How to Cold Pitch Effectively and Ethically

Presented live on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

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As a conversion copywriter, you already have the building blocks to assemble the perfect cold pitch and win the YES from that oh-so-ideal prospective client you’ve been eyeing forever.

The question is:

How do you assemble those blocks into a winning cold pitch?

Our good friend and 10xFC alum Bree Weber would like very much to answer that for you.

In this tutorial you’ll learn:

Essentials of an Effective Cold Pitch

  • One recipient
  • One Problem
  • One Solution
  • One CTA

Bree’s going to share the same process that she uses to get a 100% response rate and 60% conversion rate on her cold emails.

So it’s safe to say… you’re about to get the skinny from someone who KNOWS how to do this right — a freelance copywriter who’s been where you are, cold pitched like crazy and figured out what to do (and, perhaps most importantly, what not to do).


Introduction [00:00]

Joanna Wiebe: Bree, hello.

Bree Weber: I came back from vacation, just for this.

Joanna Wiebe: Just for this. Bree, we have you here to talk with us today about cold, well I won’t get too deeply into it, but you’re going to help everybody who’s trying to get their 2021 started off on a really good foot with more and better work.

What to Expect in This Tutorial [00:48]

Bree Weber: Yes, I think we all kind of start the year thinking we’re going to get different clients, or better clients or higher paying clients. And so I want to talk a little bit about how I have done that specifically with cold pitching and sharing some examples along the way.

So, I’m going to jump into what I’m calling both effective and ethical code pitches, because I think we find they often veer off into one territory or the other. And I think we can kind of smash them together. So I want to talk about how to do that.

So I have asked about 100 different copywriters why cold pitching sucks. Why we kind of all hate it, and I would love to hear from everyone in the chat as well, what those reasons might be.

What do you hate about cold pitching?

  • A. It feels icky
  • B. You get rejected
  • C. Very low conversion rates
  • D. Wait forever for replies

I’m curious what people are saying in the chat.

Joanna Wiebe: You’re getting a lot of E, all of the above. And then a lot of like some A’s lots of C’s as well. But then we’ll just export this chat for you and everybody as well, because there’s lots of long responses here, it might be a pain point for people.

Bree Weber: Well, it was a pain point for me. I hated it. literally a year ago I would have said that I absolutely hated cold pitching, it made me feel it made my skin crawl like that kind of creepy-crawly feeling. And that just felt super uncomfortable and it really has been in the last 12 months that I’ve shifted the way that I look at cold pitching and have shifted the results that I’ve gotten from cold pitching.

So as of the end of 2020, I have an average open rate of 100%, response rate of 100% – the average response time is about an hour. I think the fastest response I’ve ever gotten was seven minutes. Which is pretty crazy.

And a conversion rate that hovers just around 60%, depending on the month or quarter that I do those numbers in. And compared to a typical cold pitch chain, this is pretty atypical. So I want to talk about how I do that. And some of the things that we can incorporate as conversion copywriters to come share some of these rates as well.

So I’ve also been able to pitch other copywriters and get their feedback along the way. If you’re familiar with Belinda Weavers from Copywrite Matters.

And as well as Amy Posner, who is a fabulous coach inside 10x Freelance Copywriter if you’re not familiar, I highly recommend that program.

And Chrissy Fanton gave me some really great feedback on my pitches, along with Peep Laja from ConversionXL. And Joel Klettke was incredibly kind. He actually added one of my pitches to his swipe file.

And of course, I have to mention, Jo, who had a lovely response to one of my pitches as well. So the types of responses I’m getting here are going to be from the sort of ethical style cold pitches that I tend to only send out now.

But I want to talk about why some pitches just don’t work. Why they kind of fall flat and. And when I say fall flat. I mean, why it takes forever to get a response. Why the conversion rates are so low and why they feel really uncomfortable to actually hit send on. And I think it’s because traditional pitches go a little bit something like this.

“Hey, I love that thing that you did the other day and I’m Bree. I’m really great. I’m a conversion copywriter and you should hire me. I’ve worked with Google and Apple and a lot of really impressive companies. And do you have any copy projects coming up?”

There are a couple of reasons that that doesn’t go over particularly well, in terms of conversion rates and in terms of the feeling that it gives us when it sends out. And I want to talk about a couple of them.

