h1=. Warm Email Prospecting:
How to Use Short and Simple Emails to Land Better Freelance Writing Clients
By Ed Gandia
Chapter 1: Why I Started Prospecting with Email
What You’ll Learn in This Book
Chapter 2: The Advantages of Warm Email Prospecting
Why Is Warm Email Prospecting Better Than Other Marketing Tactics?
Who Should Use Warm Email Prospecting?
Chapter 3: How to Craft a Powerful Warm Email
The Warm Email Template
Chapter 4: The Launch Email
What About Subject Lines?
Chapter 5: Prioritizing Your Outreach
Chapter 6: How to Find Contact Information for Your Prospects
A Quick Word About Spam
Chapter 7: Warm Email Prospecting Success Stories
Get Started Today!
Free PDF Swipe File of Powerful Subject Lines
© 2016 Gandia Communications, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without written permission from the author.
While every effort has been made to accurately represent how to use this type of highly personalized email prospecting to generate client leads, there is no guarantee that you will earn any money from using this technique. Success in any business (including freelancing) entails considerable work and risk. If you are unwilling to put forth either, this material is not for you.
Any financial numbers referenced here, or on any of our sites, training classes or webinars, are simply estimates or projections and should not be considered exact, actual or as a promise of potential earnings. All numbers are illustrative only.
In this PDF, you’ll learn the five keys to crafting the perfect subject line for your prospecting emails. Plus you’ll get a “swipe file” of 51 effective subject lines you can easily model.
This PDF will save you a lot of time. And it will help you come up with better ideas for your warm emails.
Get a free copy here:
Ed Gandia is a successful freelance copywriter, author, speaker and coach. He teaches freelance writers and copywriters how to earn more in less time, doing work they love for better clients.
Ed is the co-author of the best-selling book The Wealthy Freelancer and host of the popular podcast . His advice and insights have been featured on CNN Radio, CBS Radio News and The Huffington Post and in Inc. magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, AirTran’s Go magazine and The Writer, among others.
He lives with his wife, two sons and two crazy dogs in suburban Atlanta, Ga.
I call it “warm email prospecting.”
Mainly because it’s the opposite of cold calling. And it’s very different from your standard, generic email prospecting.
It’s not mass emailing. It’s not about sending newsletters or automating your prospecting.
It’s the opposite of all that.
Think of warm email prospecting as “artisan prospecting.” Each email is personally handcrafted and written for one person only.
When done right, a warm email positions you as a knowledgeable professional with a relevant and timely message.
It’s one of the quickest, most cost-effective ways to attract and land high-quality clients—without the unpleasantness of cold calling or the expense and time commitment of most traditional marketing tactics.
Why does this approach work so well? Namely because a strong, warm email leverages three key psychological triggers:
These triggers increase your chances of getting a response from the prospect. And once you have a response, it becomes much easier to engage the prospect in a dialogue about your services.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to get that response.
It’s April 2000. A Friday evening. I’m 28 years old. My wife and I are having dinner with some good friends. And somewhere between the romaine salad and baked salmon, I realize I’ve made a horrible career decision.
I’d recently quit my job selling sewer pipe and fittings (which was every bit as glamorous as it sounds) and taken a new job selling professional information technology (IT) services.
Some of my friends were making a killing selling technology services and products, and I wanted in. Besides, I’d had quite enough of chasing down utility contractors with little more than a stack of business cards and a slap on the back.
“Finally,” I thought, “This is it. Information technology is hot. My customers will come to me.”
There was only one problem: timing.
One week after I started my new job in IT sales, the tech bubble burst and the bottom fell out of the market. I barely had time to complete the HR paperwork!
I remember standing in my living room, watching the market collapse play out on CNN and wondering what the heck I was going to do. To say I was terrified doesn’t capture it.
The only way to keep my job was to—you guessed it—find new customers. So I embarked on a supremely intense period of cold calling. I made cold calls every day (sometimes 70-plus calls at a stretch) to keep myself employed.
Let me tell you, it wasn’t fun. In fact, it was exhausting and demoralizing.
But back to dinner with our friends. They asked how things were going in my new IT job. I told them the truth. It wasn’t great.
Then my friend’s wife said, “You know, my dad is an IT director at this manufacturing company in town.”
I recognized the company. And then when she described her dad’s position and said his name, it hit me—I had cold-called her dad earlier that day!
