Important lessons from an outreach message gone wrong.
As a freelancer, cold outreach can be the most powerful tool in your arsenal.
Not only can it land you amazing deals, but it can also strengthen your network and help you connect with thought leaders and influential people in your field.
I recently got a message on Twitter from a person trying to sell their copywriting course. The message was riddled with errors that got me thinking about the biggest mistakes most people make while writing a cold-outreach message.
This post discusses the five biggest mistakes I’ve seen in most cold outreach emails or messages that I get.
Don’t feel bad if you relate to any or if you have made the same mistake before. Running your business is always a learning curve, and it’s never too late to correct your mistakes.
After all, how can freelancers and solopreneurs be successful without a growth mindset?
1. Right message to the wrong people
Before you send a message, make sure the person you’re reaching out to needs your services.
In the Twitter message I got, the person was trying to sell me a copywriting course.
I’m a writer. Writing copy is a part of my skill set.
If they spent 10 minutes going through my Twitter profile, this rookie mistake could have been avoided.
Remember, the more time you spent researching your prospects and their business needs, the better you can craft your outreach message.
2. Adding a lackluster first sentence
The first line of your cold outreach message is where you hook your prospect’s attention or lose them forever.
The same cliched “Are you looking for….” doesn’t work anymore. Here’s what I’d suggest instead to open your cold outreach message with-
- Go thoroughly through the person’s profile.
- Notice and note down what mistakes they’re making.
- Mention in detail how you can help them solve these mistakes.
- Add why YOU are the best person to add value to their life/business.
- Don’t forget to add a compliment on how they’re managing so well, but adding your services will help them go the extra mile and reach better results.
In 2023, generic message templates don’t work anymore.
You need to put in the extra effort if you want your cold outreach strategy to convert.
3. Sending clipped messages
A LinkedIn or Twitter message only allows limited characters.
Don’t waste precious space re-iterating what the prospect might already know. This brings down the value of your message. The prospect’s attention dwindles when they’re forced to read something they’ve read a thousand times before.
Keep your message short, crisp, and to the point.
You might feel the need to over-explain yourself but hold your horses.
Trust the prospect’s knowledge and don’t bore them by stating the obvious.
In this case, the message the person sent me ends mid-sentence. This could have been avoided if the whole sentence about what copywriting is was deleted from the message.
4. Not re-reading the message after sending
Sometimes, internet glitches or social media rules might clip parts of your message or send the same sections twice.
These mistakes make your message look unprofessional.
To avoid this, spend a few minutes re-reading your message after you press the “Send” button.
Double-check the text, and do damage control immediately after sending the first message. Yes, this means you might have to send two messages instead of one, but two correct messages are better and more effective than a single incomplete message.
5. Not adding a CTA
A CTA or call-to-action is the most important part of your cold outreach message. It prompts the prospect to take some action in your favor.
Before crafting a CTA, here are some questions to ponder upon:
- Should the prospect click on a link to know more?
- Is there a Google form that needs to be filled out?
- Should they get on a call with you?
Be crystal clear about what the next steps are going to be. Make the CTA super visible in your message. If that means adding emojis to highlight the action steps, then so be it.
The bottom line
Summarizing, here are the five mistakes to avoid while cold-outreaching prospects —
- Not knowing what your prospect needs.
- Not adding a compelling first sentence to grab their attention.
- Re-iterating common knowledge with generic descriptions and definitions.
- Sending clipped messages that end mid-sentence.
- Not adding a CTA for the prospect to follow up on.
Cold outreach is a powerful skill that has made me thousands of dollars & helped me find amazing clients.
With the right attitude and outreach approach, you can land high-paying freelance clients/sponsors too.
I spill my outreach and conversion secrets in this 90-day guide to landing your first high-paying freelance client. Grab a copy today!
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