Finding Clients to Pitch: Exactly How I Would Do It Today

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I get asked how I would go about finding clients to pitch a lot.

I don’t pitch much these days.

In fact, I’m not really taking on new clients

I’m honestly not trying to brag. I’m just trying to provide some context before I dig into the meat of this post.

And I still make a decent portion of my earnings from freelance writing. Take last month as an example. Although writing only made up about 15% of my gross income last month, my freelance writing earnings still equated to almost $3,000.

And that’s not a bad part-time income, right? (Obviously, I work full-time on my freelance business, but the writing portion equates to a part-time schedule.)

But I coach a fair amount of individuals that are. And lately, I’ve been telling them what I would do today if I were taking on new clients (based on all I’ve learned in the last almost two years). So I thought maybe you’d want to know too.

1. Find Startups in Your Niche

With my near decade long career as a financial advisor, personal finance was a natural niche choice for me when I started writing. It also tends to be a rather lucrative niche, so even though the pieces aren’t always super enjoyable to research and write about, it’s still something I do a fair amount of.

But as a Psychology grad, I do find behavioural finance really interesting. So I try to find companies that fit that profile more often than not. That way I can both enjoy what I’m writing about and pay the bills. Win/win.

Why Startups?

Startups tend to have three really important things in common:

  1. They need to get their name out there.
  2. They have a marketing budget to do so.
  3. They’re more hip to technology and the power of content marketing than their brick and mortar counterparts.

How I Went about Finding Clients to Pitch

All I did was go to Google and type in “startups in the financial services industry” to locate companies. I actually did this earlier this week and took a screenshot for you.

Googlesearch

2. Choose a Company That Looks Interesting and Do Some Recon

So you’ll see there are a list of sites and posts with relevant information about financial services startups. I chose one that was semi-interesting and continued my investigation.

The second article looked promising, so I went with that. I then scanned the list of companies until I found something interesting.

Moroku piqued my interest, so I Googled their website to learn more. I perused a few key pages:

1. Their Homepage

To learn what they felt was most important to convey to the public about their company.

homepage

2. Their Blog

To make sure they had one and see what type of content they published and how often.

blog

3. Their About and ‘Our Approach’ Pages

To learn more about their company and values, as well as find out “who’s who” in the company.

Post#3

OurApproach

4. Their Contact Us Page

To get contact info, duh!

contactus

3. Locate Their Contact Info. and Pitch Them

So now I had all of the information I needed to cold pitch them.

I keep a templated pitch in my drafts folder for easy access. I used the contact email and name of both the CEO and CTO listed on their “about page” to make sure my pitch went to the right person.

Post#2

Then I copied and pasted my templated pitch into a new email message. It looked like this:

Post#1

A Few Key Things to Note:

  1. I personalized it to the applicable parties (not XYZ company or Dear Sir or Ma’am).
  2. I told them how I found out about their company.
  3. I used their mission statement to make an immediate connection.
  4. I kept it as short as I could, while also giving them the necessary information about me and what I can offer that they needed.
  5. I ended the pitch with a casual call-to-action.

4. Follow Up as Necessary

It used to be that a consumer needed to hear something three times in order to take action. There’s been talk this year, that the number is now something like seven interactions with a company or person before someone makes a decision.

So stop worrying about following up too much. Follow up until you get a yes, a no or an eff off! Either way you know, and can move on.

(Now you don’t need to email someone multiple times per day until you get a response. But if you sent your initial pitch last week, followup once this week, again next week and then maybe send them the magic email if they go cold all of a sudden.)

You want to know the coolest part about this exercise?

It was literally an exercise for this blog post. Again, I’m not really in need of new clients (although I wouldn’t turn the right one down), so the goal was to just illustrate how I’d go about pitching today, based on all I’ve learned over the last two years.

And I got a response.

From ONE pitch email.

An illustration to show YOU how to do it.

Yep, we’re in talks about working together. And if they’re the right fit, I’ll move things around to accommodate them and fit them into my schedule. Because it might be fun and you just never know where an opportunity will take you.

Freebie alert!

Curious to know EXACTLY what our email exchange has looked like so far? I put it in a PDF for you to download. Use it to learn how to implement the follow-up yourself. It’s a template of sorts that I think is really valuable.

Click here to grab it now.

In Conclusion

Figuring out where to find clients to pitch can seem like the hardest part. But with a little creativity, a little courage and some confidence, it’s not so hard.

And it’s not so bad.

If I were actively looking for new clients, I’d follow the blueprint above; find startups in my niche, choose a few companies that looked interesting and do some recon, locate their contact info. and pitch them. Then lastly, I’d make sure to follow up as necessary.

Why not you, why not now?

Did you have any “aha” moments while reading this post? Or maybe you’ve used a similar strategy yourself? Tell us all about it in the comments!

28 thoughts on “Finding Clients to Pitch: Exactly How I Would Do It Today”

  1. Yes, yes, YES! This is the number one way I find my best clients. I spend an hour or two every week researching brands on Twitter and Google, and then I reach out with my services. Love how you’ve broken it down 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this Gina. It just goes to show that succeeding as a freelance writer is not exactly rocket science….it is just a matter of finding your ideal client and reaching out to them. I really appreciate this article and thanks for reminding me that if at first I get no response, I should follow up, follow up and follow up again! Awesome!

  3. Great post, Gina! Pitching startups is a really good idea; I’m going to start looking for them in my niche(s). I also set up an account on AngelList.com.

  4. Hi Gina,
    Great blog post! Thank you for these tips. I’m trying to get the PDF document with your template, but nothing is showing up in my email. Perhaps I’m missing something?

  5. Gina, I absolutely love this piece. It’s wonderfully written and has me thinking about all the clients I’ve chased.

    My very first paying gig came from a startup. She’s now my best client. When you get in on the ground floor, there’s the potential to build a long-term relationship with someone who is as passionate about their business as you are about yours.

    I’ve found that researching the company and their editors or founders (I call it stalking :-D) is the best way to get work!

    • Agreed! The one downside tends to be that they can run out of money or make “marketing plan changes” at the last minute. A contract can negate some of this risk and I’ve found that it’s unlikely you’ll have all of the same clients over the long-term anyway.

  6. Great post Gina. I gave up the magazine job in my city because it’s just too challenging being in Central America and trying to work that out!! Phew!! So now I have room for one or two small writing gigs so this comes at a great time. As usual 🙂 Thanx!!

  7. Gina, Thanks for this lovely post.
    I couldn’t get your 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot yet?
    Thank you again.

  8. This is great, Gina! Thanks so much!

    I’m curious…when you’re sending this, are you fishing for a specific type of assignment or just trying to feel out what their needs are?

  9. Your REAL example of a successful pitch is so helpful! As a beginning freelancer, the idea of actually finding my first client is starting to become scary now that I am to the point that my website is mostly ready to start pitching. Seeing actual case studies of what really works is so useful in the ongoing battle against my insecurities. THANK YOU!

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