Does this sound familiar? Instead of competing on job boards or waiting for leads to come through your website, you can actually cold email people you want to work with and get long-term clients.
A lot of people think this doesn't work because when they tried it, all they talked about was what they do, their benefits or past results:
I was looking for great content on Instagram and I found your profile and I loved it. I really like your pictures, especially this one. I believe your Instagram account should be seen by than 1029 followers.
I am Sam from Rocketship and we organically grow Instagram accounts.
We help influencers, bloggers, models, photographs and many other professionals every month. With Rocketship, they've gained 94% more followers and 237% more likes than before.
This may check a few copywriting 101 boxes but it doesn't actually work well for getting new clients.
Why? No matter how great your work, benefits or results, it’s extremely difficult for people who don’t know you yet to get over the hump of "ok, you seem have the skills and experience but how will you actually be able to apply them to help my business?"
Case in point: Devesh Khanal cold emailed 100 businesses about redesigning their presentations. He personalized every email and even included before and after examples:
But out of the 100 emails he sent, only 16% of the people opened his email and none of them hired him.
However, when he actually redesigned the presentation slides of 3 companies and cold emailed this to them, one of the companies became his long-term client.
Why did this approach work so much better? In Devesh’s first email, he:
While all of this sounds nice and dandy, the prospect you're reaching out has no clue if you'll actually be able to apply your skills and benefits to help their business.
That’s why when Devesh showed companies how he redesigned their actual presentations, one of them hired him. Now they understood exactly how Devesh would be able to help their business.
Devesh successfully used this approach again when he started his website optimization business. He cold emailed Brian Dean with a video walkthrough of 3 great ideas to grow his email list: Brian Dean was really impressed and hired him.
This is the same approach that Bryan Harris used to land a project with HubSpot: In Ginny (HubSspot’s marketing manager at the time)’s write up of her reaction to Bryan’s cold email, one of its standout aspects was how he created a 1-minute video example to show Ginny exactly what he could do for HubSpot.
So the key to getting new clients today without having to wait a long time for your efforts to pay off?
Proactively cold email people you want to work with and provide a few valuable improvement ideas or a brief action tailored for their business upfront.
❶ I came across your comment on Product Hunt about LeadBot.
❷ In terms of attracting leads to the website, I found this process works well for coming up with content topics that brings a lot more ready-to-convert leads:
❹ Would you be open to a 15-min brainstorm session where we can come up a few high converting content topics for Swerve?
❶ In one sentence, mention where you discovered this prospect to open the conversation.
❷ Mention that you'd like to share your process for achieving a goal related to their product and related to your services.
❸ Break down 2-3 key steps in your process. To demonstrate your value and expertise, share steps that are insider knowledge, someone who doesn't do this for a living may not be privy to.
❹ Ask them for an initial call, framed as a brainstorm session so the prospect of taking away valuable ideas entices them to join. The call will give you a chance to further demonstrate your value so they would want to hire you to implement your process and achieve results for them.
0:27 How to write a subject line that your prospect will open
0:40 What to say in your opening sentence
0:51 How to provide a few improvement ideas or a brief action plan related to your services and your prospect's business goals
1:32 "But if I give them some of these ideas upfront, won’t they just implement it themselves?" No they won't and here's why.
2:15 What to say in your closing sentence
2:21 How to intrigue the prospect into hopping on an initial call with you
Since this approach is more time intensive, it is important to be selective about who you reach out to.
If you’re reaching out to a small to medium-sized business, reach out directly to the owner or founder.
If you’re reaching out to a larger company (50+ employees), reach out to the highest level manager who oversees the business area related to your services.
To maximize your chance of getting hired for long-term high paying projects, find businesses that have the need and budget to hire you for ongoing work.
A few ways to check if a business has the budget to hire you long-term:
Since this approach involves emailing people you want to work with, finding their email addresses is kind of important. ;)
You can actually smart guess most people’s email addresses as many of them use one of these common formats:
Startups tend to use [email protected]
Larger companies tend to use firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Copy and paste your smart guessed email address into one of these free email verifiers and it'll let you know if the email works or not.
The key to speeding up this approach is bucketing prospects who came from the same source into separate lists.
For example, you can put all of the the prospects who recently raised an investment round into one list. You can put all of the prospects who use a tool complimentary to your services into another list.
Now you can provide the same valuable ideas for every prospect in that list, without sacrificing the effectiveness of the approach.
In the example below, this email can be sent to every prospect whose website is focused on capturing email signups. For the prospect, it reads like you created an action plan just for them:
❶ I've following [Company Name] for a while now. Since your website is focused on capturing email signups, here's something that'd make a difference:
❷ Exit intent overlays that display different messages depending on the behavior of the visitor.
For example, if the visitor only stayed on your page for less than 5 seconds, you can link to 2-3 pieces of your best content to entice them to browse further. After they get more value out of your website, they would be more willing to subscribe.
[screenshot of exit intent overlay linking to 2-3 pieces of the best content]
❸ A little background about me: I help companies implement higher converting funnels and growth engines - recently built RoyalSee's viral pre-launch campaign: [link].
❹Let me know what you think!
❶ Mention how you discovered this prospect's business and an important area of focus for them related to your services.
❷ Provide details on 2-3 actionable ideas to improve this area of focus.
❸ Mention a relevant past project you did to show them yours ideas are credible.
❹ Ask what they think of your ideas. This nudges them to reply to your email to open the conversation.
1. Instead of completing on job boards or waiting for businesses to discover you, you can reach out to people you want to work with.
2. The key is to present a few valuable improvement ideas tailored for your prospect's business in your first email to them.
3. Since the process to get hired by a new client takes time, choose businesses that have the budget to hire you long-term so you don't have to keep finding new clients.
4. You can smart guess the email addresses of most people you want to cold email.
5. You can speed up this approach by 'bucketing' prospects who share a similar need. This lets you come up with improvement ideas or action plans around the specific need every prospect in that bucket shares.