Approaches to Avoid When Writing a Prospecting Email… and What to Do Instead

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“Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression — with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.” — Natalie Massenet

If your freelance copywriting or consulting business has gotten to the point where all your new work comes in through referrals, good for you.

But most of us still need to do some prospecting for new clients in the form of outbound marketing. And an outbound marketing campaign will typically begin with an email or physical letter, sent to your prospective clients at their place of employment.

Some prospecting letters work pretty well, but many of them fall flat because of the approach the copywriter uses. And when they do fail, the cause can often be found in the first sentence.

Today we’ll take a look at three examples of first sentences that really don’t work very well when writing a prospecting email, followed by a couple of examples that generally achieve better results.

Example 1: I see that your company has a Facebook page, but that you’re not updating it regularly.

On the face of it, this line seems reasonable. After all, the writer has gone to the trouble of checking out the prospect’s Facebook page, and has found a weakness that should be addressed.

But when you think about it, doesn’t it compare to when you open your front door and find someone standing there who says something like, “I notice you have some cracks in your driveway, and my crew and I happen to have a half load of asphalt left from a job we did up the street. If we don’t use it today, it’ll go to waste.”

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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