This is a guest post from Kristen Bowie, a marketing leader forging the path with data-driven decisions. When she’s not writing for thought leadership and creating sponsorship proposals at Qwilr, she’s hanging out with her two urban dwarf goats, painting, or watching a local band.
Years ago, freelancers acquired clients by constantly pitching to new prospects (usually by phone, yikes!). It’s a lot different these days, mostly due to job boards and freelance work platforms.
It’s pretty easy to outgrow the work available on a lot of these boards and services, which can leave you yearning for more. If you find yourself wanting to get better clients with bigger budgets, cold pitching is still one of the best ways to land projects and work that you would never get otherwise and pitch your freelance business to prospective clients.
In order to be effective, you have to dial in your approach and make sure that you’re connecting with the right people in the right way. As most of us can attest, the majority of people are pretty suspicious about emails from people you don’t know. The ones that aren’t trashed generally have one thing in common- they were able to grab your attention from the get-go.
If you can master the art of client pitches that do the same thing, you’ll never be lacking for work.
We will be covering the best way to build an effective cold pitch to acquire clients for your freelance business in the following article. It is hard work and can be completely nerve-wracking but the opportunities it presents for your business are untouchable.
Identifying the Right People to Pitch
When you’re a solopreneur running a freelance business, research is probably more important than the content of your proposal. Instead of guessing who your point of contact is that you should be pitching to, you should first do your due diligence and research on who the decision-makers are at the business you’re pitching to.
Once you have that information, looking for the person’s contact information should be step two. The majority of people prefer to receive pitches via email- try to stay away from their social media profiles. If you can’t find their email, LinkedIn is a solid choice to look for contact information.
If you repeat this process for several prospects, you can pitch them all in a single day and see if anything comes of it. The thing to remember about cold pitching is that it’s a numbers game in the beginning- doing it in volume at first is the key to being successful.
Composing Your Pitch
Now you should have a list of emails and names of prospects. You should also (hopefully) know enough about each of these people you’re pitching to so that your emails don’t come across as some random salesperson.
When you’re cold pitching, you need to keep things short since the majority of people won’t spend too much time or attention on your proposal. This means you have a limited time to effectively communicate your value adequately. Striking a balance between brevity and value-pitching is an art that must be practiced to be refined.
Don’t hit the sales hard during your pitch. If you do your research, your targeting should be spot-on and you should be pitching to people who know they can benefit from the work that you do. Your job is to get on their radar and bow out gracefully if you don’t hear back.
Time & Track Your Pitch Efforts
If you’re pitching freelance clients, timing is everything. If you’re pitching clients in the middle of the night, expect to get ignored or even worse- relegated to the spam folder.
The most effective time to send cold pitches is during the workday just after lunchtime or near the end of the workday. These times will vary based on timezone, but sometime in between 2 and 6 pm typically works really well. These are times where people are more relaxed and could spend more time on your pitch.
Since you’re pitching multiple prospects at once, you should also be tracking the performance of sent pitches. This means keeping track of two metrics:
- Your email open rate
- Your response rate
The first metric tells you if your headlines are catching people’s attention and the second metric will quickly demonstrate if your pitch efforts need some work. Expect to get a reply rate of 10% on a good pitch. While this may feel low, this is one extra client you didn’t need to acquire through a freelance platform, which helps your business grow.
Over time, you’ll eventually become a skilled cold pitching master- as long as you track the performance of your efforts. This also helps to improve your portfolio, which means getting the attention of quality clients will be easier.
Conclusion: The Pros of Pitching
Cold-pitching is an intimidating process, but it can occasionally be the only tool in your arsenal to connect with the kind of businesses that don’t post to job boards or freelance platforms.
If you’re pitching the right businesses, they’ll be open to seeing the value in the services you provide. You may not always get an answer, but your effort will eventually pay off as you gain experience.
Cold pitching is also one of the most cost-effective easy ways to scale and pitch your freelance business to gain clients that you can only dream of.
While freelance networks are fantastic, the work can often be low-paying entrepreneurs that are in early stages of their startup and haven’t yet acquired the capital to pay market rates for experienced work. Cold pitches open up doors for your solopreneur business and allow you to take on work that you’d never otherwise get a chance to bid on.
What’s your biggest struggle with cold pitching? Leave your thoughts in the comments and I’ll try my best to help!