the key: don’t ask for anything in return! This is the first step towards making a cold contact into a warm one – just make sure to keep an eye on your prospect over the next few months to continue the conversation and eventually to suggest a partnership! Which brings us onto…

2. Use a punchy subject line

Whether it’s warm or cold, if you want your email outreach to be successful, you’ll at the very least need the recipient to open your email! We’re all busy people and our inboxes are even busier – so, how do you make sure your email stands out? It’s all in the subject line.

You’ll need one short sentence that pitches your content and tells the recipient why they should open your email. It’ll need to be clear, direct, relevant and free of clickbait – but that doesn’t mean boring.

Here are some ideas for subject lines that you can use for partner outreach.

  • [Mutual contact] suggested I get in touch
  • Question about [relevant subject of interest]
  • Loved your post about [blog topic] - some thoughts
  • Quick question from a fellow [your university] grad
  • Quick question from a fellow [topic of interest] lover
  • I’m [insert fact about something you have in common] too! 
  • Ideas about [goal]

Notice how all of these subject lines include personalisation – the more personal you can make your subject line, the less it will look like a blanket email that you’ve sent to every contact under the sun. And, the more likely your recipient is to open it!

As we’ve already touched upon, there’s nothing stronger than a referral. So, if you have a mutual contact who suggested you get in touch, make sure to mention them in your subject line. 

Otherwise, we love approaches that show your recipient that you have something in common, as it’s a great way to humanise yourself and warm up your contact. For example, perhaps you went to the same university, grew up in the same town or have a shared area of interest.

Ultimately, remember that the aim of the game is to get the recipient to open your email. But don’t mislead them. Your subject line should still be relevant to the topic of your email, as otherwise, it could come across as disingenuous – and that’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to secure a partnership!

Outreach email subject line ideas

3. Add plenty of personalisation

We’ve touched on personalisation already – but don’t just personalise your subject line and then stop there. Instead, add personalisation throughout your email itself to make sure it feels highly relevant and tailored to the recipient.

Here are a few ideas for adding personalisation to your email.

  • Use the recipient’s name (and get it right!)
  • Include the name of the brand you’re contacting
  • Pick out something you particularly admire about the brand (eg. a blog post you loved or an ad they released)
  • Explain why you believe your brands are the right fit (shared niche, audience, goals, values etc.)
  • Mention your prospect’s key goals and how you can help reach them

Personalising your email in this way will show your prospect that you’ve taken the time to do your homework on them – and that you’re serious about partnering with them. This in turn will demonstrate that you’re worth the effort of replying to, unlike other brands that have simply sent a blanket email off to hundreds of prospects that may not even be relevant.

Top tip: With a Breezy subscription, you can learn all you need to know about your partner prospects without ever leaving the Breezy platform. Plus, all you have to do is request their contact details and we’ll dig out up-to-date contact names, job titles, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles for you. So, you can personalise your outreach with half the time and effort - book a demo to learn more.

Save time on your partner outreach.

Discover relevant affiliates and uncover their contact details quickly and easily with Breezy.

Book a demo

4. Focus on value

One of the key reasons why partnerships fail is because brands fail to put themselves in one another’s shoes. They focus on getting as much as they can from a partnership, without thinking about how they can also give back. Don’t fall at the first hurdle by making this mistake in your outreach!

Make sure to focus on what you could bring to the prospect you’re contacting – rather than on what you stand to get out of the partnership. 

As part of this, you’ll need to sell your brand. For instance, you may mention:

  • Social media followers
  • Engagement on social media
  • Visits to your website
  • Awards you’ve received

But it’s important to remember that this isn’t just to blow your own trumpet. Instead, it’s about showing your prospect what you can bring to the table. So, make sure to fill in the missing link and explain how these things stand to benefit your partners – will partnering with you help them to increase brand awareness? Better their reputation? Increase visits to their website?

Ultimately, this is about explaining their journey to ROI. After all, that’s pretty much what every brand is aiming for, and if you show them that partnering with you can lead there, you’re onto a winner!

