Winning new clients

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win new clients
Chapter 4

Creating your outreach strategy

Now we can talk about your communication strategy. How you approach businesses is just as important as who you contact. The steps below offer quick ways to give your outreach the focus and edge it needs to help you win new work.

For a more detailed approach to your outreach strategy, use this checklist to ensure you’re targeting the right people in the right ways.

Before we jump into it, a quick note about past clients. You should always reach out to your previous contact through the same method of communication. Often, a simple message with a brief reintroduction and question about current work is enough to get an answer.

Checklist: Build your outreach strategy

Wondering where to start with your cold outreach? Use these questions to make sure you are targeting the right people with the right information.

Determine the why behind your outreach

  • What kind of business relationship are you hoping to build with each client?
  • What is your timeline?
  • What is your current capacity and how much work are you hoping to gain?

Define your audience

  • What industry are you targeting? Are you targeting specific sectors of that industry?
  • What kind of business do you want to work with (large vs small, joining a team vs leading the initiative, etc.)?
  • Do you want to approach former clients or new prospects?

Finalize your services

  • What are the specific services/products you are offering to these clients (i.e. ad design vs. just graphic design)?
  • Do you offer individual services/products, packages, or both?

Communicate your value

  • What problems are you solving for the client?
  • Why are your services the best option for this resolution?
  • How do successful businesses use your services to succeed?

Prove that you’re an expert

  • What projects have you completed in the past that will increase the client’s confidence in your claims?
  • Do you have testimonials from clients in similar companies?
  • Do you have other ways to highlight your expertise, such as large social media followings, popular marketing material, or features/interviews?

Encourage a response

  • What will you close with to increase the chances of getting a reply?
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1. Determine your medium

More channels mean more complications, so we recommend limiting yourself to one or two mediums. Your options include:

  • Email
  • Contact form submissions
  • Calls
  • LinkedIn message
  • Social media message
  • Freelance platforms
  • Face-to-face meetings

Each has its pros and cons. Clients may feel that social media outreach and office drop-ins are too intrusive. Many freelance platforms will take a cut of your pay. Your email may get lost in a cluttered inbox. Take the time to consider which medium is most likely to reach your lead and shows your value most effectively.

2. Choose your contact

If your email joins dozens of others in the generic company inbox or you only reach the receptionist, your chances of making a connection drop. Instead, try to find the person in the business who will be most interested in your pitch. Locate the director of marketing or head of IT. Then, look for their professional contact information, such as company email or extension number. You want to make your outreach as direct as possible.

3. Make an impression

Every message should be tailored to the potential client you’re approaching. Include the name of the person you’re contacting and a link to a sample that is relevant to their work. 

Above all, focus your outreach on how you can help them. Show the client how the service you offer translates into a solution for their needs. Emphasize the benefits of working with you. Make it about them, not you.

Not sure how? Get tips for showing clients how you can add value to their business.

Turning talents into solutions

You have a lot to offer, but clients aren’t going to care about any of it unless you show them how your skills benefit them. As you reach out to potential clients, focus on showing the value you offer. Give every person a clear picture of how their lives will improve by hiring you.

When clients understand that the benefits outweigh your costs, they are more likely to reply to your messages and give you work. The tips below will help you translate your experience into invaluable solutions.

Avoid ‘I statements’

Think about the last ad that caught your attention. Did it spend a lot of time talking about how great the product was or did it show you how it could make you feel a certain way? People are emotional beings, so you need to create an emotional response to your messages.

When you only talk about yourself and your abilities, it’s easy for clients to get bored. They don’t know you or care about you. They want to know what they get out of the deal. 

Here are some ways you can turn ‘I statements’ into solutions:

I statement

  • I have 5 years of experience as a digital marketer and have worked on numerous national ad campaigns.
  • I write engaging articles and website content.

Value statement

  • I have 5 years of experience as a digital marketer and have worked on numerous national ad campaigns.
  • During a recent project, my client saw a 10% increase in sales from the national ad campaign I developed. I helped them develop a stronger campaign message, communicate their value, and reach a larger audience.

