7 Step Cold Emailing Strategy for Freelance Writers
If you want to get high paying clients
Freelance writing clients can be acquired using several ways. Some common ones include social media, job boards, and freelance marketplace.
But there is a problem with these methods.
You get clients that are low paying who can’t afford higher rates. There is also a lot of competition present. That’s why freelance writers can’t make huge money through these methods.
For getting quality and high-paying clients, an effective method is cold emailing. And what you’re going to learn about in this article.
So let’s get started.
What is Cold Emailing?
It is the method to find and reach potential clients by sending unsolicited but targeted emails.
Why is this method called cold?
Because you didn’t have any prior relationship with the targeted client. In contrast to warm pitching, where you already know each other and have a relationship.
Many marketers, especially beginners, confuse it with spam emails. But that is not true. Spam emails are not researched backed and sent without knowing anything about the client. That’s why they are highly ineffective.
But that’s not the case in cold emailing.
For a successful cold emailing campaign, you first do the planning. You strategically target your niche and research to learn about your potential client.
You don’t waste your efforts on irrelevant and useless clients.
There are specific parameters based on which you qualify your potential client. These parameters can be a proper company website and its design, number of employees, social media presence, and revenue figures, etc.
If you successfully evaluate your clients using these parameters, then your chances of getting quality clients increase.
How to do Cold email marketing?
So now, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide on how you can initiate a cold email marketing campaign for your freelance writing business.
1. Get clear on your niche
As a freelance writer, the first and foremost step is choosing a proper niche. In the cold emailing, you need to present yourself as a specialist in a specific niche to your potential client. Why because specialists earn more.
For example, a general physician vs. a heart specialist. A patient with heart disease doesn’t like to get a checkup from a general physician. He will want to go to a heart specialist clinic. The reason is that a heart specialist has the right area of expertise that a general physician not. I hope you get the point.
The same is the case with freelancing. Clients tend to higher specialist freelancers more as compared to general freelance writers who can write about any niche or industry.
I analyzed job boards, social media jobs, and marketplaces like Upwork. And to my knowledge clients love to work with expert freelancers.
In simple words, clients don’t want a jack of all trades.
How to choose a niche?
Choosing a niche depends on your area of expertise, interest, and passion. And I also recommend going with it. Like my niche is digital marketing because I have a passion and curiosity to learn it.
But here, one other thing you should keep in mind is that a passion is not always motivational. You also keep an eye on the monetary aspects of your niche.
Analyze whether businesses are spending money in your niche or not because your ultimate goal is to make money.
For example, my niche is digital marketing. Here people are flocking to learn new online marketing strategies and earning income. So they are spending money on actually buying courses and products or services.
Along with that, there are thousands of blogs and websites present related to digital marketing. And companies are spending lots of money on advertising.
All these signs represent that digital marketing is a hot niche.
To see the money potential of your niche, analyze whether there are customers purchasing products from businesses in your niche. Are there enough blogs and companies selling products and services? Is there any money being spent on advertising?
If all these questions have yes answers, then it means you choose a great niche.
Let’s jump to the next step.
2. Make a spreadsheet of targeted clients
In this step, you create a spreadsheet where you list down the vital information about your clients.
Here you organize your potential client’s data that help you in cold pitching. I suggest using Google spreadsheets because it autosaves everything, and later you can download the data if needed.
Here is how you create it?
You make six columns with titles including, Business name, website URL, targeted person name, his position, email address, and some useful information about the client.
Here is how your spreadsheet looks like.
So now, your cold emailing client’s spreadsheet is ready. Let’s go to the third step.
3. Research your potential clients
In this step, you need to do a bit of hard work that is called research. The reason is you don’t want any low-quality client that didn’t deserve to be targeted in your campaign.
You need to dig deep into finding your clients and evaluate them based on some crucial parameters.
First, you find clients for cold emailing. It depends on your niche. Commonly you can use startup listings like angel list, or Inc 5000 lists, etc. Another way is to search your niche on platforms like Linkedin or Google.
For example, you can find clients using Google by simply searching your niche keyword + type of business. Here is a screenshot.
You get a huge list of target businesses. From here, start analyzing one by one based on solid criteria. If you’re a freelance writer, you can analyze based on the following factors.
- Does the target business have a website with a stunning design?
- Do they regularly publish content on their website?
- Do they have a strong social media presence with updated content?
- How many numbers of employees they have? ( more than 50 is good)
- How long they’re doing business and how much revenue they earn?
When you qualify a business, note it down in the spreadsheet you created. In the beginning, mention the business name and website URL.
Now you get the point. So let’s jump to the next step, which is, to some extent, annoying but significant.
4. Find the name and email
You had list down the name and web URL of your targeted businesses. Now you need to find the right person to contact and his email address.
For example, as a freelance writer, you look for an editor, editor-in-chief, chief content officer, or blog manager, content manager, etc. In case you’re unable to find them, then target the CEO or owner. But CEOs are very busy peoples, so avoid them for getting a higher open rate.
When you find out the exact person, you want to contact. Search for their email address. You can use tools like Hunter.io, Skrapp.io, or Voilanobert. All these tools are great for finding emails.
You can also use the Linkedin sales navigation extension to find a person and its address from LinkedIn directly. But this work in case your client has a LinkedIn account. Otherwise, the above tools do a great job.
For more information, you can search for how to find email addresses on Youtube, and you get tons of videos with practical guides.
When you find an email address, paste it into your spreadsheet under the email address column.
5. Write your email copy
Here comes the fun part of this process. You’re doing cold emailing, so you are required to write a compelling email copy. Copy that helps you get a more open rate and response rate.
Some key points to remember while writing your copy are:
- Use a simple subject line with the company name like “content for XYZ”.
- Address your clients with names to create personalization like “Hi, John”.
- Don’t use formal salutations like Hi, Mr, Hi, Madam, Hi, Sir, etc.
- Use conversational tone You and I instead of we and us.
- Please don’t use the same email template for all clients; instead, modify it to suit each one.
- Write short and punchy copy while clearly stating what you offer and how you can help your client.
- Please include your email signature at the end while linking it to your social media accounts and website.
- Don’t use random templates available on the internet; instead, create your own unique template.
Here is an example of my own template you can take inspiration from.
6. Buy email sending service
When you’ve ready your email template, it’s time to send your emails to targeted customers. There are multiple email services available online to help you send mass emails.
Some best ones include G-suit, Mailerjet, Getresponse, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp.
In my opinion, G-suit is best for sending cold emails. It is not only cheap but easy to set up and also gives you a professional email address.
Because cold emails are a numbers game so aim for sending min 20 to 30 emails per day.
Now when you sent all your cold emails, here comes the next step.
7. Wait and follow-up your client
Wait for your client’s response. Commonly it is best to wait at least 3 business days. But if you didn’t hear back from your client, then you can use the next strategy.
Use email follow-up because sometimes your first email can’t get under the eyes of the receiver. So it’s your responsibility to remind them.
Here is an exact formula for follow-up that is called the 3–7–7 formula. It means if your client didn’t respond after 3 days, send a first reminder email. If you still do not get a response, send another email after 7 days. But if the same is the case, send the last email after another 7 days.
But keep in mind here, don’t send your cold emails with the same template. The reason is it overwhelms your client. Instead, modify it each time.
If your client responds, then well but if not, then leave that client because he is either not interested in your service or is not suitable for your business.
What failures to avoid?
You have learned how the cold emailing process works. But if you want success with your campaign, below are some failures to avoid. These are the failures that cost me, two clients of $1800/month and time investment, as a beginner.
From my failures here are the lessons for you.
1. Avoid sending to company email
Many beginner freelance writers make the mistake of sending cold emails to company email present in their website’s footer. Commonly looks like this. Info@, or support@, or contactus@, etc.
You never get a response from these emails. Why? Because they are for customer inquiries. They didn’t go to the relevant person and hire you for your service.
So dig into the company team page and find the relevant person. If his email is mentioned well but if not, then use the tools I discussed above.
2. Avoid free email sending service
Avoid sending emails using a free email address using Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, etc. Emails from these accounts look spammy, and clients don’t respond to them.
The reason is that anyone can create them. While a paid email address with your website name looks professional and trustworthy. You need to present yourself as a real business owner who takes care of his clients.
Therefore using Gmail or Yahoo, are a big no-no.
If you send emails from these generic accounts, get ready for 2 to 3 responses to send 1000 emails. All your efforts will go to the dustbin.
3. Give a clear call to action
End your emails with a clear call to action because you sent emails to compel your client to take action (that is, respond to you). So tell them what they do after reading your email.
Avoid generic CTA, like looking forward to hearing from you. Or drop me an email. The mistake I made.
Instead, sexed it up. Like, let’s have a quick call at XXXX-XXXX XXXX on Monday at 3 pm. Or link to your website contact page. You can also invite them to have an online meeting while mentioning the time.
4. Listen to your client needs
Another mistake I made is didn’t understood the client’s needs. As a result, I become unable to deliver according to their expectations. So, he winded up the project with me.
Here is how to get out of this misery.
Suppose you have an online meeting with a client on Zoom or Skype or whatever application. Write down the details and ask questions from clients for more clarification.
If you have a conversation with the client through email, then write down all the instructions. Don’t hesitate to ask relevant questions that help you deliver the best.
And last but not least, go according to client needs. Never include suggestions from yourself without discussing it with clients.
5. Act like professionals
Last but not least is professionalism. Give an impression to your client that you’re a business owner who helps his clients.
How can you do that?
Have an established website with compelling web copy and previous customer testimonials. Along with that, have some sample articles written related to your niche for showing as a portfolio.
If you have any guest posts or previous work, you can list them on your website in the portfolio section.
Have a professional picture on your website and link your profile to your social media profiles. This helps your clients to learn more about you and build relationships with you.
Let’s wrap it up
Cold emailing is a great way to get quality clients that pay higher rates. If you follow the above steps and avoid pitfalls, you will win it.
It’s a numbers game. You can’t expect any client if you send only 10 emails.
Freelance writer Bamidele Onibalusi says I don’t expect any client from my cold emailing until I sent at least 300 to 500 cold emails.
Follow the process while paying attention to the quality of the client. And you see tremendous results.
At this time, I hope you get clear on cold emailing. Now it’s your turn to try this method and get your freelancing writing business up.