This post is about how to go the cold pitch strategy route, also known as direct outreach. How to do it correctly and land freelance clients! It can be done so wrong and so right. I have so many examples of bad pitches in my email inbox to share. In this post, we are going to talk about how to not be one of those bad pitches that are either deleted or never replied to.
What is the Cold Pitch Strategy?
Cold pitching and direct outreach are the same things essentially. You have probably heard the phrase “cold pitching” before, and associated it with some negative connotations. Which makes it sound more intimidating and spammy than it really is.
That is not true if done right! In The Live Free Academy, you’ll learn how to do this in a way that gets the person on the receiving end of the pitch excited and interested in wanting to talk to you.
This approach might sound intimidating for some, and could be exciting and exhilarating for others. It can be so exciting to find someone you would love to work with and reach out to them.
And if this route is not your cup of tea, that’s okay, there are a lot of other ways to land clients! Check Episode 228: How to Land Freelance Clients to learn about other ways to land clients.
Now, doing the cold pitch strategy or direct outreach method the right way is going to take more time than just writing one email, then copying and pasting it. But if a little more effort actually leads to better results, that’s worth it, right?! YOU BET!
So, when you are taking this cold pitch approach, think of quality over quantity.
Then remember, a little more work upfront will make for far better results!
The Wrong and Right Way to the Cold Pitch Strategy
The wrong way:
How cold pitching strategy is typically done is that people will take a template email, and send it to as many people as possible just by changing the name. This is where the “ick” annoying factor comes in with cold pitching.
People can tell when you are sending a generic email to everyone, and it is a waste of time and energy!
The right way:
- Make a list of people you want to potentially work with.
You can start making this list by searching on Instagram or Google. Take businesses that you already know or follow in your community, and make a list of about 50 people/businesses. A tip when making this list is to find someone that you see a need you can fill.
For example, the business has an active Instagram account, but they are not replying to comments. That’s a need you could potentially fill for them.
- Pick your top 5-10 and research them.
If you didn’t initially find a need for a business on your list, that you can help with, try to find something in your research. Start following them on social media. Research if they have a website, a podcast, or a YouTube channel. If you’ve been a follower write down some notes that you’ve noticed. Signup for their email list.
You will want to research them for about one week and start a document or tracking system to keep notes about them.
Typically, you should spend about 1 hour each day for at least 5 days for each person/business on your list. Note any patterns, anything you notice, and/or the need you can help with.
- Draft a strong templated email.
A lot of the emails that you send will have parts that are the same, but a lot of it will be customized to your potential client. Check out The Template Shop for templates that you can take and customize! However, the email that you send is going to be customized to each person.
- Customize the template for each person.
If you can send the same email to every person on your list and it would make sense for each of them, you haven’t customized it enough.
Go check out the Instagram feed @micala.quinn to see a few BAD templates that are not customized.
You are probably not going to hear back from the first email you send someone. You’re just not and that is okay. Now we know that and have that expectation going into it. This phase is the follow-up phase. So, know that you will send out your initial pitch and then need to follow up.
You can keep track using software like Trello and can set up your tracking system, or get the templates to fast-track and have it all set up for you!
It is suggested that you follow up at least 3 times, maybe more. If you don’t hear back after the third follow-up email, then you will mark them as “have not heard from”, and move on.
- Evaluate and refine what is working.
After your first round of sending an initial pitch + 3 follow-ups to the first group of 5-10 businesses, then you do a review of what’s working. Look at the data that you have to see what is happening. Are you getting replies, when are you getting replies, are people saying “not interested”? You can collect this data and refine it to make the process better and more efficient moving forward.
Pro-tip: If you are going with the direct outreach or cold pitch strategy approach, invest in a Gmail extension that will allow you to track emails, opens, and clicks. We suggest the mailtrack.io extension, which is less than $10 per month.
If you are investing your time and energy into this strategy then invest in the tracker, and go with the paid version. The free version is not going to give you enough data. You want the tracker to tell you when your emails are opened, how many times they are opened, what time they are opened, and if any links or attachments are clicked, plus how many times.
Do you want more strategy tips for cold pitching? Listen to the full Live Free Podcast episode 242: Land More Freelance Clients Series: The Cold Pitch Strategy.
Cold Pitch Strategy Resources
If you are already a member of The Live Free Academy, you have access to these templates + the Trello tracking system already in step 5 of LFA. Check out the rapid-launch resources!
If you are not a part of The Live Free Academy and just want the templates + tracking system remember the brand-new Freelance Template Shop will launch Wednesday, March 1 (AND it’s launching at 40% off)! This way you can purchase templates only, for those of you who are going the DIY route to building your business.
If you decide you want full support, not just the templates, join us at micalaquinn.com/academy!