I wanted to crawl under the table. I was totally embarrassed. Her dad had been nice. He hadn’t hung up. He wasn’t rude like many of the other people I called that day. But he clearly wasn’t interested in what I was selling. I was mortified.
I never told my friend what happened. But I made a decision that night to find a better way to drum up leads. Something more effective. Something that didn’t involve cold calling. Something I could actually live with.
Over the next few weeks and months I developed what I now call “warm email prospecting.”
This technique changed my business. And when I became a freelancer a few years later, it helped me grow my business fast.
I’ve since refined this approach multiple times for solo professionals. In fact, since 2011, I’ve taught it to thousands of freelance and solo professionals in dozens of creative and professional industries.
I still use it several times a month as a coach, as a trainer and as a publisher of a popular podcast. It allows me to easily (and very effectively!) contact potential partners and high-profile show guests—all without feeling mortified at dinner parties.
In this book, you’ll learn:
• The goal of warm email prospecting
• Why it’s better than many other prospecting tactics
• Who should use it
• How it differs from a regular personal email
• How to use it to launch your freelance writing business
• The importance of a good subject line
• How to prioritize your prospecting efforts
• How other freelancers are successfully using this technique
In addition, the book also includes:
• A basic template for composing a warm email
• Lots of warm email examples to help you write your own
So let’s get started!
First things first. Unlike cold calling, warm email prospecting doesn’t require you to bring a new contact around to your way of thinking in the course of a few seconds or minutes.
You don’t have to hard sell. You don’t have to convince. You don’t have to land a client on the spot.
Instead, the goal of warm email prospecting is simply to start a conversation.
Essentially, all you want is for the prospect to respond with a question or statement that indicates some level of interest.
“Interesting. Tell me more about what you do.”
“We may have a need for someone with your skills. Can you send me more information about your fees?”
“We were working with another designer, but she recently left to work full time with another client. Can you touch base with me in three weeks? I’ll be in a better place to discuss at that time.”
Only then do you get to the point of talking to the prospect on the phone. But you’ve already started the conversation via email, so continuing the conversation is much, much easier.
As mentioned in the introduction, warm email prospecting isn’t your standard, everyday email prospecting. It’s “artisanal prospecting,” where you personally handcraft each email for each recipient.
It’s true that warm email prospecting requires more preparation than other marketing tactics, such as mass emailing or cold calling.
But that extra up-front time is well worth it because warm email prospecting offers many advantages over these other tactics.
Warm emails are better because they are:
1. Different from 99 percent of all other marketing emails. Prospects know most marketing emails are produced for a wide audience. And when their inboxes are full of generic marketing messages, it’s difficult to stand out with yet another generic marketing message.
2. Less intrusive than other communication media. Unlike incoming phone calls, email doesn’t have to be read immediately when it lands in a prospect’s inbox. Instead, it can sit until the prospect gets to it.
3. More convenient for the prospect. Prospects can’t scan your voicemail quickly to see if it’s relevant, so they’re more likely to delete it. They can’t determine how relevant your cold call is, so they’re more likely to ignore it. But they can quickly scan your short email. Considering how incredibly busy prospects are today, using a medium that’s more convenient for the prospect increases your chances of success.
4. Easier for the prospect to consume. Prospects are more receptive to a strong and relevant email message than a cold call or other direct approach. My experience: When cold calling, you have three to five seconds to make an impression. But with email, you have 10-20 seconds and prospects haven’t put up defenses as they normally would with a cold call.
5. More personalized. Because you’ve crafted each email individually, it’s seen as a one-to-one message—an email from one person to another, not one from one person to many. That puts it in the same high-priority category as emails from friends, family and colleagues, even if the prospect doesn’t know you.
6. Designed to leverage psychological triggers. These triggers tap into timeless core human emotions. Unlike prospecting gimmicks and fly-by-night tactics you may hear about, this isn’t something that’s going to stop working in a few months or years.
7. Designed to keep you focused and motivated. You’ll no longer feel like a pest. You won’t dread picking up the phone. And when you start getting results, you’ll feel even more motivated to continue.
8. Less expensive than other prospecting strategies. Warm email prospecting doesn’t cost much. You don’t have to attend networking events. You don’t even have to buy or rent lists. In fact, the best lists are those you compile yourself.
9. Quick and immediate. Prospects get your warm email message immediately. You don’t have to wait days or weeks for your letter to be delivered.
10. Proactive. You get to handpick your prospects. A lot of marketing advice is about getting prospects to come to you. Which is fine. But when prospects come to you out of the blue, you have no control over who they are or when they show up. So it’s also critically important to implement some proactive strategies. In other words, strategies that allow you to handpick prospects who fit with your goals and preferences.
Now that we’ve seen that warm email prospecting is better than many other marketing tactics, does that mean that everyone should use it?
Generally, I’ve found that warm email prospecting works best if you’re selling a professional service (not a product) and you’re selling to businesses, entrepreneurs or organizations (rather than individual consumers).
Fortunately, that does make it a great choice for many freelancers, including:
• Freelance writers and other freelance creative professionals
• Service professionals
• Small agencies and marketing firms
• Other small service firms
• Sales professionals
Ready to get started? OK, let’s go!
We can all agree that sending personalized emails is a better way to drum up business than other marketing tactics such as cold calling, mass email marketing and even in-person prospecting.
But there’s a critical difference between sending a personalized email and sending a warm email. And that’s because a warm email intentionally employs three key psychological triggers:
1. Personalization. The email was written specifically for the prospect.
2. Relevance. The email is directly relevant to the prospect’s work.
3. Brevity. The email is short and to the point. Specifically, 125 words or less.
When these three triggers are in place, your warm email will stand out from 99 percent of all marketing emails in your prospect’s inbox. Which means you now have a much higher chance of getting a response.
And once you have a response, it becomes much easier to engage the prospect in a dialogue about your services.
So let’s get down to the business of creating one of these warm emails.
Over the years, I’ve identified four key structural components to a warm email and put them into a template, as follows:
SUBJECT LINE: [Meaningful Connection]
[Soft Invitation to Connect]
Let’s quickly review each of these components:
+ Meaningful Connection: A statement that ties what you do to something you noticed about that particular prospect. It does not need to be an “event.” It can be something you noticed on the prospect’s website. Or a company attribute that would make the prospect need someone with your skill set. (More about this in a minute.)
+ Value Statement: A sentence or two that explains what you do, for whom you do it and why you’re different from many competitors. It can also explain why that difference matters.
+ Credibility URL: A link to your “About Me” page, some relevant samples, testimonials, a success story about how you helped a client solve a challenge or anything that would help you sound credible. It doesn’t have to be a link, however. It can be a list of recent clients. Or a description of an award you’ve received. Or a big accomplishment, number of years of experience or information about your unique background.
+ Soft Invitation to Connect: No need to be wordy or elaborate. Keep it low key. You could ask, “Should we connect?” or maybe, “Would it make sense to schedule a brief call soon?”
Again, it’s important to keep your email short and to the point: 125 words or less! Remember: Brevity is one of the key psychological triggers!
Most of these components are relatively straightforward, except perhaps for “meaningful connections.”
What kind of meaningful connection are we talking about, exactly? There are four basic types you can use in your email:
1. Point to a “trigger event”
2. Point to a “trigger attribute”
3. Name a relevant client, accomplishment, knowledge or experience
4. Leverage a mutual contact
Let’s look at each of these in order.
#1: Point to a Trigger Event
A trigger event is simply a big event or change within an organization (or in that organization’s industry) that creates an opportunity for you as a freelancer to get your foot in the door.
Here are some examples of great trigger events:
• Positive or negative financial announcements
• New funding received
• New product or service announcements
• Expansions into new markets
• New initiatives within the organization
• A new marketing director or VP hired
• New activity on the organization’s website/blog (or lack of activity)
• An upcoming event the prospect is putting together or going to be attending
• Layoffs, downsizing, rightsizing
• Pending or recently enacted legislation
• Landing a very large or prestigious new client
You get the picture. These events are valuable to you because they create a certain level of “pain” or need that makes the company more receptive to your services.
And the best way to find these trigger events is to scour business, industry and trade publications for the target markets you’re going after.
But you don’t have to subscribe to print versions of these publications. You can simply sign up for email lists or find online versions. Going through these resources every week or two will yield trigger events for potential prospects.
SUBJECT:Read about Slate in the Houston Business Chronicle
I read in the Houston Business Chronicle about Slate’s impressive growth—from zero to more than 1,100 employees in just three years. Congrats!
I’m writing because I may be able to help you clearly and concisely communicate with your employees. Among my 10-plus years of professional writing experience is more than seven years of writing employee and benefits communications.
I’ve won several awards for my writing, including the PR Communicator of the Year award from the Houston Press Club. And I excel in translating corporate-speak into engaging content that employees will take time to read.
You can see samples of my work at [URL].
Would it make sense for us to connect in the next few weeks?
#2: Point to a Trigger Attribute
Trigger attributes are attributes about an organization that could trigger a need for your services. Unlike trigger events, trigger attributes are not event-related.
Rather, they’re based on something the prospect has been doing for a while (a trend) or that is just part of who the prospect is or what he or she stands for.
So rather than the message being “Hey, Mr. Prospect: I saw this news announcement about your company…” it’s more like:
• “Hey, Mr. Prospect: I noticed that you have quite a few ______ posted on your website.”
• “Hey, Mr. Prospect: I noticed that you’re starting to really go after the _________ market.”
• “Hey, Mr. Prospect: I noticed that you do a lot of work in this area…”
• “I know that marketing and selling ________ (type of product) often requires a lot of ______.”
• “I was reading through your product lines and noticed ________. Have you considered doing ______ with that content?”
SUBJECT LINE: Been watching your Big Data webinar series
I’ve been watching your recent Big Data webinar series. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of moving this discussion to the boardroom.
I’m writing because I’m a technology veteran who works with enterprise software companies to repurpose business white papers into webinar content, video scripts, road shows and other compelling content formats. I’ve worked with ABC Data, XYZ Tech and others on similar projects.
Here are some samples of my work: [URL].
I’d love to chat briefly and run some ideas by you. If this sounds interesting, let me know when would be a good day and time to discuss.
#3: Name a Relevant Client, Accomplishment, Experience or Knowledge
This kind of meaningful connection can be very powerful, yet it’s one of the most underused approaches in warm email prospecting.
It’s all about pointing out something about your background, experience or skill set that would be attractive to the prospect, and then briefly explaining how it could be relevant and valuable to him/her.
Note: It does not need to be about your freelance experience. It can (and often is) about something outside your freelance career.
• I was a high school teacher for 22 years.
• I was an analyst for Forrester Research for seven years.
• I was in hotel management for 12 years.
• I’ve worked in and around the renewable energy industry for eight years.
• As a journalist, I’ve been writing about renewable energy for the past four years.
• I’m a Salesforce.com certified developer, so I understand _______.
• I’ve written for XYZ Co. and ABC, Inc.
• My family has been in the auto parts industry for over 60 years.
• I’m a passionate gardener.
SUBJECT: Love what you’re doing with Sparx
I’ve been following the growth of your Sparx online learning initiative. I’m very impressed with what you’re doing here and the impact it’s having on high school students.
I’m not sure how you’re handling the writing of your marketing content, but I’d love to know what it would take to be considered for some of these needs.
I was a high school teacher for 22 years and now focus on writing marketing content for training and online learning companies. I use my experience as an educator and avid proponent of online learning to deliver persuasive writing that hits the mark.
You can learn more about me and my work here: [URL].
Should we connect?
#4: Leverage a Mutual Contact
The fourth and final way you can make a relevant and meaningful connection with a prospect is by leveraging a personal or professional contact you both share.
This approach can be extremely powerful when done right. It basically involves looking at your personal and professional network and trying to find connections between it and your prospect companies.
One way to do this is to phone some of your personal and professional contacts and ask if they know anyone in the companies you’re targeting. This works well if you have a sense of who knows who based on their work history.
But an even better and more practical way to uncover these connections is with LinkedIn.
If you already have a LinkedIn account, you simply have to log in and look up the name of each contact you want to email and see if anyone in your immediate network is “linked” to them.
If you’ve worked in an industry long enough, or if you have a lot of people in your network, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find direct connections.
For example, let’s say I’ve identified Jody Beasley at a company called CGI as someone who’d be a great prospect for me. But I haven’t found much in the way of trigger events.
However, I do a search on LinkedIn, and I find he’s connected to someone I know—a guy by the name of Dennis Ehle, who happens to be a past client of mine.
So I send a warm email to my contact, Dennis, asking him for an introduction.
SUBJECT LINE:Jody Beasley at CGI
I’m calling because I’ve recently launched a commercial writing business. Specifically, I’m leveraging my corporate training experience to help companies in that industry write better marketing and sales materials.
I’ve been working on putting together a very targeted list of prospects—companies I really believe I can help. One of these companies is CGI. And while doing a search on LinkedIn, I saw that you were connected to Jody Beasley over there.
I wanted to see if you could introduce me to Jody so we could determine if my services would be of value to CGI.
I’ve found that many companies in that industry have more marketing materials to write than they have time or resources to create them. And I can help fill that need in an affordable way.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
Given my existing relationship with Dennis, chances are good he’ll make the introduction. And the prospect will be much more receptive to starting a conversation with me because I came to him through a mutual contact.
Warm emails work best when you have a client or two under your belt. Or at least a very simple website.
But what if you’re just getting started?
In that case you can use what my friend and colleague Steve Slaunwhite calls “launch emails.”
Launch emails are a type of warm email that you send only to people in your personal and professional network. These are people with whom you already have an existing personal or professional relationship.
Your objective is to let them know about your new business and ask for their help in either hiring you directly (where appropriate) or referring you to people who may have a need you can fill.
The idea is simple: You create a basic message and alter each one based on who the person is, what you know about him/her, what he/she does and how you think the person can help you.
Now, these people may not be your best prospects ever (or your best sources of referral). But when you’re just getting started, it’s better to go after fair-quality low-hanging fruit than high-quality prospects who could take months or years to close.
Each launch email is based on the nature of your relationship with the target, so there’s no template. But there are some basic elements you need to include to increase your chances of success:
1. Position your new venture as a business, not a hobby.
2. Clearly explain what you’re doing, for whom and why you’re different.
3. Show that there is a demand for this service.
4. Express your request clearly.
5. Come across as professional, not aggressive.
6. Lay the foundation for a follow-up call.
Why not just call these people (since you already know them) instead of emailing them?
Because hitting them with this request, especially with no warning, puts them on the spot. And this makes them more likely to say, “I don’t know anyone,” or respond positively but then not take action.
By introducing the topic via email, you’re giving them a chance to digest your request and think creatively about how they can help you.
It’s been a while since we connected. Hope you, Amanda and the kids are doing well. Last time we met for lunch, your oldest son was about to leave for college. I hope that went well and that he’s adjusting nicely to college life at Georgia.
I’m writing because I’ve recently launched a commercial writing business, and I was curious if someone in your professional network could potentially benefit from my services.
Content marketing has gone mainstream. Yet companies are stretched thin and can’t handle most of their content writing in house.
I can fill that need in an affordable way—whether it’s website content or sales collateral, articles, reports, white papers or virtually any type of marketing content.
My ideal prospect is a business that sells something new, expensive or complex. Those are the factors that typically require lots of marketing and sales content.
Here’s a link to my website, where I have additional information: www.XYZ.com.
If you think of someone who meets these criteria, would you be willing to make a short email introduction? I assure you that I will treat anyone you send my way with the utmost respect and courtesy.
Thanks in advance, Joe. And don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions. Either way, let’s catch up soon. I’d love to buy you lunch if you’re available sometime over the next couple of weeks.
When you’re prospecting with email, your subject line is critical.
That’s because the subject line is a teaser for the rest of the email. It makes the prospect want to find out more. If the prospect senses that the email is not relevant or valuable, he or she will delete it without even opening it.
So what should your subject line say?
The one thing it must include is something related to the meaningful connection you’re using in the email body.
Writing the perfect subject line takes practice. But I’ve put together a free PDF that will make it a lot easier for you.
In this PDF, I’ll give you five guidelines for crafting the perfect subject line for your warm emails. And I’ll give you a swipe file of 51 effective subject lines you can use as a model for your subject lines.
This PDF will save you a lot of time. And it will help you come up with better ideas for your prospecting emails.
Here’s where you can get your free copy:
Once you’ve moved beyond the launch email stage, you’re ready to extend your outreach to prospects with whom you don’t already have a personal or business connection.
But then another problem emerges: How do you figure out whom to contact first?
It can feel like every company is a potential prospect. And even if you narrow your field to, say, “small businesses” or “medical device companies,” that still leaves you with tens of thousands of potential prospects.
So where do you start? And how do you prioritize?
The List-Kickstarter Matrix
The list-kickstarter matrix (LKM) is a powerful way to compile your prospect list and prioritize your outreach. It will save you countless hours of wasted effort and dramatically increase your chances of getting quick wins.
Basically, the matrix is a way of building your initial list of prospects and segmenting them for prioritization purposes.
This is what the matrix looks like:
As you can see, the matrix consists of four categories, sorted on two attributes: relevance and relationship.
Which leaves you with the following five categories:
1. Golden Nuggets
2. Solid Prospects
3. Poor Connections
5. Helping Hands
Let me explain each quadrant by giving you examples of the kinds of prospects in each. I’ll then show you how to use this matrix to create a prospect list.
Golden Nugget prospects are people who are your best chance of landing high-quality projects. They may be highly placed in marketing departments or have their own business and know the value of marketing and marketing content.
Example: One of your all-time best friends is the marketing director at a midsize medical equipment company, and they produce a lot of written materials. This is a true Golden Nugget no matter what stage your business is at.
Another example: Your real estate agent is pretty marketing-savvy and puts out a lot of content for his prospects.
Note: As your business grows, how you define your Golden Nugget prospects will change. Prospects you would consider Golden Nuggets when starting out may fall out of that category as your business evolves.
Connectors, as you might expect, are people well connected in the local business community. While they don’t work in marketing themselves, they could possibly refer you to prospects who do.
Example: Your next-door neighbor is VP of operations at a logistics company. He’s obviously not a marketer, but he may be able to refer you to his marketing VP.
Solid Prospects are organizations and companies (not people—yet!) that are a great fit for your services. They produce a lot of marketing content. And they fit with your background and experience.
Example: You’re reading a trade publication and see that a company’s marketing department is hiring. The company is in the IT industry and you used to work in IT before going freelance.
Helping Hands are people who aren’t good prospects themselves but could potentially refer you to others.
Example: Your sister owns a small bakery. She doesn’t really understand what you do for a living. But you’re confident she’d be willing to hear about what you’re doing and possibly refer you to some of her contacts who may be a better fit for you.
Poor Connections are people who aren’t good prospects or good sources of referrals.
Example: Your friend Nate introduced you to his cousin at a party you attended last weekend. His cousin seemed nice and even gave you his business card. But (a) you just met him and (b) he owns a very small landscaping company. Prospecting possibilities here are slim.
Using the LKM to Create and Prioritize Your List
Now that you understand how the matrix works, you can use it to create your prospect list and prioritize your prospecting efforts.
First, start by listing people you already know and slot them into the matrix.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Grab a notepad and divide a blank page into three columns. Title the first column “Golden Nuggets,” the second column “Connectors” and the third column “Helping Hands.”
2. Open your contact management application (or your Rolodex, address book, etc.). Go through each name one by one and decide if it fits into one of these three columns.
3. Don’t get bogged down in trying to get it “just right.” You can always adjust later if needed.
4. Don’t ignore Helping Hands. One of the Helping Hands in my network played a huge role in my business success. This Helping Hand introduced me to someone who referred me to yet another individual who hired me 14 years ago. And that particular job was the impetus for my going freelance in 2006.
5. Don’t ignore Connectors. Early in my freelance career, a Connector in my network introduced me to my longest-running client (seven years). Both Connectors and Helping Hands can be game-changers, so don’t ignore them!
Next, make a list of 10 Solid Prospects.
Again, if you’re a freelance writer or copywriter, Solid Prospects are companies or organizations that produce a lot of copy or written marketing content…and where your particular work background and experience could make you an ideal freelance resource.
In other words, you don’t know them and they don’t know you. But because you chose them carefully, they are more likely to be receptive to your message than a random prospect from the Yellow Pages or a local business directory.
Start with a small batch. But try to come up with at least 10. If you end up with a few more than 10, that’s fine.
But don’t create a list with many more than 10. You’ll start to feel overwhelmed and you won’t take action. So keep it small.
You’ll regularly go through the cycle of adding to the list, making the outreach, adding a few more, outreach, etc.—especially as you run out of the low-hanging fruit of people you already know.
Eventually, you’ll end up spending most of your time on this list.
What companies should you put on your list of Solid Prospects?
For a good Solid Prospect list, you should apply the following basic criteria:
1. It’s a decent-size company (i.e., it has multiple departments, as opposed to a small, local company where a few employees wear multiple hats).
2. It produces a lot of written materials (as evidenced by what is on its website).
3. It falls into your target market (or markets).
4. It’s likely to be receptive to your outreach based on the nature of the services it sells and your work background and experience. So look for companies selling products and services that are:
- Expensive. When products or services are relatively expensive, their value needs to be explained and justified. And that creates a need for marketing content.
- “Considered” purchases. In other words, the products and services haven’t been commoditized. Customers won’t buy them without additional information or consultation. They don’t sell themselves.
- Complex. Your potential client has to spend time and resources explaining those products and services…and what those products and services do for their customers.
And not only should the products and services meet most (or all) of these criteria, they should also fit with your background and experience.
Don’t overthink this. You’re NOT trying to come up with the optimal list of 10 prospects. Just come up with 10 that look promising based on the criteria.
Once you go through these steps, you’ll have a complete LKM.
You’ll know which prospects to pursue (Golden Nuggets and Solid Prospects), which to approach for referrals (Connectors and Helping Hands) and which to ignore (Poor Connections).
The next step is to find names, titles and email addresses for the Solid Prospects you chose.
Let’s illustrate this process with an example. Say I’m doing research to come up with my 10 Solid Prospect companies. And I come across this article:
After reading the article and doing a bit more research, I decide that GE Healthcare would be a great choice as a Solid Prospect.
But I don’t know anyone who works there (or anyone who knows anyone who works there), so what do I do?
I have to figure out two things: whom to contact and his/her email address.
The best place to start my search is LinkedIn.
I log in to my LinkedIn account and go directly to the advanced search screen. (Click on the “Advanced” link to the right of the search field that’s on top of the LinkedIn Home screen once you’re logged in.)
Once there, I type “GE Healthcare” in the Company field. I then type “Marketing Director” in the “Title” field. I click the “Search” button and notice what turns up:
When I run this search, there are several people at GE Healthcare that meet the criteria.
As I look through that list, I find someone who could be a relevant contact for me. Her name is displayed as “Lynn E.”:
Because she’s not a first- or second-level connection, I don’t have access to her full name or profile. But there’s a neat work-around: Copy the individual’s name and title and paste it directly into the Google search field.
In this case, I opened another tab in my browser, went to Google and copied that whole section directly into the Google search field:
Lynn E. (See Full Name) Director, Marketing Communications, Global Services at GE Healthcare
Here’s what I got when I did this:
And voilà! I have a name and title.
Using Google to Find Email Addresses
But I still need an email address. And LinkedIn profiles rarely contain email addresses. So how do I find that information?
I go back to Google! Here’s one way I can tell Google to dig up this information:
Lynn Eversgerd @ge.com
Basically, I’m asking Google to give me any instances of the words “Lynn” and “Eversgerd” along with the term “@ge.com“ (the company’s domain name).
Here’s what I got:
The seventh search result turned up her email address!
Data.com Connect (Previously “Jigsaw”)
If I can’t find a contact’s email address using the Google technique above, Data.com Connect is my fallback resource. Data.com Connect is basically a crowdsourced online database of company and contact information.
For example, I was searching for contact information for a marketing manager by the name of Marielle Covington who works at the software company Autodesk. I couldn’t find her email address in Google, so I tried searching for her in Data.com Connect.
Here’s what turned up…
She’s in the system! At this point I can click on her name and use some of my points to get her email address.
I’ve found that if I can’t uncover someone’s email address using LinkedIn or Google, I can find it in Data.com Connect about 80 percent of the time.
] _This section does not[_ constitute legal advice. Consult with your attorney before relying upon the compliance information provided below or if you have questions concerning the legal ramifications of sending commercial email messages._]
Before you send any prospecting emails, you need to make sure you’re in compliance with your country’s laws and regulations for commercial email messages.
I’m not an attorney, so the following information is for illustrative purposes only. Always work with your own attorney for specific legal direction in this and other matters.
The U.S. CAN-SPAM Law
Here’s an abbreviated rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements, portions of which I’ve copied from the (you’ll find much more detail on the site itself):
1) Don’t use false or misleading header information.Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
You have to be transparent in your “From” line and other headers. You have to send from a real email address and use either your real name or company name.
This isn’t a problem when sending warm emails because you definitely do not want to disguise your name or mislead in any way.
2) Don’t use deceptive subject lines.The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
Here again, this isn’t an issue with warm email prospecting. Your subject line should always be directly related to the message of your email. Even better, it should tie right in to the opening sentence or paragraph of the email.
3) Identify the message as an ad.You must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
Again, I’m giving you my personal opinion here, not legal advice in any way. I’m not an attorney. My take on this requirement is that the nature of these emails is such that there’s absolutely no confusion about the commercial purpose of your email.
It is clearly an advertisement—a business solicitation. A relevant and personalized one, mind you, but still an ad. So I don’t see a problem here, unless you don’t follow the guidelines I’ve laid out.
4) Tell recipients where you’re located.Your message must include your valid physical postal address.
You’ll be sending your warm emails from your own email client or program (not an email newsletter service, such as MailChimp), so you need to manually add your contact information. You can do this by either:
• Manually adding your mailing address at the bottom of each email, or
• Including your postal address in your email signature line.
