How to Get Freelance Clients Through Cold Outreach
If you’re wondering how to find new freelance clients, you need to include cold outreach in your marketing strategy.
Cold outreach gets a bad rep. The idea of having to pitch your services or products to individuals or companies who have no clue who you are can give you the ick. However, cold outreach messages can be a powerful tool for proactively finding new freelance clients, establishing professional relationships and growing your freelance business.
If you’re wondering how to get freelance clients and haven’t yet tried cold outreach strategies, then this article is for you. Below we cover what cold outreach is, what to avoid with cold messaging and how you can use it to attract new freelance clients.
What Is Cold Outreach and How Can it Help Me Attract Freelance Clients?
Cold outreach refers to contacting people that you have no established relationship with to inform them about your product or services. The intention is to convert new contacts into paying clients. The most popular forms of cold outreach are emails, social media messaging and phone calls.
Effective cold outreach messages can help you attract freelance clients in the following ways:
- Proactively find potential clients who aren’t aware of (but need) your services.
- Increase the visibility of your brand or services.
- Find new freelance clients in a cost-effective way.
The problem with sending cold outreach messages to people you don’t have a base relationship with is that most people find unsolicited marketing emails intrusive or unwelcome. Therefore, it’s crucial that you create strong cold outreach messages with a level of personalisation for a higher chance of attracting new freelance clients.
If you want to learn how to get freelance clients through effective cold outreach strategies, then follow our tips below.
How to Get Freelance Clients Through Cold Outreach Messages
Attracting new freelance clients through cold outreach is highly effective when you do it well. Here are four top tips on how to get freelance clients through cold outreach messages — followed by a cold outreach email template for you to use.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
You should conduct some market research prior to starting a cold outreach campaign to help identify your ideal clients.
Also known as the “buyer persona”, creating a profile of your ideal customer (covering their demographic information, purchase behaviour, motivations and goals) will help you target people who are more likely to want and buy your services.
You can create a buyer persona by researching the interests and demographics of your return customers, identifying consumer trends from your current clients and asking for feedback from those who have used your services.
2. Find Your Prospective Clients
Once you have your buyer persona and target clients in mind, you need to work on prospecting. Prospecting is the process of identifying and finding your target clients to outreach to. You can find potential new clients to contact in a few ways:
- Ask your current clients for referrals. If you have current or past clients, it’s worth asking them if they have any contacts who may also be interested in your services.(This also works as free marketing for you as previous clients can put in a good word for you and your services).
- Network. Collect contact details of potential clients from industry events or communities that you’re a part of, whether online or in person.
- Search on Google. You can build a cold outreach mailing list by searching for relevant businesses and people on Google. Simply search for your target demographic (e.g. “small beauty brands in my area”) and create a list of companies and contact details using Google Sheets or a similar spreadsheet program.
If you’re struggling to find contact details of your desired target audience, you can use free tools such as Hunter.io which lists professional email addresses for you to contact.
3. Personalise Your Outreach Messages for Your Specific Audience
Don’t forget that receiving unsolicited emails can put potential clients’ backs up, so you need to personalise your cold outreach messages. Once you have your buyer persona established, you will have a good idea of their specific needs and personal pain points to help inform your outreach plan.
Nobody likes to receive a generic marketing message, so you need to put some effort into personalisation. A few easy personalised touches you can include are:
- Addressing your recipient by name. Using your prospective client’s first name (rather than “Dear Sir/Madam”) will instantly make your message feel personalised.
- Engaging with something specific about them. Being able to mention something specific about your recipient’s business, industry or interests shows that you have done your research and that you understand their needs.
- Highlighting how your service can benefit them personally. If your potential client is interested in increasing their website traffic, there’s no point telling them that you can help them increase their sales, because that isn’t their goal. Remember to refer back to your buyer persona and include benefits that your potential customers will actually want.
- Showing your personality. With the use of AI-generated content on the rise, showing your personality (and thus confirming that you’re not an artificial intelligence bot) is crucial for a successful cold outreach message. Don’t forget to use a friendly and conversational tone and any other personal touches relevant to your target client.
Don’t forget to include a clear call-to-action in your personalised outreach messages that invite your target audience to find out more about you and your services. You can also check out our five effective opening messages to send a client to help you craft a compelling email introduction.
4. Create a Irresistible Subject Line That Can’t be Ignored
Cold outreach messages are only effective if they are read. This might sound obvious, but only 23.9% of recipients will read a sales or marketing email. The key to increasing this percentage? Creating a compelling and relevant subject line that will tempt your prospective clients to read your email in full.
Here are some tips for creating an effective and irresistible email subject line:
- Keep it brief. The ideal length of an email subject line is between 40 and 50 characters (five to seven words). This means your recipient can read the full subject line without words being cut off, especially when reading on a mobile device.
- Keep it specific. If you only have five to seven words to hook your prospective clients, you need to make those words count. Your subject line must clearly and concisely explain the purpose of your email.
- Include action words. To encourage prospective clients to open your email, use action words such as “join”, “claim” or “download” to instigate a response.
- Make it urgent. Creating a sense of urgency by using phrases such as “limited offer”, “last chance” or “don’t miss” will help motivate your readers to open your email to find out more.
Remember, emails with a personalised subject line have a 50% higher open rate than a generic one, so make sure you spend some time crafting the best subject line.
Example Cold Outreach Message
Putting together all of the above advice, an effective cold outreach message should look something like this:
Email subject line: I can [provide benefit] for [recipient’s company name]
Dear [recipient’s name]
I came across [recipient’s company name] while researching [relevant topic]. I understand the common challenge you’re experiencing: [specific pain point].
As a freelance [your profession or services], I specialise in helping [the recipient’s industry] overcome [specific pain point] with my [relevant services]. I’ve worked with several companies in your industry, including [company name], and helped them with [proven desired outcome]. You can find my full portfolio of relevant work here [include link to website or portfolio].
I would love to discuss ways in which you and I could work together to help [recipient’s company name] achieve similar results. Are you available to chat sometime next week?
I look forward to hearing from you.
You can also include a previous client’s name if they have referred you to this prospective client. Mentioning a mutual connection can help you establish a connection faster than sending an email as a complete stranger.
If you need further inspiration on contacting prospective clients, check out how to successfully reach out to clients for more cold outreach tips.
Before You Go
Once you’re confident in creating a personalised and effective cold outreach email, you want to make sure that you are ready to receive new clients. This is why every freelancer should have a website so that prospective clients can find out more about you, your services and your portfolio of freelance work.
You can create a portfolio of your freelance projects on Revolancer to help attract new clients. If you don’t yet already have a freelancer website, you can also claim your mini website with Revolancer’s plus.page.
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer