Why I Started Pitching New Business & How It's Going
It’s my first blog post of 2019 and we’ve already reached the end of January – where is the time going?
If you read my last blog post rounding up the 5 changes I planned to make in my business this year, then you saw that pitching new potential clients was one of my top goals for 2019. Since bringing my business full-time in 2017, I’d been fortunate to have a solid client group that was built solely upon word-of-mouth referrals and social media. But this year, I felt ready to elevate and grow like never before, and knew that pitching was necessary.
In the last month of pitching new business, I’ve learned a ton about what makes for a solid pitch via email, how to keep up with the status of potential leads and how to keep up the momentum. Are you ready to do the same? Here are five important lessons that I’ve learned in the process!
Know where to find your idea clients.
Prior to pitching potential new clients, I knew that I’d need to put work in on the backend to make sure that I was clear on who my ideal client was, where I would find them and how I could best serve them.
At the end of 2018, this became clear to me: my ideal clients are modern brands in the lifestyle, e-commerce and beauty industries who are ready to make a bigger footprint with their brand through content, email marketing and design.
And what else was clear to me? I’d find these target clients hanging out on Instagram!
I began researching hashtags that pertained to these ideal clients as a means of brand discovery; other new leads were found more organically, especially businesses based in St. Louis who are local to me. For each potential new partner, I made note of at least one area where I would be able to help them before adding them to my pitch list, which brings me to my next point…
Keep your pitching spreadsheet organized – always.
Being the list-maker and spreadsheet-keeper that I am, Google Drive came in handy for this. I created a spreadsheet that helps me identify, track and stay in touch with new business leads, which has kept the pitching process low-stress and easy.
I set up the spreadsheet to contain columns to keep up with each business’s name, point of contact, email, Instagram handle, their industry, my services that would be the best fit for their needs, the date I initially reached out and the date that I followed up. This spreadsheet has been so helpful to me that I want you to have it, too – so I’ve made it downloadable at the bottom of the page!
Design a pitch deck.
Although it’s optional, I felt much more confident sharing my services with potential new clients with the help of a brief pitch deck that outlines who I am, what I do and past examples of my work.
If you don’t already have a pitch deck built out for your business, this is a great resource to have on hand – even if you aren’t actively pitching! I would recommend keeping the deck to less than 10 slides, and focus on highlighting the core values, services and strengths that are unique to your work.
So, what does this look like for me? A cover page, overview of who I am, a unique page dedicated to each of my services (content, email marketing, design), work samples and a closing statement. Brief, easy and enough to share about my creative studio without a potential client ever having to click away from their inbox.
We’ve all gotten those canned emails. You know, the ones that you can tell were copied and pasted and sent to your inbox without addressing you by name, typically trying to sell you on a new tool that’s going to ‘revolutionize your business,’ or a collaboration opportunity not to pass up.
Opening those emails doesn’t make you feel good. It feels impersonal, cold and just wrong. So don’t do that!
I don’t believe in templated emails, which is why I make a point to tailor each of my pitches to potential new business to best serve their needs. Yes, this takes much more time and effort than copying and pasting a pre-written script, but I truly believe that going the extra mile matters when it comes to cultivating meaningful client relationships.
”Eat rejection for breakfast.”
From the wise words of Marie Forleo, the pitching process has taught me to eat rejection for breakfast – and come to expect it! Prior to starting this process, I used to view rejection as a bad thing, but now I view it as a sign that I’m taking initiative, making decisions and working to propel my business forward. Which are all great things.
Since the start of 2019 I’ve pitched 30+ potential new clients via email. Of these 30, 15 replied either initially or after I followed up; of those 15, only 5 were actively seeking marketing help; of those 5, 2 became a new client.
2 clients that I never would have had otherwise.
If you’ve toyed with the idea of pitching new business, prepare to be faced with rejection (maybe for the first time in your business) time and time again, and learn that it’s all a part of the process. While you may not be a good fit for a potential client today, you could be just what they need a year from now. So keep your chin up, work hard, and go after those dreamy brands you’ve always wanted to work with.
Ready to stay organized while researching and reaching out to potential new business? Download my free pitch list spreadsheet below!