What I’m listening to: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen
Yesterday was proof of why I love my job. My kid needed someone to sit at her house and wait for an appliance delivery. My hand went up — hell, I volunteered. So I packed up my Surface and cell phone and moved my work to her house.
Over on Peter Bowerman’s blog, there’s a good discussion on successful follow-up. I shared my own, which included both Twitter and LinkedIn follow-ups that resulted in long-term client relationships. Just a quick hello, a “if you need a writer” reminder, and nothing more is really all it took.
Marketing and networking can be — and is — that easy.
I’ve seen too many people tout the value of bulk querying — sending out so many LOIs that you could easily lose track. There is so much wrong with this method, I can’t begin to list all the reasons. But I’ll give you a few:
You’re creating no value. How can you possibly send a ton of LOIs a week and make them all personal? You can’t. So your letter is a form letter. A one-size-fits-all sales letter, just like the three you deleted a minute ago. That’s a great way to impress potential clients. Not.
You’re drawing in unknown variables. So you send, say, 100 LOIs a week, and you think that’s going to net you more work. Know what? You’ll get a few more clients, sure. But you’re missing the obvious, which is there’s no possible way you’re able to vet those 100 prospects. So you’re basically blanketing the internet and trying to grab anything that comes. And believe me, anything will, and you’re not going to be all that thrilled.
You’re not following up. You can’t be. Who has time to follow up on 400 LOIs a month? And since most work comes from the follow-up conversation, you’re missing out on plenty.
Okay, so we’ve gone over why bulk querying isn’t a great idea. What now?
We target our clients. We:
- Decide who our ideal client is
- Find out a little about them
- Write a LOI that echoes what we’ve found out
- Repeat the last three steps 4 times in one week
But that takes so much time! Except it doesn’t. Here’s the time investment you’ll be making:
Step one takes maybe 30 minutes of brainstorming to find five potential clients.
Step two takes 5 minutes per client. If their website sucks, it could take 10 minutes (and gives you something to propose in your letter).
Step three takes 15 minutes (you can use most of your bio over again).
Step four takes 5 minutes for all 5 weekly contacts.
So for one week of targeted marketing, you’re going to invest around an hour and 15 minutes of your time. For the whole week. Even if you decided to spend an hour one step one, you’re still well ahead of trying to send out slews of mediocre messaging.
Let’s not even mention how easy it is to show up on social media and start a conversation with a potential client. If you’re there anyway, it’s almost going to happen without you realizing it.
Bulk querying is a time-consuming, rote process that sucks the life out of your introductory letter, and frankly sucks the creativity right out of you. Why would any writer want to approach clients that way?
Writers, have you ever sent out bulk queries or LOIs?
Did you track the results? Were you able to follow up with all of them?
What is your current method of sending out queries/LOIs? Is it working for you?