This is the first time I invited someone to write a guest post for my blog. Theda K. Rogers is a professional writer. I encourage you to read and bookmark her post. It’s an excellent tutorial on how to get new clients using e-mail.
As a work-at-home-mom, I’ve found it particularly challenging to market my freelance writing business. Cold calling is a tried and true method for getting new clients, but when you have a toddler at home, talking on the phone (and sounding professional) isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
So I’ve had to be a little creative when it came to marketing my Internet business.
Since I have a website and a blog, I thought it only natural that I use the Internet to also find new clients. Instead of cold calling, I started cold emailing.
My philosophy is that people are busy, so a quick, to-the-point email saves them time. More important, it gives me a more professional way of making contact for a relatively low amount of money. Direct mail would work in a similar manner, but it definitely costs more. Also, I can cold email anytime of the day or night.
Here’s how to get new clients using my cold emailing technique. First, I identify my target market. Then I begin looking at local and nearby chamber of commerce sites to find the web addresses of potential customers. Even if an email address is listed on the chamber of commerce site, I always go to the company’s website. This way I can find out the name of the appropriate contact person, and I can find out a bit about the business.
When I’ve located an email address, I then begin my cold email text.
The most important thing is to have a contact name so you can personalize the email properly. I never say “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “To Whom It May Concern.” If I can’t find a contact person, I generally don’t send a cold email. When I get a free moment I simply call that company and ask for the name of the person in charge of marketing.
The next most important part of a cold email message is the subject line. So that I’m not violating the CAN-SPAM Act, I make sure that my subject line isn’t deceptive. Since I’m looking for information about their need for copywriting, and since I’m offering that service, my subject line usually reads, “Copywriting services information request”.
Okay, let’s get to the meat of the message.
My email truly is a request for information, so I make sure to keep true to my subject line. I tell the contact person why I’m writing, who I am, and what I offer. I also ask if they use my type of service, and request information about how I can be informed when they have such a need. The beauty of the cold email is that I can include a link to my portfolio, so there’s no need for the prospect to ask me for samples.
Here’s an example:
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am a professional business writer, and I’m contacting real estate companies to determine whether you have an occasional or ongoing need for a great freelance writer.
I help companies write web and blog content, press releases, newsletters, and other marketing collateral. You can find samples of my work in the portfolio on my website.
How can I be informed about freelance writing opportunities with [company name]?
[my name, company name, phone number, web address, blog address]
If their website is particularly interesting, I also try to mention how I like it, or how I noticed their Internet business doesn’t have a blog, or something else to make it more personal.
Now, before you start sending mass cold emails, be sure that you’ve read the Federal Trade Commission’s CAN SPAM Act, so you understand the rules and the risks.
I don’t include an opt-out message, though the Act requires it, because I never email them again if I’ve received no response. I’m not sending an e-newsletter or anything else on a continual basis. I’m simply looking for information.
Also, I don’t include a physical street address because I work from home. When I get a post office box I’m sure I’ll include that, but I don’t think it’s necessary, despite the rules. That’s a risk I’m willing to take, and so far I’ve received no complaints.
How has cold emailing worked for my Internet business? Most of the well-paying clients I’ve had have been a direct result of cold emailing. I usually caught them at a time when they needed my services, and my email was well-received. I’ve also gotten a lot of, “Not right now, but I’ll keep your information on file,” and “Not now, but contact us later” replies. I add those to my “warm leads” list, and I will later use those email addresses or physical addresses for future campaigns.
Cold emailing has definitely worked for me. Have you tried it, or do you prefer cold calling? How do you get new clients? What other methods have you used to market your Internet business when you just started out, or when you have a busy lifestyle?
About the Author
Theda has been a professional business copywriter and editor since 2002. Her company, Theda K. Communications, has helped businesses create website and blog content, brochures, newsletters, press releases, articles, sales letters, internal communications, and other information vehicles. Her services also include proofreading and editing services. Theda’s website is www.ThedaKCommunications.com, and her personal blog is at www.CrayonWriter.com.
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