Outreach ideas focus on value

5. Put forward a relevant proposal

Of course, you can’t explain the route to ROI without mentioning how you’d like to work together. 

It’s important to be clear about the type of strategic partnership you’re looking for and what this could look like for you both. For instance:

  • Are you hoping that the prospect can promote your products on an affiliate basis? Use your affiliate outreach email to tell them about your affiliate program and clarify details such as the commission, payment structure and level of support available.
  • Want to suggest a content marketing partnership where you write guest blogs for one another? Let them know how many blogs you’re envisaging, what the topics or titles might be, where they would be published and whether you’re hoping to exchange backlinks.
  • Are you keen for them to refer clients to you through a referral agreement? Explain how you think this could work, whether you would offer a referral fee or refer your clients to them in return, and what you would suggest for tracking to make sure your contributions are equal.

A partnership is a two-way street, so don’t get too married to your proposal at this stage. If your prospect comes back to you and expresses interest in a partnership, you’ll need to go through a negotiation phase during which many of the nitty-gritty details may well change. However, it’s hugely helpful to put forward a detailed and realistic proposal in the first instance as it can help to give your prospect a clear idea of what your partnership could look like, and be an effective short-cut to negotiations 

6. Include a clear CTA

By the time you get to this point, your outreach email is almost done. So, don’t fall at the last hurdle!

Including a clear CTA (call to action) will ensure your prospect knows what to do if they’re interested in working with you – which will give you the best possible chance of getting the response you want.

A lot of the time, your CTA will simply be to ask your prospect to reply to your email letting you know whether they would be interested in discussing a partnership further. But if you’d rather they did something else then that’s fine too – just let them know. 

For instance, your CTA might be:

  • Reply letting you know when is the best time for a chat
  • Book a meeting on your calendar
  • Sign up to your affiliate program
  • Introduce you to the decision maker

Whatever action you want your prospect to take, just make sure you’re really clear about it and make it easy for them to do. That way, you’ll increase your success rate!

Outreach CTA ideas

7. Follow up

Last but not least, your work isn’t done once you press ‘send’ (sorry!).

It’s important to think of your role in partner outreach as similar to that of a salesperson. After all, you’re selling your brand and your partnership proposal! We say this because when our CEO and founder chatted about recruiting affiliate partners on Silverbean’s podcast in March, he explained that the average salesperson sends just two emails to a lead – yet over 50% of sales responses come after the fifth or sixth email!

In other words, if you fail to send enough follow-up messages, you’ll be letting a huge segment of valuable prospects slip through your fingers!

We’d recommend waiting at least three to four days between each follow-up email, to allow your recipient time to respond if they’re going to. Then, consider incorporating these ideas:

  • Personalise your follow-ups
  • Remind the recipient of your proposal and value proposition
  • Ask if they can point you in the direction of the right person if it’s not them
  • Remain professional and polite (however frustrated you might be feeling inside!)

Remember, you’ll need to send at least five or six emails to stand a chance of unlocking half of those responses, so keep at it.

Outreach ideas key takeaways

Hopefully, these outreach ideas will fill you with confidence that an effective outreach strategy isn’t rocket science. Rather, if we had to list three key takeaways to do with partner outreach, here’s what they would be:

  1. Personalise at every stage
  2. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes
  3. Be clear (about what you want and what you can offer)

Bear these things in mind and you can’t go too far wrong. Oh, and if you’ll allow us to sneak in a cheeky fourth takeaway? It would be to book a demo for the Breezy platform.

We know, we know, we’re blowing our own trumpet here – but Breezy can help to save you a ton of time and effort when it comes to partner outreach. We’ll help you to find relevant prospects, give you the lowdown on them so you can easily personalise your outreach, and even dig out their contact details for you. Just book a demo to learn more.

Want to save time on partner outreach?

Breezy can help you discover thousands of relevant partners and find their contact info (way!) more quickly.

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Imogen Beech

Imogen is a copywriter and content writer with over two years’ experience writing about the exciting world of strategic partnerships, as well as running her own business. She loves learning about new topics as she writes, and has enjoyed penning articles on industries ranging from mortgages to events, theatre to home improvements and everything in between.

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