Meeting new people can be scary for a lot of people. But, unless everyone you already know wants to buy your copywriting services, you’re eventually going to have meet new people to find clients.
Reaching out to new people to grow your network helps you build valuable connections that will also help you grow your business. But, just as with anything else, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. (Stay tuned for highlights from a stranger that sent me THREE emails insulting me each time.) Here are the right ways—and the wrong ways—to do it.
Today’s question is from Zuzi H., who asks, “I want to reach out to a someone I saw speak at an event to network and maybe work with her, but I don’t want to be annoying. Do you have any advice?”
When it comes to reaching out to strangers, there are three things to keep in mind to be successful. Whether you choose to send an email or message them via social media, you need to be sure to:
1. Be useful. If you’re going to reach out and take up a stranger’s time, you’d better make it worth their while to do so! A few ways to be useful would be to pass along an interesting article you’ve seen, offer a few thoughts about their copy and ideas for ways to improve it (with humility!), or even just to compliment them on something.
A common mistake people make is to reach out to influencers or people they’d like to be connected with a make a request. Even if it’s something as seemingly small as coffee, you’re starting out the interaction by asking this stranger to do something for you. This person you’re contacting is busy and may even make a living providing the kind of advice or information you’re asking to get for free.
To paraphrase JFK, ask not what an influencer can do for you, ask what you can do for an influencer. Or, even better, just go ahead and do it for them!
2. Be grateful. You’ve already inserted yourself into someone’s day just by messaging them. Again, they’re busy—so be grateful for any small amount of attention they give you. Heck, be grateful even if they don’t give you attention! Just send along gratitude for whatever they’ve put out into the world that you’ve appreciated. Whether it’s a talk, a website, a book, or whatever; let them know you’ve appreciated it and how it’s helped you.
3. Drop all of your expectations. People are busy—and businesspeople and influencers are especially so. They may not have time to read your email and they may not have time to respond to it. You can hope that an email may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but don’t expect it. In fact, you may even want to say something like “no request necessary” to let your contact understand that you don’t want to add any pressure to their day. (Interestingly, this tactic tends to make it more likely that you’ll get a response. But still: Don’t expect one!) How can you help keep your expectations low? See points 1 and 2: Keep your messages focused on genuinely wanting to be of service and to be grateful.
As promised, here are highlights from three emails I received from a stranger over the course of a few days. It’s my policy not to engage with trolls or combative people, so I didn’t respond and eventually, he stopped emailing. But if you want to go wrong with your method of outreach, here are some pretty instructive ideas:
You must be a Gen Xer! because the advice you are offering definitely doesn’t come from experience. You might even be a Millennium!
I’m in the original Boomer class. I’ve had several businesses and worked a J-ust O-ver B-roke position all my life.
I have been actually into marketing all my life from reading “Law of Success” by Napoleon Hill at an early age when heavily involved in self help.
Your post with question was sent to me by a friend. I have not personally been on your sight. I truly hoped you had it in you to blast me and prove me wrong! I did share the truth with you!
I will say that – yes you should keep your job to start with. If in six to eight months you have not made anything then it is decision time.
At this point you should either go back to the job and forget copy-writing or jump in all the way and don’t quit until you make it. Do not think it is easy!
And if the article sent me is any indication of your writing ability then maybe you should go study for a couple of years before you start your eight month
My friend, I realize you probably know everything I’m going to say … however, I’m struggling to answer these questions for marketing my success! Everything must be about your customer. If you expect them to have done this work so you can help them, then you should be able to demonstrate as much! Two of my previous businesses were service entities so this will be primarily about offering service. Some of these ideas are “pure sales” notations.
Nicki, I blasted you as many people will to discover your response or reaction. Now I am offering some training. Hope it helps!
Kind of amazing, right? When you’re sending out your messages, and you’re sending them out from a place of gratitude and service and you’re still nervous…remember that your email is likely to look really good by comparison to a lot of the other crazy stuff they receive. 🙂
Your turn! Who do you want to reach out to and what will you include in your message? Let us know in the comments below!