One of the easiest ways to make money online is to become a freelancer.
Whether you’re a writer, marketer, developer, translator, web designer, virtual assistant, or [insert your freelance role here], in this article I’m going to show you how to win clients using cold emails.
Why not just use remote job sites?
When I first started freelancing as a writer I turned to sites like Upwork and Freelancer as they were easy to use and made finding clients very easy.
In the beginning these sites were great. The problems with these sites are that clients who are posting jobs usually end up hiring the cheapest freelancer, or contracts are short and you’re constantly in a battle to find clients who will pay you your worth.
I was spending hours per day applying for jobs with some success, but thought there had to be a better way to get clients who would pay a fair rate, and that’s when I started cold emailing prospects.
This is how I did it.
1. Find 100+ potential prospects
The first step is to find a large group of clients you want to help.
To be successful with this cold email approach you’ll need to niche yourself into a box.
If you’re a writer and most of your work is done on the real estate topic, then find a list of 50 client websites in the real estate market.
If you’re a web developer and have a portfolio of helping travel sites, then get a list of 50 client websites in the travel market.
If you’re an email marketer and most of your clients are in the retail industry, then get a list of 50 clients in the retail market.
You have to box yourself into a niche topic because you’ll be able to personalize the email to their needs and provide them with proof that you’ve helped others like them before.
I would start by finding businesses local to where you live; start with your town or city.
The benefit to starting local is that businesses prefer to work with people close by, and if they want to meet you in person first you don’t have to travel far.
If you’re working full time and freelance on the side, hire a freelancer on Upwork to find relevant prospects on your behalf.
When I outsource this task I tell my freelancers that all prospects must meet the following criteria:
At least 2,000 Facebook fans but no more than 10,000 – This gives an indicator that the business is growing and has money for your services.
I try to avoid businesses with 15k or more followers as the probably already have a marketing team.
They have posted at least twice on social media in the last 7 days – This ensures the business is still active.
Must only be from English-speaking countries – All my emails are in English so it helps to send emails to businesses that speak the same language.
Must be niche related – The website must be in a specific niche.
For $30 you’ll be able to get someone to pull a list of 100 clients with their website addresses and email addresses.
2. Write a piece of content
The biggest issue with cold emails is that businesses receive them all
the time and they all sound the same.
If you have your own website you’ll have come across emails like this:
If you send this type of cold email you won’t get a response.
Write a blog post (500 words or more) of value that you can send to the prospect.
For example, if you’re an email marketer, write a blog on 6 Tips Health Businesses Can Use to Win More Customers with Email Marketing.
If you’re a writer in the real estate market, create an article on How a Lead Magnet Can Increase Lead Sign-Ups By 75% For Realtors.
The article should provide the prospects with value they can use right away in their business, while making you look like an expert.
This article only needs to be written once and you can send it to prospects over and over again. You can also use a video instead of a blog post if you prefer.
3. Sending the pitch
Never start an email with “Hey there” like above.
Visit the business' website and look for the About Us or Our Story page. This usually provides information about the CEO or founder.
This is the person you want to address in your email and the person you want to send the email to.
Once you have their name, use a tool like email checker to find their email address if it is not already listed on their site.
I’ve found that it’s better to email the founder than emails like info@ or support@ as they aren’t always passed on to the right person.
In your email, make a positive comment about their business, find something they are doing wrong on their website, and let them know. This shows that you’ve actually spent time on their site to learn more about them.
If the About Us page has a cool story about why they started their business, make a comment about it and be relatable.
Next, introduce yourself and mention something on their site that can be improved.
If you’re a web developer, give honest feedback on their landing pages. If you're a Facebook marketer, check what ads they are running and provide feedback.
Then at the end of the email direct them to your blog post that you specifically wrote for their niche, ask them to read it as they can get value from it, and ask them to reply to your email if they have any questions.
And then you wait.
If they reply, then you can start escalating to get them on a call and to pitch your services.
Depending on the quality of your emails and content, a 10% or more reply rate is good. This is why I suggest you get a list of 100 or more prospects.
When I seek new clients, I get a list of 100 prospects and email five per day until one converts.
This is a great strategy to use to win clients with cold emails.
You also don’t need to go low on price because there aren’t another 20 freelancers also bidding for the same job.