You'll never make it in freelance unless you master the art of finding work, and here to help you out is Karen Martínez with a guest post explaining how she goes about finding new clients using email. Have a read, get sending, then start spending when the cash comes rolling in.

Guest Post by Karen Martínez

Cold emailing can be a great method to get clients because you’re in control of reaching out to prospects. If you do it right, these emails can lead you to great long-term relationships with clients you really love.

In this post, I’ll explain how I contacted Thrive using my cold email pitch, so you can use it as a guide to develop your own email strategy and get more clients.

Define What You Do

I’m a blogger and I love writing about freelancing. When I graduated high school I realized I wanted to work for myself one day. I got interested in marketing, productivity, finance and everything related to businesses. I started reading blogs about freelancing and I enjoyed it so much that now I write about the subject myself.

I could be a copywriter for law firms, but I don’t enjoy that kind of topic. I have a client service contract because it’s essential to my freelance business. However, if I tried to specialize in this industry I would have to develop a deeper legal knowledge and the truth is I find it pretty boring.

I chose my craft and an industry. You might want to define what you enjoy to do and build your business around that.

It’s important to find a niche because it will increase your sales success rate when emailing prospective clients. Businesses prefer hiring someone with portfolio pieces related to their industry. Market yourself as an expert on just a few niches and you’ll get better results.

Imagine Your Ideal Client

Since I write about freelancing, my ideal client is a company with a blog offering products and services to freelancers. In this case, Thrive develops an app for solopreneurs. This makes them a good fit for me.

I also consider my ideal project workflow with clients. I’m not interested in working with corporations because they have big policies and bureaucracy. I’m used to working with them at my day job and sometimes it’s frustrating.

I don’t like the fact that there’s a lot of people involved in every project, I never get to talk to the decision makers and payments are processed slowly.

On the other hand, small businesses have their own rules and I think that’s great because they work faster with less complicated procedures.

I like working with real people and Thrive showcases it’s a friendly business. That’s one of the reasons I approached them.

At the same time, they benefit from working with me because I’m a blogger who specializes in their niche. It’s a win-win situation.

You may have your own version of what an ideal client looks like. Detail it as much as you can and it will be easier for you to find them.

Research Prospects

I take the time to look up possible clients and narrow my list down to a few prospects. Identify your key questions and create your own client list.

In my case, some common questions I ask myself:

Which businesses could need my services?
What do they do?
Who is the decision maker?
How can I contact this person?

The answers will help me to write a better pitch.

Write The Pitch Email

Now all the pieces fall into place. With this information, I contact the owner or the marketing department directly. The department you need to contact will vary depending on your field.

You may want to contact the same department if you’re a photographer or a designer. However, if you’re an app developer you could contact the IT or developing department.

You can find your prospect’s info through social media profiles like LinkedIn or Twitter. If not, I usually research the domain owner with tools like who.is.

Filling their contact form is my last resort because I don’t know who read this and if my email is relevant to the person.

My email pitch includes:

Email subject with the contact’s name and a few words about my intentions. (Using your contact’s name will increase the email open rate and you avoid being marked as spam)
Initial greetings
Brief introduction of how I met the company
The reason why I am contacting them
3 or 4 samples of my work, portfolio pieces and/or companies I work for
A call to action to motivate the prospect to discuss the company’s needs and hiring terms
A friendly closing line
My name and contact info

Your email template is not set in stone. Experiment to see what works best and adjust as needed.

Follow Up

There are many reasons why prospects don’t answer our emails. Sometimes people forget to respond or they don’t have time, so don’t assume they read your email.

I usually send a quick reminder a few days later to see if they need my services or have any doubts.

If I don’t get a response, I try a different contact method, in case there’s something wrong with emails. Phone calls and social media accounts are great alternatives.

It takes more than 2 or 3 emails for an effective following up. Don’t give up too early.

See If You’re A Good Fit For Them

When my prospects say they need my services, we discuss project terms, deadlines and prices.

The prospects could say they don’t need your services right now. I usually thank them for their reply and move on. I store their contact info and try contacting them in a few months. The situation may have changed by then.

If the prospect gives me a definite no, I may have chosen the wrong company or my pitch isn’t working. Either way, I go back to rethink my strategy and improve my pitch with other companies.

Offer Value

A prospect is not a client unless they pay you. You still need to prove you can deliver excellent customer service.

Try to provide a solution and avoid making up excuses. If your clients always need to redo your work, you’re worthless.

Also remember communication is key. If you don’t understand the project scope, ask for clarification.

When you can’t solve a problem, tell your client immediately. Don’t wait until the bomb explodes to tell them you can’t deactivate it.

At the end of the day, you want to work with happy clients and they want to feel comfortable with your work process.

We’d Love To Know Your Thoughts

There are more ways to get new clients, and you may like some more than others. I tried and tested this method and it’s working great for me.

I made huge mistakes until I reached a point where I feel confident with this strategy. Don’t worry too much about getting it right the first time and take action!

Want to know more about Karen?

Karen Martínez is a freelance blogger based in Panama City. She’s the author of Freelance from Scratch, a blog where she shares stories, tips and advice to help freelancers build a blogging business and achieve the type of lifestyle we all dream of.

So go check it out. Maybe even ask her for a guest post if you run your own blog? But before you do that, let us know which methods are working for you when it comes to getting new work, and how you go about finding new clients with a comment below.

This blog post is brought to you by the creators of Solo; your freelance wingman. If you'd like to contribute to the blog, contact us on hello[at]wearethrive.com.