Cold emailing is a topic that comes up often in discussions among freelance editors: How can I sell my services to potential clients? What can I do to make myself stand out? After all, marketing is an important part of running a business, and we all need to do it if we want our businesses to grow.
Overall, I think my marketing efforts are pretty successful, but lately I found myself wondering if I could do more to make my cold-emailing campaigns more effective. I usually only send out cold emails when work has really dried up (which seems to be the case lately). So I decided to purchase a course I came across called Cold Emails That Convert—available through Millo—with the hope of actually turning cold leads into new clients.
Unlike other courses I’ve signed up for that are designed as webinars or a series of videos, Cold Emails That Convert is a self-paced workbook that walks you through the individual elements of a cold email, including the subject line, the salutation, the opening line, selling, the call to action, and the closer. Each element is discussed in detail in a separate module, and each module includes activities to help you understand different marketing techniques and refine your writing.
Each module also includes concrete examples of the element being discussed, and the activities help you build an email template that you can continually refine and adjust depending on your client base. You might be tempted to skip some of the activities when reading through the course, but it’s important to actually do the activities so you can improve your writing and then have a strong template when you start drafting emails to potential clients.
Pros and Cons
Cold Emails That Convert discusses various copywriting techniques and marketing strategies that were completely new to me, which was very helpful. The course also encourages readers to engage in stream-of-consciousness writing and to generate as many samples as possible during the activities before going back to edit and refine their copy. This helped me create a template I was happy with by the end of the course and allowed me to see where my message was slightly off target.
There were some little things that niggled me—as an editor, I couldn’t help noticing a few issues with grammar and inconsistency in the workbook, and at times that distracted me from what I was supposed to be learning. Overall, though, the text was well written, and I learned a lot.
The course also stresses the importance of following up with potential clients once your initial message is sent and discusses the best approaches to this. In freelancing, persistence can sometimes trump expertise and make you memorable (although there’s a fine line between being persistent and just being annoying).
Tracking Your Data
Cold Emails That Convert encourages the use of sales outreach software (such as Boomerang for Gmail) to schedule emails, help you remember to follow up with clients, and keep track of who is actually reading your messages.
In theory, I like this idea, but if you don’t use Gmail and need a different software vendor to track your cold emails, you’ll need to pay for these services. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, you might want to think long and hard about whether this expense is truly essential for your business.
For me (at least right now), the extra cost just isn’t worth it. You may decide that this is something useful you really need for your business, but I’d rather invest in other tools or training opportunities.
So—the bottom line: Has purchasing this course paid off? Have I gained any new clients?
Sadly, no. But so far I’ve only sent about 20 cold emails, and I haven’t been persistent in following up or keeping track of the data (Are my subject lines successful? Are people actually opening my messages?). I also struggle with trying to articulate what sets me apart as an editor and offering solutions to problems rather than focusing on my own interests.
I definitely think purchasing the course is worth it, but I also think you need to send out a significant number of emails (maybe 80? 100? 200?) over a sustained period of time to thoroughly analyze the results and determine what is or isn’t working for the clients you’re trying to connect with.
It takes time to write a targeted, relevant message for each contact (which you absolutely should do), and the more effort and time you invest in the process, I think the better results you’ll have.
I’d love to hear from readers on this topic. Do you send cold emails to potential clients? What strategies have worked for you?