Entrepreneurs and small business owners know how difficult it is to grow a business online. A lot of big competitors out there use sophisticated strategies and tools to squeeze as much traffic and leads as possible from their content and marketing campaigns.

Against that backdrop, you need to get as much return as humanly possible from any outreach and influencer marketing activities you undertake. Understanding how to write effective, engaging emails is vital to ensuring those campaigns convert well.

Before we get going, it's also worth noting that according to Symantec around 90% of all email sent is spam. That fact alone should demonstrate how important it is to be selective about whom we approach and how we approach them.

Without an overtly personal, genuine, and relevant narrative, outreach emails will be treated like spam by everyone who reads them.

Let's take a look at five important tips and practical advice to help you get people to take action more often and engage with you on a more personal (and valuable) level.

1. Know precisely whom you are talking to

It's critical you do as much research as possible on the company or organization you are reaching out to—including who the right contact is.

Find out what that person's role is, and what, if anything, you can learn about him or her to make establishing a personal relationship easier.

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image of David Mercer

David Mercer is a tech entrepreneur, author, and founder of SME Pals, a free online resource to help entrepreneurs and small business owners thrive online. He is a tech author whose books have been published globally, translated into 13 languages, and used as recommended reading at MIT and elsewhere.

Twitter: @smepals