When you’re a new B2B writer or copywriter, one of your biggest challenges isn’t finding prospects to approach. Rather, it’s about narrowing down your field.
It can feel as if everyone’s a prospect. And even when you’ve decided to focus on the corporate market, that still leaves you with millions of potential companies you could contact.
So where do you start? And whom do you target?
You have to prioritize. I’m about to show you an extremely powerful prioritization tool that will save you countless hours of wasted effort. And it will dramatically increase your chances of getting quick wins. It’s called the List Kickstarter Matrix (LKM).
The LKM will not only help you prioritize your outreach, it will also help you build that initial list of prospects. Let me first explain what each quadrant represents by giving you examples of who belongs in each quadrant, and then I’ll show you how to use this to create your list.
One of your all-time best friends is the marketing director at a midsize medical equipment company. They produce a lot of written materials. That would obviously be an ideal Golden Nugget. However, at this stage in your journey, even someone who could use your services in their own business could be a Golden Nugget.
For instance, let’s say that your real estate agent is pretty marketing-savvy and puts out a lot of content for his prospects. Or maybe a relative of yours owns a pretty successful IT consulting business and seems to know a bit about marketing and the importance of copy and content. As you move through your launch journey, those types of prospects may not be ideal. But for now, as long as you know them well and as long as they appear to understand the importance of marketing, they could be classified as a Golden Nugget.
Your next-door neighbor is VP of operations at a logistics company. He’s obviously not a marketer, but he may be able to refer you to his marketing VP. Also, he’s very well-connected in the local business community, so he can probably refer you to prospects that would be well-suited for you.
You have a key contact in an organization that produces a lot of written content and where your particular work background and experience could make you an ideal freelance resource.
Your sister owns a small bakery. She wouldn’t be a prospect. In fact, she doesn’t really understand what you do for a living. But you’re confident that she’d be willing to hear more about what you’re doing and possibly refer you to some of her personal or business contacts who may be a better fit for you.
Your friend Nate introduced you to his cousin at a party you attended last weekend. His cousin seemed like a very nice person. He even gave you his business card. But (a) you just met him, and (b) he owns a very small landscaping company. So he wouldn’t really be a good prospect or even a source of referrals.
How to use the LKM
Here’s how you can use the LKM to prioritize and organize your prospecting efforts.
First, focus on people you already know. Here’s how to do that:
1. Grab a notepad and divide a blank page into three columns. Title the first column “Golden Nuggets,” the second column “Connectors” and the third column “Helping Hands.”
2. Open your contact management application (or your Rolodex, address book, etc.). Go through each name one by one and decide if it fits into one of these three columns.
3. Try not to judge too much at this point. Remember, you’re not just looking for Golden Nuggets. You’re also looking for potential Connectors and Helping Hands.
4. Don’t ignore or write off Helping Hands. One of the Helping Hands in my network is completely responsible for my being where I am today in my business. That gentleman introduced me to someone who referred me to yet another individual who hired me 14 years ago. And that particular job was the impetus for my going freelance in 2006. I also probably wouldn’t have had the success I’ve enjoyed had I not reached out to one specific Connector early in my freelance career. That lady introduced me to what ended up becoming my longest-running client (seven years!).
Next, make an initial list of 10 Solid Prospects. Again, think of Solid Prospects as companies or organizations that produce a lot of copy or written marketing content … and where your particular work background and experience could make you an ideal freelance resource.
In other words, you don’t know them and they don’t know you. But because you chose them a bit more carefully, they have a higher probability of being receptive to your message than a random prospect from the Yellow Pages or a local business directory.
I found that it’s better to start with a small batch. That’s why I recommend you make a list of only 10 prospects (for now). If you try to assemble a bigger list, you’ll never take action. Instead, work with a small initial list, make the outreach, add to the list, take action, and so on.
Because you’re going to be adding and removing names from this list over time, this is going to be a dynamic list. It will evolve and change. And it will be the list you’ll spend the most time on because you’ll keep adding to it.
Here’s the basic criteria for assembling the first group for your Solid Prospect list:
1. They have to be a decent-size company (i.e., they have multiple departments, as opposed to a small, local company where the few employees wear multiple hats).
2. Also, look for companies that produce a lot of written materials (as evidenced by what they have posted and available on their website).
3. If you have a defined target market (or markets), focus on companies that are in those industries.
4. Target companies you think might be receptive to your outreach based on your overall work background and experience AND based on the nature of the products or services they sell. So when you look at your background, experience, past clients, etc., consider:
• Which industry or industries sell products and services that are fairly expensive? (When a product or service is relatively expensive, the value needs to be explained and justified. And that creates a need for marketing content.)
• Which of these industries are more prone to sell products or services that don’t just sell themselves? In other words, they’re not commodities or products that can are typically purchased off a website. Instead, they’re “considered” purchases.
• And finally, which industry or industries from your background sell products and services that are complex? (Your potential client has to spend time and resources explaining those products and services … and what those products and services DO for their customers.)
5. Don’t overthink this. You’re NOT trying to come up with the optimal list of 10 prospects. That’s impossible at this point. Just come up with 10 that look promising enough based on the criteria I just gave you. If you end up with more than 10, that’s fine. But try to come up with at least 10.
Need Some Help?
If you’re trying to get your B2B writing or copywriting business off the ground — or if you’ve already launched but are still struggling to break past that $1,500-per-month income ceiling — I may be able to help you.
My superpower is helping freelancers get their business off the ground quickly and with less risk.
I will work with you to help you get results faster, land progressively better clients and gain serious momentum.
I don’t make these coaching and training opportunities available very often. But I’ve just opened a window. And enrollment closes next week.
You can learn more about it here:
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