Why Traditional Cold Pitches Don’t Work [05:01]

  • They need to have a need for your service
  • They need to trust the credibility you offer up
  • They need to be ready to move forward immediately

Bree Weber: So, mostly, It’s a numbers game in order for that approach to work because it is Based on them having a need for that service. There needs to be an immediate reason to respond to you and an immediate reason to need to move forward.

They need to know exactly what kind of copy projects they might have and be ready to hand them off to someone. They also need to be able to trust the credibility that you’ve built up, which is why they often rely on name dropping some particularly big companies or some recent conversion rates that you’ve scored for another client.

But if you’re newer to copywriting if you’re newer to your niche. If you are under an NDA and can’t drop those names, it becomes really difficult to use that sort of traditional approach. And in order for somebody to reply, they need to be ready to move forward immediately.

And I think that’s one of the big reasons that response rates are so low, as well as why conversion rates tend to be particularly low. And I think the reason it feels particularly uncomfortable to send out is because it’s all about us. We’re saying here is everything that’s great about me, you should hire me because I’m worth it.

So we’re literally sort of selling our worth, or attempting to sell our worth in this style of cold pitches. And naturally that brings out a lot of imposter syndrome. It brings out a lot of insecurities and it’s just sort of like that used car salesman feeling that we all tend to get when we’re trying to put ourselves forward without any real understanding of what the other person on the other side of that email might be thinking about or working on or in need of.

The Better Way To Send Cold Pitches [06:53]

Bree Weber: So I want to talk about a better way to send these cold pitches. One that feels exciting and fun. It doesn’t give you those creepy crawly feelings on your skin. One that allows you to actually build relationships that are long lasting instead of that kind of one off number style approach to cold pitching.

One that has helped me and a number of people who have used the framework that I’ll share with you to get some really high conversion rates when it comes to getting new clients. And one that gets really fast replies like seven minutes or an hour or within a day, rather than waiting weeks and following up numerous times.

Using the Rule of One to Write Cold Pitches [07:32]

Essentials of an Effective Cold Pitch

  • One recipient
  • One Problem
  • One Solution
  • One CTA

Bree Weber: As copywriters, naturally, we’re going to be using some of the tools in our copywriting toolkit. So I want to talk about using the rule of one throughout the cold pitching process. To send the kinds of pitches that feel really good to send out but also actually get responses that you can then leverage into really profitable projects.

One Recipient [07:54]

Bree Weber: So the first rule of one that needs to be one person, one recipient and we all kind of know this, but we tend to forget it when it comes to cold pitching because we’re thinking about that number style approach.

But at the end of the day, it’s not like a bevy of companies that are looking to hire you. It’s one person, somebody who stands up and champions you and your work because you’ve built a relationship, you’ve built some trust and they are in the position to make a decision.

And according to the conversion rates, the lower the recipient pool, the higher the conversion rate. So if you’re able to narrow that down to one and ensure that the person that you are sending that pitch to is actually the decision maker who gets to potentially move the hiring process forward.

And this is the probably the biggest reason I found and when switching from that number style approach to actually getting conversion rates and at least response rates because when there is one recipient.

It’s extremely, extremely targeted, which means you have a lot more flexibility in the copy and the approach that you send in your cold pitch, than you otherwise would have in a more traditional cold pitch.

One Problem [09:12]

Bree Weber: Which brings me to the second part about one problem. Generally in a traditional cold pitch, we’re saying, I’m really great here, the types of things that I do are the types of projects that I work on. If you have one of those needs, then you can hire me, or here’s how you can hire me.

But instead, the approach that I’ve taken and the biggest transformation in my cold pitches has been focused on pitching one problem. Actually doing the research into that one recipient, what they need, what they’re working on, what could be a genuine problem in their marketing or in their business right now.

And then pitching that problem, actually jumping into talk through what’s going on for them from their perspective before you bring up anything about yourself. Because when you take this approach, you’re no longer pitching yourself or your work. Which is where that uncomfortable used car salesman salesman feeling comes in.

Instead, you are directing their attention to a problem and you are starting a conversation around a solution. And that feels a lot more comfortable. I think especially as copywriters because that is what we do right? Those are all the skills that we take as copywriters and bring that into a cold pitch process.

One Solution [10:29]

Bree Weber: So naturally, if there’s one problem we need to have one solution. This is a common mistake that I see. And when somebody is just trying out this approach of, okay, I’m going to pitch this one problem. And then they’ll provide a handful of different solutions right here, all the different ways that you can solve that.

