If you use cold emailing as a marketing strategy to grow your freelance business, it’s probably been drummed into your head that you have to follow up on every lead. Indeed, many popular writing blogs (some of which I count among my favourites) have at least one article on when and how to follow up with prospects. And some even explain in great detail what you should say.
When I first started out as a freelance writer, I used to follow these ideas religiously. I even had a spreadsheet in which I tracked each email I sent, from the date I made first contact to the date I was due to follow up and beyond.
Over time, however, I found myself moving away from this system and developing my very own follow-up technique.
I’m proud to say that this technique gives me 100% results. Every time. So I thought I’d lay it out step by step so you can give it a try if you like.
I Don’t Follow Up
Yep. You read that right.
My tried and tested technique is that I don’t follow up.
Hear me out.
Why I Don’t Follow Up
Put simply, I don’t follow up because I don’t consider it an efficient or even productive use of my time.
There are two reasons for this. One is practical and one is psychological.
The ROI Of Follow Up Emails
Let’s start with the practical consideration, i.e. ROI.
Over the three months or so when I followed up religiously, my follow-up strategy generated exactly £30 in business. Considering the time I spent tracking each and every email I sent (and trust me, there were hundreds of them) and figuring out how to follow up without sounding like a needy idiot, I think this is really terrible ROI.
By contrast, during that same period, I made over £1,000 in new business – all from clients who answered my very first cold email.
Besides, let’s face it.
As a freelance writer, you’re looking for clients you can build a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership with (at least, that’s my strategy). The way I see it, having to send email after email just to secure the business in the first place really places the relationship on the wrong footing from the start.
Look at it another way. Who would you rather work with – someone who gets back to you promptly, or someone you need to keep pestering over and over?
Following Up Puts You In The Wrong Mindset
They say where there’s hope there’s life. But I beg to differ. I think hope is the enemy, especially in business.
As long as following up is an option, you’re going to harbour the hope – whether consciously or unconsciously – that you might secure the business. This is a double-edged sword. Sure, it can keep your spirits up at first. But what if following up doesn’t bring results, either?
Before long, you might just find yourself spending way too much time agonising over each and every email you already sent out, instead of taking proactive steps like sending out more emails.
Focus On The Stuff You CAN Control
If you ask me, spending hours chasing people and wondering whether they’ll get back to you is incredibly wasteful and counter-productive.
Whether someone is interested in working with you or not isn’t something you can control. Consequently, agonising over it is completely pointless. You’re much better off focusing on the here and now. On the stuff you can actually control. Like improving your pitches and sending them out to as many new prospective clients as possible.
Personally, I found that my confidence and overall mindset improved by leaps and bounds once following up was off the table, because I’d send out my best effort and simply forget it. And I’m sure it can do the same for you too.
Do you have a specific follow up technique? Sound off in the comments below.