Did you know that people who engage with your website content are more likely to become paying customers? For a recent client, I created content that increased engagement by 10% and conversions by 5%.

As you can see, you can still use “I” in your value statements, but you need to focus on the client benefit rather than the actual work you do.

Make sure your samples are relevant

If you have a well-written sample that isn’t relevant to the client, it won’t have much of an impact. Showcase your abilities with examples that grab their attention and speak to problems that might be struggling with. You can even find areas that they’re struggling with (an outdated blog, dead social media accounts, bad graphics) to speak to directly.

For example, you can say:

I couldn’t help noticing that your current website doesn’t reflect the cutting-edge value you offer your clients. It reminded me of the website I recently redesigned for another client in [industry]. As you can see in the link below, customers can now access up-to-date information and see an accurate reflection of the brand.

Speak to multiple client problems

As an independent contractor, you’re not just addressing the specific needs related to your services. You’re also providing knowledge, giving back precious time, and relieving stress. Many clients are experts in their field and clueless in everything else. Partnering with you removes these additional responsibilities. It also ensures that any investment they make in that area of business will have valuable results. As you approach potential clients, make sure you communicate all of the benefits you offer.

Are you tired of trying to understand SEO, Facebook advertising, and PPC? Digital marketing isn’t the reason you started [company name], but it is necessary for growth. By letting someone else handle these tasks, you can see marketing-powered growth while you get back to the work you love.

When you can show clients how much they need the value you offer, you can stop playing the outreach numbers game and see real results.

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Few people will read through a long message, so keep it concise. Limit your outreach to a few sentences and close it with a simple next step. You can invite them to view your portfolio or offer the best way to respond. Just make it quick and easy to encourage action.

Make your outreach easier by using or getting inspired by our client message templates, which you can find here.

Pro tip: Many people won’t download files from strangers, so always include a URL link to your portfolio or samples.

Sample messages

Contacting former clients

Hi [client’s name]!

I hope you’re doing well. My name is [your name] and I previously worked with your team to [insert details about previous projects]. It’s been awhile since we last spoke, so I wanted to reach out and see if you have any projects that you need help with in the coming weeks. Working with your team is always a pleasure and I’d love to partner with you again.

I know you handle a lot of projects, so I’ve linked to some of the work we did together below. I’ve also included links to a few similar projects I’ve completed for other clients since we last touched base.


Let me know if there’s any way I can help ease your workload!

[your name]

Contacting new prospects

Hi [client’s name]!

I hope you’re doing well. I recently discovered your company and couldn’t help noticing that you don’t have an active social media presence. More than 50% of online users research businesses through social media, so you may be missing out on this large group of potential customers.

Managing a social media account can require time and knowledge that you don’t have, so I wanted to offer my expertise as a social media specialist. As you can see in the links below, my clients have developed a thriving online presence that increases their business and exposure. I would love to help you do the same.


If you are interested in reaching this online audience, I’d love to share the ways social media can help you promote your business. Just reply to this email to let me know!

Have a great day!

[your name]

Follow-up with previous clients

This email should be sent in the same thread as the original message so you can include the information without repeating it all.

Hi [client’s name]!

I hope you’re doing well! You have a lot on your plate, so I just wanted to reach out again to make sure you received the email I sent earlier this week.

I loved working with you on [past projects] and I’d love to continue our relationship if you have any projects that you need help with in the coming weeks. 

If there’s anything I can do to keep your projects moving forward, please let me know!

Have a great day!

[your name]

Follow-up with new prospects

Hi [client’s name]!

I hope you’re having a great day. I am following up on a message I recently sent about your company’s social media presence.

As a quick recap, your company may be missing out on important business without active social media accounts. There are many ways to reach these potential customers and I’d love to help you grow your business through these channels, much like I did for these clients:


If you would like to see how social media can expand your business, just reply to this email to let me know.

Have a wonderful week!

[your name]

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