No matter what industry you’re in, and no matter what your company does, outreach is a vital part of success. This principle is valid in both the online and offline worlds, but curiously enough, many people fail to understand the importance of outreach for digital marketing, even if they’ve mastered the practice offline. And that means they tend to make some very simple and easily avoidable errors when they get started online.

Here are three common outreach mistakes, and how to avoid them.

Your Emails Aren’t Personalised

An inexperienced digital marketer almost always makes this one crucial error: they fail to make their outreach efforts personal. Instead of crafting personal emails when they reach out to people, they use a template and send out hundreds of near-identical emails.

The problem is, most experienced bloggers and influencers can spot such emails pretty easily, and these kinds of outreach efforts are usually dismissed outright. True personalisation is best, because it’s much more genuine, and it’s by far the best way to get someone’s attention. Think in terms of quality, not quantity. Rather than sending a generic email to hundreds of people, take the time to do some research—read their blog, check out their Facebook page or Twitter feed—and write a personalised email that shows you’ve made the effort to find out what makes them tick.

If you must use an email template or an automated programme, make absolutely sure it’s working perfectly before you start sending emails out. The only thing worse than outreach emails that aren’t personalised is an email that reads “Dear [Recipient]”.

You Ask without Offering

Outreach often involves asking a favour; for example a link exchange, a guest spot on a popular blog, or a product review. Many digital marketers operate under the assumption that bloggers are happy to do these things any time, for anyone who asks. The reality is that influential bloggers are people who are passionate about their subject matter, and who know that their time and words are valuable.

If you ask a favour, it’s important to offer something in return: for example, a free product in exchange for a review, or products that the blogger can use for a giveaway on their own blog, are often well-received.

You’re Asking the Wrong People

Outreach efforts can fail for a number of reasons, and one of the biggest is that you’re simply approaching the wrong people. For example, if your company makes food products, you’re naturally going to approach food bloggers, right? Right, but it’s important to be selective. Meat products won’t go down well with a vegan blogger, or someone whose particular interest is home baking recipes.

The niche you target for outreach should be as specific as possible, not just to improve your chances of success, but also because niche bloggers are more likely to have audiences who are interested in your product.

Outreach is Personal

All of these common errors demonstrate one solid fact: that outreach works best when it’s highly personalised. By targeting the right people, approaching them with a personal message, and offering them something they value, you’re much more likely to get the results you’re looking for.