The smartest move you can do as a freelance writer is to contact your prospect clients directly. This is also known as outbound prospecting.
Ed Gandia of B2B Launcher said, “…inbound and outbound prospecting are the only 2 ways freelancers can get clients. And, it’s better to focus 100% of your client attraction efforts to outbound prospecting when you’re starting out. Then aim to decrease the amount of time spent on this as you move through your business.”
It’s a sensible choice because it yields faster results than waiting for prospects to come to you.
It also sounds scary but I assure you, it’s only in the beginning. As you get in touch with more prospect clients, you’ll build your confidence and see what’s working and what’s not.
Aside from that this direct approach will help strengthen your writing muscles too. Because actively reaching out to your prospects involves more than just introducing yourself to them. And the 5 ways I’ve shared below will help you see why so let’s dive right in.
Leverage social media messaging
To get on the radar of your prospect clients, follow or request for them to add you in their social network. Then send them a thank you note via the social site’s messaging system, and softly mention that they can tap into your services should they need a freelance writer.
If somebody, who fits your target client profile, follows or invites you to be part of their network then do the same as well. This will give them a heads up that you’re open to working with them.
Here’s a simple message I use on LinkedIn:
Hi (prospect’s name),
I’m writing to thank you for adding me to your network. Should you need any help with your online writing projects, contact me anytime and I’ll see how I can help you.
Make your email count
Email is still the best way to contact prospect clients. But based on my experience, for prospects to actually open and read your message, you need to have the following in place:
1. A professional email address with a headshot.
Gmail is best for this but if you have an email connected to your own domain then link that to your Gmail account.
2. A straightforward subject line.
You might say “Let me help you blog regularly,” “Re your job ad for a freelance writer” if you’re responding to a job post, or “Guest post for yoursite.com” if you’re pitching a guest post (more on this later).
3. Scannable texts.
Using bullet points is always a good idea.
4. 300 words or less.
Why? Because “Email is meant for simple, quick communication. Say what you want to say, say it quickly, and say it just once” says Marya Jan of Writing Happiness. If you’re not sure how to do this, The Muse has an article on how to keep your emails short and sweet.
5. And an email signature with a link back to your social profile or online portfolio
Keep in mind that your prospects don’t know you and these email traits help recipients see that you’re not a spammer but a pro.
Talk about your prospect’s business
Even though your purpose for getting in touch with your prospects is to offer them your services, limit talking about yourself in your message. Instead bring up points about their business especially those where you can help them with.
For example, in the intro of your email, compliment them on their company’s recent achievements or thank them for their contribution to their industry. Or any other helpful stuff they did recently. Your research skills will come in handy here.
Then on the rest of your email, tie up how your writing services can help their business. Will it help them increase their site’s visibility? Will it lighten their writing workload? Will it save them time and money in the long run?
Note: You can join my insider’s list to get free email templates and samples.
Pitch them your ideas
You can also set up your email like a short proposal.
This works well when you want to get a guest post slot because editors and site owners love proactive writers who don’t need close supervision and who take the initiative in creating topics to write about.
This is also great if you’re offering services other than writing.
For both types of pitches, do your research first so you’d know the best types of topics that will work for the site, if it’s a guest post. Or the best solutions you can offer based on your prospect’s possible problems. For example, are they not updating their blog regularly? They might need help producing regular content. Or do they not have any free report for their subscribers? Then they might be too busy to do it themselves. Then tell them what solutions you can provide.
Demonstrate what you can do
And lastly, show your prospect clients that you have what it takes.
The best way to demonstrate this is by guest posting. Whether it’s paid or pro bono, this initial work could be your best writing sample to show on your online portfolio and especially your messages.
I believe guest posting works as both an inbound and outbound prospecting strategy. It’s inbound because possible clients might contact you after reading your guest post and outbound because you will need to reach out to the site owner first and use your author bio too to attract and invite possible clients to hire you.
You can guest post on small sites in your niche first then try bigger sites next. Just remember to write guest posts relevant to your target clients and the site you’re writing for. So I suggest you give it a shot.
How do you plan to contact your clients now? Let’s talk in the comments and share more valuable details with each other.