In 2015, I was faced with the loss of a major client. At the time, I felt like it was the worst thing that could have happened to me. But, it got me focused, gave me time to start building my own client base, and enabled me to gain more control over my writing business.
While there are many methods writers can choose to build their client base, I went with cold pitching. However, as I found out, there is a right way and wrong way of going about it. Once I adapted my methods, and learned from my earlier mistakes, cold pitching became my go to technique for gaining new clients.
If you’ve yet to try it, here are five mistakes I learned while cold pitching that you can avoid:
Mistake # 1 – Pitching at the Wrong Times
The ‘right’ time to pitch has many variables but pitching on the weekends or late on Friday evenings delivered the worse results.
I thought I was getting ahead by sending out cold pitches at these times. I reasoned that if I sent out a considerable amount of emails on the weekends, I would have plenty of leads come Monday. However, it didn’t work out like that.
Come Monday, my emails would have been at the bottom of a long list, meaning I rarely got a response when I pitched at these times. I’ve found weekdays are best for me and I avoid Monday mornings when company owners/decision makers are already overwhelmed with mail.
Mistake #2 – Not Emailing the Right Contact
Tracking down the right person to email does take some detective work but it is worth the effort. From experience, the best person to contact is the CEO, the Marketing Manager, or the Content Manager, if you are targeting agencies.
The ‘About’ page, or press releases, are among the best ways to find out contact names, and sometimes direct email addresses. And, free email verifiers can be helpful, too. However, if, after all your efforts, you still can’t locate an exact email, the ‘info’ address can be just as effective – provided you address it to the right person.
Mistake #3 – Depending Too Much on Templates
Perhaps my biggest mistake was my over-reliance on templates, and not personalizing enough. While templates are time saving, your potential client is likely to have heard it all before. And, a template email doesn’t address the specifics of how you can help their business.
For improved results, detail a bit about your background, personalize your email to the potential client’s direct needs, and explain how your experience/expertise can specifically benefit them.
I used to send out 30 emails a day when I first started, and sometimes received not a single reply. However, when I personalized my templates, concentrated on quality rather than quantity, and addressed the needs of each individual business owner, my response rate improved considerably.
Mistake #4 – Not Being Consistent Enough
A few days of poor results used to get me into ‘what’s the point mode?’, and sometimes I was just too busy to pitch regularly. However, not giving up too easily, and taking consistent action, are the key to success in any business, not just writing.
Even when you are not getting results, keep going, and learn which approach works for you and your potential clients. Keep honing your cold pitch until it starts delivering regular results.
And, be consistent. You do not have to send out 100 emails a week to get results. Two to five well-written, personalized emails a day, which offer solutions to each business owner’s problems, can deliver better results than the mass email approach.
Mistake # 5 – Making My Pitch All About Me
Early on, I was keen to highlight my experience, which meant my emails were often all about me. They didn’t explain how that experience could be used to help the business I was targeting. Just changing this aspect of my pitches resulted in a much better response rate, and it could do the same for you.
Have a Freelance Success Story to share? We pay $40 on acceptance, non-exclusive electronic rights only. Success stories run around 300 words but we're very flexible. Our guidelines are here: http://writersweekly.com/writersweekly-com-writers-guidelines
- Cold-Pitching Your Freelance Writing Business the SMART Way – by Mikey Chlanda
- Pitch Your Book to These National Book Clubs! By Dr. Marlene Caroselli
- Bathroom Pitches Are Bad! How To Make A Good Impression At A Writer’s Conference – James Rada
- The Three Minute Book Pitch By Mel Menzies
- Creative Writing Ideas to Pitch Locally By Debra Johanyak
Jane Fazackarley is a freelance writer with a special interest in health, small business and fashion. Her debut novel, Then He Left Me, is available on Amazon.
HowMaster: The Writer's Guide to Beautiful Word Crafting
HowMaster is a wise choice for the writer who wants to weave words around the reader’s heart.
Author Linda M. Gigliotti
shows how effective
Author Linda M. Gigliotti draws from years of practice as a private
writing tutor in the guidebook that teaches writers how to format visceral
writing that pulls readers into their book. She explains with instruction
and samples of published works how to craft writing that come to life in the reader's mind.
Read more here: