Do you know how to pitch your work? The strategy behind writing a sales pitch email is incredibly valuable. When I quit my day job nearly 10 years ago, I was a bright-eyed and hopeful 23-year-old. I had no savings built up, no art degree, and no business experience. Along with this, I barely had any clients or customers lined up to help with paying the bills! Crazy, right?!
Well, something that was HUGE in helping me actually make ends meet in the early days and scale throughout my creative career, was (and still is!) pitching. When I quit my day job all those years ago, I reached out, on a whim, to a wedding photographer in our area. I got his email from a friend and basically just said:
“Hey! I’d love to meet up with you and pick your brain and show you my work!”
I have NO idea why he agreed to meet up with me…honestly. Reaching out to someone who could be hired for their consulting services and saying “I’d love to pick your brain” is comical to me now, but he said “Sure!”
From that meeting, he gave me a list of over 50 contacts: wedding planners, other photographers, etc. that he’d worked within the past. I didn’t know this at the time, but this was a GOLD MINE. That day, I remember racing home feeling excited, and sending out close to 100 pitch emails. Two people responded to those emails. One with a “no thanks” type of response…the other referred me to a wedding client and we began working together on a job.
After 5 years of scaling my wedding stationery business to high six-figures a year, I needed a switch. Again, I found myself writing a pitch email. This time to my now licensing agent, Julie Turkel. Julie has landed me multiple licensing jobs, including programs that will be delivered in mainstream stores like Staples and Target. We’ve also co-taught a course together, Brand Plus Brand, where we teach the entire business model on licensing, pitching, etc.
Why am I saying all of this? Pitching your work is vital to growing your business, generating more revenue and pivoting.
How to Pitch your work with emails
KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO!
I receive a decent amount of pitches. Meeting for coffee, business mentorship, brand partnerships, art critiques, etc., and one thing I know about being on the receiving end is it’s easy to spot a generic pitch message. If you’re sending something out to a bunch of people, make sure you show the person that you’ve done the research and you know who you’re talking to. Open up the email (or DM) with something that lets them know you understand and appreciate their work before getting into what you need.
MAKE IT ABOUT THEM, NOT ABOUT YOU
What can you offer them? Pitching your work to an office supply manufacturer? Maybe point out how you’ve noticed that none of their products have watercolor and how your skills would help them lean into a trend in the market. Are you a photographer? Reach out to brand owners whose social media needs a little help in the content department. Offer them a brand shoot for a discount, or free if you’re just starting out!
GET TO THE POINT
It’s easy to write a long pitch email, filled with explanations and qualifications. Don’t go more than 2-3 paragraphs, even that is pushing it. Keep it brief. Share how their partnership with you could impact their business. What do you bring to the table for them? Remember, you can’t just expect people to say yes to something if you’re the only person walking away with a benefit.
For me, the most successful pitches have been when I’ve offered something of value in return. At the end of the day, your goal with pitching should be a mutually beneficial partnership. When this is achieved, amazing things happen with your business growth!
Following up at the right time is crucial. I don’t recommend that you do it too soon, but you also want to make sure they haven’t totally forgotten about your message. I believe 3-6 days is the sweet spot and only follow up once.
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- Brand Plus Brand — my course about licensing
Episode 3: My Story: From Side Hustle to Thriving Business
Episode 13: A Chat with My Licensing Agent Julie Turkel
Episode 27: The Designer/Agent Relationship and How It Works with Julie Turkel
Episode 29: A 7-Figure Licensing Program?! How Dabney Lee Got Started in Licensing
Episode 25: How to Work with and Find a Literary Agent