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6 Reasons Potential Clients Ignore Your Cold Pitches, and How to Get them to Respond

why clients ignore your cold pitches

Writers in Charge reader, Jaleesa, asked me to share some tips on how to get more people to respond to her pitches the other day on Facebook. My answer to her ended up being as long as a blog post, so I decided I’ll publish it as one.

Here’s Jaleesa’s question:

Getting potential clients, who post listings looking for writers, to respond to emails. I realize that not everyone will/has time to respond to EVERY email, but sheesh! I’m starting to think it’s me…or at least my emails. Very few respond to mine. How do I change this?

Read My Answer Below…

Quick note: Before I continue, I’d like to tell you that my advice is based on personal experience and some psychology. It works, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

The screenshot below is proof of its effectiveness, in form of an email from another reader who took my suggestions and started to see results almost instantly:

cold pitching feedback

So, here’s my answer to Jaleesa (with some minor edits to better pass across my message)…

I was once talking to a friend who runs one of the biggest web design blogs; he told me he posted an offer for a freelance writing job online, and the next day over 200 people had responded.

Now, my friend runs one of the largest web design blogs, with around 3 million monthly visitors at the time he posted that offer; those 200 emails from that writing job ad will be a fraction of the emails he gets. Do you think he’ll reply to all those emails? Definitely not!

This brings us to a very important point, that you should be aware of before pitching potential clients:

Having majority of those you pitch not replying is totally natural, and it has nothing to do with you.

Often, here are some reasons why potential clients don’t respond to those who pitch them:

1. The number of responses they get is overwhelming, and there’s nothing they can do about it. I’ve had sites that pay writers stop paying once they get featured on one of my lists, due to the massive amount of emails they start to get from writers as soon as this happens.

In this case, it’s not your fault and there’s nothing you can do about it. They are simply inundated with offers, or they’ve perhaps given the job to someone else.

2. Your pitch title/premise is not solid enough. Remember that they are probably getting hundreds of responses to one job offer.

It’s practically impossible to reply to all those messages. Having a strong title and premise for your pitch gives you a major advantage, as the client will quickly notice and become attracted to your pitch while scanning the responses he gets.

This is very important; even though they are the one looking for writers, it doesn’t mean they will be obliged to every writer that contacts them.

You have to let them know what your writing will do for them, and why you are the best person for the job.

Ensure your pitch is results-oriented, and this starts with your title; avoid something like “responding to your pitch” or “you’re looking for writers?”. Instead, go for something more results-oriented e.g. “Transform your business with my writing skills” or “A writer that can help improve your sales” or something that promises the result they mentioned they are looking for in their ad.

Using a title like “Responding to your offer on {Job Board Name}” can be effective, too, but it all depends on timing. If you’re one of the first people to respond, it might be an advantage; when there are hundreds of responses, it might be a bit difficult for this to work.

3. They are busy. This is a major problem as well. We’re all busy; running a business, having a family, etc. and then having to deal with 100+ emails at once. It isn’t easy. Sometimes, you get mid-way through the emails and you just stop; then you come back tomorrow and it’s back up again.

I can relate especially to this, since I have lots of emails I just can’t get through to.

In this case, the solution to this is simple. Follow up. Most people that email me fail to get a response because they don’t follow up.

Following up does two things:

  • It increases the urgency of your email, since the potential client will have seen it twice; your follow up also somehow makes him want to respond more.
  • It bumps your email back to the top of his inbox, thus increasing your chances of getting a response

4. They did not get your email; this also happens sometimes. Spam filters, server errors, mistakenly marking your email as read, etc. These are all reasons why clients don’t reply; it’s basically like they never got your email.

The solution to this is to follow up; I’ve had several people tell me they didn’t get my prior email after following up.

5. They are YET to respond. I’ve interacted with people who rely a lot on cold pitching to attract clients, and based on my experience communicating with clients in the past, it isn’t uncommon for clients to take 2 weeks, a month or even 2 – 3 months to respond to a pitch from a writer.

This happens a lot, and sometimes they just keep procrastinating on responding and then they ignore.

There are two key ways to solve this; make your pitch almost irresistable using tip #2 and follow up if you haven’t heard from them in a while.

6. Follow up. I recently started a cold pitching experiment, which has been interesting so far. I’ve learned a lot from this experience, but something I find fascinating with the first set of pitches I sent was that more businesses replied to my follow up than to my original pitch.

Out of my first 30 pitches, only 2 replied to the original pitch; I sent a follow up a week later, and 4 more people replied; 3 of the 4 that replied asked for samples of my work and my rates.

It’s interesting, but more people replied to my follow up than to my original pitch; those who replied also seem to be more interested in my services.

I’ve talked to a few people who rely on cold pitching to get their clients, and it isn’t unusual to hear that “it’s all about the follow up”.

Bonus Tip: Here’s a bonus tip from Martin Pickering.

7. Include a link to your “blog” and/or to examples of your work.

Don’t wait for a prospective client to ask for it. He probably won’t.

And be sure to point it out: “Please click on this link to see examples of..”

Note from Bamidele: I wholeheartedly agree with Martin on this one. When cold pitching, I’ve had several potential clients ask for samples of my work and/or link to my website/portfolio. Including samples and/or a link to your website/portfolio goes a long way to earn you the gig!

My Proven Cold Pitching Strategy

I mentioned doing a cold pitching experiment earlier; I’ve recorded a case study about one of my early successes with this experiment.

The case study shares how I got a client within 2 hours of pitching on my second day, and how I got the client to instantly award me $625 worth of work.

You can get the case study by purchasing my Success Starter Guide.

The case study details the exact steps I took; from finding the client to closing the gig, and ensuring I was instantly awarded the project. Be sure to get it!

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Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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