Personally, I think the second option is cleaner and better.
5) Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future.
The way I see this, you have two options:
• You can either include a sentence at the bottom of the email inviting the prospect to opt out of any further communications from you, or
• You can weave that invitation into your script. Something like, “If this isn’t of interest to you, let me know and I won’t send you any other messages.”
Personally, I’ve opted for a third option: not overtly giving an option—because I think that the option to “opt out” is implied.
If a recipient doesn’t want to hear from me again—and it’s clear that this is not an automated message—then he/she would naturally reply with a short “don’t email me again” message.
Even though that’s not what the law says, I’m willing to take a chance with this approach because warm email prospecting is very different from the kind of prospecting this law was intended to stop.
Again, that’s a choice I’ve made. I’m not suggesting (or even implying) that you should do the same. Get informed and make your own decision.
6) Honor opt-out requests promptly.Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days.
This one’s a no-brainer. You should, of course, do this even if it weren’t the law.
7) Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.Even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law.
Because you’re sending the emails yourself, this doesn’t really apply.
You need to educate yourself on this topic before proceeding with warm email prospecting. Talk with your attorney and consult the FTC website:
What If I Live in Canada?
The Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is being rolled out over the next few years in three phases, but a big part of it went into effect on July 1, 2014.
You can learn more about it and see the full text here:
You might also find this free useful. It was put together by Elite Email, a Canadian email marketing company.
This is a very aggressive law that, in my opinion, punishes the wrong set of people. According to the , 80 percent of spam received by Internet users in North America and Europe can be traced to a hardcore group of around 100 known spam operations.
Yes, legitimate businesses and organizations will comply with the law. And that will help reduce some unwanted email. But the real problem isn’t legitimate businesses and organizations—it’s that group of hardcore spammers.
My advice? If you live in Canada or if you prospect for Canadian clients, do not send them warm emails. Instead, send hardcopy letters via postal mail, while applying the same warm email prospecting guidelines and principles.
Not only will you comply with CASL, your letter will stand out even more with its hardcopy format. In the digital age, prospects rarely get short, relevant and personalized hardcopy marketing letters.
Not yet convinced that warm email prospecting is a great way to land new clients?
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s just a small sample of the positive feedback I’ve received from creative professionals who have implemented this technique in their own freelance businesses:
As these emails and written notes attest, warm email prospecting works!
In all my years of working as a freelancer and a business-building coach, I have yet to find any other prospecting tactic that is as simple, inexpensive and effective.
But here’s the catch: Warm email prospecting only works if you actually send out warm emails!
I can’t stress this enough. Your success with warm email prospecting will largely depend on two things:
1. Getting started now, even if you don’t feel ready.
2. Sending emails consistently, every week!
Sounds basic, but most people don’t do one or the other, or both!
To encourage you to get started with warm email prospecting today, I’m giving you a boost with a free PDF swipe file of powerful subject lines.
If you’ve ever had an overflowing email inbox (and who hasn’t?), you’ll know how important email subject lines are—and that’s especially true when you’re using email for prospecting.
It’s the subject line that entices people to open your email. And if your email has a ho-hum or irrelevant subject line, the recipient is less likely to open it and much more likely to delete it, unread.
Writing the perfect subject line isn’t easy. But having a few guidelines and lots of examples can help.
That’s why I’ve just put together a free PDF that will make it a lot easier for you to craft your warm email subject lines.
The PDF includes five guidelines for crafting the perfect subject line and includes a swipe file of 51 effective subject lines you can adapt to your own warm emails.
This PDF will save you time and help make your warm emails even more effective.
And there’s no charge. Here’s the link to request your copy:
Finding and landing freelance writing work is not easy. It requires a great deal of hustle, determination and the ability to handle rejection well. Fortunately, there’s a faster and simpler way to prospect for clients using nothing but email. This method is perfect if you don't really enjoy prospecting. Or if you just don't have the time (or the motivation) to keep up with the latest marketing fads. It's called "warm email prospecting." And in this nuts-and-bolts guide, freelance copywriter and business-building coach Ed Gandia will show you how to use this simple, proven and underused approach to generate high-quality client leads faster and more cost-effectively. You'll discover the three psychological triggers that get prospects to respond to your message and contact you to learn more. You’ll get samples, templates and step-by-step instruction. And you'll walk away knowing how to write simple and short prospecting emails that get results.