If you hang around here for any length of time, you’ll notice that we talk about pitching a lot. And that’s because pitching is the only way to truly be in control of your business and your income. “Easier” ways to land clients (like Upwork and Freelancer, to name just two job bidding sites) are actually a recipe for burnout and discouragement.
But once you’re on board with the idea of pitching, we know the next question is, “How do I do that?” Today, we’re highlighting 5 ways to take your freelance pitches from mediocre to fired up!
1. Send it to the right person
This sounds like a no-brainer, but your freelance pitches won’t get any traction if the reader doesn’t have decision-making power. Find the right person, and then get your pitch directly to that person. Here are some routes you might be tempted to take, but we do not recommend:
- Sending pitches to the generic company email address
- Using the form on the “contact us” page
- Commenting on blog posts
- Commenting on social media
- Sending DMs on social media
None of these avenues are likely to put your pitch in front of the right eyes.
It might take some time to identify the person you need and to find their email address. For smaller companies (1 to 5 people), your best bet is usually the founder. Bigger companies will have a few leadership positions to choose from. You know your industry, so find the job title that fits best with what you’re pitching.
2. Personalize it
It is imperative that you take the time to personalize each email pitch. If you skip this step, it’s a sure-fire way to get your email deleted, and potentially even get marked as spam. Mass emails might seem like the path of least resistance, but they are generally ineffective, and therefore a waste of your time.
Instead, take the time to research the company, find out what they’re working on, and figure out how you can help them. Which leads me to point 3…
3. Add value
Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and ask which type of email you would respond positively to: 1) an email requesting something, or 2) an email offering something? Definitely the second, right?
If you send a pitch email that amounts to, “Please hire me!” then be prepared for it to go nowhere fast. However, if your pitch is well-researched, thoughtful, and offers a solution to their problem (which, by the way, you can absolutely provide), you’re going to have greater success.
When you reach out to someone, particularly a stranger, your goal should always be to add value. Emailing someone to tell them, “You should do XYZ” is pushy. But, “I had an idea and wanted to let you know in case it’s helpful” is both friendly and more likely to win the business.
4. Communicate your USP
Your USP is your unique selling point. It’s what you offer that no one else does. You need to convey an aspect of yourself and your business that sets you apart from the crowd and convinces the reader that you’re the best person for the job.
Imagine if a CEO gets pitched by three different freelances at once, and all of them sound about the same. Who will she choose? Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the one who sent the most recent email, maybe the one with more samples, maybe the one whose email signature was in a script font.
My point is that when you don’t distinguish yourself from the crowd, you lose what little control you have in the decision. The simple act of communicating your USP allows you to retain some control and assert yourself as precisely the right person to engage.
5. Ask for the business
Another obvious tip, but it’s surprising how many people never actually make the ask. Or maybe they sort of “half ask.” In a way, it’s understandable. Sending freelance pitches to strangers seems intimidating, so when they get to the end they revert to a tentative suggestion rather than a pointed question. They might say, “Feel free to reach out if…” or “Let me know if you have time…”
But by this time, you have researched a solution for them, crafted a personalized message, and offered a great idea. Instead of being coy, be clear and confident!
You can open the ask with “I’d love to talk more about this idea.” But then make sure you continue with something concrete like, “Do you have time to talk next week?” Be friendly and efficient: ask for the business, the call, or whatever next step makes sense.
After all, you’re a professional who knows your value, and your pitch should reflect that reality.
Your turn: Which one of these do you most need to work on? Did we leave off any tips that have helped you improve your freelance pitches? Let us know in the comments below!