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Email Prospecting for Freelance Writers: The Five Key Steps

June 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 230

Done correctly, email prospecting can be one of the most effective methods for freelance writers to find clients (and a lot less scary than cold calling). But there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.

All the seasoned freelance pros say that finding your own clients is where the money is - and it's true. And to find your own clients, you've got to prospect.

Thing is, these seasoned pros have portfolios with impressive clips, streams of testimonials and a host of industry contacts. Marketing your services is a whole lot easier with years of success and social proof behind you.

So for writers just starting out or making the transition from content mills, a lot of the "pro" advice isn't particularly relevant or helpful.

That's why email prospecting is ideal for writers with less experience.

It allows you to target industries that you're comfortable with, on your own terms, in a way that's not intimidating. The worst thing that can happen is you won't get a response.

The key to successful email prospecting is to be as specific as possible, at every stage in the process. Don't even think about sending out the same generic email to a bunch of random companies addressed to Dear Sir or Madam.

Here are the five keys to successful email prospecting for freelance writers:

1. Choose Your Market

Narrow down your prospect list to industries you have an interest or experience in.

If you're transitioning from content mills, this is easier than you might think: you're experienced in SEO writing, so target SEO or Web Design companies.

Try local businesses, too. Proximity alone is a meaningful-enough connection.

2. Do Your Research

Your email has a much better chance of being taken seriously if you send it to an individual rather than "info" or "admin".

With smaller businesses, your best bet is to find out who the owner is. For larger companies, try and identify the name of the marketing director.

Finding company email addresses for individuals can be a challenge, but it's worth the extra effort.

While you're researching your prospects, jot down a few notes about them - recent news, upcoming events, developments, etc. You'll need these for your pitch.

3. Get the Subject Line Right

This is possibly the most challenging element - the make or break that can decide whether or not your email is even opened.

  • Keep it short.
  • Make it about them and not you. (This is where your preliminary research can really pay off, especially if you're able to mention a current initiative or event.)

4. The Pitch

DO: be brief, concise, and imply value.

DON'T: introduce yourself, or try to sell your services.

The point of your email is to:

  • establish a genuine (and personalised) awareness of your prospect;
  • draw attention to an area where your services could be of value (and, where relevant, how you've helped others);
  • invite further communication.

Both of the following examples could be adapted for mill or less experienced writers.

Example 1 (local SEO company)

Subject: Your new SEO initiatives Hi David (company owner)

I read your blog post about the latest Google changes. I agree with your thoughts on the need for a new approach to SEO.

I've been writing SEO articles for over a year, many of which have been widely syndicated. Although technically an SEO writer, I've always written first and foremost for readers. I'm fast, reliable, and live in the same town as you.

Could I suggest we set up a meeting in the next few days to discuss if I could be of service to you?

Example 2 (local dentist)

Subject: Your ad in today's paper Dear David (practice manager)

I saw your advertisement in today's Gazette and Herald. I've helped other dental studios write blog posts and online content that generated twice as many new customers as print ads.

Here's a link to an article I wrote:

Could I suggest we set up a quick phone call in the next few days to discuss how I might be able to help you?

Sign off with your name, phone number, email address and a link to your website - plus home address if targeting local businesses.

5. Follow Up

If you don't hear back, the brave amongst you can take the next logical step: call. Or, wait a couple of weeks and email again - perhaps providing another relevant link to your work or suggestion as to how you might help.

As you get more confident at email prospecting, scale-up your targets to larger companies with bigger budgets. Soon, you'll be one of those seasoned pros with your own client list, impressive clips and - best of all - higher rates of pay.

Marianne Gonne is a freelance writer and marketing-savvy wordsmith with over 20 years of editorial and writing experience at the highest level. She helps web writers improve their skills and make more money writing online.

Source: EzineArticles
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