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Archive for May 11th, 2009

Cold calling: waste of time or complete waste of time? Honestly, I think it’s a matter of managing your expectations.

Out of a dozen or so clients I work with regularly, I have met 8 of them by way of the unsolicited cold-call email.  I think there are two keys here: first, you have to write a good letter. Second, what do they do once they have read it? How do you make the information stick?

I have said it before, but I think having this website is key.  If you are somehow able to lure a potential client somewhere, there should be something to see once they get there. So, once I got this site up and running and fully stocked with my resume, samples and client feedback, I started carpet-bombing the area.

How accurate is this method? Well, remember those Gulf War videos where the smart bomb would fly down the street, make a left turn and then drop straight down somebody’s chimney? Well, it’s not like that at all! More like when the 8th air Force would level an entire German city to knock out a ball-bearing factory.  It might take 300 bombs, but damn it, that factory was going down…the parking lot and the cafeteria, anyway.

But that’s life on the zero-budget marketing plan. This is how you roll when you have more time than ad dollars.  The reality that you MUST accept is this: you WILL send out 50 emails, and you MIGHT get 2 responses.

For example, last week’s campaign garnered 2 responses, which neatly represent both sides of the “timing is everything” coin:

First, the negative side, from a place I have harassed repeatedly: Three months ago, they were dead DEAD DEAD in the water but, of course, they would hold on to my information. This time, they had just hired a full-time writer! Obviously, if they kept my information, they kept it in a super-secret location where it wouldn’t be contaminated by work.

And finally, the one that makes it all worth the trouble… “Really? Awesome timing! I need a writer, like, right now!”  A small gig, for sure…as in, “the thing we are marketing is so fancy and so exclusive that you would think that his client would want to pay for some decent copywriting but apparently not.” Hopefully, though, it’s the beginning of a profitable relationship. We shall see.

Bottom line, grown-up, realistic word on cold-call emails: certainly not the most EFFICIENT use of your time, but never a WASTE of time.


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