Which can be a little bit problematic because it leaves the recipient with the kind of onus of figuring out what to do with that problem. Whereas when we can again think about it as we’re directing their attention to a problem and we want to start their conversation around a solution. Just one.

And the other problem that I see kind of popping up is that we often pitch ourselves as a solution. But we’re not the project, the solution to that problem. So, for example, a lot of the products that I’ve pitched have been around sales pages or funnels that include a sales page.

And so, the sales page is the copy solution., in that case. And I am the one coming in to implement it. I’m the product in that case. So if you can start with the recipients understanding who they are, work down into the problem that they have, and what’s creating some pain for them, find a specific solution that you can offer up to them and then you’re going to be positioning yourself as the product.

And once again, it means that the pitch isn’t about you. And the pitches that I send are relatively lengthy compared to traditional pitches, because I’m spending a lot of time detailing that problem and aligning a solution.

And I usually have about one or two lines dedicated to myself, if at all. Which is really, really different than the traditional cold pitches, which are very much about the sender.

And so imagine if you were to get an email in your inbox, that is from a stranger, someone you don’t know who, but it’s all about you saying, hey, notice this is the problem that you have. I know how difficult that is for you right now. I have a solution. I know how to implement it and let’s have a conversation about what that would look like.

That’s an entirely different feeling than most of the negative associations that we have with traditional cold pitches coming in. So when we start to think about it from that perspective, it becomes sort of a win-win for both us as senders and recipients of these types of cold pitches.

One Call to Action [12:50]

Bree Weber: And of course, like everything in copywriting we really want to focus it down to a single call to action. And it’s probably not going to be a phone call. So, I think we often when we’re sending a cold pitch will direct someone to a portfolio, or case study, or ask for a phone call. Just something to sort of start to continue building trust.

Continue adding credibility for results and start to just move the project forward, right, the process of being hired. But in reality, again, if we want to think about this as we’re directing their attention to their problem.

And we’re starting a conversation around a solution, that means we need to actually have that conversation and really start to understand, not just from our perspective is getting hired, but from the recipient’s perspective.

Like, what do they actually need to do and to move this forward. What do they need to believe? What do they need to feel? What do they need to know? And starting to understand that from our recipients point of view will really help us understand the minimum viable ask that we can make, to actually move that conversation forward.

Because we’re not really looking for someone to say yes, I’m going to hire you at this point in the stage. We’re still pretty early in our prospecting and we’re really starting to get a micro-yes. Are they interested? Is this a problem or a pain that they have? Is this the solution that they’d be interested in hearing more information about?

And have they talked with other copywriters? Those types of bits of information that we can collect on our way to potentially turning and leveraging that conversation into a project. So one of the most common asks that I will make is getting permission or buy-in.

Like, is this a problem for you? Is this something that you’re looking to get more information on?

Can I send some Loon videos? I enjoy showing up on videos, I like to send a loom video where I kind of walk them through the next step of what that project would look like. Or here’s what working together would look like, or kind of just rehashing the pitch.

Because we can repeat ourselves in the prospecting process, often it’s helpful to do so. And being able to really kind of future pace a little bit for our recipient, what that project or the process of solving that problem might look like, can be really helpful to actually turning that into a conversation about a project and actually working together.

Summary [15:34]

Bree Weber: So to quickly recap, we want to send to one recipient. This really helps to boost reply rate. I think this is the real reason I get 100% response rate and why I get responses so quickly. We want to pitch a single problem. And so we’re no longer pitching ourselves, we’re not pitching work, we’re not pitching copywriting in general.

We’re pitching a problem, a specific one problem that our recipient has and then we’re going to present one solution. And just to make it an easy ask, or an easy way to start that conversation about what that solution being implemented might actually look like. Positioning ourselves as the product.

And then we’re giving a single call to action. Whatever that minimum viable ask is to move the conversation forward, and actually start to have that conversation about what that solution would look like.

And if this is piquing your interest and you want to learn a little bit more about the step by step process of how to do this. I have done a masterclass on this entire framework about how to send these cold pitches and what has landed me 5-figure projects almost exclusively from cold pitches.

And I think Ange can chat that out. It is a paid masterclass that the Copyhackers price is and always will be $37 will be going up to $97 later this month so as long as you have this link, you’ll be able to get it for that special price.

Joanna Wiebe: Um, yeah, that’s about it. We’ll see you guys for our next tutorial Tuesday next week and have a good rest of your week and a good start to this year. Thanks everyone. Stay safe. Bye.

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