All right! Game on. Today’s the email you’ve been waiting for.
I’ve eaten lunch (and a few squares of chocolate for energy) …
I’ve got a Japanese babysitter for the kids …
And I’ve locked myself in my office.
No distractions stopping me from writing this now!
So without further ado.
The long-awaited … much-anticipated … indefinable … inestimable … incredible … inedible(?) … lesson on …
How To Actually Pitch Yourself To Daniel Throssell To Get Him To Refer His Copywriting Leads To You™
By Daniel Throssell
(Title needs work, I know.)
Okay, let’s dive in.
(I frown as I notice someone in the front row slumped over in their chair.)
… oh, come ON. Are you seriously SLEEPING?
I walk up to the student to see who it is:
It’s the worst student in my class — Daniel.
And … you’re muttering something in your sleep.
I bend down and listen to what you’re mumbling:
“huh … this isn’t what an autoresponder … should be like … ZZZZZ … why am I locked … up … you’re weird for a villain … and that’s a cool … Australian accent …”
I stand up and cock my head, puzzled.
No idea what that’s all about.
With a wink to the rest of the class, I bring up my ruler to the ceiling …
… and then slam it down on your palm.
“HUH?!?” you say, jolting awake.
“Are we back?” I ask with a glare.
So in case you live UNDER A ROCK, I sent an email the other day asking copywriters to pitch me if they wanted to be considered for referral work.
I got flooded with responses, and I still haven’t gone through all the samples that were attached.
But there were some pointers that I think many people could do with learning.
Here they are:
#1 Always think about what the person you’re pitching WANTS
This is the golden rule for ANY pitch, proposal or cold email. You should always be doing it.
And in my case, what did I actually want?
When I said “impress me” … was I actually asking for a flowery pitch email, or a clever little reply?
I wanted ONE thing:
To find people who looked solid enough for me to refer my leads to them — without worrying they’d screw up my reputation by doing bad work.
That’s pretty obvious, right?
So you work backwards from there.
How do you prove you’re one of those people?
Do you do it by giving me a clever little comment, like some of those I showed you in my email the other day?
You do it by showing me an actual piece of work you have done.
Seriously — why would I trust you to write sales emails or a sales page when all you just did was write me a 50-word poem (or a novella about wearing my skin after you kill me)?
The best responses I got contained actual copy that people had written for either clients, or themselves.
You don’t HAVE a sample sales page you can send?
Then, my friend … WRITE ONE FOR YOURSELF!
Seriously. If you’re a freelance copywriter, the best way to rustle up a useful sample of what you can do is to write a sales page promoting your own email list or copywriting services. Like mine here, which does both.
It’s win-win-win: You get practice writing it … you get a sample … and you get a page that drives traffic to your services.
This tip seems so obvious, I don’t know why more people don’t do it. But hey — consider this your head-slapping moment.
#2 Take responsibility for guiding the reader’s experience
Many people, even though they got #1 right, then went horribly wrong:
They dumped a bunch of samples on me and said “here’s my portfolio”.
And even worse, it’s overwhelming for me.
How am I supposed to know which sample to read?
What if I pick the worst one in your portfolio? Sucks to be you, doesn’t it?
Or what if — as I actually did — I just go “ugh, overwhelming” and just close it for “later”?
Listen to me:
If you’re a good copywriter, you should never leave ANY part of the reader’s experience up to them. YOU control what they see, what they think, and what they feel, at EVERY moment.
That’s what sales copywriting is about.
And I expect that level of skill from any writer good enough for me to refer work to.
But if you don’t do it in your pitch, how can I be sure you can do it in a sales page?
You should include your BEST sample. Explain who it was for. What it did. And then say you have more if needed. (Or if you must include more than one, deliberately order them how you want them to be read.)
#3 Don’t say you’re new and need guidance
Come on, this goes without saying.
This wasn’t an offer for mentoring or coaching.
If you want that, you should have already joined the waitlist for my coaching program, Inbox Detonator.
I was asking for people to help with my leads. So if you say to me you could be good enough “with a bit of help”, that’s not helping with my particular problem. (See #1.)
#4 Some things only matter like 1%, but you can still use them
The truth is … everything in this list (including this point) is trivial if you don’t have ONE huge thing.
If you have it, nothing else matters.
And if you don’t have it, no amount of “good pitching” will help you.
… that big thing is in tip #5.
Yet this is still tip #4, because I still need to cover a few more MINOR things that can help in a pitch, like:
– Testimonials. One clever person thought ahead (see #1) and said, “I know you’d want to know your clients would be happy, so here’s a link to some testimonials from my clients.” It didn’t move the needle at all for me (I only rate testimonials from people who I know and whose opinions I trust), but it’s a nice touch.
– A call-to-action. I was surprised at how many people just sent me text … and no follow-up. I mean, I’m not dumb, but at least why not tell me how to contact you, or to ask if I want more samples?
– Preparation. People who showed they’d spent time getting to know me, or tailored a pitch to me, stood out.
– Cleverness. The guy who imitated my email style to me did make me smile. Won’t persuade me, but can’t hurt.
On the other hand, some things that came up over and over, that I do NOT care about, were:
– The fact that you’ve coached other people. Care Factor: Zero
– Whose courses or coaching you’ve taken. Care Factor: Zero
– How long you’ve been a copywriter. Care Factor: Zero
– TELLING me how good you are, not SHOWING me. Care Factor: Thr—uh, oops, typo. Zero.
YOUR TOTAL CARE FACTOR SCORE: STILL ZERO
(In case it’s not clear, I’m not saying this to hate on you if you did any of those. But I’m doing you a favour by letting you inside the head of someone being pitched. Nobody else is gonna tell you this.)
But enough of all this.
It doesn’t matter, as you’ll see.
Let’s get to numero …
… uh, how do you say “five” in Spanish? Or whatever sexy language “numero” comes from?
(I mean, I’m fluent in Japanese, but “#5” is “dai-go” and that sounds laaaaame. Or Esperanto, but that’s “numero kvin” which also doesn’t sound right.)
The last one.
The big daddy-o.
The only single point that mattered more than anything else …
#5 Actually Be Good
Because if you are good … I don’t care how you pitch me.
You could have sent me one good sample with simply this:
“Hey — saw your email. I could help you with your clients. Here’s a sales page I did recently for X offer.”
But if that sample was good — and trust me, I’d know — you can bet I’d be right onto that.
(And in fact, I already did to one person who sent me a great sales page.)
But here’s the thing:
Good copywriters are a rare commodity.
If you’ve been on my list for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard that I have a disdain even for the copy of some “A-listers” who might have done some great stuff in direct mail in 1988 … but when it comes to selling on the web, their copy is about as sexy as a soggy bowl of Weet-Bix. (#australia)
And don’t forget, copywriting is like the world’s biggest case study in the Dunning-Kruger effect:
The worst people always seem to think they’re the best.
So if you are reading this, and you do have a high opinion of your skills, but for some reason, the world stubbornly refuses to reward you with status and jobs …
… well, maybe it’s you?
But never fear.
That’s what my Inbox Detonator coaching program is there to cure.
If you’re up for it, I will give you all the tough love you desire … as well as reviews of your copy, and answers to your questions.
I’m getting closer to being ready to launch it to the public.
If you want to know when I do,
click here to jump on the waitlist join my email list.
Oh, and one more thing:
The first (and only) blog post I ever wrote was a guide to writing a better resume.
It covers a lot of the topics we’ve just talked about, in more depth.
And I was almost tempted to work it into a product I could pitch you today … but I have other things I want to work on.
So instead, you can have it free … for now.
If you want to improve your pitching game, I’d recommend having a read: